Where Do We Carry God’s Word

Acts 13:49 “And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.”

This verse really intrigues me, because before the Word was printed, it was already being published.  I looked up the word “published” and come to realize that it meant to “bear through” or to “transport”.  The Word of God was being transported, even though they were not carrying around leather bond Bibles underneath their arms. Which brings to question how the Word was being “published”?  While they did not carry God’s Word in their arms, they carried it in their hearts.  They were living, breathing, and walking examples of “thy word have I hid in my heart”.  These men and women became living Bibles.  They were so consumed with God’s Work in their life that it was published everywhere they went.  This brings us to a very convicting question:  Is God’s Word being published where you go?  Do we only carry our Bible to Church, without carrying it within our hearts?  Most of us would have to be honest and say we lack greatly in this area of Christianity.  Today we hope in a machine to publish God’s Word.  While I appreciate the technology and it sure makes God’s Word easier to access, it also makes it less precious to us.  The Lord wants us to be living, breathing, and walking Bibles.  He wants our lives to be the Bible that many will read first.  We need to come to the place where the outside world does not know where our lives start and God’s Word stops.  We must become walking Bibles.

Today’s Challenge:  Take an inventory of your life, your actions, and your language.  Then determine whether the Bible is carried under your arm or whether it is carried in your heart.

P.U.S.H.

Acts 12:5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

There is power in prayer.  The Bible is clear that we are to pray without ceasing.  However; I am going to go out on a limb and say that this group of Christian took this principle to an entire new level.  These Christians literally prayed constantly.  They shook Heaven and Heaven responded.  If you continue to read this chapter you will discover that God responded to their prayer by freeing Peter.  Imagine the picture of Peter standing at the door and seeing the look on this group of believers when they saw God’s answer to their prayer standing in the doorway.  Here are so principles from this verse:

  • Never underestimate the power of prayer.
  • P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens
  • Pray for something bigger than yourself. 

Today’s Challenge:  Learn to pray until something happens.

Are You Christian?

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him he brought him unto Antioch.  And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.  And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Here we see the origin of the word “Christian”.  This is the first time it is used in the Bible.  It was used to identify a group of people based on the lifestyle they lead.  I wonder if the same people would call us by the same name today.  It would do us some good as to why these people were granted the description of “Christian”. 

  • They were Christ-Like:  These men and women that assembled together were definitely people that resembled Christ with their lifestyle.  The Bible describes them as being full of the Holy Ghost.  They looked and acted “like” Christ and therefore carried the name “Christian”.
  • They were Disciples:  These folks were true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It says that “the disciples were called Christians”.  That tells me that Christians are identified as being disciples of Jesus Christ.  This means the followed the ways, words, and wisdom of Christ.
  • They were the Church:  Christians and Church should be very closely related.  The Church is not what made the Christian.  Being Christian made them the Church.  Being a Christian will place you in the Church.  Be careful around those that call themselves Christian, but want nothing to do with the Church.

Today’s Challenge:  Look at your life under the microscope of God’s Word.  Examine both the private and public aspects of your life and then determine whether these people would have called you “Christian”.

A Memorial Before the Lord

Acts 10:1-4 “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave  much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.  He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him,, Cornelius.  And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord?  And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”

In order to get an understanding of the thought this morning we must look at the entire picture.  It is very obvious that Cornelius had a tremendous testimony.  We can see that he had a high standard of holiness and honor before the Lord.  His prayer life and giving was something that we must highlight because of the fact that God highlighted.  The Bible says that the prayers and alms were a memorial before God.  It is possible to be recognized before the Lord.  It is possible rattle the attention of Heaven.  This man prayed so fervently and gave so willingly that God created a memorial before him.  This tells me that there are two things that will gain the attention of God:

1.      A Passionate Prayer-life:  God likes to hear from us.  We need to understand that we may get to hear from God if He gets to hear from us.

2.      A Life of Giving:  Cornelius understood that the blessings in life were not obtained by what we gain, but by what we are able to give.

Today’s Challenge:  Realize that if we are going to gain that attention of God then we must Pray like never before and then Give like never before.

What Is Inside Your Basket?

Acts 9:22-25 “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.  And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:  But their laying await was known of Saul.  And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.  Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.”

Take moment and consider what is happening in this text.  These disciples were lowering a full-grown man down a wall.  Paul was resting in a basket while these Christians lowered him down using a rope.  I can’t help but wonder if they any of them thought of letting go of the rope.  I also can’t help but wonder if they realized what was inside that basket.  They were actually lowering down the majority of the New Testament, they were lowering down the man that would preach before multitudes and see thousands saved.  They were lowering down the greatest preacher of all time, outside of Jesus Christ.  Truly no doubt they were holding the rope that was attached to a basket, which contained precious cargo.  Now, let put the ball in our court.  Look inside your basket this morning.  Look at what would happen if you let go of the rope.  The load may get heavy sometimes and you grow weary but letting go would destroy the contents of your basket.  The cost is too high for some temporary relief.  Don’t let go you are carrying precious cargo!

Today’s Challenge:  Look inside your basket of life.  Write down what you are holding and then think about what would happen to the contents if you were to let go.  I think you will find that the cargo is just too precious to release.

Individual Evangelism

Acts 8:26-37  “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  (27)  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  (28)  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  (29)  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  (30)  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  (31)  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  (32)  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  (33)  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  (34)  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  (35)  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  (36)  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  (37)  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Here is a great example of individual soul winning.  The apostle, Philip, was able to lead the Ethiopian Eunuch to Christ. Individual evangelism is becoming something that is very rarely practiced today.  We have developed gimmicks, phrases, and one-liners that convince people to do something that they don’t want to do.  We have created strategies that put notches on our belts rather than souls for the Lord.  This apostle was sensitive to the direction of God and he listened to the Holy Spirit.

  • Through His Submissiveness He met the right Person:  Philip’s obedience to the Lord positioned him to meet the right person.  Our obedience to the Lord will give evangelistic opportunities.
  • Through His Study He ministered the right Principles:  Philip was prepared to give an account.  The reason so many miss opportunities to see souls saved is because they are unprepared.  We must study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Through His Supervision He mentioned the right Person:  Philip was able to answer the right questions and then guide this person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Without Philip’s knowledge and supervision this Eunuch would have trusted in works rather than salvation through Jesus Christ.  It is important that we stay with someone until they make the right decision.  Don’t just give them the right information but show them the right way to implement the information.

Today’s Challenge:  Be obedient enough to the Lord that we allow Him the ability to position us in such a way that we meet the right people, teach the right principles, and direct people to the right person.  It is all about Jesus Christ!!!

But God was with Him

Acts 7:9 “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt:  but God was with him,”

There are going to be a lot of things we will face upon this earth.  When we study the life of Joseph we see that his journey for the Lord started out with a dream.  This dream took him to a horrible pit, then it took him into slavery, then it took him to prison.  It would seem the vision God gave Joseph was not working out.   However, that dream came to life and we see Joseph in the palace as the second in command of the majority of the world.  The key ingredient to seeing way through things such as this is that we must realize God is with us.  This must encourage us and push us to keep going even when it is not going that good.  God gave him the dream, and God was with him all the way.

  • Do not allow the obstacles during the journey cause you to forget God is with you. 
  • Allow the presence of the Lord to keep propelling you forward.  Life is not going to be easy, but we must realize God is with us and keep pushing forward.
  • Do not untie in doubt what God has started in faith.  Just because you don’t see God does not mean that He is not there.  God finishes his work.  Continue till the work is finished.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t forget that God is with you!

Big “TEAM”, Little “me”

Acts 6:1-4  “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  (2)  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.  (3)  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  (4)  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

It is so vital that the local Church learns to operate as a team.  The modern American Culture has placed more on the local pastors than they can physically handle.  The reason Church’s are failing to grow spiritually and numerically is because they are not following the principles found in this Scripture.  It is evident that only about 10% of Christians carry the load of the Church.  The most successful Churches are the ones where the pastor can devote the majority of his time to prayer and study.  I recently read a quote that talked about “team work”.  It was an acrostic on the word “team”.  I would like for us to look at this acrostic and apply it to our own lives.

  • T – Together:  Unity is absolutely essential to seeing the Gospel presented on local and global level.  These Christians throughout the first Church were united and therefore saw a revival that shook the entire world.
  • E – Everyone:  Ministry does not take someone, it takes everyone.  A successful ministry is not about an individual.  The most successful ministries are when everyone is participating.
  • A – Achieving:  If feels good to see accomplishments fulfilled before our eyes.  When a team is put into place we can achieve so much more at a much more rapid pace.
  • M – More:  I love the idea of achieving more.  However; we must realize that more happens when more people are involved.  Don’t put more on an individual, but put the “more” on everyone and more will be accomplished.

Today’s Challenge: When it comes to the Gospel it should be less about “me” and more about “Team”.

Pledge Allegiance to the Lord

Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

God must be the superior rule in our lives.  We must learn that our allegiance to God must always come before our allegiance to man and his agenda.  The morality of man seems to be rapidly declining.  It is declining because of ignorance and arrogance toward the Lord.  This brings political agendas that curtail to the attitude of man rather than the character of God.  The apostles were not trying to live outside the laws of government, but they were trying to follow the Lord.  The preaching of the Gospel will anger certain crowds.  These men did not set bombs out in public squares in order to share their relationship with Christ…they walked into the public places and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Peter was bold in telling this crowd that when it comes to obeying your rules or preaching the Gospel, he was going to choose to preach the Gospel.

  • Don’t let the fear of man keep you from sharing your faithObedience to the Lord may result in rejection from man.  We must obey the Lord first.
  • Don’t let the fear of man keep you from standing for your faith.  The laws of this land will sometimes hinder you from standing for what you believe.  When it comes to shutting your mouth about Jesus or speaking your mind about sin…make a stand and stand for the righteousness of Christ.

Today’s Challenge:  Pledge your allegiance to the Lord!  Obey God first!

Why The Heathen Rage

Acts 4:25 “Who by the mouth thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?”

Christianity is in the fight of its life.  According to Scripture, it has always been in this fight.  The fight will continue until the Lord returns.  Today Christians are fighting against the same political agendas, and free-thinking lifestyles.  The heathen seem to be raging like never before.  It seems as though we are facing a time when wicked lifestyles are celebrated, while wholesome lifestyles are condemned.  We can see abortion numbers rising, homosexual lifestyles being celebrated, alcoholism infiltrating almost every home, and every kind of idolatry imaginable being accepted in homes as well as the local Church.  We are seeing a drastic decline in morality.  So why do the heathen rage?  I would like to give you my thoughts on this.

  • They are heathens and that is what they do.  A heathen is someone that does not know the Lord.  Someone that does not have a relationship with Christ.  Those that are without Christ cannot truly operate with peace.  Without peace they rage!
  • Ignorance.  I am reminded of Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…”  The heathens have no knowledge of truth, mercy or God.  Therefore they rage.
  • In their mind it easier for them to reject God than accept Him.  Rather than accepting the fact that a judgment is coming, they would rather believe that God does not exist.  However; deep down with the wall of the heart they know that God exist and their rejecting him only angers them.  Therefore they rage.
  • Those that reject their way of life are viewed as the enemy.  This is the paradox of life.  Christians are viewed as the shallow minded hypocrites that live without compassion.  However; Christians help to feed more of poor, give sacrificially, start orphanages, and do more volunteer work than any heathen group known worldwide.  Christians are living what they believe.  Therefore the heathen rage.

Today’s Challenge:  Contend for your faith and know that the heathen have raged before and they will continue to rage.  Preach the Gospel, live the Christ-life, and love people.  God will take care of the rest.