If the Gospel is true: Nothing should stop it

January 19, 2014

There is nothing that impassions me more that seeing God’s people taking up the mantel of His work! Seeing the children of God fired up to see God work in their lives and in the lives of the people around them.  Guess the problem is sometimes we don’t think God can work through us. Let me make one thing clear to you this morning. If you are a child of God he wants to use you for His glory; whether you have just started out or have been walking with Him for the last 50 year! And he wants to work though you in powerful way. And the most powerful way I can think of is to extend His kingdom on this earth! You can be involved in that! That is the task that lies before you this week; go out and extend the Kingdom of God; why? Because God has called you to. But we are filled with trepidation because we feel we might not be up to the task. But let me remind you we are talking about the Gospel he; God’s plan to change the world and the state of sin in the world by sending His one and only son to die for the world so that whoever believes might not perish but have eternal life! If this news is true; nothing should stop it! And that is what we are going to be talking about this morning. We are continuing our series called “if the Gospel is true.”  This morning looking at if the gospel is true then nothing should stop it. If you have your Bible please turn with me to Acts 5:35-38 The reality as we look at how nothing should stop the Gospel it should be clear to us that opposition is promised and expected in the Bible. In fact it is made clear over and over again that as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will face fears opposition! But hopefully as we go through this study this morning we will be encouraged to persevere through our struggles because we hold a truth that no power in this world can stop: the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now that you have turned to Acts let me give you a little context of the verse that we are about to read. The Apostle have been dragged before the Sanhedrin and accused before the High priest. After questioning; one of the Pharisees a man named Gamaliel a Doctor in the Law says the follow [READ] What we are about is a work of God; he is the one working to extend the Gospel it is our task to connect with what he is doing and allow his power to extend the work of the gospel. Who can stand against the work of God? No-one; but the lesson to us today is that we need to go in the power of God, and not in our own strength. For we are fallible and week, but God is all-powerful and he is at work using His church and the people of His church to extend the gospel into all the world. How do we go in the power of God in preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God? Well I believe Jesus gives us a clear understanding of this in Matthew 10:16-20 Wont you turn there. In this passage Jesus sends out the twelve disciples. And warns them of the struggles and terrors of the task ahead. They will face opposition they will face failure. People will reject them and their message of Him. But they must continue because God is doing a work in the world! Let’s read [READ] The first thing to note is that it is Christ who is sending you. He is the one who is saying go into the world, bring the message of hope. But Jesus’ words give us ways to go with the unstoppable message: We must go: 1.    Meek and Humble Jesus says I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Christ prepares us in our attitudes toward the commission that we have, we are sheep, set among wolves. Now I don’t know if you have spent any time with sheep, but being compared to sheep is not the greatest compliment. They don’t have any way to defend themselves in any real way, they aren’t the brightest animal in the world and this is what Jesus describes us as. Not only that but he sends us as sheep among a world of wolves.   He compares us to "sheep", because we should be meek and humble in our spirits, harmless, and inoffensive, in our lives and conversations. We are weak, and unable to protect ourselves, and we are sent out by him unarmed and defenceless. And We are sent out to our oppressors and persecutors to "wolves", because they will be fierce and furious, voracious and ravenous, cruel and hurtful, just as wolves are, especially to sheep. Now you might be asking how does that illustrate that nothing can stop the gospel? Well it illustrates that The strength of the gospel is not up to us. And this is a very important lesson to learn: the gospel is not about you and does not depend on your intelligence or creativity to be successful; you are a mere sheep among a world of wolves. Your strength lies in the message of the Gospel and your shepherd! We are called by the great shepherd to go into this world of thieves; but he will be with us and not only will he be with us but he will be for us. I love the encouragement of the great commission in Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Christ is the one with all authority so what is there to fear? So we must go; but our attitude must not be one of conquers but of sheep; we go meek and humble. And because we go in the attitudes of sheep (meek and humble we must be : 2.    Wise and gentle Jesus states that because we are being sent out as wolves among sheep; let us be as wise as snakes and as gentle as doves The snake is a very sharp sighted, cunning creature, and uses various arts and strategies for its own preservation, and especially of its head; and is this that is to be imitated by the followers of Christ. We are not to incur unnecessary insult or upset people unnecessarily. We should not endanger our  lives unnecessarily either. I am all for standing up for the truth and living a life that stands up for righteousness; however we must be careful not to portray ourselves in a way that unnecessarily upsets those around us, and cause them to hate us for any other reason than the Gospel. As far as it is possible we should not provoke the world around us to hate us; they can hate us for our message (but not because we are an annoyance to them). As Paul says Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We should rather “…maintain the innocence and harmlessness of the dove; being free from all wicked cunning and craftiness, without rancour, malice, and wrath; not meditating and seeking revenge, but meek and humble in their deportment, leading inoffensive lives. This is the life that brings the light of the gospel to the people of the world. The Gospel is offensive to a dying world. So we must bring that message with wisdom and love. Telling someone that they are destined for God’s wrath is not something they want to hear; and telling them with no love will cement their disdain for the message but more so will cement their disdain for you.  So we must bring the message of hope to this dying world in a way that is gentle and wise. The reality is the Gospel is God’s work and it is our task to present that work (the message of the gospel) to people in a way that removes us from the picture. I guess the reality is when we are insecure of the success of the gospel is when we get desperate about our tactics. However, it is when we are secure that it is God working through us, that our tactics become more subtle and more honouring to who God is. Once again we remove ourselves from the picture. Thirdly as we go we have to remember this is God’s work so we must go: 3.    Silent and Spirit filled Jesus warns his disciples that because of the message they are bringing to the world and because of the work that they are involved in they will be handed over and brought before governors and Kings for his sake. But as we are dragged before Kings and rulers do not worry what you are going to say because God’s spirit will be speaking through you. The reality is that nothing will stop the Gospel because it is his work however, we need to be filled with his spirit and allowing him to speak through us. This is a difficult thing to describe but we really need to be Spirit lead as we minister the Gospel of Christ. I will go as for to say we should rather be silent that speak out of our fears as we try to preach the gospel to the world. Now I say this with a certain level of trepidation; for God’s grace is sufficient and the times God works through us in spite of us is profound; however, let us not take liberties with the Spirit. Sometime we speak because we feel guilty; other times we speak because we want the badge of honour. We should be preaching Christ (no matter the motive) but if it is God’s work (and it is) we should be speaking from a place of being Spirit lead. I remember when I first became a Christian the expectation that God was at work within the world was tangible to me. I remember in almost every situation being ready for God to do something. And often there would be times where I would have this prompting to say go and speak to that person, or why is that personal all by themselves maybe go ask them what’s wrong. And it was in those times that I followed that prompting God would work through me, I cannot even remember what I was saying but people would come to me afterwards and say they really needed that, or they really felt God speaking to them in that moment. And the more I did this the more excited I would be to allow God to work through me. And I believe that is what God wants to do through all of his people. Filling their lives and directing their thoughts so that they could be ministers of reconciliation and His grace. So that they can be out there bringing his unstoppable message to all the world. Yes there will be opposition, yes people will be against you; but remember the God you are serving and the message you are bringing is powerful and effective. God will accomplish His work in this world, we have a choice; either we can be a part of what God is doing or we will be against it. Either way God is going to do what God is going to do; but we are the ones who will miss out on what God desires for our lives.

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