Sermons on Acts (Page 2)
Jesus, of course, is the only perfect leader, but God seems to have used many different types of men and women to take the lead in His work. In this message we encounter Barnabas, an early Christian convert and trusted leader in the church at Jerusalem. Sent to Antioch by the apostles to check out what was happening in the church there, he quickly realised that God was doing something special, and soon co-opted Saul (later Paul) to help him in teaching the Bible to these young Gentile believers. Next, he and Saul were commissioned by the Antioch church to go out as the very first formal missionaries to the Roman empire. His ability to see what God was doing, get on board, and encourage others to do the same was inspirational.
How much risk or danger should a Christian expect to face in the normal course of life? Of course, that depends on where you live. As Christianity is increasingly pushed to the margins of western society, there is a growing antagonism which is forcing many modern-day believers to take a risky stand for Christ. Surely Stephen, the first martyr of the church, is a wonderful model on how to do this. Whether by his godly life, his fearless courage or his inspirational death, he shows us how to live and, if necessary, die for the glory of God. May God spare us from a safety-first, comfortable Christianity that costs nothing and watches on apathetically as Jesus is mocked and rejected today.
How does anyone become a Christian? By hearing the message of Jesus from another person (Romans 10:17). And each generation is responsible for passing that message on to the next generation. Otherwise Christianity will die out within about 50 years. Philip, the evangelist, is the classic example of a man who was passionate about telling others about Jesus. Threats and dangers didn’t stop him. And God was clearly directing and using him. Wherever he was, he had one message… and it was always about Jesus. Let’s not over-complicate evangelism. Some people have a special spiritual gift of evangelism. But for most of us it’s a matter of sincerely and simply telling others about Jesus.
Two of the more intriguing characters in the NT are the couple, Aquila and Priscilla. They obviously had a strong marriage, but it was how they used their marriage for God that makes them so impressive. They were very mobile, with records of them living in Rome (twice), Corinth, and Ephesus (twice). They were extremely hospitable. And they relished the opportunity to serve as Paul’s gospel “coworkers” wherever they went. How do we see ourselves and our circumstances in the bigger scheme of God’s purposes? This is the question Aquila and Priscilla force us to ask ourselves. You’ll be challenged as Pastor Murray sheds light on this amazing couple.