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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | Sunday Message (with Jonathan Laurie)

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2022 3:00 am

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | Sunday Message (with Jonathan Laurie)

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 6, 2022 3:00 am

The early Church was ground zero for the very first “Jesus revolution.” But it wasn’t easy to cause mass revival: it took some bold leaders to proclaim the Good News. In this Sunday morning message,, Pastor Jonathan Laurie, Greg Laurie’s son, shares how the early Church turned its world upside down. Listen in!

Notes

Luke is the only Gentile to have written a book included in our Bibles.

We are the Church, not this stage, not this platform or these walls or this screen. You are the Church! 

Barnabas: The Son of Encouragement.

Simeon: The man who helped Jesus carry the cross.

Lucius of Cyrene: A founder of the Christian Church in Antioch.

Manaen: Was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch.

The church is diverse, multicultural, multiethnic, multigenerational, and unified through believing that Jesus is Savior and Jesus is Lord.

Christianity isn’t about bad people becoming good people, it’s about dead people coming to life.  

“But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him . . .” —Acts 13:9

“The gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended; it just needs to be let out of its cage.” —C. H. Spurgeon 

You can be made free from all your sin.

Scripture Referenced

Acts 5:28

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.

I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you, if you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Hey everybody, I'm Jonathan Laurie and I'm going to be sharing the message today as we continue in our series in the book of Acts which we have titled, Upside Down Living. And this has been a really fun time to go through this book, really an amazing book that chronicles the explosion of the first century church. I've titled this message today, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. For those of you that are just joining us and you haven't heard a whole lot of this series or maybe this is your first message, let me give you a little context as to what this book is all about. As most of you know, Acts was written by a guy named Luke. It was the same Luke who wrote the gospel of Luke. Now Luke was not only an investigative author and journalist, he was a physician by trade. In fact, we read that Luke becomes a disciple of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts, we read about that. And we read in three of Paul's letters that Luke was not only just one of the guys that traveled along with Paul, he was actually a close friend.

And he was a physician, as I mentioned, by trade. And Paul mentions in three different places that Luke is in his company. Now it's safe to make the assumption that Luke being a physician and Paul being, let's say, susceptible to injury, they were a good match for each other. Multiple times we read that Paul endured many beatings. Beatings all kinds of different times because of the message that he preached.

People got upset. Basically Paul would preach, there would be a revival, and then there would be sometimes a revolt and people would freak out and they would beat Paul, drag him out of the city, beat him halfway to death. He was beaten, he was stoned, he endured shipwrecks, he had snakes bite him, and all sorts of other physical trauma that Paul endured as a follower of Jesus.

So it must have been super convenient to have Dr. Luke nearby to help diagnose and treat Paul's latest injury. To me though, I think one of the most interesting things about the author of our book today, Acts, is that Luke is the only person in all of the Bible who is a Gentile to have a book that he penned included in our Bibles today. And as we arrive in chapter 13 now in the book of Acts, the focus has now shifted from Israel and the Jews and the explosion of the church right there, kind of ground zero, and the primary focus being on Peter and the Christians in Jerusalem to now from chapters 13 through the end of the book, the focus is almost exclusively on the Apostle Paul into the ends of the earth. You remember Jesus' last words to the disciples as he ascended into heaven, he told them, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria, into the ends of the earth. The first 12 chapters of Acts, we have seen the apostles preach in those areas, preaching Jesus in those areas in Judea, in Samaria, and of course in Jerusalem.

And those areas at this point had just been saturated with the message of the gospel. According to Caiaphas, who was the high priest at the time in Jerusalem, he actually said this to the apostles in Acts 5. He said, we strictly charge you not to teach in this name, speaking of Jesus. And he says, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teachings about him.

You've filled Jerusalem. Everybody, everywhere knows who Jesus is. They know what his teachings were, and it's because of you. You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching about him.

What an epic compliment, right? That this area was so saturated with the gospel, so saturated with the teachings of Jesus, that you have people on the outside testifying as much. You know, that should really be our goal as believers, and that should be our goal as a church. The people in the cities surrounding where we live, in Southern California, in Montana, in Virginia, in Texas, in Africa, in Italy, wherever you might live, the people would know, man, you have made Jesus known to everybody and anybody in the surrounding areas about who Jesus is. You have saturated the surrounding communities with his teachings. The people would testify as much, that we have flooded the area with the teachings of the Bible. What a great compliment that Caiaphas gave to the apostles.

They must have stood up a little bit straighter when they heard that. Yeah, we have done our job, haven't we? We've saturated the area with the teachings of Jesus.

That should be our goal. All of that that happened, happened because it was just a small handful of committed Jesus followers. They were able to do it on their own by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's really amazing when you think about it. Just a very small group of people turned into thousands and then tens of thousands, and now millions and even billions of people know who Jesus Christ is.

It is amazing. And this was all before radio. It was before TV, before YouTube, before social media. They were able to travel across the ancient world before jets, before cars, before trains, before all of those things. All they had was the Roman road system, which they used to their advantage. It connected all the major cities in the Roman empires. And then there was the common language which united all of the ancient world. You could speak to anybody in Greek, a common language that pretty much everybody spoke. But more than that, of course, they had the Holy Spirit of God moving and empowering them and speaking through them.

And so they had that to go as well. Recently, I got one of those virtual reality headsets. And it's pretty crazy. I don't know if you've tried one before, but they are quite immersive now. And so I like to play a friend of mine. After our small group, we have a little Bible study group that we do together on Wednesday nights.

And sometimes after a group, we'll jump on and we'll throw our headsets on. Obviously, he's at his house. I'm at mine. And we'll play miniature golf together. It's a pretty fun little game. And I'm telling you, it's immersive.

It's crazy. You feel like you were there. You turn around and there's a giant windmill.

Or you turn around and there's like this obstacle, whatever it might be. You feel like you're there. And so it's fun because not only are you playing a game, but we're also talking to each other. So it's actually quite social. We'll talk about our families.

We're talking about the group that we just had, the lesson that we went over. And it's super fun. And so we get done playing the game. We play a whole round of 18 little miniature golf holes. And I decide, you know what, I didn't get my fix yet. I'm going to keep playing. So he hops off and I decide I'm going to play a quick round of nine, you know, the front nine. And so I decide I'm going to play that quick round of nine holes.

And I'm looking for an option to select. I'm not real familiar with the game yet. So I hit quick match. And as I hit quick match, I'm immediately transported to this new level. And I'm in space now, right, miniature golf.

And so you're playing in space. And the first hole is a tricky one. I had to launch my ball up over this thing. And into the hole. And I knew I wasn't going to make it.

Well, I take my first shot and I swing. And boom, I sunk a hole in one. I couldn't believe it. I was actually pretty stoked and pretty proud of myself. It was one of those shots that you could like never repeat again. It was totally accidental, actually hit like the wrong thing. And then it bounced back and then bounced again. And then it bounced into the hole.

It was perfect. And out of nowhere, somebody behind me says, nice shot, man. And I freak out. I thought there was somebody in my house for a second.

And I turn around in the game with my headset on. And there's this other guy. There's an avatar there. I didn't realize I jumped into a match with a completely different person that was not my friend. I've never seen this guy before.

I don't recognize his username. And I realized, oh, I got quick matched up with the person. Now, mind you, it's 11 o'clock at night. I've been at work all day. I am not exactly in a social mood.

I'm like ready to go crash right after this. And so he tells me, nice shot. And I realize I'm in the way and he wants to putt. So I step out of the way and I let him take his shot.

And for the next nine holes or so, we banter back and forth. And eventually the conversation turns to, well, what do you do for work? What do you do for a living? And he tells me that he is a nurse and he works in the medical community. And then he asked me, so what do you do? And I tell him, well, I'm a pastor actually.

And I work at a Christian church. Silence. Silence. Oh, great. OK. And then he starts asking me some questions.

And we start going back and forth. And I'm like so not mentally prepared. I did not have any time to psych myself up to go have a spiritual conversation, to go witness to somebody. But I tell you what, I got to minister to him. I got to tell him about Harvest at Home. Hey, check out harvest.org. On Saturdays and Sundays we have online content, online church that we have great teaching on.

Come check it out sometime. I don't know if he ever joined us or not, but it was such a cool opportunity to use the tools at my disposal to go and tell somebody about Jesus. I just want to let you know that as you see me standing up here on a stage and you see my dad standing up here on a stage preaching, you might think that that is Pastor Greg's job. That's Pastor Jonathan's job. But I want to let you know we're all called to do the work of an evangelist. We're all called to do the work that we see the apostles doing and Paul and Luke and these gentlemen that go along with them on his missionary journey. We're all called to do that work and it is such a privilege.

It's not just for Jonathan or Greg. It's a job for Thomas. It's a job for Ryan. It's a job for Luke and Josh and Brittany and Mandy and Lindsay and so forth.

It's a job for everybody. We are the church. We are the church.

Not this stage, not this platform, not these walls, not this webpage that you're watching. No, you are the church. And so Jesus, he commanded the disciples to go out and preach in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. That part had pretty much been fulfilled but now we see Paul enter the scene and he takes this message to the ends of the earth. And so again, the first 12 chapters, we see really the focus on Peter and the church in Jerusalem and all over there in that area with the apostles and so forth. And now in the next 13 chapters, 13 all the way through the end of the book, we see the focus exclusively almost on Paul and the work that he does and his missionary journeys to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, they've been saturated. Now the focus turns to the ancient world. I've titled this message The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The revolution will not be televised and we're looking at Acts 13 starting in verse 1 if you'd like to join me. It says this, And now there were those in the church at Antioch, prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a lifelong friend of Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul.

That's an eclectic group of people right there. We'll get back to that in a minute. Verse 2, And while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. And then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Let's pause there for just a moment. Those first three verses are packed with so much good stuff. Right away we're taken to a prayer meeting.

We see these five guys sitting together. They're fasting, they're praying, they're seeking the Lord and His will and what He would want them to do. And immediately we see the Holy Spirit speak to them and tell them to lay hands on Saul, that He wants Barnabas and Saul set apart to go do this work. But first, before we jump in and see what the Holy Spirit is going to do with Barnabas and Saul, let's look at some of these characters that are in this room.

Quite eclectic. First we've got Barnabas. Barnabas, his name meant son of encouragement.

His given name was Joseph, and he was given the name by the apostles, son of encouragement, likely because he was a man that encouraged people. He was a man that came alongside other people, other believers, and helped them along in their faith. He assisted the apostles. We read that Barnabas was a landowner, and he actually sold this significant plot of land, and he took the money and he brought it to the apostles. And he wanted them to use it for the proclamation of the gospel to help further the teachings of Jesus. We also know that Barnabas was someone who came alongside Saul and helped vouch for him and be a mentor to Saul and helped him grow in his relationship with Jesus. He vouched for Saul when Saul wanted to go and meet the apostles in Jerusalem, and the apostles were like, Saul of Tarsus wants to meet us. No, we're good.

Thank you very much. But Barnabas put his name on the line. No, no, no. This Saul, he has changed. You need to meet him.

He wants to spend time with you. So we see Barnabas in that room. The next man we see is a man named Simeon. We know that he was a black man. He was an African guy, likely.

And scholars even speculate that this man, Simeon, was the same man, Simon of Cyrene, who is the man that carried Jesus' cross when Jesus was carrying his cross to Calvary. So that's a pretty interesting guy that you've got there in the mix. And then you've got Lucius. Lucius was a guy from Cyrene, another area which is in northern Africa.

It's modern day Libya off the northern coast of the African continent. And then you've got someone by the name of Manaen. Manaen. Manaen was this guy who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch. Yeah, Herod Antipas, the same guy.

Not just like a lifelong friend, like they were childhood friends, but more akin to being like a foster brother. Yeah, like he was the adoptive brother by Herod the Great. And he grew up with Herod the Tetrarch, Herod the guy who took over his father's position. Now he's the governor of Judea. It was the same Herod who would have executed John the Baptist and asked for his head on a plate. This was not a good dude.

Talk about a different choice in life. One ends up being the persecutor of the Christians, and he's decapitating John the Baptist because of him calling him out for an inappropriate relationship that he had. And then the other guy, Manaen, he ends up doing what?

Serving the church, teaching in the church, fasting and praying. Herod and Manaen making very different choices. So man, talk about a diverse crowd. You have people from different continents, different skin colors, different walks of life, different upbringings, different socioeconomic scales and so forth. Really, there was not a lot that these guys would have in common, right? But there they have the most important thing in common, and that is their relationship with Jesus Christ. And guys, this is really what the church is.

As we look at the church today, is it any different? It's totally diverse. It's multiethnic. It's multigenerational. It's rich, it's poor, it's men, it's women.

It's educated, uneducated. Hey, it's Rams fans, it's Bengals fans. And what are we all doing? In unison, we all proclaim together that Jesus Christ is Lord and Jesus is our Savior.

I love that. We are called to be a part of the church, and it looks not always just like us. I wouldn't want to be a part of a church that looks just like me.

I want a church that's different than me, has different perspectives on things, has different upbringings than I do because if it was just like me and only looked like me, that wouldn't be very special. That wouldn't be very unique at all. I heard a story about a guy who was driving home on his way from work, and as he crossed over this bridge, really high bridge, couple hundred feet high, as he did every day from work, he saw for the first time there was somebody standing on the edge of a bridge about to jump. And he knew that if they jumped, they were going to take their life. Their life would come to a close. They'd be dead.

There was no way they could survive it. So the guy, he pulls over his car right away, jumps out of his car. He says, hey, what are you doing? Don't do it.

Don't jump. And the guy said, you don't understand. Nobody loves me. And the guy repeats, you know, says back to him. He says, hey, that's not true. There's a God who loves you.

Do you believe in God? And the guy standing on the side of the bridge says, yes, actually, I do believe in God. And the man said, are you a Christian or a Jew? And the man said, well, I'm a Christian.

And he says, oh, wow, me too. Are you a Protestant or a Catholic? Man says, I'm a Protestant.

He says, me too. What denomination are you? Man said, I'm Baptist. The guy goes, no kidding, I'm a Baptist too.

Are you a Northern Baptist or a Southern Baptist? The guy says, I'm a Northern Baptist. The guy says, man, me too, I'm a Northern Baptist too. Are you a Northern Conservative Baptist or are you a Northern Liberal Baptist? The guy says, I'm a Northern Conservative Baptist. The guy says, no kidding, me too, I am too.

This is too crazy. And he goes on, are you a Northern conservative Baptist Great Lakes region or a Northern conservative Eastern region? And the man says, I'm a Northern conservative Baptist Great Lakes region.

And he said, I am too, this is too crazy. And then he said, northern conservative Baptist Great Lakes, region Council of 1879 or Northern conservative Baptist, Great Lakes region, Council of 1912? And the guy said, northern conservative Baptist, Great Lakes region council of 1912.

And he said, die, heretic, and he pushed him over. Now, we might think that that's funny, but really, how good are we as human beings at just dividing and getting into smaller and smaller little sects? And oh, you're a Christian, but I go to this church. And oh, you listen to that style of teaching. And oh, I like his teaching, but I don't like that style of worship.

And we're so good at just breaking things down. Listen, this is not why Christianity is revolutionary. Christianity is revolutionary because it has the ability to unite and bring people together and reconcile people. Only the gospel has the power to do that. Christianity is not a way to enhance your life like being a vegan or doing CrossFit, right? No, Christianity, being a disciple of Jesus, presents us with a new way to be human because Christianity isn't about bad people becoming good.

It's about dead people coming to life. In the early church, there was no racial discrimination. We didn't see that happening at all. You didn't see that happening in the leadership.

There was no favoritism based on where you were from or how much money you had or what type of education you had or the color of your skin or your nationality. Listen, the revolution will not be televised. Christianity was a revolution. The revolution that we are going to see in the years to come and the revolution that we need in America today, it's not necessarily the one that we're going to hear about on television. It's not the one that we're going to necessarily hear about in the mainstream media. It's not the revolution that the mainstream culture and the world wants to see happen.

So don't look for encouragement. Don't look for permission to be a part of the next Jesus revolution because the revolution will not be televised. We're going to be a part of something as we see Jesus begin to work in people's lives, something that culture cannot understand, cannot define, and doesn't necessarily support.

And so don't be surprised when you are a part of a countercultural move of God. Our sermon title today is also the title of a song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, and was written during the civil rights movement. It was written by a man, and it pointed out that what was a good thing was definitely not the popular thing at the time. And now as we look back with clarity today in 2022, we see that the civil rights movement that took place, it was something that had to happen. This was something that must happen in our society. And I would say it's one of the most important things that has happened in our 246 years as a nation. But we see that this revolution, while it was not the one that Hollywood or television or the newspapers or even the school were raging in the 1960s and 70s, we do see that it was the right revolution. It was the right thing to do.

And here's what I want you to know. The Jesus revolution will be the same way. The Jesus revolution will be the same way. It's not just the right thing to do.

It's the best thing that we can have happen in our country. But it will likely not be the most popular, controversial, and opposed because it will be like that. People are going to oppose that people don't like change. A revolution, this wheel of time that continues to roll through history and turn things on their heads, is something that people don't always like to have happen.

Because what? It messes with the status quo. It flips things on their head. Don't be surprised if people, even within the church, are reluctant and hesitant about this next Jesus revolution because it doesn't look the way they want it to look. The last great American revival that took place in our nation was the Jesus movement in the 1970s. It's how my dad came to faith. It's how my mom came to faith. It's how this church, this ministry started.

It was birthed in the middle of a Jesus revolution in the midst of a revival. And the next one that's going to take place, it's not going to look like the one that just happened in the 1960s and 70s. It's not going to be a bunch of hippies. It's not going to be a bunch of 1970s Volkswagen buses. There's not going to be any flutes playing. It's going to be different.

And you know what? That's OK. That's OK because as long as it's about Jesus, it's the right revival. It's the right thing to happen. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about our political candidate, or I don't like that music, or I don't like the way that preacher dresses, or I don't like the way they preach. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about our preferences.

It's about Jesus meeting the needs of mankind and him coming into relationships with people. The revolution will not be popular. The next Jesus revolution, the next revival that takes place in America is not going to be one that is put on by the government.

It's not going to be put on by the media. No, it's going to take place because people are seeking Jesus. And I've got to say, today, more than any other time in my life, I see there is a hole in people's hearts, and they're looking for answers. And for the first time in a long time, they're not finding them in the culture. They're not finding them in politicians. They're not finding them in TV and drugs and all of those things.

No, they're empty, and they're looking for an answer. And we know as Christians, the answer is Jesus. I know a lot of you are aware that Kingdom Pictures, which is a production subsidiary of Lionsgate Entertainment, they're beginning filming on a movie which we're calling Jesus Revolution. And I say we're calling it that because, well, we get to be a part of it. The story is based really closely on my dad's experience of the last great American revival here in Orange County called the Jesus Movement. Nationwide, it was referred to as the Jesus Revolution.

That's what they called it on the cover of Time Magazine. And my dad got to experience this firsthand. And so this story is going to be really following my dad's footsteps and what he saw and what drew him to Jesus. And we're so excited to see that this film is going to be a major motion picture with release nationwide, worldwide. And we're going to see what the Lord does with this film. We believe that the fame of revival spreads the flame of revival. And by telling these stories about revival, it will pique the interest of people today. And our prayer, and I hope that your prayer, too, is that this film would create a hunger and a thirst for our very own Jesus Revolution today. Because we need it.

We need it. As we look around society, there are so many people that are hurting. There are so many people that are looking for answers in all of the wrong places.

More than ever, people are talking about their emptiness, their loneliness, their depression. And they're looking for this answer. And we know it's in Jesus Christ. And so telling this story, our prayer, is that it will get people's attention and create a hunger for them to know Jesus in a personal way. And so back to our text, Saul and Barnabas, they're now commissioned by the Holy Spirit to go on a missionary journey. We just read that in verse 3. And then we pick up now in verses 4 to 12.

We're going to continue, it says this. And so being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. And from there, they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.

And they had John to assist them. And when they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. And he was with the proconsul, the governor, named Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.

But Alimis, the magician, for that is the meaning of his name, opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, you might want to underline that, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him. In verse 10, he says, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

And now behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time. And immediately, mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. And then the proconsul believed when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

In Matthew 13, Jesus said that wherever the gospel was preached, wherever the seeds of his message would be sowed, that there would be counterfeits, that Satan would plant counterfeits. And this man, Bar-Jonas, Alimis, he had influence over Sergius Paulus, the governor of Cyprus, and he didn't want to lose it. He didn't want to lose it.

Alimis had no interest in the message that Paul and Barnabas were teaching. He actually didn't care whether it was true or not. He just knew that it was bad for business.

It was bad for the status quo. He had a cushy job. He had a cushy position getting to influence the governor of Cyprus, and he liked being there. And he knew that this message that Paul and Barnabas were preaching would dislodge him from that position. And so he did whatever he could. He tried to dissuade them.

He tried to dispute what they were saying. Everything he could to turn the proconsul, to turn the governor away from their message, he tried to do. I'm reminded of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to be saved. And he told Jesus that he had kept the commandments since he was a young boy and all his life, and now he just wanted to know what he needed to do to be saved, what he was lacking in his life. And Jesus, supernaturally knowing exactly what this young man needed to hear, he said to him, you see, what you need to do is you need to take all that you have and sell it, and you need to give it to the poor.

The next thing that we read is the rich young ruler, this young man, he went away very sorrowful because he had many nice things. You see, this guy, he wanted what Jesus had to offer, but he didn't want to give up his comfort. He didn't want to give up his idol, which was his stuff, his possessions, ultimately his own will. He wanted his will more than he wanted the will of God in his life.

In the same way, we see the same thing happening with this guy here, this bar Jesus. He wanted to have this position of authority. He wanted this position, this status, and he wasn't willing even to listen to a true message. He wasn't willing to turn from it, even if it meant going to heaven.

He wasn't willing to turn from that. He was willing even to go to hell. Pretty wild.

Pretty wild. How many today know the truth of God's word? Know God and know what he teaches and know what they need to do in this life, and yet they reject it because they love their sin. They love their way of living, and honestly, they don't want to give it up. Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, the lame man who is lame from birth, he asked him, do you want to be made whole? I think that's really interesting because our obvious response, that would be, well, of course, if you were paralyzed for your entire life and unable to get up and walk around, why wouldn't he want to be made whole? Hey, listen, not everybody wants to be made whole. Not everybody wants to leave that sin or be healed of that issue in their life. Not everybody wants to be made whole. Not everyone wants to be free from alcoholism and drug abuse and the life they're living.

In fact, there are many who don't. And so again, this brings us back to our sermon title, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Listen, if it changes the status quo, if Jesus and having this relationship with him changes the status quo in your life, changes the cultural status quo, and flips things on its head like revolutions always do, it will be opposed by anybody who wants things to say the same.

Outside the church, inside the church, wherever, historically speaking, change is rarely embraced. And we see this magician, Elemis, opposing the apostles, unwilling to be reasoned with or hear what they had to say because his comfort was being challenged. He didn't care what the apostles were teaching.

He didn't care whether it was true or not because he knew it was bad for business. And so I love this. We read Paul just taking this guy to task, lighting him up, looking him square in the eyes, putting him in his place, telling him, you know, you son of the devil, all things unrighteous, this is you. And he just goes and lays into him. In verse 9, we see it says, but Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him. I really want you to notice right there, that is the moment, that is the place in scripture where we see Saul of Tarsus turn into the apostle Paul, the man, the myth, the legend, Paul, the guy who literally wrote one third of the New Testament. That is the transition verse right there. From here on, we read Paul and the apostle Paul. We don't read anything more of Saul of Tarsus. The revolution that took place in Paul's life, it was just that.

It was revolutionary. Jesus came into Paul's life, and he flipped everything on its head. One minute, Paul was persecuting Christians.

He was taking them to jail, overseeing the stoning of Stephen. And the next, we read that he is preaching the gospel, using that same zeal, that same intensity he used to persecute the followers of Jesus. And he is now clearing the way for the gospel to be presented. Listen, that is a conversion. That is what happens when you let the gospel do its thing.

C.H. Spurgeon, a famous preacher and evangelist, said the gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended. It just needs to be let out of the cage. That's all Paul did.

He let the lion out of the cage. And the next thing that we read that Paul and his companions are doing is once they finish there and led the proconsul, the governor there, to Christ, they get back on a boat. And they sail back to the mainland. And they arrive in an area called Antioch of Pisidia. This is a different Antioch than we first read about the prophets and teachers having their prayer meeting in. This is Antioch of Syria that we read first about, which is a coastal port city, a hub. And this is Antioch of Pisidia, which is in Galatia.

And it's more landlocked. And so they arrive in Antioch of Pisidia. And they do what was customary. They go into the synagogue, as it's the Sabbath day. And what happens? Paul is given the opportunity to preach.

OK, watch out. Give the guy a microphone. And from verses 17 to 41, Paul goes and he makes the case for Jesus with scripture. He speaks their language.

He gets on their level. He points to the prophets and the different people they would be familiar with hearing the Torah all of their lives. And he presents the gospel at the very end. And the Apostle Paul, he closes his message with these words. We read them in verses 38 to 41. He says, let it be known to you, therefore, brothers, that through this man, speaking of Jesus, forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. And by him, everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you cannot be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the prophets should come about.

Look, you scoffers, he says, be astounded and perish. For I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you. This is the message that is so revolutionary. This is the gospel in a nutshell. I love that part where he just says, everyone who believes is freed from everything. Because of Jesus, everyone who believes is freed from everything. And you might think that because a person struggles with a certain sin or a certain lifestyle, that maybe they could never be a Christian. Oh, you could never be a Christian struggling with that. You could never get close to God, that God could never accept them. That because they are raised in this kind of home, or from this culture, or this political persuasion, that they could never come to God, and there's no way that this could happen. Listen, allow me to redirect you to verse 41, where the Apostle Paul quotes from Habakkuk.

And he says, look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish. I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if someone were to tell it to you. Listen, it may not look the way that we want it to look. This revival that's going to come in the years to come and the days to come, hopefully in our lifetime. It may not look the way we thought it would look. It may not sound the way we want it to sound. But listen, as long as it's about Jesus, it's the right revolution.

And it's the one that we need to help make happen. So many today are plagued by their sin, unable to break free from their behavior, their lying, their fornication, their drug usage, their alcoholism, and so much more. Listen, Paul is saying, you can be made free from all of those things because of the work that Jesus did. And I want you to know today that that same power that Paul proclaimed is available to you and to anybody today that would hear this message. All you have to do is turn from your sin and turn to Jesus and make him the Lord of your life, the King of your heart. Stop seeking your will. Stop seeking what you believe is best, and start seeking him and what he tells you is best and what he has proven to you as being the best thing for your life. You can have that hope today. You can have that relationship with him today.

And so in closing, I do want to extend that invitation to you now. That wherever you might be, you might be driving on the freeway. You might be watching this in your living room. You might be sitting in your office on your lunch break watching a YouTube video. And this randomly popped up.

I'm not sure really how you came across this content. But what's important is you're hearing me now. God loves you. He sent his son Jesus to die in your place because the sins that you committed, it's enough to keep you out of heaven. That's why God sent his son, to pay for your sin with his own blood. And if you're turned from your sin today, you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are going to heaven and that you can have your very own personal Jesus revolution where he will give you a new way to be human, a new way to live. Again, this isn't about a bad person becoming good. This is about a dead person coming to life.

Jesus came to give you life and life more abundantly. And you can have that today. If you'd like to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior and you'd like to ask him into your life, I'd encourage you just to pray these words out loud after me wherever you might be. Again, you could be sitting at work in your car.

You might be at the gym. Just pray this prayer and mean it in your heart. Say this. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner. But I know Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. And God, I turn from my sin now, and I turn to you from this moment forward. I ask that you would help me to walk with you, to talk with you, and to hear from you. Give me my own personal Jesus revolution and to change me from the inside out. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 23:47:35 / 2023-06-12 00:06:01 / 18

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