Missing the Point
Have you ever been knocked out? It can be a scary thing no matter how it happens. In this sermon, we talked about being knocked out for Jesus. In this case, we are looking at being knocked down, but not out. As humans, we tend to start fighting a fleshly battle. In any spiritual battle, you have to be wise enough and mature enough in God to discern what God has planned for you. Its God's mission for you to preach the word of God.
If we look at the scripture, Jesus ran when they tried to make him King. It wasn't time for his kingly reign to come. He dismisses the authority and praise so he can fulfill the mission of God. We should be ready to step aside for the glory of god. Scripture says that rocks cry out in praise. Do you want a rock to cry out for you? Or are you ready to praise and worship God?
In Acts, the people that Paul and Barnabus are preaching to start seeing them as Gods. They are missing the whole point of the teachings. They want to worship them as "gods among us". These people are so caught up in what they are seeing happen in front of them that they can't see what is really happening. People without the spirit tend to misunderstand what do do and how to respond to supernatural events. Paul and Barnabus are going to refuse that they are the center of attention. They tear at their robes and ask the people what is wrong with them. Paul was trying to proclaim Jesus and the people were missing the point
People need to be saved to understand the spiritual things God wants and needs to do in their lives. Until they are saved they wont be able to see what Jesus wants. When they are saved, Jesus will change everything.
Can you think of things that may be hindering your ability to see what Jesus wants from you?
When Jesus goes to Iconium, the first place Jesus goes is to the synagogue. This is where the religious people are. Its where people are most often missing the point. Paul went into uncomfortable places. We have to get uncomfortable to fulfill God's mission. That uncomfortability will be what stretches us and grows us as Christians. We sometimes try to be comfortable and conform to the normal ways of the flesh. We will say just enough to get by or break the ice. What we really need is to be radical for Jesus.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are valuable because God said you are. Not by your clothes or your job or your social standing. You are here for eternal purpose for an eternal God.
Acts 14:7 ESV
And there they continued to preach the gospel
Paul was committed to God's purpose for his life. He wasn't trying to be recognized. He knew it wasn't about him, but about God. A lot of us are committed to what we want and our plans, but we need to be looking for God's purpose. Our plans may be what gets in the way of Gods plan and purpose for us.
What you will find is that our greatest threat to the advancement of the gospel will be the religions people stirring the crowds. Just because they are religions doesn't mean they are saved. Jesus doesn't fit in a box. Being saved, doesn't fit in a nice neat little box. Lots of religion tries to put Jesus in a box that they are comfortable with him living in. But he doesn't fit in a box. And thank God he doesn't! What we are really here for is king Jesus. Don't let a religions crowd steal your passion. I'll say it again, the greatest thread to the advancement of the gospel will be religious crowds.
Paul's priorities determined how he responded. Because Jesus was his priority he was able to respond in the right way, the way of Jesus. If he had the wrong priorities and was thinking of himself, he would have taken the credit and the glory he was offered.
If you are serving for applause or credit, you will likely quit. If you are serving for God you will need endurance. The road is going to be rocky and rough. We have to have Jesus to be able to have enough endurance to get through all of the trials and tribulations we will go through. Its in these moments that people will take notice of your commitment to Jesus. If you preserve through and respond in a Godly fashion, you will have discernment over your actions. God can remind us that we should be doing something for him and not for us.
It's what makes us bring a spirit of excellence to everything we do, its not us, its bigger than us, its Jesus.
Acts 14:22 ESV
Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
We should strive to have a relationship not religion. Religion leaves us empty where a relationship will fulfill us. Are you boldly proclaiming Jesus to others? IF you aren't then you should check your priorities. Your priorities determine your direction, but they also determine your support. Satan wants to keep us out of church and wants us to be driven by fear and not by faith. God's people can be your support system when you are down.
You have the time to do the things that God wants you to do. You just have to make time. You have to choose the right priorities. One of my favorite things I have learned in the past few years was to think about my best yes. I had a situation come up not too long ago where I was asking someone to take on some responsibilities on a team. She asked me some thoughtful questions about what the positions would entail, and told me she would pray about it. In a few weeks, she came back to me and told me that she didn't think taking on those responsibilities would be her "best yes". Guys this stuck with me. It is so important that as we look at our day to day lives and responsibilities that we discern what is the best use of our time. Time is a very finite resource. We are only allotted so much time. We need to make sure that the time we are utilizing is going to be used for things that are to God's glory. We need to make sure that we are looking at our options and deciding on what may be our "best yes". Trust me guys, it's a game changer.
Philippians 1:28 ESV
And not be frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.
Persecution and problems are a necessary part of God's plan to reveal himself to others through you. This is when your actions speak louder than your words can.