|Create Date||November 14, 2018|
|Last Updated||November 14, 2018|
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Did You Know?
Redhill. 11 November 2018. Presented by Gordon Green
The Book of Acts has many thought-provoking and life-changing facts. For example: Did you know that Acts, unlike other New Testament books, has no conclusion? Did you know that it has been computed by historians that when Paul was in Corinth he ended up with 60,000 believers? Here are some “Did You Knows” from Paul’s second missionary journey in Acts chapters15 and 16.
- Did you know that the top leaders in the church had disagreements?
Paul and Barnabas 39 “had such a sharp disagreement they parted company”. Used in a medical context these words in Greek can mean “convulsion” or refer to someone running a high fever. This is about violent emotions, red and distorted faces, loud voices. It wasn’t just about having a disagreement but a real argument! Tragic! But on the other hand we should be very happy that it is there – God is so honest in telling us the truth about His people. He shows us that being a Christian is not to be sinlessly perfect. These were two dedicated, effective, spiritually minded men who had worked alongside each other for years. We have to be real - these things happen. But the good news is that God takes all these ugly things in our lives, our foolishness, our sins and He works them together for good. Just think about it; before there was one missionary team now there were two. Before the Gospel would have only got into Galatia now Barnabas could go to Cyprus. That’s what God did with a disagreement.
- Did you know that in the book of Acts we don’t see green lights but there are red lights.
When the early church was wondering where they should go next did they have prayer meetings and fast to find out? No. Instead imagine Paul and Barnabas sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee and Paul says “Hey Barnabas let’s go to….” They would use their common sense. Don’t forget that Paul had already been given his commission by God (Acts 9:15; 1:8). Many years before that they had one commission. They didn’t need God to keep on telling them that daily or wait for God to speak to them and tell them where to go. They didn’t have to keep on asking God “where to now?” We don’t find Paul and the others when planning new trips saying “I feel the Lord is leading and moving me to go to …”? They didn’t stop at every crossroad and have a prayer meeting. The most normal, common sense thing to do would be to go to, for example, Ephesus. They didn’t need a green light or open door. It was obvious. Remember he was (as we are) in unity with the Spirit. In his heart it was “Let’s go.” The Holy Spirit’s desires and designs were Paul’s. So they planned - in normal common sense - but at the same time they were acutely aware of the leading of the Spirit. So you could say that in the book of Acts we don’t see any green lights. God doesn’t have to keep on saying “Go! Go! Go!”
But there were red lights. At times the Holy Spirit said no and so they turned around and went the other way (Acts v6-8). We learn from this that usually the direction of God is the most obvious. You don’t need God to tell you. The only time God breaks in, is an area you’d never think of going – it’s not the usual or ordinary. But it seems God doesn’t do this often.
- Did you know that when Paul met a lady with a demon he didn’t immediately have a deliverance service to cast out the demon.
In chapter 16 Paul, Silas and Luke met a girl who was a fortune teller. She had an evil spirit and followed the apostles for many days. But Paul never had a deliverance service on the first day. He didn’t leap at the chance to deliver her - even though she was demon possessed and annoying and was bad news to them. Why didn’t Paul deal with her immediately? Think about this: we don’t have a commission to go and cast out demons out of every one we meet who is demon possessed. Jesus said go into all the world and proclaim the gospel - and these signs shall follow those who believe. We don’t go to bring deliverance but we go to preach the gospel. In the preaching of the gospel certain things may have to take place – like laying hands on the sick. But you don’t go round finding every demon-possessed person to cast out demons. It’s very dangerous to cast out a demon of someone who doesn’t want Jesus to be Lord of their life. Jesus said if one goes out 7 more will return. The girl wasn’t ready to receive Jesus. You couldn’t empty her and leave her free for Satan to fill.
- Did you know that when Paul was in prison he didn’t ask God to free him?
Paul and Silas were arrested and beaten untill they almost died and then thrown into prison. But how did they react? 25 about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” Were they praising God so they could get out of prison? No. They weren’t saying: “If we just praise God He will have to do something about our situation.” No - they were praising God because they believed He was in control. He is wise, good. It’s safe. It’s ok. For this moment in time I am supposed to be here. When you read Paul’s later letters from prison he never asked people to pray that he would get out. He was thanking God that right now where he was God was in control. He wasn’t saying “I’m a Christian now therefore everything must go my way. No. I’m in the world and I walk in the Spirit and the world hates the Spirit and therefore I’m going to feel it.” You could add another did you know here:
- Did you know that we shouldn’t equate walking in the Spirit with everything going our way?
They rejoiced. They knew they were suffering because they were united to Christ. Expect hardships. And so it wasn’t “If we praise God he will reward us.” No - they thanked God because He is God (Ps 3)
- Did you know that Acts doesn’t teach us that if you are saved your whole family is automatically saved? – although it may sound like it.
The jailer asked; “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 they replied, “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.” That wasn’t all he said. 32 then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” He said much more than “believe in the Lord Jesus” This doesn’t mean if you are the only one saved in your home God promises He will save your whole family. He went into the jailer’s house and spoke the word of the Lord “to him and to all the others in the house.” Notice: 34 “the jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” Don’t take this out of context. Everyone has a free will to say yes or no to God. The family made a decision. God doesn’t force anyone to get baptised or say yes to God just because a family member does. God won’t force them to get saved just because you did. Each one heard the word of God and personally responded in repentance of faith.
- Did you know Christians are not meant to be doormats?
V35 When the order was given for them to be released Paul said “they beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” They refused to move. When it was heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. You could not beat a Roman citizen – and especially without a trial. They could die for that! 39 “they came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.” Paul was not bitter, didn’t bear a grudge or seek revenge. But he had the rights of citizenship and of free speech. Why did he do that? Wasn’t he supposed to be a meek little lamb? Little lambs aren’t doormats. If you are a Christian it doesn’t mean you drop your rights. You’re not a doormat for everyone to walk over you. Paul stood on his rights.
- Did you know the Book of Acts should be called the Acts of Jesus?
It’s traditionally called “The Acts of the Apostles” - as though it describes what the apostles did. But it makes very little mention of the apostles other than Peter and Paul. It should be called “The Acts of Jesus - Part 2 (The book of Luke is Part 1)”. It is about the God who acts. It is all about what and who Paul and the others always preached. Christianity is about Jesus and He was the focus of the preaching of the early church (check for yourself how many times Jesus is mentioned directly or indirectly in chapters 15 and 16). Jesus dominates. In Acts we see Jesus Himself, through the Holy Spirit, working in and through His church. Acts is also about how Jesus invites us to join Him for his divine purposes – then and now!
Song “Mary did you know” That’s who Paul and the others preached about. Jesus Christ was the theme of the preaching of Paul and the others. Did you know? Or should I ask: Do you know…Him?