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Never Give Up - Part 18

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • April 4, 2020
    11:00 AM
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Well have you noticed that in the news in the various outlets there's a bit of a blame game going on of where this coronavirus started how it came to be whose fault that it is as if any of that at this point in time truly matters Here's one from The New Yorker from bat to human lungs the evolution of a coronavirus another one here a senator says China to blame for Corona virus because people eat bats and you've heard a little bit about that and so the blame is that if if that wasn't the case that people would follow what God says in His word about diet restrictions and so forth it wouldn't be in this mess and and there certainly very well may be some truth to all of that I don't honestly know if that's where it started but that's certainly one of the theories Here's another headline from Business Insider both a new coronavirus and SARS outbreak likely started in Chinese wet markets photos show what the markets look like and maybe you've walked in places similar to that in other countries around the world and thought My goodness how does this meat stay. In a suitable state for consumption and so on I imagine we'd be a little bit appalled if we knew about all the meat industry in this own in this country of our own but that is for some what is to be blamed this is when the b.b.c. coronavirus pangolin Ziff I'm saying that right found to carry related strains so is this little creature to be blamed I don't know the Guardian is saying this is factory farming to blame for Corona virus another one the trail leading back to haunt labs is this thing been created and put together in a lab somewhere simply made to harm people but it got a little out of control and here we are well that theory is certainly floating around this is the center saying corona virus spread because of the Chinese Communist Party's ineptitude and deceptions and you have some of those types of stories going here and it isn't. Peace Corps c.n.n. this is which is no friend of Donald Trump Trump stumbles in 1st efforts to control virus response as fear spreads and markets fall I mean certainly this is all Donald Trump's fault and then some were pointing to those spring breakers especially those down in Florida but other places if I get Corona I get Corona corona virus pandemic doesn't slow spring breakers party and so many seniors were pointing to these groups in these masses on the beach saying they're not being respectful to what's happening they don't care about us and so on and so forth another pointing finger at somebody else here's another one commander of confusion trumps sos uncertainty and seeks to cast it blames in Corona virus crisis again somebody taking a shot and there's plenty of this to go around Penn seeks to blame c.d.c. in China for any delay in u.s. coronavirus response not Trump's initial failure to face reality and of course this is c.n.n. again but my point is simply this it's easy to pass blame to point the finger to try and pass the buck if you will trump tells great success as us become the world's worst virus epicenter Ok you can say that but what would it be had we not done anything you know all these things are in the realm of the what if and how do we truly know but it seems to be one thing is very easy for us to do and that's the point the finger at somebody else whose fault is it who do we need to bring to justice. And it seems like several people have targets on their backs if you will have you ever had a target on your back it's not a fun place to be Have you ever been the scapegoat to somebody else's challenge and trial Well we feel the situation was mishandled and rather than figure out the who and the was and all the details we're just going to let you go or he is the reason our marriage failed they are the ones that should have seen this coming she could have been more proactive The teacher didn't handle things right the parent is the real problem the son was in my eyes I mean there's all numbers of things we can we can blame Well I didn't get enough sleep last night nobody ever told me I wasn't aware and so we can blame and blame and blame sometimes we call it the blame game is this a fun game to enter into are there winners in the blame game. Blame mean really is the fine art of making others responsible for all the difficult things that are happening to us is something our modern society society seems to support as perfectly acceptable reality t.v. shows force feed us scenes of one character blaming another character newspapers are awash with stories about how all of society's problems are to be blamed on politicians and terrorists and there's nothing that we can do all to mentally blame mean means I don't have to be held accountable and allows one to still feel that they are in control but really it's a way of unloading repressed pain and frustration and told in a way that protects one's ego Yes that's the blame game however when we blame everyone and everything else we have void personal growth and accountability for our actions we become powerless to all the conditions around us that cause failure we fail to become empathetic to the needs of others and instead become narcissistic and heavy blamers sacrifice close and meaningful relationships I mean isn't that true someone is constantly blaming somebody else anybody else never taking credit for any wrong thing that's ever done that can be hard to be around well today we're continuing our series on Paul and you may wonder why Paul at a time like this but I think today it fits more or less as we see a time when an entire city begins to riot over Paul and his influence and it's really centered or hinges on the local economy of that place and so I'm title in this message. For give up never give up I did a little research this week I've heard for a long time that the Prime Minister Winston Churchill who had a graduation stood up and all he said was never give up never give up never give up. That's not all he said a story says that's all he said he said down that was part of what he said in that paragraph of what he said and somehow and you can go back and google explain it all to you and some of the articles that pulls up but somehow it's been spun that that was all that he ever said but the point is still made that that is a very important line that maybe could be all that one might need to get through and I would dispute that you need more than a tagline to get through challenges but giving up versus not giving up sticking with it versus letting something go Granted there is times that we should let something go but there are certainly times when we should never ever give up it's been several weeks ago now but last time we looked in our series of Paul Paul was on his 3rd missionary journey and he was in f. asis and we had talked about last time how the word f. assists means desirable and at that time it was thought of as one of the greatest cities in all of Asia it was a thriving port city on the only major east west road system in the area we talked about the population being about 152250000 the stadium there sat 15225000 you multiply that by 10 which is oftentimes done in ancient cities and that gives you the population there are large mansions I had mentioned on the hillside they had a heated floors how many of you have heated floors some of you might with hot water pipes running through the floors and walls and some of those homes were well over 10000 square feet even 20000 square feet so we're talking about palatial States if you will here in emphasis and in Acts Chapter 19 we saw a back and forth between demonic forces and the power of God and by the end of the story in fact if you have your Bibles are. Our story comes from Acts Chapter 19 again but if you have your bibles by the end of the story in verse 17 it says fear fell on them all and the Lord was magnified verse 18 that people were confessing verse 19 they were bringing their Books of Magic and burning them in the sight of all and they gave evidence of true conversion the things they once loved they now hoard and it was a great loss to themselves we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars they didn't sell or give away these books know they burned them so they wouldn't trip somebody else up when we look at this quotation last time from Acts of the Apostles page 288 and except in Christianity some of the believers had not fully renounced their superstitions to some extent they still continued the practice of magic and so last time I asked which of you are still dabbling in something in the world that you need to renounce what is it that you need to burn either literally or symbolically how are we still connected even in some small way with something worldly that God says this is not best for you you need to let it go and I had a call and many people came forward myself included and here today in the midst of the coronavirus how much more the need for us to wake up to see our true condition to not pass blame but to confess our sin confess our worldliness to confess our need of Jesus what better time than right now I thought of this quotation many times in the last several weeks last events page 28 God has a purpose in permitting these calamities to occur they are one of his means of calling men and women to their senses. God saying Wake up wake up birth pains are a way of telling the mother wake up something big is about to happen was going to happen this very instant Well it depends the birth pains get closer and closer together as they get larger and larger if you will more and more painful all of these things are wake up call let's go something's about to happen we need to prepare we need to get ready is everything in the car Ok let's go God has a purpose in permitting these calamities to occur and so now we're continuing on Acts Chapter 20 Well this is where we in the last times of the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed and that's where we concluded praise the Lord in that secular place in that secular environment with elements even within the church of worldliness and dabbling with spiritual things they bring their books they have a huge bonfire and the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed praise the Lord for revivals but as we're about to see that truly is not the end of the story but just the beginning of today's story picking it up in verse 23 we read where Next Chapter 19 verse 23 and about that time there rose a great commotion about the way that Paul was preaching about for a certain man named Demetrius a silversmith who made silver shrines of Diana brought no small profit to the craftsman and I showed you this picture last on the Temple of Diana the Romans referred to it as Diana of the goddess of fertility the Greeks called it this very same temple the God of Artemis is the same temple but this attracted people from all around. It was thought of as one of the 7 Wonders of the ancient world built of solid marble lined with gold so it wasn't just the structure itself but it was easy the articulate the particular way in which it was all put together and all the details and materials that they used 425 feet long 225 feet wide 60 feet high having a 127 columns I imagine when the sun shone on this temple at the right time it was a sight to behold one upon it in all of the detail is inscribed symbolic characters which are believed to present great power when they were really the dark side and so that's all these Books of Magic were trying to help them understand what all this means over here what that means over there but in May they would have these yearly festivals people from all over Asia and the world would descend upon fs and thousands of statues of the Goddess were made and sold and each year there was a huge celebration of music and dancing and drama and the Temple was a great if not the greatest source of the city's wealth everything revolved around this worship and paying homage to this deity and so when Paul comes to town and he's preaching a message that is undercutting not just their religion but really will see here the bigger issue for Demetrius is his profit margins and so as we continue reverse $25.00 he called them together with the workers of similar occupation and said man you know that we have our prosperity by this trade that's his lead phrase. This is the problem he's cutting into our profits people are not buying as much as they used to and it's not just because Paul is known an emphasis he's beginning to be known around the world and he's a problem he's cutting into my pocketbook how about yours. Something needs to be done verse 26 Moreover you see and hear the not only emphasis but throughout almost all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people saying that they're not gods which are made with hands so not only is this trait of ours in danger of falling in disrepute that's the really reason but also the temple of the great goddess Diana maybe despised and in her magnificence destroyed whom all Asia in the world worship not only am I not getting the prophets I used to but let's catch this in the fact that we're really trying to protect the goddess Diana the history that were founded upon our roots our heritage our lifestyle but the big reason is our pocket book and so like a virus to blame for the economic downturn is spread you know I've thought also how challenging this Corona virus is in the isolation and various things and you do have to be careful and if you're not being careful there is a certain amount of blame I suppose that could be assigned to you for not being careful but ultimately we know in Scripture and in prophecy a time will come when something similar to this may happen but the blame will be squarely situated on God's people how would this all feel if every article I just shared from every news outlet was pointing to but maybe I shouldn't go there maybe that's meddling So we go on verse $28.00. Now when they heard this they were full of wrath and cried out saying Great is Diana of the Ephesians So the whole city was filled with confusion and rushed into the theater with one accord having sees sees a guy a us and our wrists are a terrorists excuse me Macedonians Paul's travel companions in fact are a terrorist was Paul served time with this individual and they travel together why do they capture them and not Paul was because they can't find Paul they don't know where Paul is if they could find Paul they certainly would have grabbed him brought him to the theater he's the one that they want but as a token if you will we're going to grab these others and individuals and so we see this mob mentality only heightening as I'm sure there is a manhunt underway to find Paul and verse 3 and when Paul wanted to go into the people the disciples would not allow him they held him back I mean Paul's not a coward he doesn't want somebody else pain for his own things that he's responsible for and so he wants to step forward but his disciples are by the grace of God understanding the times and they say Paul we're not going to let you go anywhere I imagine somebody blocks a door somebody may even have to forcefully put Paul back and say wait a 2nd this isn't happening why not if you go out there you're done and so they do not allow they do not permit him to go verse 31 then some of the officials of Asia who were his Paul's friends sent him pleading that he would not venture into the theater why because they knew as well don't go there Paul because if you do you're a dead man they're not thinking rationally or logically they haven't thought it all through this is an angry mob they don't feel like they have what they should have and that it's your fault. Actually Apostles $293.00 says this should be apostles pale careworn face this isn't the 1st trial Paul has been at this for a while now his pale careworn face been seen it would arouse at once the worst passions of the mob and there would not be the least human possibility of saving his life that would be it that's that mob name mentality says as well angles of God been sent to guard the Apostle why his time to die a martyr is death had not yet come does that bring anybody comfort this morning reminds me of another spirit of prophecy quote I have a lot of scriptures this morning but I have a lot of spare prophecy quotes as well I don't really make apologies for that throughout Scripture God sent His prophets to prepare his people for what's impending we refer to it as present truth and I firmly believe that Ellen White was a prophet of God and I truly believe she had the gift and I truly believe it is a gift of prophecy that God gave us to help us to persevered and hang on to him through this time and the times ahead and so I don't make apologies but look at this quote This is an amazing quote to me ministry of healing page 489 He who is imbued with the spirit of Christ abides in Christ whatever comes to him comes from the Savior who surrounds him with his presence and I've added some emphasis I hope it's Ok but it says nothing can touch him except by the Lord's permission how much. Nothing except by the Lord's permission all sufferings and sorrow all temptations and trials all our sadness and grease all our persecutions and privations in short all things work together for our good all experiences and circumstances are God's workmen whereby good is brought to us Don't misunderstand God doesn't cause it but God allows it why because through it good will be brought to us and that can be a hard thing to wrap your mind around sometimes really and you allow this because it's for my better good but it's the case I mean bottom line you don't have to fear the coronavirus don't hear what I'm not saying yes because. Doc trying was saying it's time to wear mass wear a mask it's not a lack of faith you know you do what you need to do but the end of the day all timidly if I abide in Christ I don't have to fear my future nothing will come to me that God does not allow and sort of have to stress over the worries of life so you might say we're easy for you to say Pastor I know many even now are unemployed at this very moment no job and with your job with the benefits. For you for your whole family how we're going to pay the mortgage how we're going to pay the bills everything is stacking up touched Elizabeth source of income has dried up several weeks ago and she only works one day a week but that adds up 4 days out of the month that's a significant part of our income that's no longer they're gone lease for the time being and we don't know what the future holds and just a week ago yesterday Elizabeth's sister and weight of a 0 went to urgent care after increased pain in her chest and shortness of breath and she is already immunocompromised for other reasons so after a c.t. scan discovered a one centimeter mass attached to a lymph node thought to be cancer in her lung and so this past week has been full of tests and 2nd opinions on all these types of things she's my age never smoke today in her life 3 kids at home small kids but I read this quotation and I'm reminded that nothing can touch us unless God allows it to he doesn't cause it but he allows it why because they are God's workman to bring good to us and for some of you this is just blowing your mind you say I cannot understand I cannot fathom how this horrific thing that happened could be allowed by God to bring good to me but perhaps God is allowing these things to happen this employment to happen this this failure here in his failure there to happen to to show us and to bring us to the point where we see we need to depend on Jesus Christ alone. He is the only one with which we can place our trust and he is the ultimate healer no matter what wrong has been done to you in your childhood or in your past he can heal you and bring you past and beyond that and bring you out of that but I promise you one thing having been brought from where you were before the crisis to where you will be after the crisis by God's strength you will be a different man a different woman in Jesus Christ you will not see life the same way you will read scripture the same way things that once were important no longer be important in the same way if at all and all of these things in life God doesn't cause them but he allows them as a workman to work on me and my worldly heart and deprive my grubby fingers off the things of this world the time is coming when every earthly support will be cut off but all these challenges and heartaches are God's work meant to bring good to us do we believe that continuing in our story. X. verse 32 shifts back to the crowd again some Therefore cried one thing some another for the assembly was confused and most of them did not know why they had come together mob mentality verse 33 and they drew Alexander out of the multitude the Jews putting him forward why would the Jews put Alexander forward because the Jews and Paul were not on the same page and the Jews were trying to say hey we're not like that Paul over there we don't care about your princes You know this this Diana temple Diana all this kind of stuff you can still worship and do all that kind of thing about once they found out he's a Jew Watch what they do and Alexander motion with his hand wanted to make his defense to the people and when they found out that he was a Jew all with one voice cried out for about 2 hours great is Diana of the Ephesians over and over for 2 hours they don't allow him to speak some of proposes because he's monotheistic believes in one God there polytheistic believes in many gods here is you close enough don't let him talk verse 35 and when the city clerk had quieted the crowd maybe there was a gap there getting tired 2 hours of chanting great is Diana of the feet is great is Diana feels grand and it kind of heightens in a start to trail off after 2 hours and when there's a little bit of a gap the city clerk I imagine comes in and who is this was the chief administrative officer of the city. What's he going to say maybe he'll fix things for us he'll set everything right. He quieted the crowd and he said men of emphasis what man is there who does not know that the city of the if is temple is the temple guardian of the great God is Diana and of the image which fell down from Zeus now what is that some speculate that's a meteorite and when one would fall and they would see it and it was one of the gods maybe it was Zeus and so then if they could recover the meteorite they would worship that and they didn't take that out of the temple and back and forth he's trying to say it's been proven that this is the God that we worship by Zeus by this meteorite perhaps therefore since these things cannot be denied you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly brought these men here who are neither robbers of the temples nor blasphemers of your goddess therefore of Demetrius and his fellow craftsman have a case against anyone the courts are open and there are pro councils let them bring charges against one another verse 39 but if you have any other inquiry to make it shall be determined in the law full assembly he's basically appealing look at we're not going to do things this way and mayhem like this the courts are open we're going to do in a lawful way in verse 44 we are in danger of being called in question for today's uproar there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering and we have said these things he dismissed the assembly into the chapter into the story so we're kind of left to think Ok dodged a bullet on that one and it's true and here is a great example we could preach a sermon on religious liberty Sabbath of how God raised up a great magistrate to vindicate his apostle who holds the tumultuous mob in check but in the midst of the crisis. What was the feeling of that intrepid Apostle Paul in other places in Scripture Paul writes things like this these are taken from 1st Corinthians chapter 4 and Chapter 15 2nd printing in chapter 4 but Paul says I've been defamed Rivaldo perplexed persecuted made as the filth of the world troubled on every side in jeopardy every hour always delivered on to death for Jesus' sake I imagine in Paul's humanness this was getting a little exhausting for Paul I imagine if we could give him one of our phrases that we use today I imagine there were times he was over it or there ever times that you're over it I'm just over it. I don't I can take this anymore another. I just don't care anymore and the devil will use that here's another quotation from x. the apostles to 97 amidst the constant storm of opposition constant constant constant constant again again again again opposition opposition push push push blame blame blame the clamor of enemies get him get him get him get him and the desertion of friends who I have. The intrepid apostle almost lost heart sounds to me like Paul hit a low point and maybe you can relate maybe you've been there maybe somebody watching says that's where I am right now I'm in a low point I'm almost at the point of losing heart the opposition seems relentless it's just one thing right after the next after the next after the next. I mean it seems like the devil never sleeps by the time we get disgraces figured out there's another crisis or when that rises big then there's this crisis and then there's this health thing and then there's anything over there and then there's a family member everything's a mess I'm over it. And some of those times you need friends but even in this play in this quotation it's friends that it's Paul have are deserted him maybe you find yourself exhausted overwhelmed discouraged feeling abandoned and maybe like Paul you have almost lost heart have mercy here now facilis we find even that great pillar of the New Testament got discouraged even Paul at times fell overwhelmed even Paul became weary Yes Paul almost lost heart but when I read you the rest of the quotation but he looked back to Calvary almost lost heart but he looked back to Calvary and with new ardor pressed on to spread the knowledge of the crucifixion this is the turning point for Paul almost He's right there he's at the precipice He's at the edge but he looks back to Calvary and it changes and he's brought back from the brink if you will he's enabled to continue why because he looks back to Calvary I'm not going to quote all these I'm not going to sail the verses I'm sorry Matthew $27.00 but just a few from the final hours started Matthew $27.00 verse $24.00 when pilots saw that he could not prevail at all but rather that to molt was rising there again that mob mentality. He took water and washed his hands before the multitude saying I'm innocent of the blood of this just person you see to it the blame game and all the people answered and said his blood be on us and on our children. Then he released barabus to them and when he had scourged Jesus he delivered him to be crucified then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the predatory him and gathered the whole garrison around him and they stripped him and put a scarlet scarlet robe on him and when they twisted a crown of thorns they put it on his head and a reed in his right hand and they ballad the need before him and mocked him saying Hail King as you. Then they spat on him and took a reed and struck him on the head and when they had mocked him they took the robot of him put his own clothes on him and led him away to be crucified and then they crucified and those who passed by blasphemed him waving their heads and saying you destroy the temple and build in 3 days save yourself if you are the Son of God come down from that cross Likewise the chief priest also mocking with the scribes and elders said he who saved others Himself He cannot say if he is the king of Israel let him now come down from the cross and we will believe it he trusted in God let him deliver him now if he will have him and now from the 6th hour until the 9th hour there was darkness over all the land and about the 9th hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying my God my God why have you forsaken me and Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded. His spirit friends Paul almost lost heart. But I believe in the divinely inspired moment he was reminded and looked back to Calvary friends if you're discouraged look back to Calvary read the closing scenes of the Gospels read it through again desire of ages and see if it doesn't move you to tears and bring you to the point of confessing Jesus what I endure is nothing it's nothing compared to what you have done for me I am completely on worthy of anything you are you are worthy of everything I'm so small you're so big I'm so sin for you're so send less but you did it for me I mean a moment ago I was almost to the point of giving up of losing heart but looking on the Calvary How could I do such a thing he was 12 or 2 from the universe let us lay aside every weight and the center which so easily ensnares us discourages us brings us down and let us run with endure is the race that is set before us how looking until Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross think about their Jesus who too was at the point of almost giving up all most losing heart Lord if there's any other way and what carried him through to the end what does it say who for the joy that was set before him was the joy the joy is you and it's me in heaven for ever for eternity and he saw your face and he saw my face and he says it's worth it I'm going to do it anyway I'm going to go forward. He endured a cross for the joy that was set before him despising the shame and he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God And so how do we do it the same way by looking unto Jesus so are you discouraged this morning. Look to Jesus are you overwhelmed this morning look to Jesus or are you feeling alone and abandoned this morning look to Jesus are you feel with uncertainty and anxiety look to Jesus are you filled with your sense of sinfulness look to Jesus are you are you looking for hope look to Jesus he alone can bring us through victorious do you believe that this morning that I challenge you to look to him not just the author but the finisher of our faith bar where this morning that you will still our souls today take away all worry and anxiety and fear for the future knowing that you are with us that you are guiding us you are providing for us and ultimately you are orchestrating things in such a way that is all to mentally for our best good Lord when we look back to Calvary in our moments of discouragement were inspired. To live for the christ that lived for us that it was his joy to see our face and purser Vere may it be our same desire to see your face and persevered. Is our humble prayer in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit w w w audio verse or.


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