Last Sunday, Pastor Alex York continued the sermon series on Acts: "Who Do You Think You Are?" with a message on Acts 8: Growth in Spite of Opposition
Before beginning the sermon, Alex talked about knowing his grandfather when Alex was a small child. Shortly after his grandfather died, Alex went to Vacation Bible School and that was where he accepted Christ.
He reminded us that our Jungle Safari Clubs are hugely important.
And he also tied the story of his grandfather's death into the message. Both demonstrate Romans 8:28, that God can bring good out of anything. His grandfather's death was not good, but God used it to pull Alex to Christ.
Romans 8:28 was also true for the early church.
There are two realities about hardship:
1. Hardship will come.
2. No matter the hardship, God can bring good from it.
In Acts 8, there's been a tipping point, and the church had begun being persecuted.
We looked at Philip, Saul, and Peter. All of them demonstrate the same four points:
1. No one is beyond the reach of grace.
2. God uses real people.
3. Faith + Obedience = Blessing
4. Growth comes in spite of opposition.
Philip: Acts 8:1-40
The word "scattered" used about the church is the same word used for scattering seeds. The Christians spread like dandelions.
The eunuch Philip met couldn't worship with the Jews according to the Levitical law.
But God reached him.
Philip obeyed and went where God told him to go.
God used persecution to spread the gospel.
Saul: Acts 9:1-31
God appeared to both Saul and Ananias. Ananias obeyed boldly. Saul began preaching immediately.
Saul is a great example that no one is beyond the reach of grace.
God uses real people, like Ananias.
God used Saul despite opposition.
How responsive are we to the Holy Spirit? Are we listening?
Peter: Acts 9:32-11:18
Another two-way situation: God speaks to both Peter and Cornelius.
God's grace is for everyone, even Roman soldiers.
Cornelius obeyed quickly, summoning Peter.
Peter seems to need to hear everything 3 times!
While Peter was thinking about it, the men from Cornelius arrived.
Faith + Obedience led to Blessing.
The Jews in Jerusalem said, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
Peter was an epic failure, but God used him.
Growth comes in spite of opposition.