Scripture: Acts 13
Aim: God’s workers tell the good news to those who have not heard it.
Introduction: If you are a fisherman, it might be a lot of fun to hang out in the fishing lodge and talking with other fishermen, but you won’t catch many fish that way. You have to go where the fish are.
If you are a builder, it might be fun to grab a cup of coffee at the Home Depot and talk with other builders, but things are going to get built that way. You have to go where the job site is.
If you are a disciple of Christ, it might be a lot of fun to hang out with other christians, but that isn’t the work we are called to do. We are called to spread His name to those who haven’t heard it. We are called to go where the work is.
First Division: Acts 13: 1-4 – Barnabas and Saul called out of the church in Antioch
Principle: Pray yields guidance from God
Illustration: I have a soccer ball that kept going flat on me. I would pump it up and then a few days later I would have to do it again. To find out where the leak was I pumped up the ball then was very quiet and put my ear up to the ball. Sure enough, if I was quiet enough I could hear it leaking air. But I still didn’t know where. So I filled up a bucket with water and put the ball down in it. Sure enough, I could see bubbles and found the leak. Prayer works much the same way. We start by being very quiet and listening for God to speak to us. When we seek His direction He makes things visible so we know exactly where to go.
Application: Are you spending quiet time with God each day? Do you pray for guidance or just for luxuries? Do you pay attention when God is showing you areas you need to patch in your own life?
Second Division: Acts 13: 5-12 The Proconsul of Cyprus seeks, hears, sees and believes
Principle: The power of the Holy Spirit always defeats evil.
Illustration: Do you know the difference between light and darkness? Is there light in the world? Is there darkness? Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Is there right in the world? Is there wrong? Do you know the difference between good and evil? Is there… is there…? So if you walk into a dark room and turn on a light, which wins, light or dark? Can you turn on a dark light and make things darker? Light always is more powerful Which is more powerful: right or wrong? Good or Evil? Which always wins, God’s ways or evil’s ways? So whenever you are afraid, know that you are not relying on yourself – you have the full power of God’s Holy Spirit in you – which is stronger that or whatever you are afraid of?
Application: When you are afraid, do you shrink back or call on the power of the Spirit? Do you recognize evil and call it what it is or are you too polite?
Third Division: Acts 13: 13-52 Paul and Barnabas reach the crossroads: Jews reject, Gentiles rejoice
Principle: God’s protection turns persecution to joy
Illustration: The comforts of a warm house on a cold, snowy, windy day. Snuggled up to a fire with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. We see this image and smile, despite the frigid storm outside. In fact, the frigid storm is what brings us to this place of comfort and joy. Persecution for spreading God’s truth works the same way. We don’t hide from it, but we are sheltered from the storm by God’s overflowing love.
Application: Do you avoid the storms? If so, you might be missing the comforts? Do you snuggle up with THE good book each day?
Conclusion: A little boy was terribly afraid of the dark. One evening his mother asked him to get the broom from the garage. The light switch was out of his reach and he was horribly afraid His mother reminded him of the lesson he had learned in church that he did not need to be afraid because Jesus was always with him. The young boy pondered this for a moment, then boldly went to the garage door, opened it and in a loud voice stated, “Hey, Jesus, can you hand me the broom?” While we laugh at this, we see it lived out in our lesson this week. Paul and Barnabas are called into scary new places, with new and often unfriendly people. While Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is with them every step, guiding them and comforting them – they are called to do the work, to speak the words and to spread the news.