- Your neighbor across the street
- The barista at Starbucks
- Your server at your favorite restaurant
- The person that refills your coffee at Waffle House
- The man that sits in the cubicle next to you at work
- The lady that helps you find clothes for your toddler at Target
- The tribe of people that you go to on your church’s mission trip
- The homeless guy holding a sign downtown
- Every person regardless of race, sex, country of origin and culture background
The title of this sermon is Removing Stumbling Blocks. Please use these notes in your own personal Bible study time and Community Groups.
- Preaching in jeans and flip flops
It is quite amazing to me how long it takes us to grasp things that we already know.
For instance, Solomon, the wisest man that has ever walked the earth, wrote in Ecclesiastes that everything is vanity. We can translate that into everything is meaningless.
We already know this but we have a habit of attributing value to many things that will end up in a recycling center or a landfill.
We place value on cars, books, smart phones, houses and other frivolous trinkets. It is not that these things are not important or serve no purpose. However, they really have no value.
We should let the Bible redefine our definition of value.
According to the apostle Paul, we should not account our lives as having value.
What Paul says, echoes what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, everything is meaningless.
Think about this:
Nobody cares what your GPA in high school was.
Nobody cares how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers you have.
The number of awards and trophies you have mean nothing.
The college that you graduated from…completely irrelevant.
Furthermore, my marriage has no value. The fact that I am both a dad and a pastor…meaningless.
If our lives really are meaningless, is there anything that we can attribute value and worth to? Yes.
The text for this sermon comes from Acts 19:21 – 20:1-6
These notes are available for Community Groups and your own personal Bible study time.
vs 21-22 Luke is adamant that we see that Paul was resolved or that he purposed in his heart to go in the Holy Spirit. Why? Luke wants us to know that Paul was directed by the Holy Spirit. Every city that Paul went to and the amount of time he stayed in that city was by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
This is important for us to know. You need to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that when he whispers – you hear his voice.
Macedonia includes the churches in Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Achaia includes the churches in Corinth. Why is this important?
Luke is giving us a peek into how the rest of Acts folds out.
Paul will leave Ephesus where he has been for over two years. He will head to the churches in Macedonia and Achaia then to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem to Rome. All by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia – probably to tell them that Paul is on his way to visit.
vs 23-24 A silversmith is a craftsman who makes objects from silver or gold. Plates, bowls, goblets, vases, silverware, and jewelry are just some of the items made by a silversmith.
Diocletian was the Roman emperor in 284. He gave an edict that said a silversmith could charge up to 300 denarii for their work. To give you an idea: 1 denarii is equal to $20. So, 300 denarii would be $6000.
Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth and virginity.
The silversmiths made most of their money from selling shrines or idols of Artemis.
Demetrius, one of the more skilled and profitable silversmiths, was a good speaker. He knew how to use words to persuade people to take his side.
Demetrius accused Paul of persuading so many people with the gospel that it was starting to have an effect on his business. He was right. Paul did preach against idolatry. Also, people did come from all Asia and the world to Ephesus to worship Artemis.
Ephesus had a week long spring festival dedicated to Artemis.
Demetrius caused such an uproar that people flooded the theater. The theater could hold about 12,000 people and this is where all of the official city business went down.
vs 30-31 Paul was held back from entering the theater. He was the focus of the gathering. The disciples knew if Paul went into the theater something bad would happen.
Asiarchs are high ranking Roman imperials. Not even they would let Paul enter the theater.
vs 32-34 The assembly was in confusion because many people did not know why they met. They were just nosy and wanted to know what was going on.
They then took sides when the chant started. So, for two hours the crowd cried out.
Luke does not give us insight or background into who Alexander is. All we know is that he was not allowed to speak. Probably because he was Jewish and Jews were opposed to other gods. Exodus 20:3
vs 35-41 The town clerk was the head of the city, “mayor.” He was the go-between for Ephesus and the Romans. He calms the crowd and assures them the reputation of the city is safe.
Because the crowd was in danger of an illegal assembly, the clerk quickly turns the people to the courts. “Nothing more to see here.” He dismissed the assembly.
*What would it look like for the gospel to impact our community? Macon? Warner Robins? What would change? How would the economy, cities, churches, and people be affected?
20:1-6 – Paul leaves Ephesus for Macedonia. Macedonia – Greece – 3 months.
There is a plot against his life.
Paul sends his team ahead. Paul and Luke stayed around for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, left Phillipi and in five days their boat docked at Troas.
Here is the video from this sermon:
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Visit Pastor Steven Furtick at his web site www.stevenfurtick.com
This is part 2 in our series on the church.
In the NT, church can be used to define a group of believers at any level.
- House church – Romans 16:5, 1 Cor. 16:19
- The church in a city – 1 Cor. 1:2, 2 Cor. 1:1, 1 Thess. 1:1
- The church in a region – Acts 9:31
- The church in the entire world – Ephesians 5:25
The community of believers at any level can rightly be called a church.
Louie Giglio said, “The primary reason the local church exists is for the glory of God and to make his glory known throughout the universe.”
The local church exists for people. Matthew 5:14-16, Matthew 28:18-20, John 17:18, John 20:21
After you are filled by the preaching of the Word – we all scatter as missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission.
The local church exists for the city. Acts 17:26-27
The local church exists for believers. Upon salvation the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. The Holy Spirit then makes you a part of the Body of Christ, a community of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:41-47. This shows that God’s power is seen from miracles, signs and wonders, fellowship, sharing of one’s possessions and sacrificially giving.
- The church is a new temple built on the cornerstone of Christ. 1 Peter 2
- The church is the bride of Christ. Eph. 5
- The church is the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 12
- Christ is the head of the church. Eph. 4:15-16
The church is gospel centered. It’s all about Jesus! 1 Cor. 15:1-7
Mark Driscoll said, “The importance of the cross to the church is that apart from Jesus’ death on it in our place for our sins – the church does not exist and has no good news to tell.”
The pure preaching of the Word:
At FaithPoint, we are passionate about the preaching of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word and the preacher is the herald. Nothing else is more important. All other ministries and programs pale in comparison to the passionate proclamation of God’s Holy Word.
The church is led, guided, and unified by the Holy Spirit. The early church father Irenaesus said, “Where the church is, there the Spirit of God is and where the Spirit of God is, there is the church.”
Driscoll also came up with eight things that a church is characterized by. They are:
- Regenerated church membership
- Qualified leadership
- Preaching and worship
- Rightly administered sacraments
- Spirit unity
- The Great Commandment to love
- The Great Commission to evangelize and make disciples
The church is not a building. The church is not a denomination.