Acts 19: Disciples making disciples
On this continuation of the Acts Series, pastor Adrian preaches on Acts 19 and the work of mission in the name of Jesus. This sermon highlights the importance of preaching to as many people as possible, making a spiritual impact, demonstrating wisdom and restraint, and the importance of worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.
Good morning. It's May it's cooling down missions is happening by the way is May the only time that missions happens I'd hate for anyone to get the wrong impression about that May is a key time of the year in which US Queensland Baptists have decided over a period of time that this is a a great way to highlight the work of mission and missionaries across the globe but across the globe includes right here in our context doesn't it right here in caboolture does caboolture need Jesus okay that's good if we're sending missionaries everywhere else what about the people that are right here how are we going to send missionaries to the folks who are right here we do that I'm not sure I signed up for that Karen did anybody else realize that when you became a Christian and when you accepted Christ into your life as your lord and savior when he acknowledged that he is your god and King because I hope that's what you did but you also signed up for a life of telling everybody about how amazing he is were you aware of that I'm not sure if you realize this but that's not a job it's not no one has to bend my arm to tell you about how amazing I think my wife is I think she is no one should have to twist your arm to tell to get you to tell them about how amazing Jesus is because she because he is n't he and you can only know that if he has been amazing to you today because as Dylan rightly reminded us earlier we are so good at forgetting things aren't we as I'm getting older and I'm getting more frail in my old age I'm starting to forget things and I'm finding that I'm having to write things down more and more often and what's ironic about that is I've got to remember to write things down so that's that's always hilarious for the people around me um but I I think it's amazing how God who is the King of Everything who has all ultimate Authority and is Sovereign and who knows you and I intimately well still chooses to love us and more than that because of his love for us he has given us something to do and there's something incredibly valuable there's something incredibly precious but if you get it wrong it's not going to screw up his perfect plan for such a long time as a young Christian I used to think God how could you trust me to do this incredible work when you know I am forgetful and I make mistakes and I do so many wrong things how could you rely on me to do that and he reminded me that he wasn't relying on me the pressure was not on me to do that it was my opportunity it was my privilege it was my love to do that and he was going to underwrite that for me how good is that that we get to tell everyone about how amazing Jesus really is and you can only do that if you think he's amazing right otherwise you're lying so I think as we read the scriptures and certainly as we've been traveling through this series uh in Acts and we're up to Acts 19 20 today I think it's very appropriate how God has lined it up because we are talking about this morning about the third of Paul's missionary Journeys as he was traveling around and of course we're not going to have time to be able to read every single word in these chapters but I just want to sort of take you through a bit of a summary um I guess of of of what he uh was involved with there are some pretty epic stories here there are some pretty ordinary stories here and there's some pretty funny stories in here and if anyone's read through some of this stuff you'll you'll see especially later on in in sort of um of the message but in in Acts chapter 20 there's a story of this man called eudicus and he falls out of a window because Paul was preaching for so long he fell asleep and fell out of the window and he died okay but we'll get to that in about three hours okay because I'm going to take Paul's Liberties here and preach for that long uh no we won't be doing that because I haven't got that kind of stamina please sit down Kim thank you yeah by the way isn't it wonderful what Kim does give her a baby clap um she's here for as long as the entire stage is live in our services in the in the morning and uh she's talking constantly with her hands um and as a drummer I know how physically active and tiring that can be so thank you Kim all right Acts chapter 19 if you haven't found it by now you're probably looking in the wrong spot um but Acts chapter 19 like I said continues on with this this series of missionary trips that that Paul undertook by the way I don't think he sort of sat down one day and thought in my Five-Year Plan I'm going to undertake three missionary trips and I'm going to go to these places and I'm going to do all these things I don't think that's how it worked out for Paul I just think he had a heart for God and he wanted to tell people about who Jesus was and how amazing he is and he just wanted to get out there and tell people and as often as he could he did that and we sort and certainly see that in this in this section of scripture but one thing I want to highlight before we start unpacking some of this is mission is really pretty would anyone who's been on the mission field agree with that it's really pretty okay sometimes we can have a romantic idea of what it's like to be a missionary and to go to deepest darkest Africa or to where are you wherever you might be called and what that's going to be like and certainly we get a sense from Paul's perspective and certainly over the course of the month as we hear some of the stories of many missionaries who have gone overseas in other places of how mission is really pretty it's not neat and tidy it's not in a box it's not completely well organized often you're going into places and you've got no idea what you're going to do let alone what to expect from the people that you're going to and we're going to see that often we can make mistakes we can make mistakes about the culture that we're going into we can make mistakes with the language you can say one thing thinking you've said something and people laugh at you because you might have sworn at them or you might have said something different and that's a whole range of things and nobody wants to do these things right we don't want to make mistakes because we know it's a it's an important job it's a it's an important thing that we're doing often though we want to go into places preaching the Good News and seeing multitudes come to Christ but the reality is most of the time the gospel is rejected and you'd find yourself in some sort of conflict and again we see this certainly in the first and second of Paul's Journeys and we'll see that it also as we read through this third of Paul's missionary journeys of the range of things that he was involved in the number of times he was invited to go and speak the number of times that they rejected him the number of times he thought he had a plan to go do one thing but it turned into something else it's messy isn't it and so if you're someone who likes to have everything sewn up neat in the Box in a bow this is going to mess with your head because mission is not neat and tidy it's real life it's people it's circumstances it's situations that you and I can't control and unfortunately for many of us if we can't control the situation we struggle with it right you think about your environment at home and how you have your routine at home whether you've got kids or not if you've got kids it's survival isn't it right you have a routine because if you don't have that routine kids just rule the house and you you die figuratively or so right many of you are suffering the consequences of kids being in your lives this morning that's why you're weary and other times if you're having a kids at home if you're just uh if you've if you've got kids who have left home or if you've never had kids or whatever you still have your routines you still have your patterns of things that you do and how you control your environment at home think about what happens if that is thrown out of whack you know one day maybe the power goes out because there's a storm and all of a sudden you can't watch your show or the lights go out and you can't read or the thing that you had been hanging out to do because that's part of your routine it's part of your pattern it's part of your comfort is thrown out and all of a sudden it's different it's weird and it ruins your day it ruins your week ruins your month whatever it might be and it's not always that big but sometimes it is hey and and it's little things isn't it and you think about how finely balanced our lives have to be right and for many of us who are driving at the moment I was interesting driving to church this morning we literally live four minutes away from the building here and it was an epic epic travel time this morning because we almost saw people get crashed into and all sorts of things hey Kerry Wherever You Are um she almost got rear-ended it was hilarious because it didn't happen it didn't happen it's funny because it didn't happen but it could have um and that was just here right think about what could have happened if there was a tap on the car or something it had going on and how finely balanced things are and I I think we just kind of keep that in our minds as we listen to this these these next few sections of scripture so um we see skip past too far ahead thank you Mr thingy um so firstly we see Paul in the beginning of Acts chapter 19. he's he's come across some people who are trying to figure out what baptism's like okay and what is this baptism idea they've been baptized according to John but so he has to go and correct some of their theology not that they had it wrong but now Jesus had done his thing and so they had to be ex had to understand what that baptism was and what um that meant for them and so they were re-baptized in the name of Jesus and so that was a corrective teaching you see Paul would have loved to have gone to non-christians and said hey let me tell you about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet he ran into some people who already knew about Jesus but had to get the theology right right and so he thought okay well this is an opportunity this is a teachable moment let's take you through that and he got the opportunity to baptize some folks he didn't get to preach the gospel to to to folks who had never heard the message but it got to use the gospel to correct them some theology okay so that was his first instance and then we get to verses eight and nine and he comes up with some people he's trying to persuade them about who Jesus is and how they should follow him and yet he's rejected and not more than that they don't just reject him they make fun of the Gospel so he's gone from encountering some people who love Jesus and want to be baptized but is doing it wrong and so they get their theology corrected and runs into some other people who don't love Jesus and a matter of fact make fun of the Gospel okay now I don't know how many days or weeks are in between this we don't get a sense of time here but we see a sequence of events okay this is a travel log a mission log so can you start to see how mission is not neat and tidy okay it was messy even for Paul and then he moves along to the next story in verse 10 and he was preaching to make sure that everyone knew the gospel now when he says everyone can you imagine from Paul's perspective he wanted to be the one person who went out and preached to the whole world that was his harsh desire he knew he physically probably would never be able to do it but he was like challenge accepted I'm gonna go out there and I'm going to do it okay so he hung around and he stuck around for about two years in this place and he tried to tell as many people as would listen about who Jesus is and what he had done for them and why the gospel is such good news and he did it for as long as he could until all in that in that area in that region had heard but it's interesting to note until everyone had heard not until everyone was converted see even Paul this great preacher right man of God with with the Holy Spirit on his side couldn't convert people right that was entirely People's Choice and how the Holy Spirit was going to work in their lives and so all he could control was the number of people he could go out and tell the good news to and so that's what he did he hung around for a couple of years and um he preached to all who would hear and then we see this next section of scripture about making a spiritual impact as the sons of skeever and it's an interesting story um and I'm not going to have time this morning to really get into it but I'd heard um Paul and some of the other disciples cast out demons and heal people in the name of Jesus and you might have heard that in the scriptures and you might have heard us pray in the name of Jesus right and so many these these sons who were the sons of this priest called skeva there were seven of them um they had heard Paul say this and they'd heard some of the disciples say this and they'd seen spiritual things happen they'd seen people get healed they'd seen demons get cast out of folks and they were thought wow that's that sounds like a great trick if let's go out and we can do the same thing let's go and lay hands on people and we'll pray for them in the name of Jesus until until they encountered a spirit who turned around to them and said well Jesus I know I've heard of Paul but who the heck are you right and we forget that it's not our power that heals people it's not our power but cast out demons right it's it's not even that magical invocation of the words in the name of Jesus because what does that mean what it means is you are there because Jesus has told you to be there and so you are present in his name and by his authority you dirty rotten Spirit get out of that person see spirits have to listen to that they don't have to listen to you and that's the issue that these Sons had they thought that they could just say the words the magical words and all of a sudden they would be able to do what Paul and some of the other disciples were doing and that Spirit turned around and gave them the great big Smackdown it's pretty hilarious I think it's funny right not so funny for them but it calls us back to remember it's not your Authority that you go with it's not your power that we yield or that we wield it's Jesus's Authority and it's his power and we go in the places that he sends us and we say what he tells us to say and we do what he tells us to do can you understand now why our planning is important but we've got to hold it loosely can you see how when Paul had a bit of a plan for when he was going to go and and go on these missionary Journeys he would do that but he ran into all these things that I'm sure were not his inverted commas plan okay he was a preacher of the Gospel he wanted people to know who Jesus was the sons of skiba were not his plan to be rejected by people who are making fun of the Gospel was not his plan but they were some of the ways in which Paul was used and we'll we'll move along later on we hear this this story of the the temple workers of Diana Diana was a a goddess and they had a greatly Temple to her in the in the city of Ephesus and was one of the the seven uh Ancient Wonders of the World it was a significant building there was a significant economy that was run around this Temple they would make all sorts of memorabilia and all gift shops right if they could sell merchandise in relation to this they would and that's what they would do and so there was a number of people who were making quite a killing off this but unfortunately for them the gospel was starting to take place in Ephesus right and so people were becoming Christians they were coming to Christ and so there was becoming less and less of a demand on their trinkets on their Temple worship money and so they were really really um worried by this it was the Chamber of Commerce in Ephesus got together and they said okay well this is not cool it's it's running our economy into the ground and they fired up the people and they were rioting and I think the funny part of this story and which is so true is that there were so many people it says that in the scriptures there were so many people there who were gathered in the riot in the mob who were carrying on who didn't even know why they were there and it's true of mobs right there might be a few instigators everyone gets together and they're all carrying on and going we're so offended but they didn't even know why they were there it tells us they're in the scriptures and I think Paul demonstrated another part of his missionary calling as someone who was sent out to go and preach the gospel by not going out in front of the crowd it says a number of times in those few passages that he he wanted to get up and speak to the crowds that were gathered right but there were good people around him who said okay it's not a good idea not just for your personal welfare but they're not listening they don't even know why they're here they don't even know why they're offended okay and I think Paul demonstrated an enormous amount of restraint remember Paul the man who you couldn't stop right the man who would just go out single-handedly and preach to the world this is the same Paul who showed a bit of wisdom showed a bit of restraint and it's like I'm not actually gonna get up he actually ends up leaving okay it's actually one of the Town officials that gets up and finally calms down the the crowds usually it happens after a few hours when everyone gets tired right and that's that's essentially what happened everyone got tired the town official got up and said hey you guys are acting like turkeys let's let's leave and that's essentially what happens okay and that's another part of Paul's missionary journey that was not his plan okay I'm sure Paul's plan would have been something like this the great throng that was gathered around I'm going to get up and I'm going to preach the gospel and they're all going to get saved okay I'm sure he would have wanted something like that to happen but that wasn't what God wanted for him and he was sensitive to that and that's something that we're going to be aware of is when not to preach the gospel where not to get up in front of the people and when not to present the Pearl Before Swine makes sense these people weren't in a listening mood they were gathered they had an agenda they weren't there for anything other than to make a mess and a right and then it goes from that to being rejected again you think by now that Paul will be used to being rejected from places and from people and from groups right because he'd preached so many times some people will receive the Gospel many would reject him often it was the Jews who would who would stand against him and again he gets rejected in those few few verses in Acts chapter 20 and so he leaves he does a lot of leaving by the way church he does a lot of leaving we hear of his success stories we hear of the number of times people received the gospel but we don't count the number of times he just had to leave because either he was rejected or the people weren't listening or something else had happened it's okay to leave church as Christians in the 21st century we'd do a really bad job of leaving and you know why because we fall into the Trap of thinking that it's unloving to leave people that isn't what isn't what Jesus said to those those disciples in Luke 10 remember what that what he said to them he said if you're accepted into a home you go in and you preach the gospel and you bless the home but if you're not accepted walk out dust off your sandals and keep walking Jesus said that to the disciples as a part of their learning he even did that many times himself it's not unloving to leave people if they've rejected the gospel not if they've left you big distinction if they reject you a different story if they reject the gospel that they reject the the good news of Jesus Christ dust off your sandals there's a reason why he tells us as dust off as sandals he says leave no Remnant or Mark of them on you doesn't mean that those people will never come to Christ it just means that he's probably not going to use you to do it we are terrible at walking away and so we stay and we work and we work and we work we're there for these people over and over and over again until we are sucked dry and we wonder why Jesus has not done a work in that Ministry in that life it's because we didn't dust off our sandals Paul left you'd think he of all people was qualified to persuade and argue with the Jews who plotted against him he would have all the answers right he was a Jew of the Jews he knew the scriptures he was a Pharisee trained he of all people had the equipping to do that but no he had a mission so he does his army sandals and he keeps going but this is the same Paul who we get to the another funny story who is tireless and passionate and he preached the good news and that was his first call he preached the good news to anybody even those who didn't think they wanted the good news he would preach to them right I think that's hilarious um it's like when you go down to the community and something's happening and you ask someone hey is it okay if I pray for you if they say no I'm still going to pray for you all right I'm just not going to pray for you loudly with you right now but I'm going to walk away and still pray for you because you can't stop me and that's what you need right Jesus May offend you that's your problem I'm still going to pray for you because here's the thing Jesus Is For Real Life his truth right and if we need the truth if we love Jesus if we adore him if he is our everything then how can someone saying no stop you is that going to stop your life for Jesus and love isn't just an emotional thing that you hold deep inside your heart never express otherwise not love is it wives if your husband loves you and never expresses love for you walk away from that dude all right get some counseling get some help if he's not expressing love it looks like adoration it looks like care it looks like service it looks like wisdom it looks like a love for Jesus expressed in your marriage if that's not happening you guys need some help maybe you need Jesus and young ladies if you're looking for a man not just a bloke if you're looking for a man and he says to you that you're number two in his life marry him because it means that Jesus is number one and if that ever changes call him to account that's what you're supposed to do he's supposed to love God first before he loves you because if he doesn't he's going to worship you and he will fail and you will hate him we see that in our lives in our communities all the time right so get to this point where Paul was tireless and he was passionate and he preached for such a long time he came to these disciples in in um in utica's his household in in Macedonia and in Greece and the disciples you've got to understand that we're talking about a time when the Jews or well most people would work from sun up to sundown okay so usually this for the sake of argument let's say son up was about 6 a.m Sundown 6 p.m that would be your 12-hour day right no electricity and so you'd have oil lamps and such and that's what would light your way and so you didn't stay up till midnight watching Netflix okay because there was like it wasn't a thing you had to be up before the crack of dawn get the kids ready get get stuff happening get the animals Fed so that you can be at work by 6am right so there's no time for Netflix so what they would do is they'd get together they'd have a meal just after Sundown because that's when they got home they'd get things organized and they'd be in bed within a couple of hours okay so let's say maybe eight o'clock will be a late night some of you like dude I'm only waking up at 8pm different lifestyle so here you have Paul has come together with these disciples just after sundown and he's he's pressing to them why is some context because they wanted to know they wanted to hear the stories they wanted to know what not only what God had done but what was happening in the area in the region they knew Paul had been there amongst them and so they wanted to know there was many gathered there was many oil lamps in this building and to the point where Utica couldn't really find a spot that he was really comfortable so he goes and sits in a window a Windows back then didn't have glass it was just an open window and it was sitting in the window cutting some cool breezes because of the fumes from the oil lamps that were that were lit in this room right and not to mention all the bodies that were packed in and after a while with Paul preaching he got a bit tired and he got so tired he fell asleep and you fell out the window and he died do we have anybody sitting in the window this morning maybe at home it's a funny story when we look at it with our 21st century lenses okay because we think a long sermon is 40 minutes Paul wasn't preaching the sermon he was feeding the disciples because they were hungry see there was multitude of people gathered in that room not just euticus and the multitude of disciples who were gathered in there after they'd been to work they were like Paul tell us more tell us more about the word tell us more about what Jesus and his Spirit has been doing tell us more about the other churches tell us about that time when you were rejected they were hungry to hear more and more of not just the gospel and not just of the word but of his missionary encounters just like hopefully you are this morning right you're here to hear the stories of what Paul had gone through why because it increases your faith it strengthens Your Enthusiasm and it gives you Joy to hear what God is doing in and around the region that's the whole point of mission month and so that was what Paul was doing at the request of the disciples he didn't decide he was going to get up and speak for six hours he didn't have a message he said he'd prepped and Word Crafter with a PowerPoint so I think it speaks much not just to utica's falling out of the window but how much love Paul had for the people because I guarantee you he was tired he didn't just do that remember how Utica falls out the window and he dies kind of a tragedy Paul what does he do he just wanders down there prays for the man heals him how do you heal a dead person you don't you raise him from the dead okay that's what the scriptures say he actually died and Paul raised him back to life and then you know what he does he goes upstairs and has a meal like nothing's happened like it's an everyday thing because it was for Paul it was an everyday thing to see spirits leaves people to see miraculous healings to see people raised from the dead that was a normal part of his ministry if you have someone like that coming to visit your church wouldn't you stay out for hours hungry to hear what he was going to say and what he was going to do and how Jesus was going to minister in his life what does that tell you about utica's heart that he was bored in the presence of a man like that because they he was tired but so and so was everybody else how hungry are you for God's word because it speaks to your relationship your hunger for God's word speaks to the quality of your relationship with Jesus if this is boring for you now and you're wondering when is Adrian going to finish because it's 10 14 and we normally finished by 10 15. and you're laughing because you know that's the time I'm not Paul but we worship the same God so just a couple of things Paul worshiped in spirit and in truth right who worshiped in spirit and in truth in John 4 23 24 it says but the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and Truth for the father is seeking such people to worship him God is spirit and those who worship Him must Worship in spirit and in truth Paul demonstrated a love for the truth he had a deep hunger for God's word he had a deep hunger for God's word not just to preach it but to use it as a way to correct theology use it as a way to bring people together use it as a way to share the amazing things that Jesus had done the Bible is not a textbook if you think the Bible is a textbook you've got it all wrong because ain't nobody likes reading a textbook as good Light reading at bedtime do they right it's not a Dusty old thing this is a love letter this is experience this is Paul in your room in your house telling you all the amazing things about what God has done in his life and wants to do in yours if you look at this as a as something that's distant as far away it always will be but this is an opportunity for relationship to the sons of skeva had it wrong they thought they could say that in the name of Jesus and make things happen but in the name of Jesus implies that you have a relationship with Jesus and that you know who he is and because you know who he is you know what he wants you to do in that moment and because of that reason you're there as a representative of Jesus and not just trying to use his name that's called worship Church it's not just music it's not just prayer it's not just the stuff that we do on a Sunday morning this is worshiping in spirit and in truth this is this is the truth not Facebook just because Facebook or social media or even the News tells you something how do you know that's fact you don't anymore do you back in the day when you watched the news it was objective truth right it was just an outline of what was actually happening in the world there's you don't get that anymore it's an opinion piece every single time is someone's opinion on what something is there is no fact checking this is the one thing that is fact checked so you hear something somebody says something you experience something fact check it is that the God that I know does he work like that what should my response not my reaction what should my response be to that situation how did the Saints do it in the past how is the spirit leading me now so the depth of our relationship determines our our intensity of our hunger for his word if you're not someone who desperately loves to be in God's word I don't just mean read it to be in God's word then that speaks to your relationship about Jesus right it really does because you put your time into the things that you value look around this is Sunday this is Sabbath this is meant to be a weekly Gathering of God's people how many people live in caboolture and how many of them are Christians and how many of them are here this morning that should grieve your church your friends there are people that you know who are Christians who aren't here and who should be not because it's a religious thing not because it's a ritual thing but because of their relationship with Jesus they need to be here because he told us to be here in Hebrews it tells us not to forsake the Gathering of believers I think that's pretty important and Paul had a love for the spirit the word abandoned comes to mind only an abandoned person who's who's lost himself to the spirit would have the confidence to speak for as long as he did in utica's home see you because fall out the window and not be perturbed by that because he knew he knew Jesus and he knew the Heart of Jesus and knew the power of Jesus and he knew that what Jesus was about to do that's why I didn't phase him goes down and prays for him did Paul just goes about his day because he expected Jesus would do that because he knew Jesus utica's got a second chance do you want to know what happened to eunuchus after he got raised back to life I bet you he was never so hungry for God's word I bet you because something happens to you when God Saves your life right anyone experienced that every single person who calls himself a Christian has experienced Jesus saving their life and without faith is impossible to please him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seeking what we're talking about this morning is faith that's what we see is examples of Faith as Paul lived and he worked and he went and he taught and he corrected and he got rejected he did all the things right we get stuck in what he did but we forget it was all just an expression of his faith and his relationship with Jesus and that's why what he does is an incredible example for us because we can do it because Paul Didn't Do It Jesus did it and so the question is do you Worship in spirit and in truth how do you know what God is saying to you about your life about Ministries in this church about what I should do or shouldn't do from what place do you speak let me pray for your church Heavenly Father we thank you so much for the opportunity to know you and the way in which Jesus has revealed you we pray Lord God that we would seek to Foster our relationship with your son so that we might know you better Christ let me pray. Amen.