Mission and Idolatry | The Book of Acts | 14:1-28 | Pastor Duane Smets
This an exegetical and expository sermon on Acts 14:1-28. It deals with the ways that sin poisons the mind toward unbelief and the worship of idols, as well as how Jesus works to shed light on sin and redirect our faith toward the Gospel. This sermon was originally preached on July 29th, 2012 at The Resolved Church in San Diego,CA.
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The Resolved Church
Pastor Duane Smets
July 29th, 2012
Mission and Idolatry | Acts 14:1-28
I. God of Grace vs. Poisoned Minds (v.1-7)
II. God of Heaven & Earth vs. Vain Things (v.8-18)
III. God of The Kingdom vs. Tribulations (v.19-22)
IV. God of The Church vs. Solo Belief (v.23-28)
Good morning Resolved Church. How is everybody doing today? Pretty great to be all together in one service this morning. If you are new around here or it’s you’re first time I just want to tell you personally we’re really glad you’re here and hope you enjoy worshipping our great God with us this morning.
My name is Duane, I’m one of the pastors who serves here under the one pastor whom the Bible ever calls a head pastor…Jesus.
A story is told about the great preacher of the late 19th century, Charles Spurgeon. He was a pastor of now well known Metropolitan Tabernacle church in London England which sat over 5,000 people. Charles Spurgeon was a great preacher which earned him the nickname, “prince of preachers.” As the story goes there was one Sunday morning when because of a sickness he could not be in the pulpit preaching that morning. So when one of his apprentices got up to take the podium and the congregation saw that Spurgeon would not be preaching, several hundred people began to get up and leave. The young apprentice then spoke up and with a loud voice began his sermon by saying, “All of you who came to worship Mr. Spurgeon may now leave and all who came to worship and learn from the Lord may stay in their seats.”
Today’s sermon is about idolatry, which is not only the heart and substance of all of the ten commandments but is that things which Romans, chapter one says we are all so prone to do with ease in worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, who is forever to be blessed (Rom 1:25). The title of my message today is “Mission & Idolatry.” We’re looking at the whole of chapter 14 in the book of Acts which centers on this key story where two preachers end up being worshipped as gods.
We’re going to work through the chapter together by looking at four different sections of it where God, the one true God, who He is and what He is like…is contrasted with various actions and reactions which all spring from a lack of worship and faith toward God. So we’ll look at the, “God of Grace”, the “God of Heaven & Earth”, the “God of Tribulation” and the “God of The Church.”
Before we begin and jump into our first point, let’s carefully read the text together. So I’ll read, you follow in your Bibles, then we’ll declare it as God’s Word, thank Him for it and pray.
• Read Acts 13:13-52
• Pastoral Declaration: This is the Word of the Lord.
• Congregational Response: Thanks Be To God.
• Pastoral Prayer
Alright, so last week we finished off Acts 13 by watching Paul and Barnabas get kicked out of Antioch Pisidia which was the second stop on their 1st multi-year ministry tour where they sought out to preach the Gospel and plant churches. Here in Acts 14 we read stories of them in two more cities and what they accomplished there.
The first place we see them today is in Iconium ministering the Word and deeds of the Gospel until they get booted out of there too. Let’s check it out in our first point for this morning is, “God of Grace vs. Poisoned Minds.”
I. God of Grace vs. Poisoned Minds (v.1-7)
The chapter starts out watching Paul and Barnabas together going to the synagogue first when they get to Iconium, which was the same mission strategy we saw last week in Antioch Pisidia. When we talked about it in the sermon we looked at this as the principle of attempting to share the Gospel from a place of common ground.
When they do this, at first the response is great. Verse 1 says, “a great number…believed.” But like in Pisidia there is a backlash. Despite the negative response from this group they keep on preaching and teaching the Gospel for some time…we don’t exactly know how long, verse 3 just says it was “a long time.” Maybe months maybe a year. From the sound of it the people of the city ended up pretty polarized, with people either loving the Gospel they were preaching or hating it. The tension gets so intense that a plot is made to kill Paul and Barnabas, so they peace out.
What I want us to look at for a couple minutes from this first part of the chapter is what verse 3 calls their message, how it was being presented and why there was this negative reaction. So first, how is the Gospel message described in verse 3? In the past we’ve repeated seen it called “the Word of the Lord” or the “Word of God” but here it’s called “the Word of His Grace.”
That’s interesting. What do you think is added by calling it “The Word” of “His Grace”? What or why is the Word that is the Gospel message one of grace? Think about it for a second. What is grace? Grace can be a slippery word. Some of you might be able to respond with the textbook answer that grace is unmerited favor. But to unpack that we would have to talk about what merit is and what favor is. In it’s plainest and most simple understanding grace is the goodness of God toward men.
And yet here…grace is specifically in regards to the Gospel and it’s saving work and power. By specifically calling it a message of grace highlights that no one deserves anything good to happen for them from God…it’s unmerited or unearned. The reality is that every single individual is guilty of eternal crime. Grace highlights that though we deserve no good done unto us, there is a God who is good, who out of His goodness did something so that guilty sinners might be saved.
Grace is like the power source of the Gospel. It’s like the engine, or motor or fuel behind everything God does. It’s what moves God to act and to extend himself to poor unworthy creatures. It’s what moved God to send His Son to die on a tree for sinners and then bring them to a place where they put faith in Him and are saved. Grace is what powers the whole thing.
Now look at what the second part of verse three says about the message of grace. It says that the word of grace was accompanied by “signs and wonders done by their hands.” Most likely that’s gotta mean miracles…healings of some sort probably. We don’t read about any particular miracle here but what it does point out for us is the principle of word and deed.
Both throughout the life and ministry of Jesus and here in Acts in the life and ministry of the church, we consistently see word and deed going hand in hand. Whether it’s a healing miracle, or the donating of money or caring for orphans and widows…word and deed go hand in hand. Both are critical.
We ought to preach the Gospel with words but it ought to also be accompanied by good works. Likewise we ought to do good works but those works ought to be accompanied by the good word of grace. They are meant to go hand in hand.
For example, if you just give a homeless person a sandwich but don’t talk to him about Jesus then that’s actually pretty unloving and pretty unhelpful. Likewise if you tell a homeless person about Jesus but you’re not willing to do anything tangible to help that person out…it’s usually pretty unhelpful and comes across as pretty unloving. Word and deed…deed and word…they are meant to go hand in hand.
If you bring someone a meal who just had a baby you should accompany it with an encouraging word about the graciousness of God to them. If you go help someone move some furniture then you ought to accompany it with some words about the greatness of having Jesus as Lord of one’s home. Do you see what I’m talking about. Word…and deed…together.
Now, in our passage and the story today it says that the people’s response was so divided that the anti-Gospel group made a plot to stone Paul and Barnabas. They catch wind of the plan and run out of the city to the next town. But before we go to Lystra and see what happened there first let’s look at what made them reject the message of grace.
It’s in verse 2. It says the unbelieving Jews poisoned their minds. The word “poisoned” here in the ESV translation is an interesting word. Other translations do “embittered” or “made their minds evil.” It’s a words that was sometimes used to describe oxen when they would get sick and go mad just bucking around all over the place going crazy. It’s a word here that suggests a foreign agent or idea that enters one’s mind and corrupts a person’s way of thinking.
Think about this for a second because it is a thought I think few have really thought about. That sounds like a tongue twister. Anyway, have you considered the way that sin can effect our thinking? What this verse gets at how sin can damage our very ability to reason correctly. You see, it seems to me we often think of reason as a pure, unadulterated faculty…when in reality our reason can be poisoned so that we do not think rightly as we ought. The way analyze and put things together…the way we consider what is really true or good can get warped.
For example, we are talking about grace here…about how God extends salvation to some undeserving sinners by offering His Son Jesus to them. But some today cry out, “That’s not fair! If there’s a God and if He’s good He should just save everyone…or He shouldn’t make people believe in Jesus to be saved.” Yet, those sentiments are an example of warped poisoned reasoning. It an idolatrous reasoning that values man above God because we do not want to call God on fairness…because what’s fair is nobody being saved, what’s fair and just of God is no message of grace. Grace is an offer of something good you don’t deserve. If it’s an obligation it’s not grace anymore.
So can you see how the mind and its very reasoning processes can get warped and poisoned because of sin? I’ve seen it time and time again…where a person seems like they are starting to get things and say things about really wanting to follow Jesus. But then they talk to someone else who poisons their mind and before you know it they are not interested anymore.
The question this passage really presses upon us is whether our minds are going to be poisoned or whether we will embrace the Word of Grace. One kills the other brings life. One is good and breeds the kindness that can only come from the Gospel. The other is evil and breeds hatred, resentment and bitterness.
How is your mind? Do you find yourself thinking rightly about God? Are you amazed by His Grace? Think about it this way…when you sing the hymn “Amazing Grace” like we did last week and you sing the line, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…I once was lost but now I’m found…was blind but now I see.” When you sing that do you think, “I’m a wretch…thank you God for your grace.” Do you think, “I am so lost God…thank you for reaching down and coming to find me.” Do you think, “I’m so blind…thank you God for opening my eyes to see you and your glory.”
Is that the way you think? Do you worship a God who has been gracious toward you? Or has your mind been poisoned to think differently about Him…to think you’re not really a wretch in need of saving…that you’re not really lost or blind but actually have it together and are seeing quite fine without Him. If that’s you today I’m trying to tell you you’ve been poisoned and you need the antidote of the Gospel to save your soul.
The next story makes this even more clear for us, so let’s move on and talk about the “God of Heaven & Earth vs. Vain Things.”
II. God of Heaven & Earth vs. Vain Things (v.8-18)
After Paul and Barnabas escape from Iconium they go to Lystra, about a hundred miles away. After they are there once again Paul has begun to preach and teach and there happens to be a lame man listening and apparently in the middle of Paul’s sermon, he stops and “looks intently” just like he did at Bar-Jesus the sorcerer in Acts 13 but this time instead of blinding a guy he heals him and the man who had never walked since birth starts walking.
Immediately once this happens the townspeople go ballistic, think Paul and Barnabas are gods and start a whole coronation ceremony. They are bringing out bulls with flower wreaths wrapped around they’re neck to be sacrificed to Paul and Barnabas. Once they realize what’s going on they are horrified, tear their clothes which was a 1st century expression of being torn apart inside and they beg the people not to sacrifice to them and start telling them about who God really is.
The whole scene reminds me of Return of the Jedi when Ewoks think C-3P0 is a god and they are about to sacrifice Luke, Hans Solo and Chewbacca in honor of C-3P0’s visit. Here in our story, the people of Lystra had long been in worship of the Greek pantheon which consisted of twelve different gods. After seeing the cripple being healed they think that Barnabas is Zeus, the honorable head of the pantheon and that that Paul is his son, Hermes who was the chief speaker of the pantheon.
Records of a local Lystrian legend helps us understand a little better what was happening. In a book that’s not in the Bible, “Metamorphoses” written by a man known as Ovid, tells the story of Zeus and Hermes coming to visit their town.
In the story Zeus and Hermes visit, but keep their identities concealed while they seek shelter and rest. It’s said they visit a thousand homes but every house rejects them until they come to the house of a couple named Philemon and Baucis who take them in, feed them and give them a place to sleep. After they’re reception Zeus and Hermes reveal their identities and as a reward take Philemon and Baucis up on top of the hill and spare them while Zeus unleashes a flood upon the town killing everyone. After the flood Philemon and Baucis return to their home and rebuild it as a marble temple to Zeus and Hermes…which archeological excavations have found evidence of in various stones engraved inscriptions written about them.
So…when Paul and Barnabas come and are preaching and accompanying the Word with miraculous deeds, they figure it’s Zeus and Hermes and are not about to make the same mistake twice and have their town flooded in judgment. When Paul and Barnabas rush out to stop this sacrifice ceremony in their honor Paul gives this what appears to be a somewhat short speech in what we have recorded here in verses 15-18.
Let me re-read what he said, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Okay. We’re not going to go through everything he said here…but there are two key things I want us to look into here. First what he says about God.
After quickly and clearly saying he and Barnabas are not gods he begins to speak of a “living God” implying these other gods they believe in, like Zeus and Hermes, are dead gods. What he says about the living God is that He made heaven and earth and everything else.
Saying that there was one Creator God over everything from who all things came was a far different belief than what the Lystrians had believed. They believed that Uranos (the sky) and Gaia (the earth) mated and gave birth to several 100-armed monsters and the Titans and that Uranos sent them all away in exile to earth. After this Gaia is angry with Uranos so she castrates him and in response Uranos eats all of their children…but not before Gaia can save Zeus, hiding him away in a cave until he is full grown and leads a charge against Uranos overthrowing him and taking his seat of power over over the sky. He then frees the rest of his brothers and sister gods from Uranos’ belly and leads them as king of the pantheon.
Now, to us this just might sound like a foolish, crazy story and we can easily look back upon those who believed it to be primitive and stupid. Yet, today several leading scientists who deny that God created the earth and all that is in it are suggesting an hypothesis known as panspermia, which is basically the idea that life on earth was somehow seeded or spermed either incidentally from some other outside life force or intentionally by aliens.
What this really brings up is the fundamental human questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? And why are we here? The answer of the Bible is actually quite a simple one. It says we are human creatures made by God and that we exist to worship and glorify him alone.
You see the Bible connects recognizing God as our maker with a moral obligation for us to worship and serve him alone. Notice that line, “vain things.” That’s actually Paul’s first charge before he tells them that Zeus and Hermes are dead and not really gods…he says worshipping them is vain. The word for vain here means, “devoid of truth, useless and of no purpose.”
Essentially, this is the thrust of the entire message of the Bible…that we exist to worship God and him alone. The first two commandments of great 10 Commandments of the Bible are God saying, you shall have no other gods before me and you shall not worship any other gods…and the reason given in Exodus 20:4 is that God made the heaven and earth and everything in and no one else.
The Creator has rights over his creatures. We belong to him. And all of the rest of creation is speaking and telling us that God is great and should be worshipped. That’s what verse 17 in our passage is about. The rain, the fruit and our desire to happy…is all a witness, telling us that there is a God whom we exist for.
In life you either end up living for God or living for yourself. You either end up worshipping and serving the true and living God or you worship and serve yourself or other things as though they were god, when they are not. It’s what we call “idolatry.”
An idol is someone or something that occupies the place of god in your life…it gives you meaning, purpose, value, love significance and security. When you look around at our culture it doesn’t take much time to figure out who and what our idols are. Google news will list them for you on the left hand column.
Yesterday, Micahel Phelps fell from grace off his throne of dominance in Olympic swimming…depending on what one is your god, Mitt Romney or Barak Obama is either shining or failing. And many are saddened, disillusioned and just can’t believe that Kristen Stewart would cheat on Robert Patterson! How could it be? Turns out the goddess isn’t too godlike after all.
None of our modern day gods can satisfy…we live in this world of fallen heroes, every time we look to another human person or look to ourselves…we see failure because only God is perfect and only He is forever faithful.
You see we look at ancient religious cultures and think it’s crazy that they would offer sacrifices in worship to gods. But today many people are sacrificing themselves…working endless hours at their jobs in order to have some position, income or having some lifestyle and they end up as burnt out, stressed out, alcoholics who have a train wreck of relationships and are on the verge of having a heart attack.
We go to our modern day temples…the gym and the mall in order to carve out, shape and dress our gods. And Paul here says that is vain. Worthless. And we need to turn from it to the real, true, living God.
In his book Counterfeit gods, Tim Keller titles one of the last chapters of his book, “The Hidden Idols In Our Lives.” It seems often times that we easily slip into worshipping other gods, idols and we don’t even realize it…that there is something secret and slippery going on underneath the surface in us. The way to root it out is to ask the question of Romans 1:25. Romans 1:25 says we exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.
So the question for us this morning is what is vain that you may be worshipping? What are you serving, what are you working for? What’s your goal? What’s going on in the heart with the things that consume your thoughts, your time and your money? Look at what that is and you will find the god you worship.
The message here in Acts 14 is that whatever that is, if it is not the true and living God and it’s worthless. It will not be able to give you what you are seeking and longing for. Only God, the Creator who made you can provide what you’re looking for.
Maybe I can just say it real simply and you’ll get it. Are you really living your life for God or do you just give him lip service. Who are you really living for? Do you see your life as a life of worship? Why do you do what you do, day in day out? If it’s for anything but God it will fail you.
May God help us to see the idols of our hearts and may the be rooted out and replaced by Him.
Well, let’s move on and look at what happens to Paul after he says what he did and what we can learn from it. So, “God of The Kingdom vs. Tribulations.”
III. God of The Kingdom vs. Tribulations (v.19-22)
The result isn’t good. Often times routing out idols is a painful process. Verse 19 says that those same Jews who had developed an intense hatred for Paul and the teaching of the Gospel traveled all the way from Antioch and Iconium to Lystra just to continue to contradict his message. Acts doesn’t tell us here what they said, just that they persuaded the crowds against him.
It probably wasn’t that hard since Paul had just attacked the very core of the city’s worldview and belief system. The crowds quickly turn and stone Paul and drag him out of the city as a presumably dead man. The disciples go get him and take him to Derbe, where his health returns to him and he starts preaching the Gospel again.
Apparently after some time he and Barnabas return to traveling, retracing their steps, going back through the cities where they had preached the Gospel and people had come to faith. Verse 22 summarizes what his message was on the return trip, to “continue in the faith and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Let’s talk about that phrase for just a minute, “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Undoubtedly, when Paul says tribulations he is thinking of the stoning and threats of stoning he received in each of those cities they returned to. Tribulations are afflictions, oppression or distress.
But what’s interesting here is how the tribulations are pitted against the kingdom. Now I’ve tried to hammer it into your heads when we’ve taught on kingdom before but it’s been awhile. So when we see the word “kingdom” in the Bible, what are we supposed to think? King! The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God who is the King.
The message of the Gospel is one which says Jesus is the King and that he proved it by dying on the cross, defeating sin and Satan and rose again. Now here in Acts 14:22 when Paul talks about entering the kingdom and is referring to different cities and the tribulation experienced there he is using a territorial analogy.
The picture is actually a war picture like when a king takes his army and invades another country seeking to spread his kingdom. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul calls being a Christian and spreading the Gospel a fight against “spiritual forces of evil” who are reigning or kinging over people and lands keeping them in darkness.
However, the message of the Gospel, the good news is that the war was won. In Colossians 2:15 Paul says that on the cross Jesus disarmed those rulers, putting them to open shame and triumphing over them. So the war is over. What is left in the mission is spreading that news, that Satan and his forces have been defeated by Jesus the King…by preaching the Gospel Paul sees himself as spreading the kingdom of God across the land, telling new territories the news of victory.
Because they haven’t yet heard the news…there is often tribulation. Fighting. Battles. Skirmishes that still go on. Yet, in order for them to hear the news it is necessary to enter the foray and sometimes come out with some scars.
Do you guys get that? That’s the picture here. How it is relevant for us is by recognizing what we talked about last week in that sharing the Gospel with people is not always easy. Sometimes there is negative responses and reactions but despite them we must continue in the faith. Just because bad things sometimes happen in our lives doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t still king and on the throne.
It’s just that sin and it’s effects upon us and this world have had their way for so long that when the kingdom of God invades we will often pick up some battle scars. There is a fight to this faith.
Now today, you can’t really get stoned to death for being a Christian, at least here in America. But there are all kinds of other battles we face. Times where our faith may be weak. Times when we are tempted to give up. Times when we turn back to false gods for comfort or pleasure.
Here Acts 14;22 says don’t give up. Continue in the faith. Fight through it. Press on.
Maybe today there are some of you who feel like you are in the middle of it. Maybe you feel like you’ve just been beat up. If so, I want to encourage you today. Jesus knows. Jesus is king. It’s why He died for you. So hold on. He’s coming. And when He returns He will wipe away every tear from your eyes and He will restore you and give life to your mortal bones.
For others today I’m hoping that recognizing the kingdom and that there is tribulation will remind you that we’re in a fight. We don’t want to be caught sleeping and be kidnapped away. There is work to do. Battles to be won. People who need to hear the Gospel. Places in our hearts that need to hear the news again and again and again.
Jesus is king! He is true God. And He is victorious. There is a world of comfort and conviction that comes with that statement. So let’s believe it and press on ahead as we enter the kingdom.
Alright, so our last point for today is what rounds out the chapter in verse 23-28 in what I’m calling, “God of The Church vs. Solo Belief.”
IV. God of The Church vs. Solo Belief (v.23-28)
Verse 23 here is a huge verse…a really important one. It tells us two really important things.
The first important thing is seeing that in all the places where Paul and Barnabas had gone and preached the Gospel…they planted churches! For some reason when Luke is recounting the journeys of Paul he doesn’t always mention that churches were planted. Most of the time he’ll just say something like, many people believed or became disciples.
But here he makes it very clear that when that happen Paul formed them together into churches…that planting a church was always the goal of preaching the Gospel and having people come to faith. I think the reason he doesn’t always mention it, is that it is implied. The New Testament knows nothing of this idea of ministries or the preaching of the Gospel that is not directly tied to church planting and the ministry of a local church. Missionary work was the work of planting churches. Anything else would have been inconceivable.
Today in modern Christianity we see it all over the place. All kinds of “ministries” which exist and operate outside the covering of a local church. Here in this verse we see that the goal and mission of preaching the Gospel as they went from city to city was to establish a church where people could be cared for spiritually and grow in their faith. This is why 100% of our missions budget at The Resolved is reserved for planting churches.
That’s the first important thing we see in this verse. The second is in Paul’s appointment of elders. Now, I know in English when we see and hear the word “elder” we often think “older man.” But that’s not what the word “elder” means in the Bible. The Greek word that’s translated as “elder” is “presbuteros” and means overseer or bishop and is interchanged with the word “pastor” in other places of the Bible. Elders are the men who lead the church and they were not always older…as Paul later tells Timothy, an elder, not to let anyone despise him for his youth (1 Tim 4:12).
So two things about these elders.
One, there are more than one. Not it’s elders, plural. That’s why our church, The Resolved Church, believes that there should be no single man other than Jesus who leads any local church…that it should always be two or more biblically qualified and proven men. We have three elders at our church, myself, Pastor Ron Broersma and Pastor James.
Two, the second thing about these elders is that Paul and Barnabas wholly entrust the leadership of the church to them under the Lord Jesus. They don’t retain some sort of higher ruling body of authority over them whom they must submit. We’ll see the same thing later in Acts 20 with the church in Ephesus and as well in the Pastoral letters of 1 Timothy and Titus that Paul always entrusted the leadership of the church to the elders.
That’s why our church, The Resolved Church does not belong to any denomination who holds a ruling authority over us. We are part of the Acts 29 Network of churches. Through Acts 29 we receive relationship and spiritually accountability and support…but they have nothing to do with the decision making or spiritual leadership of our church. We own all our own stuff and there is no higher authority here over the elders other than Jesus.
In this passage we read of the apostolic release of authority. In verse 23 it says they “committed them to the Lord.” In the next chapter we’ll read of a letter from the apostles and elders at the Jerusalem church sent to the local churches and even then, in their wording of the letter they come not from the top down from a place of authority but as an appeal to the leading “brothers” of the churches about what seemed best.
Okay, I suppose that’s enough on that. It’s basically a little exegetical aside. If we were to look at it in the broader context of the whole chapter and our discussion of idolatry we could look at the semi-popular, sort of solo belief, just me and my faith…or me and Jesus…where you can just have your own church if you have some kind of spiritual experience and say, “No, that’s a form of idolatry…where you are really just worshipping and serving yourself rather than the God of the Bible who has made it clear that there is a right and a wrong way to worship Him.”
For believers in Jesus, God means for them…His disciples to be a part of a local church which has elders leading it. It’s one of the reasons we take membership in our church so seriously. It’s why we’ve got a bunch of people in our eight-week long membership class. It’s why we call people to commit and actually become part of the community…All because we don’t believe Christianity is meant to be a solo faith…it’s a faith that is meant to be lived out with others under the covering and care of local church leaders, called elders.
Well, let’s conclude. We’ve talked about a lot today. As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper this morning…let me just remind you of the Gospel.
The Gospel says we are sinners. Our minds have been poisoned with sin which warps our very way of reasoning and thinking about God. The good news of the Gospel however is that through belief in Jesus God heals our minds and gives us the mind of Christ…where we can rightly perceive His goodness and glory.
The Gospel says we are idolaters. Like the Lystrians we have worshipped and served created people and things rather than the Creator. The good news of the Gospel however is that through belief in Jesus God turns our hearts from vain things and toward the true and living God who is worthy of our worship and able to satisfy for eternity.
The Gospel says we are in darkness. We have lived in the kingdom of Satan and his demons and believed his lies for so long we don’t even realize how bad off we are. The good news of the Gospel however says that Jesus, the light of God came into the world and did battle against Satan on the cross, dying for sin and rising again victorious…through belief in Jesus we now see light and receive life, which can withstand any tribulation that comes our way.
The Gospel says we are selfish. We are prone to live life on our own apart from God and his people with a solo faith. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus died and rose again so that we might be brought near and welcomed into his family which he calls the church.
Today…wherever you are at…if your mind’s a mess, if you know God is not your focus and your worship is all over the place….if you feel and know the spiritual battle your in and you feel like losing…if you feel lost and alone…hear the good news of the Gospel: Jesus gave all of himself for you:
• that you might have his mind…
• that you might have God as your God…
• that you might know his victory and power…
• and that you might be part of his people
Today as you come to the table…look to Jesus. He is good. He is God. He is king. And He is the true Lord of the Church. Let’s go to Jesus and have him minister to us.