|Sunday morning message for October 16, 2011 @ 11:00 am|
From Good to God.10.16.11
FROM GOOD TO GOD ( Great)
Someone recently reminded me that while there no "I" in team there is certainly an I in Win…
Oh, how elusive greatness is… After racing through the season the Tigers appear to have bogged down in the Texas dust… Similar challenges have faced such great Olympic coaches as Mike S, and Phil Jackson In putting together their own dream team of basketball marvels. Remarkable talent but lacking the cohesiveness to succeed over the long hall.
In 1860, presidential hopeful, Abraham Lincoln was elected to the office of president as the unlikely leader of the free world, much to the chagrin of his own cabinet. According to Doris Kearns Goodwin, The New York Herald called Lincoln a 4th rate lecturer,, a man of small intellect.
Cabinet secretary Seward, viewed him as incompetent, as did Bates, who at least thought him well meaning; later he concluded Lincoln to be an unmatched leader. Edwin Stanton viewed him with contempt but later could not withstand his tears for weeks after his death. Chase, wanted his job but was forced to admit that Lincoln had outflanked him in route to the White House. And then Goodwin writes,
His success in dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate with decency and morality– kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy– can also be impressive political resources.
Trans: which will help us as we return to Luke’s narrative.
A notable Transition;
- Luke often uses geography to advance his story line and develop his message and theology
- Antioch seems to take the role of Luke’s 2nd Jerusalem and the new mother church for the Gentile mission
- Luke use of the term "Christian" in 11:26 seems to mark out these disciples as servants of Christ.
What does this picture look like?
- The church at Antioch becomes the focal point of Luke’s theme: that God intended that the gospel reach the Gentiles
- As God’s representative of the Jerusalem Church, Barbabas validated the effort among the Gentiles with God’s stamp of approval.
- With the return of Saul to the forefront, Luke was suggesting that this new endeavor was well grounded theologically.
There was something uniquely different about the fellowship that was developing in Antioch between Jew and Gentile.
- Since people of Antioch identified disciples as followers of someone called Christ, the implication is also strong that they were people who talked constantly about Christ. The locals dubbed it’s members, Christ people
- The name Christian was coined by the Greek-Roman population of Antioch possibly as a joke or insult (think Acts 26:28: Agrippa), to identify the mixed ethnic group of both Jews and Gentiles who followed Christ and seemed to be talking about Him constantly.
* Any NT church, desiring to follow the Antioch model, must understand and apply an identity with Christ as it’s primary core value rather than ethnicity, gender, age, or other factors as it’s rule for belonging.
A GOD BIGGER THAN THEMSELVES
The teaching cadre:
- Symeon Niger; black African may be the cross carrier of Jesus; a believer whose sons were known to the community.Mk. 15:21;Romans 16:13?
- Lucius of Cyrene one of the original evangelists(11:20)
- Manaen: foster brother of Herod Antipas
- Barnabas: levite from Cyprus
- Saul: impressive teaching credentials from Tarsus.
Well then, everyone from a man with effective interpersonal skills to another with evangelistic prowess, to one who carried the cross of Jesus, to one who surrendered to the brightness of God’s glory.
Of some interest that God pulls from the rank and file, a cross section of servants with experiences and background for what becomes the grandest of adventures.
These men range from the most gifted teachers and communicators in Palestine to an under-rower attendant just cutting his teeth on ministry.
John Stott says that "these five men symbolized the ethnic and cultural diversity of Antioch."
A GODLINESS DEEPER THAN DESIRE!
Listen, our earthly desires are known, particularly for their lack of staying power, if not for their directional deviation. They’re often unpredictable, inconsistent, and illogical.
Our wishes too easily parish on the altar of "if only"…
- If only I were retired…
- If only I had gone to Bible college…
- If only I didn’t have kids
- Mom, If wishes wer horses, then beggars would ride….
The more interest you find in the Savior, the more interest you find in his work:
Their ministry before the Lord:
Leitourgeo: common word for worship: ( Ex. 28:31,39)… Their activity here was fasting, prayer, and exhortation)
From which we get Liturgy
- In the midst of great challenges…
- I’m the midst of soul perfecting worship…
Holy Spirit in action
- Their faith must be pliable
- Their unity must be cohesive
- There must be participation.
- Was it driven by the Holy Spirit or their own desire? Yes…
John RW Stott helps us when he says,
"would it not be true to say both the Spirit sent them out, by instructing the church to do so, and that the church sent them out, having been directed by the Spirit to do so? This balance will be a healthy corrective to opposite extremes. The first is a tendency to individualism, by which a Christian claims direct personal guidance by the Spirit w/o any reference to the church. The second is the tendency to institutionalism, by which all decision making is done by the church w/o any reference to the Spirit." pg. 218
A GOAL BIGGER THAN THEIR EXPECTATIONS
What motivates otherwise normal individuals to throw away self in interest in the face of service?
The challenge of doing something bigger than yourselves!
[Illus: a number of weeks ago several frieds were spear fishing off the coast of Florida just 3 miles from shore, when one in their midst discovered a shark had latched on to his leg. Unable to help himself, he cried out that a shark was in the water. Immediately his friend, without thinking jumped into the water while the others called for help. Without them, and w/o their quick thinking he would have died.
They began to proclaim
The mission: (4)
Notice first the ease at which Paul adapts himself different situations: equally at ease with crowds and individuals, Jews and Gentiles; those schooled in religion and those with no background, those who were potentially friendly and those with a bent toward hostility. This a prototype for the days ahead.
Their attendant: under rower, John Mark was Barnabas’s cousin, adding in the baptism, and maybe some of the preaching.
The priority was Sergius Paulus: intelligent/ rational and asking for explanation /interpretation.
Bar-Jesus: son of Jesus: called Elymas, the sorcerer . These kind had great influence with the uneducated
- (8) Persistent opposition, unwilling to surrender. His desire to twist, or distort(Luke 23:2). .
Paul: (9) Of all guile…(dolou)… To catch with bait. Paul denounces Elymas as a trickster.
He is the son of the devil. Note the idiom... The son of the devil… Bar-Jesus… Son of Jesus.
- An enemy to all justice… All, all, all in every sense.
- The right ways of the Lord vs the crooked ways of men. The task of John and others is to make crooked paths straight and get men to walk in them… The false prophet was attempting to redraw the straight paths with a crooked line.
The verdict: Judicial blindness:
AT Robertson, " it was judicial infliction, blindness for blindness, darkness without for willful darkness within."
The invitation: But the Procounsul believed… (12)
To be amazed…
New English Bible renders it greatly impressed;
J.B. Phillips, renders it, Shaken to the core
Becomes the first gentile convert w/o a religious background of any kind.
APPS MADE OPERATIONAL
- How far do you want this church to go forward? Where is the bar set for you? Where is the end? What is your extreme set point for "Amazing or Remarkable"?
- How deeply do you want this church to grow in it’s worship? What kind of church will this be? Mile wide and inch deep? Church fascinated by fast track to success? Lots of programs, but little or no personal righteousness?
- How much are you willing to invest of yourselves with no strings attached? How much are you willing to trust the HS and obey Him when He calls your number to serve Him
I’ll walk with you, help you discover your gift, creatively pray on how to apply it, turn you loose, let you serve, use my gifts to enable or unlock your abilities, but I cannot, and will not make this church the Mark Congrove show.