“About those miracles…” Acts 14:8-18
Skeptics often argue that if God really wanted people to know that He is real, well, all He would need to do is simply work a miracle. The irony is that He already has worked a miracle. Tons of them. One of the things we discover is that miracles can sometimes be more confusing than clarifying. So how and when does God use miracles? Walk with us through Acts 14:8-18 as we strive to understand the Lord's use of miracles.
Turn with me in your Bibles this morning. We're continuing our way through Acts in Chapter 14. We're looking at verses 8 to 18 this morning. I appreciate Jeanet reading that to us this a few minutes ago. I just want to draw your attention to one verse in particular. Particularly where Paul begins to respond to the crowds. They worship Paul and Barnabas in response to the miracle that is performed rather than worshiping the Lord. They try to restrain them.
It says in verse 15, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like nature with you, and we bring you good news that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the Earth, and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations, he allowed all the nations to walk in their own way, yet he didn't leave himself without a witness for he did good by giving you rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
And verse 18 is very important to understanding the passage: “Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.”
Let's bow and ask the Lord to bless us this morning as we listen to His word.
Father in Heaven, once again we just come before you and we pray Lord, that as we look at this text, as we look at the efforts that Paul and Barnabas are making in terms of preaching the gospel and sharing with these folks here at Lystra, Lord, we pray that we would see the difficulty that they encountered. We pray that we would understand the miracle that you granted to be done and that we would have a better understanding of the nature of salvation, and the priority and the preaching of the Gospel. Lord, help us to see that and then to apply that here at First Baptist Church.
Father. The other thing that I would ask of you this morning by your spirit, would you help this church, to know... To understand and to believe… That they are a miracle, but that miracle does not take priority over our preaching of the gospel. I pray you'd show that to us this morning in Christ's name.
Since magicians began performing for crowds some tricks have really stood out in recent memory. I'm thinking of Harry Houdini’s famous escape from a straitjacket. He wore a straight-jacket with chains and locks and the whole bit, and he managed to wiggle his way out of that thing. I'm also thinking of David Blain holding his breath for underwater for 17 minutes, or at least that's what he was alleged to have done. But perhaps the one that I enjoy the most was David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear.
It was one of the most spectacular things. It was done live, on TV in 1985, in front of millions of people watching from home. I was just five years old at the time, there were about 3640 people watching it live, in-person, there about 200 feet from the Statue of Liberty, and those who were gathered there could not tell how it was that David Copperfield somehow managed to make a statue that was 310 feet tall and weighing approximately 250,000 pounds made of copper, how it was that he managed to make it disappear. I mean, how did he do it? The sheet went up. There was a giant light being shined from behind the statue, you could see the silhouette of the ship of the statue on the sheet that was raised on this giant tower. Two Towers erected on either side just in front of the statue. As the sheet went up the statue is there. You can see its shadow. He kneels down, you begin to watch, there's a little radar that he's kneeling next to you, and there's allegedly radar pumping energy through the sheet so you can see the statue there on the radar, and then he does his magic abra cadraba routine and the blip goes off the radar and then he stands up and he motions with his hands a little bit more. The sheet drops. The statue is gone, and those who are gathered there, they were filled with wonder, they said I wouldn't have believed it if I wasn't here to see it in person, live with my own eyes. When they asked, “Do you think he really made it disappear”, not a one of them said yes. They knew the statue was there somewhere. I knew it was there, but knowing it was there, did not rob them of their wonder at his trickery.
We can tell just by looking at events like that, that it is possible to see the supernatural to appreciate it for what it is. And to even wonder at it. But just because we wonder at the spectacular does not mean that wonder comes from a heart of faith.
Oftentimes the question is presented to us as we're sharing with our friends about Jesus. They say, “I'd like to really believe that, but if it's true, why doesn't God just work a miracle? Why doesn't he just perform like a magician and show us something spectacular?” We can be sometimes stumped, maybe perplexed at that response.
It's a good question, why doesn't God just right now, in this moment, work a miracle and show himself as real to the world, and what we discover looking here in the Book of Acts is that miracles can be sometimes more confusing than they are clarifying. Understand that, church. Miracles can be more confusing than they are clarifying. As we walk through this passage, what I want you to see above everything else is that salvation comes through hearing and hearing the word of Christ, over and above and against any other miracles.
Look with me. We begin in verse eight.
They have made their way Paul and Barnabas to Lystra. it says Now a liter. There was a man sitting there who couldn't use his feet, he'd been this way, his whole life crippled it says From birth he had ever walked. This is a man who has a permanent disability, undoubtedly his family as scrapes together money they've brought doctors, physicians, they've done the best that they can do for him, and yet despite all of their administrations all of their helps all of their mercies and medicines, they have not been able, despite all of that, to made to help this guy to walk along. Come Paul and Barnabas preaching the gospel, it says in Verse 90, "this man is listening to Paul speaking he's listening intently and Paul looks at this man and it says Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well said to him, he said to him stand up right on your feet and the man sprang up and began walking. A miracle is done and you notice the text. He says The Paul, it looks to him and he says, that he had, he saw that he had faith to be made. Well, and of course having that faith Paul is able to grant a miracle of healing done by God, but performed at the direction of the apostle is God who has done the healing the Apostle Paul has directed that it should happen, but ultimately is God who grants that it should happen and this is perfectly consistent with a biblical world view a biblical worldview of our planet disease sickness dying. Why is it that we are dying, why is it that we experience disease and sickness? It is because of the curse it is because of sin, it is because we have rebelled against God and so when God works a miracle in order to take away our sickness, or our physical disability and for mates, it is because he can do that. Having dealt with our sins, we saw this fulfilled in the life of Christ, he preaches the sermon on the mount, it's a wonderful chapters. 5-6 and 7-0. you got, I'm there, he goes all throughout Galilee says performing miracles there's even this account of him coming to Peter's mother-in-law, she's afflicted, he heals her and Matthew makes the comment, "It makes the comment there. In Matthew Chapter 8 it says, They brought to him after Peter's mother-in-law that evening, they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and he, he healed all who were sick. And Matthew makes this parenthetical common he says, This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He has taken our illnesses and he has born our diseases of course, that's from Isaiah 53 that is also the Septuagint that is the Greek translation of Isaiah 53, that Matthew is quoting. If you go back to Isaiah 53 and you read it according to the Hebrew text, this is what it says. So surely He has born or reefs and carried our sorrows, that year. Isaiah uses the words briefs and sorrows, but Matthew quotes from the Septuagint, which says Our sicknesses or diseases or infirmities, he's taking those things.
How is it that Christ is able to heal and to take away disease and sickness? Well, Isaiah tells you the answer.
Surely He has borne our briefs and carried our sorrows, we esteemed Him stricken, and smitten by God and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, and upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds.
We are a field.
The theology of Isaiah 53 is that sin and sickness go together that we experienced sickness, because we live in a world mark my sin, and Jesus is able to take away our disease because He first takes away our sin.
Paul is preaching the gospel at Lystra this man is listening and Paul looks at him and he said, It says that he saw that he had faith to be made. Well, this guy is hearing the word of Christ and He is hoping in it, and so Paul performs a miracle that is completely consistent with the Gospel, this is God's testimony this is his way of stepping into the natural realm, and showing that the supernatural is bearing witness and testifying to the legitimacy of the message that Paul is preaching. God is saying to the people "elytra listen to these boys, they're telling you the truth.
Now what it is he the crowd's response who they worked a miracle. Great, let's listen to the Gospel, let's all believe in Jesus. Is that what you're thinking they would do, that's what I'm thinking they would do.
Maybe perfectly Aust. That's kind of what I'm hoping will happen from time to time when I'm out doing street evangelism.
Wouldn't it be great right now as I'm sharing my faith with this guy on the street, where as I'm sharing my faith with my next-door neighbor wouldn't it be great right now, if I could just say to my neighbor, "Hey your cars kind of dirty, you know, it's been a long winter. I see the mud and everything, splattered up on your car close your eyes, twice open. I'm and look, and behold, there it is gleaning and shiny, in an instance.
I wish I could say to my neighbor. Look at my car, close your eyes twice.
There is a cleaning and shiny wouldn't that be great?
Of course it would be.
Would they believe in Jesus, any more through that kind of a miracle would they believe in him any more through that kind of miracle as opposed... And you might say, over and against the miracle of the resurrection.
No, and that's exactly what the text shows us look at the response it continues first, a 11 when the crowds saw what Paul had done what they do, they lifted up their voices. This is the same sort of expression we see elsewhere in the New Testament when people begin to worship, they lift up their voices, and praise and worship to God, these people are lifting up their voices, and praise and worship, but notice who it is that they're starting to praise and worship, it says they lifted up their voices, saying in like Conan the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men Barnabas, "they called zoos and Paul Hermes because he was the chief speaker.
No, A-E. to understand something about first century culture, it that is rooted in polytheism. You've got Roman mythology, and you've got Greek mythology and there are different names for different Gods, but there essentially, there's a lot of overlap between the Roman mythology, and the Greek mythology for example, in Greek mythology, they'll call the chief God they'll call him zoos in Roman mythology, the chief god the head God, they'll call him Jupiter in Roman mythology, the Greek god Zeus, he has a son who serves as a messenger of the gods, and that son's name is hurt... Well, in Roman theology, he also has a god that Uber has a 'god that's his son, that serves as a messenger for the gods, but they call his name mercury. Okay, so different names from Greek to Roman mythology, but essentially the same basic kind of structure here.
And what's fascinating is that within Greek mythology, they believed that at different times, you had to worship different Gods.
For example, if you're going on a C-voyage across the Mediterranean, you could encounter rough seas, it could be dangerous guess which God can ed to worship in that moment as you're about to embark.
Well, you need to worship.
Thank you beside, and that's right you need to worship the God of the ocean. I wasn't gonna say his name, but, okay, there you go. Somebody who is obviously classically trained and knows a thing or two about Greek Mythology.
So yeah, you'd worship the God of the ocean. If you're having a problem with your wife and you're wanting to resolve issues, you need to talk to the God of love. I'm not gonna mention names again. You probably know who that God is, and what types of words we have that come down to us from that particular God. But the idea there is that you have no stability.
Okay, at any given time, one of the things we learned about either Greek mythology or Roman mythology, is that while there is a sort of hierarchy of Gods these gods are always kind of playing games with each other, and from time to time, they'll be able to trick each other, and they'll get the upper hand on each other and caught in the Malay of all of these gods fighting with each other. Are people somehow people get caught up in the cross-fire. One of the stories that is told that and people in the first century would tell these stories in order to reinforce certain morals in order to maximize the amount of blessing that you could have living in a society that is governed by gods that are constantly at odds with each other. One of the things that they would say to each other, is that they needed to always be hospitable to their fellow man, which is a teaching that we find in the scriptures and in fact, one of the stories they would tell, is the story of Philemon and bosses, which is a story of some poor people living in a town who were really, really noble-hearted and we're always hospitable always opening their home up to others.
And one day, a super hero or the... And the Sun, Mercury or Hermes came to visit. This couple is a disguised as a man and of course the couple welcome the men and very hospitable and as the story of goals, they had visited other people in the town, and of course, nobody else had welcomed them in or showing them any kind of hospitality and so they'd come to film in and bosses house and of course this couple had welcomed them in. And as a means of gratitude, they granted that, they could have a wish, done for them, whatever they wished and of course they made some kind of a wish to be priest disuse forever and as a final sort of blessing. They took filming bosses up onto a hill overlooking the city and they said, Now watch while we destroy your whole village and all these people die.
And of course finally in a bosses are like...
Yeah, that's great, like, "let's kill those guys.
You hear that story. Did you feel like you wanna entertain people?
It the morality, is... If I am not kind of... My neighbor, my neighbor is gonna pray for my ultimate extinction. Is that kind of the idea here or that I have to begrudgingly take care of my neighbor because my neighbor might be a God coming to me, disguised if I play host to this, particular person who shows up on my doorstep, potentially disguised as a god, am I then maybe offending some other God, you see, it gets really confusing really confusing within a polytheistic worldview.
Yeah, I wanna be loving and I wanna be kind. But there are all kinds of market valiant schemes here. There are all kinds of political considerations and I'm not really sure who I need to show favor to at any time.
The moral teaching is, yes, to show hospitality.
And what's interesting is we see this within the scriptures, it says, Even in the Book of Hebrews, listen to this, "Do not neglect to "show hospitality to strangers, for there by some of you have entertained angels unaware?
A scriptures point out the fact that yes we are to entertain, we are to host and be hospitable, that we are to show love and care for our fellow man and the Scriptures even point out the fact that there are angels that have come down and visited humanity in human likeness and that in hosting people, strangers, we may have been performing a service or a kindness to angels.
The difference though is this, There is no question when it comes to the God of the Bible, versus the many Gods of Greek mythology, the polytheism of Greek mythology there is no question about who deserves your worship at all time.
All Barnabas, they worked this miracle they heal this guy, they're preaching the gospel, the crowd ignores the message and begins to respond to the miracle out of their pre-existing world view, which is a world view of polytheism, that's exactly what they do.
The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men, Barnabas, "they called zoos and Paul Hermes. Because he was a chief speaker Verse 13 And the priests of Zeus whose temple was at the entrance to the city brought oxen and garlands is... Are rats, and they were used in traditional sacrifice when it came to worshipping the various gods of either Greek or Roman mythology.
He brings ox and garlands to the gates, and He wants to offer sacrifices as together with the crowds. The whole group of them wanted to worship, Paul and part of us out to notice the response first 14, when Barnabas when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments which is an unmistakable expression of grief, and sorrow.
They tore their garments and they rushed out into the crowd trying out to men.
Why are you doing these things?
We also are men of like nature with you, and we bring you good news.
Now in this moment what I want you understand what's going on here is that they are not leaving a good miracle unattended.
A miracle has been performed God performed it, which means that the miracle is not sinful, it's not wrong to have miracles but the miracle on its own, is insufficient, it is not enough to compel faith apart from the preaching of the gospel.
One of the things my mom taught me, as I was beginning as was making preparations, to move out of my house to move out on my own. So you're gonna start cooking for yourself? Which I kind of laughed at and was like, "Yeah right, I'm actually gonna spend all my money on fast food is most likely what's gonna happen. But she tried to encourage me sign. You're moving out. So there's a couple things you know I need to show you a few things about cooking. She tried her best. I don't really remember much of any of it. I was hopeful that I would seal the deal and do time with the lady I was dating at the time, say, God was good to me, and that was actually able to happen, and so I never really had to worry too much about cooking, but one of the things my mom impressed upon me when you've got something in the stoke when it's something in the skill at fringe, he vertebrae, a pot or a pan-unattended-to never do that that's more or less what we see here.
They've performed a miracle, but they're not going to leave that thing cooking, they're not going to leave it unattended, church. Take this truth home with you, there are miracles all the time, that God performs to bear witness to His glory. Take them, use them, never leave them unattended, preach the Gospel and that's exactly what they do. Notice their response. Verse 15 men. Why are you doing these things? First off, we deny your worship, we reject the fact that you guys are trying to slow our cows and garlands and all of this sort of business has an active worship for us, we reject all of that. He says We are men of like nature just like you. Okay, we're the same as you, you're a man we're men, we're not God's disguised as men, we're not some house. These polytheistic creatures, you have in your mind that have come down from Heaven to be among you.
We're certainly not trying to trick you into being hospitable to us or else we're gonna wipe your whole city off the map. That is not the message that is being preached, here, He says We are the same as you like nature, with you.
Now, here's the deal, he's going to explain the miracle we bring you good news that you should turn from these vain things. The first thing he says is, vain things. Greek word here. Maoists pertaining to that which is completely useless, it has no value. He's telling them that their fees meaningless. It has no value. In other words, what you're doing right now in worshipping us as you're approaching us as though we are gods we're telling you that is absolute garbage, it has no value, there's no point in it, it is futile it is useless. And then the second thing he says he says Turn from those things we have come to bring you good news that what you are worshipping is useless and we bring you the exhortation, that you need to turn, and here's the deal, if you are here today, and you are not trusting in Jesus Christ as Paul and Barnabas said, these guys 200 years ago, so we here at First Baptist Church, say to you today, if you are not worshipping Christ, if there is any other God in your life that you are worshipping he is few tile. It is useless, it will profit you nothing and you need to turn and turn today.
Probably the best illustration I've ever heard regarding turning, I believe, I wanna say it was R-C-Sproul. I can't be exactly sure at this point in time where I heard this from I'm pretty sure it was living near the illustration goes, like this.
When we hear the word turn to turn from whatever it is that we're worshipping to turn to Jesus, we think in our minds that that's an easy thing to do, and says, "Oh we're just walking down the street and Hey, turn just stop, turn to walk the other direction, right?
But now what you imagine that for a second, if you're riding your bicycle to stop your bicycle to turn and go the other direction, it takes a little bit more effort and so forth and so on. It builds, it increases. Imagine driving in a vehicle, you have to hit the breaks to bring the vehicle to a stop you have to perform a three-point turn.
You have to accelerate in the opposite direction. Imagine piloting a super-tanker filled with oil on the ocean. From the moment you hit stop, it could take you two miles to come to a start and then to turn the ship around and get going the other direction.
What you need, understand is that repentance is not simply stopping turning is not simply stopping it's accelerating to maximum speed in the opposite direction. And we hear the call to turn, and we think I can turn at any time. We think You know what, as my life progresses, if I see the end approaching, I can turn even there on my death bed, and turned back to Christ and I wanna relieve you of that deception right now.Longer we go, the more momentum we build, the more difficult it is to stop, which is to say, If you hear this message, today that Jesus Christ loves you, and that He died on the cross to forgive you of your sins, and you hear the call turn today is the day you start turning. We don't know how long you have and we don't know how long it will take you to turn... This is what he's saying to the men turn from living from Van futile things to a living God, he rejects all of their polytheism, he rejects it entirely, there is one God, He created the heavens and the earth.
You hear that and immediately begin to raise some objections. Okay, you're saying that contrary to our belief that there are multiple Gods you're telling me that there is one God. Well, here's a question where has he been for the last several thousand years?
The history of humanity. I have not heard of this guy, where has he been why is he just now showing up and Paul addresses that he says he made the head and he made the Earth and the sea and all that is in it, verse 16 And past generations, he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways.
Yeah, though Absent, though, he was not immediately present to... You do not for one second thing that he did not leave Himself a witness in your life, he says very clearly, he did not leave Himself without a witness he did good, by giving you rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, notice this satisfying your hearts with food and gladness when we stop to reflect on whether or not there is a God and especially if there are any here today who are not sure, whether or not there's a God, who are not sure whether or not they're trusting and the fact that God is real, that he exists. Ask yourself this question, "Why are you in the sense that, why do you exist? When just as easily, you could not exist? So the fact that you live the fact that you've known happiness, the fact that you've had a good meal once upon a time and had a good laugh with a few friends, all of this bears witness the fact that there's a God in heaven who created you, who created friends for you to enjoy their company, and bless you, the text says, satisfying you.
No, we've all known this contentment, we've all known sad days.
That should be the norm, if there is no God, the fact that we have known from time to time happiness and satisfaction, there is a one mistake-able witness to the fact that there is indeed a God who cares for us, and Paul is saying to them, "You have no objections you have no criticisms that you can level against this one. True God, He has cared for you, even when you didn't know anything about him.
And that is the reality. I eternity reteach the good news in verse 18... Luke makes this Parenthetical comment even with these words, "I E They scarcely we're able to restrain them.
This is the lynch pin of the text.
Greek word there is moles. Scarcely is probably the absolute best translation. What this word means, is that in some instances with great difficulty, and great effort, they were able, in some instances to stop people from worshipping them.
What the word also means is that, despite great difficulty, the respite the great effort that they put into it, they were not able to stop some of the people from worshipping them.
Now, all a way through, understand if you look back in Chapter 14 Verse 7, "they come to like CAIA, in verse 7, says There, they continued to preach the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, they held his first fellow who has been crippled from birth, they're preaching. The Gospel says that when Paul saw that he had faith to be made well he healed him.
This is unmistakably the Gospel being preached first, followed by a miracle followed by confusion followed by More gospel preaching, and despite all of that, people still worshiped on Paul and Barnabas it. If you're thinking that it would be really, really, really great. If, in our evangelism we could just work a miracle. And people would believe you are sorely mistaken.Miracles he can be more confusing than they are clarifying because man in his sinfulness, has a tendency to interpret, that American through whatever his pre-existing world view happens to be. You work a miracle you make it clear. Before, during, and after.
This is Jesus, this is Jesus, this is Jesus.
They see it and they say, Wow, that's great.
Your use in "Ternate understand search at the Gospel reigns supreme, the preaching of the Word of God takes priority and precedence over any other miracle we could ever perform and there is no miracle greater than the resurrection, every act of healing every act of mercy that comes after the resurrection of Jesus Christ is granted by God to show that in the cross, Christ has born our grief and taken our sorrows, because it is through the affliction that He bore on our behalf that we are able to be healed, we gotta talk about Jesus before we can start talking about healing we have to present the cross and the suffering that was performed on our behalf by Christ before we can start talking about the healing that comes to us after the Resurrection, Church. Don't get that mixed up in your mind, you say Pastor, Gosh, how do you know with absolute certainty that these miracles are granted by God, in order to show that the apostles are telling the truth? Well, that comes from Hebrews and I just want you to understand the one telling you today that the Gospel takes priority over the working of miracles.
We still need to remember the fact God in heaven, knew that these guys would be confused by the miracle never the less He granted the miracle to be performed.
The miracle is not that it's just not enough.
Hebrews Chapter 2, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement and he emphasizes the priority of the gospel over miracles and he says It's so beautifully listen to this.
Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it, or since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable at every transgression, or disobedience received a just retribution. How then shall we escape if we neglect so great?
A Salvation He's saying, we had the law and we saw what the law did, and now we've got something greater than the law.
We've got salvation... We've got... We got Christ because we shouldn't neglect that.
He goes on in verse two, take a part in verse three, and he says It was declared at first by the Lord, this is the gospel of salvation, it was proclaimed by the Lord, and then it was a tested to us by those who hurt. Heard Him, Verse Four, while God also bore witness by signs, and wonders, and various miracles, God puts his stamp of approval on the gospel through the working of miracles, but understand it is the preaching of the gospel, which takes priority over the miracles, you say It'd be really great. Pastor Josh, if I could just link me twice and my car would be magically washed after all of the winter snow and mud and then all my moral, my neighbors would believe they'd see the miracle and they believe in Jesus.
I can't give you the magicians parlor trick Jesus doesn't give you a magicians parlor trick, I give you something better in Hebrews Chapter Two, that says that God bore witness by signs, and wonders, and various miracles, He's bearing witness to the truth of the gospel, and listen to how that verse and people are witnessed by signs, and wonders, and various miracles, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
Wow, last several weeks we've been doing a spiritual gifts, workshop here at First Baptist Church. Many of you have been attending we've been talking about what your spiritual gift is, we've been talking about the importance of you understanding exactly how God has blessed you as supernaturally empowered you for acts of ministry and service to the body.
Many of you who said, "I wanna know what my gift is, I wanna know what it is that the Lord has given me and I wanna start using it.
One of the things that you may have overlooked, is that in The using of your gift to bless your brothers and sisters in this church, you're not only blessing, then you're not only being blessed by them but a miracle is happening here at First Baptist, that bears witness to the truth of the cross that is unmistakable when it is seen by the world in that wonderful.
When we think about it, we have here, wonderful, dear Saints, who have walked many years with the Lord who are now in the twilight years of their life, who are looking at maybe within the next decade or less the reality that they will be going home to be with the Lord and there is no trouble in their heart, there is no doubt in their mind, they know in whom they have trusted and they are convinced after many, many years that he is able to safeguard that, which they haven't trusted to him.
We see that, we see the friendship that takes place in this church. If you stop to think about it, this is a pretty diverse mix of people.
We've got doctors in the room, who make over 100-000 a year, we have folks who are fixed incomes who are scratching out a living, living on 1000 a month, whatever they're check from the government is we've got people on both sides of the socioeconomic spectrum, but not just that we've got people from Africa, we've got people from India, we've go straight white people right here from Canada, full Camus and most important of all. We got people from Texas in here, right in, we've got the whole gamut we've got everything right here. What brings this group of people together in all serious? It's all joking aside. I appreciate your laughing in my Selmer. But in all seriousness, what brings this group of people together from both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum for many, many different races and nationalities all around the world, from different states, from the Americas, what gathers us all together here in this room, we're looking out at a world that says something is broken. Let's try this to fix it. These people are at odds with each other. Let's try this to fix it, let's pass this law this legislation that's in this education program. Let's do all of these different things in our public schools. There's got to be some way that we can remove bullying remove the stigma of all of our various differences. They try and they try and they try look in the church all of that is healed. Not through all those government programs, not through all those different attempts at education. Not through any of it. It is healed by Jesus Christ and the cross. Look at yourselves and see the miracle that you are church you're a miracle, and only Christ could put you together, tell that to the world, but don't tell it to the world before you share the gospel with Dean.
Here's what I really want you to understand today.
Our tendency in our evangelism is to go to our friends and our neighbors, and say, "Hey I'd really like for you to give Jesus some consideration.
Okay, come to, come with me to church on Sunday.
And how was that wrong?
No, not at all.
Not all. Invite your neighbor to church, let them come and see the miracle let them understand the joy and the family and the friendship that we have in this room, let them perceive that Christ has made us together, one in Him, let them see that I am in no means discouraging that I am in no way saying that is wrong.
This is the miracle and Christ has worked at miracle in our midst, a men praise God, how glory to the Father above.
But, I look... And what we know to be true from the book of that, the miracle observed is not sufficient in and of itself to bring salvation.
The miracle observed is not enough, it is not enough to open a person's eyes to their need for forgiveness with Christ, too often. We say All I gotta do is invite my neighbor or my family member or whoever it is, to church, they'll come, they'll see great things, there'll be a Gospel message, or there might not be as pastor Josh works his way through the book of that.
You're putting all of this freight on their attendance here and I'm here to tell you, your responsibility does not change though. You invite them to see the miracle your responsibility is to preach the Gospel to your neighbors.
They need to understand before they come to see the miracle what it is that has brought this miracle.
They need to understand when they come in here, and they hear the testimonies and they hear the preaching of the Word of God, they listen to someone stand up and read the scriptures and people are standing out of reverence and respect they instead that our salvation comes because we have placed our hope in what God has said to us, "It is precious.
They're not gonna necessarily get that, just by watching it.
And then when the sermon is preached, and people who are walking out the door saying, Thank you, pastor, a great message. That changed my life, altered my perspective. I see things that need to change in my life. Now they're gonna hear that and still they will not get it.
They may get concluded having seen all of that at the end of the day. That guy is just a really eloquent speaker, he's capable of telling an interesting joke from time to time, and he is able to hold their attention. And these guys are a bunch of brain-washed zombies just like any other cult and they're just lively marching along to the pied pipers to you see, at the end of the day, you invite them here, you want me to preach the Gospel to them. I am happy to oblige but do you worship me?
No, by no means, you've invited them to see a messenger and what they really need to hear from you is the gospel, the message that has changed your life.
We have, in many ways become just like These people, We're not worshipping a polytheistic God, the we're outsourcing all of that which Christ has called us to, to coming and observing the miracle rather than preaching the Gospel.
It starts again. And I was just review it with you quickly.
Verse Seven, They continued preaching the gospel verse 8, here's a man sitting cripple. He listened to Paul speaking and when Paul saw that, he had faith to be made well he healed him.
The crowd response and Paul responds to the crowd. Why are you doing these things? We are men just like you.
And he had confronts their erroneous ideas regarding polytheism he says, there's one true God Paul takes responsibility he doesn't let it all ride on the miracle.
There's nothing wrong with on the world, the miracle that is the First Baptist Church. But if that's all you're gonna do, then you were leaving the miracle unattended in the same way that you're leaving a frying pan on the stove unattended. And you're sharing the responsibility that God has called you to.
There's a castle there's a castle in Carlisle it's in the English county of Cumbria. Cambria sorry, not a typo there.
It's near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall, it's close to the border between England and Scotland and as a result, has been the center of all kinds of skirmishes and battles over the last millennia. As England, and Scotland, have fought back and forth with each other. If you go to this castle, they've got these dudes that are built into the top wall but then these dungeons there are windows very narrow slits, with a bar right down the middle you can't get out. Of course, if you look at the window sill you can see where, after hundreds of years of prisoners being in those cells, they have pulled at the rocks around the window sill you can see where it's rough and then where those fingers have rested year after year, century after century on that window sill the oil from the skin and the efforts declaring the cons decline as warn that window sill so smooth.
Undoubtedly, they're looking out and they can see in the distance their homeland, they can see Scotland and the prisoners who have been trapped there, they wanna get out and they wanna go.
This is the miracle that the world needs to see when we have trusted in Jesus Christ, it is Jesus living in us, who wants to get out to tell the world about what he has done for them. Are you letting Jesus free in your life are you proclaiming the Gospel or are you hoping the miracle will be enough? Let's pray First Baptist Church.
What does The Holy Spirit, Tongues of Fire, the church on a mission, and a vicious man name Saul all have in common? That's right, the book of Acts!
At First Baptist Church of Kamloops, we are walking through this book of adventures, observing rugged fishermen become bold preachers of the Gospel, watching the church standing firm against beatings, jailing and stonings, observing radical changes in the lives of unbelievers and Jesus, and watching Christ's disciples live out the commission that Jesus commanded. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Please join us Sunday at 10:30 am as we continue to walk through this book of the Bible and see how it is applicable to our lives today!