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Distinguishing Marks of an Authentic Ministry - Part 8

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • March 21, 2020
    12:45 PM
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Well this morning I want to ask the question what's your ministry perhaps you hold a church position maybe you work with children maybe you're a teacher maybe you get bible studies maybe music is your thing maybe you have the gift of hospitality and some people are just soda natural at being hospitable and other people they just don't see it but maybe that's your gift maybe you have the gift of health the gift of support if you will which is always very largely a gift that we need more of that we don't need more leaders we need more helpers right maybe you have the gift of attendance that's also vital nothing more frustrating than spending hours and hours and hours on something and nobody shows up maybe you are encourage or maybe you're one that takes food to people in times of crisis maybe you are a prayer warrior and you devour that list each and every week or daily and you're on that texting group that gets notifications throughout the day whatever it is any of you that have been involved in ministry for a good period of time know that ministry while on the outside we try and make it look flowery and nice and people come up and they give testimonies and sometimes we get tearful and we say Praise the Lord this is incredible but the day in the day out of the grind of ministry can be very tough not easy I still remember in my 1st district saying we need to have an advanced exteriorizing campaign and we tried to rally the church and we found this hall that we were going to rent and we secured our budget in the funds and how many nights and so on and so forth and did all the advertising and we had 3 people show up and I knew that do you typically maintain about 10 percent of those that show up on opening night so 10 percent of 3 is what who said 0 that's exactly what we had for night number 2 and 3 and 4 and onward do we continue this thing do we just stop our way we continued it all the way through we preach the truth we needed to hear it but me. History can be challenging at times I remember on another occasion having 2 people in my office in a shouting match with one another and as it escalated as they stood up and were shouting I was in between and I stood up and I was going to say we're not going to do this like this to which they simply pushed me back down into my chair continued to shout over top of one another and what was the topic of discussion who should be the next Elder of the church my goodness another place I was very 1st Sabbath arrived the head elder the patriarch of the church if you will started to interrogate me over potluck over why I felt called to ministry and saws trying to answer his questions but I could tell he certainly had an angle and everything I said about why I was called with no that's not it no that's not it no that's wrong I'm thinking wait a 2nd here and he continued on this path until finally he just concluded you're not called to ministry and he left I thought this is a good start to ministry by the time was all done by the time we parted ways we were good friends and there were tears in our parting but there was a little frustration at the front end let me tell you I remember at one place being appalled because during the children's story the woman was talking about fairy tales and unicorns and princesses and magic and then it finally concluded with happy ever after and I thought Oh Lord have mercy this is mystery there was another time my wife and I were out visiting Lauren was just a baby maybe about a year old and we went in one of these back hollers this is before g.p.s. is in smartphones and we're pretty sure when the right place but they just felt very eerie in this little hall or where we were and we found Yes this is the place and so we walked up to the door and she came to the door there's some details about that 1st introduction that I won't describe but we get inside and we're sitting there having a conversation with this lady and Lauren is just about the age where she can stand up at a coffee table and support herself and so she finds something that she's banging on. The coffee table and we're trying to engage with her and not be too distracted by our own child and various things until the woman says Oh excuse me and she gets up as she removes what Lauren is banging on the coffee table which happened to be a loaded handgun how we miss that little detail I don't know either but I shudder at the thought welcome to ministry and then there was a time I was attempting to connect with a friend's member they were kind of disenfranchised with the church as a husband of a gal who was pretty regular So I decided to try and connect with this guy and he was a big outdoorsman I think I can call me a redneck because I consider myself one of those as well haven't washed my truck in years except for when it rains anyway so we are he decides let's go on this 4 wheeler ride I'm thinking this is probably not the best judgment because I'm going to be on the back with him we don't need helmets no I really would be feel more come with helmets like get the helmet on and we're charging up this hill super steep and we hit a log and with his weight he's a big guy and then my weight hanging on for dear life the whole 4 wheeler just continues to come back when we hit this log and so we roll over a completely backwards with the 4 wheeler on top with him on top of me and I remember my whole neck coming forward I remember hearing I don't and I thought that's the last time I'm going to walk I've just been paralyzed Thankfully I did get up I did walk and after a few $1000.00 of p.t. later I was Ok they said I had I remember his 2nd or 3rd degree whiplash words or degrees for that I don't know but it was relatively severe welcome to ministry and then there are the death threats yes death threats the hateful e-mails the rumors and the backbiting and since I've always looked young back my 1st wedding fresh out of college was with a couple I just baptized him and she was already adding this lady had a bunch of 9 am this family members had never seen me before they said who's that preacher man that bear his mama just drop him off you know that's that's kind of been the norm since I always look young a lot of times when there is bad behavior or bad attitudes whatever it is they just justify themselves by saying well you're. Young and inexperience some truth to that I don't mind being young there are times I'm sure I'm inexperienced and in some parts of life that's a good thing just the other week I had somebody tell me that exact same thing while he also decorated his language with some very tourist choice words welcome to ministry you never know what you're going to get passed or can I meet with you this week can I ask what it's regarding sometimes I don't even want to tell you I'd rather wait and so you're left unknowing what they're going to present to you and it could be anything and it seems like it's just about been everything welcome to ministry and this isn't just pastoral ministry all ministry is tough you know it can be exhausting there could be periods of discouragement or frustration certainly criticism I didn't list that as the gift but some in the church feel like that's their spiritual gift is a simply criticize everyone else but they call themselves the watchman on the wall and I believe that's a biblical idea we need watchman on the wall but we can take that too far too and it just turns into criticism whatever you do it's wrong and I've been in talks with turkeys where no one wants to do anything because of the row of criticizers that simply criticize anything anybody tries or tends to do it becomes toxic welcome to ministry and then there's those times that you're wondering Is any of this even making any difference that's what the devil likes to whisper in your ear is it making any difference at all one of the churches I pastored I consistently preach to about 20 people that's a little bit awkward yeah most feel like he just gathered around the table for a Bible study and all of them were retired except for one vibrant young couple in their late fifty's and he still mountain bike and after 4 years and 2 of and 6 series our numbers remain the same you've been in churches like that and you find yourself pray Lord what can we do how can we improve the situation how can we reach this community how can we change the climate of this group of people welcome to ministry is really not for the faint of heart and I know I've been hearing from my experience I know all of you we could go around the. And you could share from yours maybe at lunch today you'll share some of your ministry stories I know one of the challenges of ministry is that there is very often or maybe we could say not very often results you go to work I remember you know in college and even in high school doing some construction My favorite was rough framing Bryce because you show up and you just have the solid flooring and by the end of the day the whole 1st floor the walls are up the next day you're doing the interior walls then you're putting on some floor of the next level I mean by the end of the week there wasn't a house here and now there's a house that feels good same with cutting the grass you cut the grass it looks shabby before when you're done that looks nice I did that but with ministry you find yourself exhausted wondering what on earth you even did and what difference did it may now I know and you know that ministry is not about me it's not about us right I know that we leave the results to God I know the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts the Hearts but I also know the devil tries to discourage and destroy ministry the great controversy is real and if you've been involved in ministry you know exactly what I mean the devil is very good at bringing strife within a team of volunteers he seeks to savage resources be it time or money to cause a host of challenges to crop up and then he plants the seed of doubt doesn't he what are you wasting your time for are they really worth it or even making a difference and does anybody really care I mean when they do the same for you perhaps that's why burnout among ministry leaders can be so high 75 percent of pastors report being extremely stressed or highly stressed 90 percent of pastors work between 55 to 75 hours per week 75 hours that's 10 and a half hours a day 7 days a week 90 percent feel fatigued and worn out every week in fact we had a pastor in our area who is in the hospital with serious heart issues just recently and I spoke to them and it was stress related you know 80 percent believe that pastoral ministry. Has negatively affected their families 33 percent said it was an outright hazard 80 percent of ministry spouses feel left out and unappreciated in their church 77 percent feel they do not have a good marriage 70 percent do have some do not have someone they consider a close friend 44 percent of passage and not take a regular day off I mean the list just goes on and on all of these being the contributing factors to why on average seminary trained pastors think of the time the energy the resources put into seminary train passes not within the on the system alone but across the board only 5 years in church ministry is how long that most of them will last 80 percent will not be in ministry 10 years later and I can apply that to my own class and I can look through in fact I have 3 people in my the ology classes and they graduate in same time out of those 3 only one is still in ministry for various reasons I can go down through the list of others and I have a hard time finding yet another and so we're continuing our series now and as we look at Paul we see that he faced enormous challenges and the question I want to pose is how did he face those challenges how did he handle them what advice would he give to all of us here in ministry of some come past city what words of encouragement would he have for us what enabled him to go the distance Well I think at the core Paul had 3 things underline a clear sense of his personal identity who I am in Jesus Christ that is so vital and is so important who are you are you a child of the king personal identity Secondly I believe Paul had a strong sense of mission and thirdly he had a deep sense of purpose and we're going to unpack those a little bit more this individual a Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl he said we who lived in concentration camps can remember the man who walked through the huts comforting others giving away their last pieces of bread they may have been few in number but they offered sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing the last of. Is freedom's is to choose his own what attitude in any given set of circumstances I may be here in this concentration camp but that doesn't change my identity that doesn't change my mission and it doesn't change my purpose I have control by God's grace of my attitude and how I'm going to handle different situations and so I'm going to minister where God has placed me in this concentration camps incredible every day we choose the attitude that will ultimately guide our thoughts and actions and I'm convinced that the best attitudes emerge out of a clear understanding of our identity in Christ a clear sense of divine mission and a deep sense of God's purpose in our lives continuing our series and Paul day we're going to look at some highlights of Paul's 1st missionary journey and we're going to skip around a fair bit but we're going to stay in Acts Chapter 13 and Chapter 14 we're not going to study everything and you can go this afternoon and you can read those chapters in its entirety that would be probably a great thing to do but this morning I want to see what can we learn from Paul as he enters into really full time ministry How do you approach various challenges and times of persecution so if you have a Bible turn with me to Acts chapter 13 and again in verse one of Acts Chapter 13 where we left off last time I'll be reading from the New King James Version Acts Chapter 13 beginning verse one now in the church that was Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers Barnabas Simeon who was called Niger Lucy is of siring Manning or a man a man and who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch and Saul and as a minister to the Lord and fasted the Holy Spirit said Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them verse 3 that having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them they sent them away spirit of prophecy refers to this as when they were ordained by the church to the gospel ministry right there next to the Apostles they have been ministering for a considerable amount of time they've been serving together and he. Doc for over a year God's been working in profound ways but now the church is formally recognizing them and giving them full ecclesiastical authority to preach the truth to baptize to organize churches and so we continue on verse 4 so being sent out by the Holy Spirit they went down to Salusa and from there they sailed to Cyprus and when they arrived in Solomon's they preach the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews they also had John as their assistant and so if we have this map here on the screen there starting out here in Antioch with the blue line and you see Solomon this and then pass both and then they go over to purdah and onward and then they turn around a derby and come back we may not hit every point on the map today but notice what they did the 1st thing as Salim is in verse 5 it says and when they arrive they preached the Word of God Notice it doesn't say they preach their own opinions it doesn't say they preach the latest fad or the latest authors the latest bestsellers they preached the word they didn't preach some mixture of the desert fathers with some New Age theology that brought in crowds and got people excited No they preached the word this is the 1st of 15 times in chapter 13 and 14 which are his 1st missionary journey 15 times and there is reference to either God's Word or the word of truth or the teaching of the Lord or the law and the prophets or the good news basically talking about delivering the were 15 times and so we're looking for distinguishing marks of an authentic ministry 1st and foremost it needs to be it must be saturated with the Word of God and I believe Paul was grounded in the Word of God that was his anchor that was at the core it was in God's word that he found his identity his purpose his mission and through the word God prepared him I believe for every challenge what challenge you going to face today you don't know but God does and he wants to give you something in his word to strengthen you for the check. Islands You know Pastor I just read today and then this thing happened is that just coincidence did the Holy Spirit set that up so my 1st question a basic question could it be in the business of life the business of summer the changes of schedule a new job whatever it might be could it be that you've grown soft in the study of God's word I've heard it I know the truth I've been through so many sets of Bibles that I get that but what does God have for you for the challenge for today maybe it's been a long time maybe it's been a few weeks maybe it's been a few months whatever it is has your time in the scripture Wayne because if it has everything else in your life will be impacted your own sense of identity will be lost there will be a loss of a sense of mission you'll begin questioning your own purpose your relationship with God your ministry your closest relationships will all begin to drift and sin will not seem so simple selfishness so easily takes over and you start to rationalize every thought and every action and every deed so this isn't just a characteristic of authentic ministry this is truly the foundation of all life the study of the Scriptures must be our foundation because it is there that we hear the voice of God speaking to us I mean it's nice to have a devotional book or whatever but it's kind of already preached to to Few will somebody has already worked it over a little bit and that has its place and that's Ok but to saturate your mind directly with God's word something very powerful about that spending a thoughtful hour I can do that will start with a thoughtful 20 minutes if you do that consistently you're going to crave more so fine by me just be consistent but I know for me when I spend a thoughtful hour things change perspectives change attitudes change responses change when I don't they still changes just not for the better maybe you're similar I love the sign of the times quotation I shared a prayer mean a few weeks ago written April 4th 1906 there she writes the Bible is God's voice speaking to us think about that let that sink in a little bit the Bible is guy. Voice speaking to us just as surely if we could hear it with our own ears if we realize this if you realize this if I realized this with what all we would open God's word and with what earnestness we who has served its precepts the reading contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the infinite one I mean this is amazing this is incredible I'm always amazed at how back in Abraham Lincoln's time or whatever he wanted to meet at the present you'd walk in and there might be somebody there saying you know he's busy right now or he can't see you but for the most part of you were really you know I got to see this guy you just walk right in to the White House to talk to whoever you need to talk to any talk of the President try that today how would you go about it who would you talk to who would you have to know to get an audience and even if you're a mover and shaker you have to negotiate for 5 minutes I need just 5 minutes with the president here I can't get to that today I can get you that next week but if you get it you better believe you're going to be there but here we have audience with the Infinite One of the universe and is God's voice speaking to us through His word and if we realize that how much more we long and look forward to hearing the voice of God so distinguishing marks an authentic ministry Well one saturated with the Word of God to an emphasis on the everlasting Gospel skip with me if you will I told you were kind of skipping around these 2 chapters a little bit this is in a sermon that Paul gives and you can read the whole thing this afternoon but we're still in chapter 13 versus 38 and 39 and he says Therefore let it be known to you brother and that through this man is preached to you talking about Jesus the forgiveness of sand and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things to which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses and I grant a lot of points out our sin but I cannot save me from my sins and so Paul is introducing to them the grace of Jesus Christ that justifies this through His shed blood and when we. We should be condemned and we should be dead in our own trespasses the grace of God saves us from where we are and so Paul is preaching grace we see it again in verses 43 and 44 now in the congregation the broken out many of the Jews in devout proselytize followed Paul and Barnabas who's speaking to them persuade them to continue the grace of God tell us more about this grace we're hungry about this grace continue move and so verse $44.00 on the next Sabbath almost a whole city came together to hear the Word of God There it is again not to hear his opinions but to hear from the word tells about the grace he's gone down through the history he's shown why Jesus is not just another man why Grace can now say them and they say we never heard a thing like this before come back next Sabbath and tell us more about it and almost a whole town shows up why because people are hungry for the word they're hungry for God's grace in this graceless world in which we live chapter 14 verse 3 therefore they stay there a long time speaking boldly in the name Lord who is very in witness to the word of His grace there it is the word and there it is again the grace of God the salvation message if you will and why does it say Paul was speaking boldly because it was not a popular method among the Jews which we're going to see and just as the last don't often understand the gospel the say Verily I understand grace and it's not just cheap grace that I can do whatever I want and still be saved rather it's God's grace to will and to do according to His good pleasure it is God's grace for Partin but it's also his grace for power to overcome and it's God's grace all the way through oh you think we need to overcome Well that's legal no is not is still God's grace that allows me to overcome Why do I want to serve God that leads me in my junk we don't try to overcome to be saved by God's grace we overcome because we are saying in case we've forgotten Let's turn leave your finger there will come back to feet in chapter $210.00 these are great verses packs we're going. Just do a speed read through but powerful This is the same author This is the message of grace that Paul preached this is just a different audience where defeat is chapter 2 beginning verse one and you he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked according to the course of this world according to the spirit of the power of the air the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh within desires of the flesh and of the mind and we were by nature children of wrath just as the others will read this down too much be talking about Jews and Gentiles alike but God who is rich and mercy because of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved verse 6 and raised as up together and made as sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of His grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus and in the verse we all know verse 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves is the gift of God Not of works lest anyone should boast but don't leave out verse 10 for we are His workmanship his art work if you will created He's the creator God created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them was the big deal about wanting to be like Christ isn't he our example so the good works aren't the root there's a fruit and this message that Paul was preaching that Barnabas was preaching turn the whole city of Antioch which is not the same Antioch here in this passage it's Antioch to city a which is further away but it turned this whole place upside down almost the whole town comes out not to hear some clever antic dotes or to be interchange I'm sure they were all about entertainment and who goes to church for entertainment do you know they've come to hear the Word of God to hear about a grace of God that is so gripped them and convinced. Them and has changed them we can't compete with the entertainment industry before the entertainment industry cannot compete with what we have and friends today the world's no different oh the world is different today you know it's a bad place it was in there at that time too there's nothing new under the sun all we have stuff on our phones today well they have stuff alive back then all over the place but the grace of God brought to the power of the Holy Spirit to the proclamation of his word changes people and that's what Paul was about people are need I believe today of that same everlasting gospel that the wages of sin is death that I'm guilty in deserve to die but that God in His mercy has provided for me a way of escape that through Christ I can receive pardon from my stand as well as power to overcome and they're both by grace that's the everlasting gospel that the world needs to hear right there in the 3 angels messages Revelation 14 then I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation tribe tongue and people this is not exclusive This is inclusive this is for everyone and it's eternal gospel it doesn't change and it says Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment has come friends fear God respect him put him 1st in your life allow his blood to cover and to forgive you give glory to Him friends whether you eat or drink or whatever you do do all to the glory of God Your body is the temple of God What you do what you don't do how I live how I don't live all has to do with this message for the hour of his judgment has come these are solemn times things are happening Jesus in are seeing for is now in the most holy places the sanctuary with his own blood Jesus is soon to come. So the church and worship Him who made heaven and earth the sea in the springs of water worship Him who is the creator of the 7th day sabbath the memorial of creation that gives him the reason and the right to ask us to worship because we are in His image created in His image verse a nice and another angel followed saying Babylon is fallen is fallen. That great city because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the rather fornication and so the 2nd angel is a result of those rejecting the 1st angels message they've been intoxicated with false doctrine they have placed reason above faith they have worshiped when and how they choose and the 2nd angel reminds us that Babyland is fallen and then a 3rd angel followed them saying with a loud voice of anyone who worships the beast in his image and receive his mark on his forehead or on his hand he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God We talked about this just this spring the wrath of God is simply the 7 last plagues the judgments upon the earth were God vindicates his people but all the assurances that the world has given for safety and for security is not in the world it's in Christ and so as the world starts to break down as all these promises they cannot fulfill start to come to pass it is shown that God's people are secure in Christ their safe in Christ they are provided for in Christ but the world and their promises come to nothing and it says the group that rejects Christ the verse goes on to say they have no rest day or night it's a miserable place to be I can't sleep I can't function I can't focus this thing is all consuming I can't figure it out I don't know what's going on I don't know how I'm going to solve it no rest and that is contrast it with here is the patience of the saints here those who keep the commandments of God in the faith of Jesus they're committed to Christ they're patiently trusting in Jesus they're resting in his salvation every Sabbath they're resting I mean Sabbath is not a Works thing it's resting in the saving grace and provision of Jesus and folks this is current this is relevant this is the message that God has given this denomination this last day remnant church which at its core speaks of our identity and our mission and our purpose and I see too many avenues churches and institutions floundering and why because I believe they've lost this divine identity they have lost sight of their mission and they have watered down their purpose and they've become to look like every other Protestant denomination we want to be like everybody else God didn't read. Eases up to be like everybody else do we have things in common absolutely Are they big things yes they are then let's connect on those points but let's not in the same time get rid of our distinctive That's why God raised us up I mean Paul he had a distinctive message in each Do you agree with a bunch of the stuff in the Old Testament Absolutely he did and so he made that case but then he showed Jesus better come back here in December damn even take a drink of water so he saturated with the Word of God authentic ministry emphasis is on the everlasting Gospel Now granted there's things that we need to do to have that opportunity to give the everlasting Gospel right we need to sow seeds and and even prepare the soil before we sow seeds how we prepare the soil and that's allowed this lesson is about helping those that are in need those are great things to do but we can do that all day long and if we never saw a seed we're never going to have a harvest when you do and I'm still preparing the soil you've killed it $47.00 times I know it's not ready yet got a word for than the South you're just scared so a seed allow the Lord to water it will be in charge of results so the 3rd thing that we see from Paul materie actions to challenge is when Paul needed to be firm he stepped up he could also be kind and gracious but he was going to get railroaded check out the story we're still in Acts Chapter 13 now we're going back to verse 6 that's kind of where we left it before they were in their acts their team or 6 now when they had gone through the island of Patmos they found a certain source or a false prophet a Jew's name was Bar Jesus Bar means son of his kind self the son of Jesus pretty in your face if you will fall to profit verse 7 he was with the pro Council Sergius policy was a pro council Well it's a ruler of a Roman province under the control of the Roman Senate so you might say he's a governor or something of similar level if you will so this guy even says in the verse here he's an intelligent man and this man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear what the Word of God There is again not his opinions not and don't think word of God as though this governor if you will is calling for these to come I want to hear what you're preaching about and now this false prophet is coming up to resist. And it says in verse 8 but really miss the Sorcerer for his name is translated so we're still talking about the same guy bar Jesus illness withstood them seeking to turn the pro Council away from the faith so salsas I'm sorry I don't want to offend anybody will just move on to says then Saul who also is called Pole there's that quick little transition just like that were done then saw who is called Paul filled with the Holy Spirit looked intently at him and said I'm as he looks him in the I o. full of all deceit and all fraud you son of the devil an enemy of all righteousness will you not cease perverting the strait ways of the Lord and now indeed the hand of the Lord is upon you and you shall be blind not seeing the sun for a time and immediately a dark mist fell on him and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand that's a little humbling then the pro counsel believed when he saw what had been done and being a stun ish you'd expected to say at this incredible marriage or whatever he saw what was done it got his attention but he was astonished at what the teaching of the law even with all this other stuff going on in this miraculous thing that's just taken place is the Word of God that is Thomas' him and he's like This is incredible the truth is incredible you know Paul didn't back down from a challenge and this was not a time to be tolerant or passive friends we live in a time when tolerance is king you can see it on the news just about every night yes we want to love everybody Jesus loves everybody but that in no way means that we shrink away from standing up for the truth of God's Word notice in this little few phrases that we get from Paul I mean extremely straightforward but notice Paul is not about himself in these verses here at all what is he about he's about defending righteousness and folks when it comes to defending righteousness don't back down when you have somebody in your sights and they are hungry for the word and they're there listening they've asked for you to come and somebody comes to try and Sideswipe this interest you not back to. But like Paul stand up and stand out and defend God's word and call them out by looking them in the eye this is not Ok I'm not going to stand for this you are pervert ing right just as and I'm going to call you out and God works in a mighty way I don't imagine you're going to memorize these verses and say the same thing to your coworker Ofo of all deceit and all fraud you son of the devil but I am asking you what opportunities you have to confront enemies of truth and there's lots of them and how is God calling you to speak out for truth granted we don't want to be harsh we don't want to be offensive but we don't want to be timid either and so where does it start it starts by saturating ourselves with the Word of God Many time in His Word in time in prayer as to when the moment comes we can pray Lord is this the time I'm not asking to go around point everybody stands and faults but there are opportunities that you have and I have to stand up for truth in a way that's not harsh it's not offensive but it's not timid and people know right where you stand you know I've seen a lot of the summer people on road trips and traveling and they're at this national park or they're up in Maine or they're out west or wherever they are Facebook is uncanny in the way that you can tell the timeline really of when the pictures were taken and this is where we were today and all this kind of stuff so it becomes very obvious many times to me as I'm watching that people that should know better now there's a whole group of people that don't know better and they get a pass Ok but people that I know should know better are going out to eat on set in this beautiful place latest enjoyed going down this river on this hike and now they're eating ice cream and I'm thinking like 3 o'clock in the afternoon they should know better well it was just a fun outing we've made the whole day about our own amusement apparently what about in the 10 Commandments it says Remember the Sabbath day to keep it how holy says the holiday this is a Holy Day Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy 6 days shall labor and do all that work but the 7th day is a stab of the Lord your God and in case you're confused it goes on now shall not do any work that out or your son or your daughter or your manservant know your maid servant or your cattle or your stranger. So I sit down the restaurant a stranger comes over to me whether it's a male or female what do they call I'm a server and they're serving me somebody got up early to cook this debate that to do whatever I'm paying them for this service like and have a nice happy sad business and the commandment that began with remember his own people are for good people that should know better now again there are some that don't and they get a pass but those that know better and I like to think that we know better you know I know the whole all the excuse Well we're traveling and it's highly inconvenient no 100 years ago when you're traveling is highly inconvenient but they still made arrangements didn't they still planned ahead where this 7 day come from and just say I'm no you know it's come in every single week you know when it's going to be here and I realize it can we need to sit down have someone wait on you but I also realize it's not that inconvenient to slip into a grocery store there's thousands of them case you haven't noticed get a few things for 7 if you're on the road they even sell for your convenience little styrofoam coolers or you can purchase things that don't require coolers and you can make your nice little picnic and you can plan and say we're going to go over this little quiet spot or over here over there and we're going to enjoy our meal I don't understand and I wonder if there's opportunities I wonder of I have opportunities that I just let slip away not to stand up because some ways offended me stand up for truth and I don't have to call the person names I don't have to call him out on Facebook has to a hypocrite brings all the world and they back and reach out to them saying I am a little bit concerned I'm not perfect and the Lord still working on my heart but I know I've seen a lot of people that just one by one they start to let various things slip and various things go and I'm concerned how are you doing maybe don't worry so much even about the Sabbath if you How are you doing because it's probably an outgrowth of a heart condition so leave the outgrowth alone and try and see if God will allow you to deal with the heart condition how are you doing spiritually the Lord can deal with the Sabbath thing or maybe the Lord's asking to do something different I don't know you pray about it do. You stand up for a right to sniff do we stand up for God's Word or have we just gone into this tolerance passive mind my own business I don't see that with Paul still here on mature reactions to challenges we have also with another defected Paul Prestone Have you notice that this is in verse 13 now when Paul and his party set sail for path most they came to pergola and Pam feel Yes And John this is John Mark departed from them and returned to Jerusalem and so they're on this trip they're just leaving the sirens that is long trip to perk of there and right there per good job Mark decided this is too difficult this is too challenging we don't fully know why he returns home if he had a valid reason we imagine it would tell us and we know later that Paul is little frustrated that he has defected so for whatever reason John says I've had enough he gets another ticket and travels all the way back down here to Jerusalem because say a lot about this but folks in ministry people will leave people will depart people will leave you feeling unsupported and as if you're all alone and by yourself Jesus knows how that fell John 660 we're told that not just a few it says a mini disciples deserted Jesus speaking of the 71 the marks of maturity is the ability to press ahead regardless of who walks off the scene how they turned back with John or given up they would have missed some remarkable opportunities the Lord had prepared for them like the one right on the heels to this which is where Paul responds to unexpected opportunities to preach that's another mature reaction to a challenge so they go to the synagogue and says we can read it here right after John departs but when they departed from her they came to Antioch the city and they went into the Senate to act on stab a day and sat down and after reading of the law on the profits as God's Word the rulers of the synagogue sent them to them saying Man and brethren talking about Paul and Barnabas if you have any word of exploitation for the people say off because it oh I'm not prepared I don't have anything not Paul you offer him the microphone he's got a few things to share Paul was ready in season and out of season why because he. Saturated with the Word of God He was thick with the Almighty and rather make excuses I imagine he says a little breath prayer Lord help me help me to say would you I mean to say this audience today and he starts to preach he stands up this incredible I've heard it said we need to be ready to preach to pray or die at any moment to preach to pray or die is there a time at work someone asked the question and lays out this golden opportunity to share your testimony how do you respond that can be as simple as I know for me when I face difficult challenges I cling to God's word and my favorite passages and maybe that's the verse you just read again this morning in your quiet time with God not knowing what you would face another mature reaction to challenges Paul's response to open rejection let's read verse 42 because the message wasn't really well received by some says so when the Jews went out of the synagogue the Gentiles beg that his words might be preached the next Sabbath he read that already now when the congregation is broken up many of the Jews and devout prostitutes followed Paul and Barnabas who's speaking to them persuade them to continue the grace of God continue in verse 44 on the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the Word of God verse 45 but when the Jews saw the multitude they were filled with envy your translation might say with jealousy and contradicting and blaspheming they oppose the things spoken by Paul he's wrong is not this it's this don't listen to this guy he's a heretic then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said it was necessary that the Word of God to be spoken to you 1st but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life the whole we turn to the gentiles when opposed Paul does not back down an inch but continues on he doesn't say you hurt my feelings that wasn't very nice you need to apologize he doesn't cry in a corner but he's bold because he knows his identity in Christ he knows his mission and he knows his purpose so he's up here and Antioch into city a right up there kind of in the middle when he's driven out from there and he goes to Ike Oni and there matters don't get much. Better rather they get worse we read here in chapter 14 verse 19 and 20 says then Jews from Antioch that's Antioch to city a echo ne em came there and having persuaded the multitude What does it say they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing him to be dead did you get the hint this time Paul you ain't welcome in these parts you couldn't take a hint you just went one town over and started preaching don't mess with us verse 20 However when the disciples gathered around him Paul he rose up and went into the city pretty brash they try to stone me I'm going back in the ground he doesn't stay there the next day they depart and so on but here we see a side of Paul that he's not going to back down do with me what you will continue to work for the Lord according to what he's called me and my identity my mission and my purpose he's keeping his eyes on Jesus and not to those around him and I like I doesn't get defensive and respond to personal slights but friends if your ministry is to please others you'll consistently be looking for approval and for affirmation the praise of people how did I do to do a good job how is that is that Ok that means that when a critique comes it will send you into a tailspin I failed I was awful I did terrible job somebody was upset but if your ministry is for God his opinion the one that matters at the end of the day whether you are praised or applauded or rejected and abused doesn't matter it wasn't human opinion that called you to this ministry in the 1st place another one of my favorite quotes desire of Ages 330 continues to challenge me it says in the heart of Christ where rain perfect harmony with God there was perfect peace that sounds beautiful and then this part he was never at lated by applause nor dejected by censure or disappointment amid the greatest opposition the most cruel treatment he was still a good courage why because the multitude not determine his worth his value his identity his mission or his purpose and so he didn't get a big head when everybody clapped and said Jesus you're amazed. Saying he didn't get discouraged when people said Jesus crucify Him His eyes were on his heavenly father he was in harmony with him and he was in perfect peace incredible to me and every time I'm not in perfect peace it's a little wake up call how come you're worried about what they think aren't you Dave last when we got to go authentic ministry gives all glory to God is 1st missionary journey he was gone for 2 years or so traveled over 1200 miles an abbey he didn't have a bicycle I don't think had countless stories to share but notice how this journey ends in chapter 14 versus 2527 I've included 25 just to give you a picture of what he still doing now when they had preached the word same things and where this time in purpose they went down to a Tilia and from there they failed to Antioch this is where they started this time says where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed and it doesn't verse $27.00 now when they had come and gathered the church together they reported and what did they report all that God had done with them but let's be clear this is what God has done and that he capital h. had open the door of faith to the Gentiles all goal and ministry give glory to God and all that Paul did the glory went to God Fear God and give glory to Ham was his motto Paul didn't give any self-serving interviews he didn't talk about all he had accomplished he simply share let me tell you what God's done and how he has opened the door of faith to the Gentiles so ministry leaders teachers caretakers business men and business women carpenters students retiree's 1st and foremost are you saturated with the Word of God Secondly are there ways you could more fully emphasize the everlasting Gospel how could we incorporate that better than what we do Thirdly how my reactions to challenges are they mature Do they glorify God we're trying to defend self and lastly when there is a success to be made or to be spoken of who gets the glory because the reality is Ministry can be hard in fact we know it will be G.'s him self that in this world you will have trouble welcome to ministry but how does the verse in the. Good cheer for I have overcome the world we can say Be of good cheer because I have the last word I am in charge of this planet you just do what I tell you to do that God called you to it will bring you through it so keep your eyes on him the author and the finisher of our faith however difficult keep looking under Jesus Matthew thank you for reading Romans Chapter 12 verse one I had the seat you therefore brother in by the mercies of God If you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy acceptable to God when I look at the life of Paul that's exactly what he did my life is hitting Christ I'm going to go where you ask me to go I'm going to do what you ask me to do I don't care what the response is I don't care what the feedback is I don't care what the anger level is I'm going to go about your errands I'm going to trust you in all things he gave himself up for the one who gave all for him so I challenge you I challenge me saturate yourself in the Word of God find your divine identity and mission and purpose in God's word boldly proclaim the everlasting Gospel respond to challenges with maturity and give God all the glory honor and praise let us pray in your Heavenly Father we want to go forth. We want you to be. When that carry this to the power of your voice. We want to be saturated in your words. We want you to give us. Your glory. Media with you by are you a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like about. If you would like more service leave w w w audio 1st stop or.


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