Scriptures: Acts 20:22-24, 36-38 & Philippians 1:12-26
Pastor Clyde’s November 20, 2016 Sermon
Acts 20:22-24, 36-38
(22) “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. (23) I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. (24) However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(36) When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. (37) They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. (38) What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
(12) Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. (13) As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. (14) And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
(15) It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (16) The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (17) The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. (18) But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (19) for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (20) I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (21) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (22) If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! (23) I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; (24) but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (25) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, (26) so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
1. Did you hear about the farmer and his wife who went to the State Fair?
2. There was a guy there with an old biplane taking people on rides for $25.
3. The farmer and his wife really wanted to go up but did not have $50. They begged the pilot but he said no.
4. Finally, at the end of the day, the pilot agreed to take them up for nothing if they did not say a word or make any sound.
5. They agreed and went up. The pilot made all kinds of crazy maneuvers but no sound came out.
6. He finally landed and told the farmer that he was impressed. He thought sure he would scream at some of the spins and climbs.
7. The farmer looked at him and said, “I did not have the money to pay so I had to stay quiet. I admit, though, I almost screamed out when my wife fell out about a mile ago.”
8. We are finishing up our study on Paul so that we can start our series for Advent. I will be doing a series on the Redemption of Scrooge so I hope you will attend.
9. We said that Paul was next in importance to Jesus and is credited with 13 of the NT books.
10. We looked at his early years, his forgotten years, and his first and second missionary journey.
11. Today we will examine his third missionary journey.
12. This time he again goes overland and goes through Asia Minor to get to Ephesus.
13. Ephesus was the fourth largest Roman city at the time and may have had 250,000 people.
14. He spends the longest time in Ephesus of all the cities that he visits—a little over 2 years.
15. We read in Acts 19:1-7 about an incident that happened in Ephesus.
16. While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples (2) and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
17. They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
18. (3) So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
19. “John’s baptism,” they replied.
20. (4) Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” (5) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (7) There were about twelve men in all.
21. We see from this incident that these men and probably others had not heard of the Holy Spirit. They did not know about Pentecost or other promises that Jesus made concerning the HS.
22. They had been baptized in John’s baptism which was a baptism of repentance but not the same as the baptism of Christ.
23. When Paul does it again, they are filled with the HS and speak in tongues.
24. My first question today is, “How many of us Christians do not know anything about the HS?”
25. I remember taking one class in seminary and graduate school about the HS and I did not learn much at all about him.
26. We talked about the HS in theology and how he is a part of the Trinity but we did not talk about how the HS is necessary for the Christian life.
27. The modern Pentecostal movement began in Topeka, Kansas with a small bible class under Charles Parham.
28. They prayed and received the gift of tongues.
29. The Azusa Street revival in California increased the adherents to Pentecostalism and they spread all over the world.
30. With the movement, there came resistance. Some disagreed that you had to speak in tongues to show that you had the HS.
31. In the 1960s, we had the Charismatic Movement that echoed the Pentecostal movement.
32. Mainline churches took either a cautious or hostile view to the new movement.
33. They saw that it could lead to splits in the church.
34. I believe that we all get the HS when we become Christians.
35. The HS is described as a Comforter, Guide, the one who Empowers us and gives us Truth.
36. When we ignore the HS, we ignore a means by which to gain power and comfort.
37. We do not want to grieve the HS or push it away.
38. It is true that Paul seems to address some problems that tongues had causes in Corinth.
39. I believe that tongues should be private prayer language.
40. Still we cannot ignore the fact that the HS is vital to our faith.
41. We can accept the power, comfort, and guidance of the HS without losing our minds.
42. So, one thing that Paul stresses in Ephesus is that the HS is important to our lives.
43. Not only did Paul hold up the HS, he preached that power of the HS was engaged in a battle with the power of the idols that the Ephesians had.
44. Those in Ephesus practiced a type of sorcery.
45. If they wanted good health or good crops, then they used spells or incantations to bring the desired results.
46. There were those who wrote these spells down and would sell them to the people.
47. Of course, Paul preached that these spells had no power.
48. In one remarkable passage in Acts 19, it tells us that the people brought scrolls and burned them and their value was 50,000 pieces of silver.
49. These were the written spells that would bring good luck.
50. We might think for a moment about our good-luck charms or spells.
51. What about a lottery ticket? I am not going to preach against them but we look at them as a way to bring us everything we need when we really need Jesus.
52. What about drugs or alcohol or sex or wealth? These are all charms that we use to make sure that we are happy.
53. On the other hand, Jesus promises to bring us all we need.
54. What do we need to get rid of that is coming between us and God—iphones, Facebook?
55. Adam Hamilton tells the story of going to a bar in Kansas City and working on plans with a youth director.
56. The bartender asks if they go to his church and the conversation moves on.
57. Would that church accept a single mom who is a bartender and a new divorcee? Would it accept someone who had practiced Wicca for years?
58. She came to church and eventually brought a large black bag with all her Wicca stuff and booze for them to get rid of. I am putting my trust in God.
59. What in our lives needs to be burned?
60. Finally, in Ephesus there was a huge temple to Artemis who was the goddess of fertility and crops.
61. In the marketplaces many small silver statues of Artemis were sold.
62. As the people listened to Paul, they put their trust in Christ and not these little trinkets.
63. As the people lost business, Demetrius led a riot against Paul for causing the problems.
64. They drug two of Paul’s friends to the stadium for a confrontation which Paul missed.
65. For two hours, they shouted, “Artemis is great!”
66. I would ask you, “Does your Christian faith affect what you buy or watch or do?”
67. What time do we spend with our idols?
68. Do we spend money on trinkets such as computers, cars, trips and none for the Lord?
69. I will not judge you for your purchases—you know what you give to God.
70. But we cannot just choose shiny things—we must allow God to change us.
71. HS; burn things not useful for God; and does gospel have impact on life?