"Gospel Joy in Hostile Territory" - Dr. Gary Cass
March 6, 2022 Preacher: Gary Cass Series: Acts
Topic: Miracles & Wonders, Evangelism, Gospel Passage: Acts 8:4–8
GOSPEL JOY IN HOSTILE TERRITORY
INFUSION CHURCH / 4-6-22
Acts 8:1; … great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Acts 1:8; But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
The greater seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ and the going forth of the gospel to every nation is the fulfillment of that promise.
- THE VOICE OF GOD’S PEOPLE
Vs.4: Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
John is the only one of the apostles thought to have died a natural death.
THE WHOLE CHURCH IS SENT TO PROCLAIM
As they go, they are [εὐαγγελιζόμενοι]- goodnews-ing” or gospel-izing”.
OBJECTION: “I don’t know what to say!”
Heb 5:12; For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.
Heb 6:1&2: … repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
OBJECTION: “Who am I to try to convert someone?”
BARNA: In 2019 almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.
Pandering to unbelievers so as not to offend them is not being sensitive, it’s being hateful.
Penn Jillett (atheist): “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
BARNA: In 1993 when asked, “Does every Christian have a responsibility to share their faith?” 89% percent agreed. In 2018, 25 years later, just 64% agreed, a 25-point drop. Yet, more Christians today say they are proactive about looking for or trying to create faith-sharing opportunities with non-Christians (19% vs. 11% in 1993).
OBJECTION: “I don’t have all the answers!”
Unbelievers may have some sophisticated intellectual justifications for their unbelief, but this isn’t just an intellectual battle- it is deeply spiritual.
Rom 1:20: For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
As a herald, you have been entrusted with the King’s decree.
Mark 1:14&15; Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Acts 17:30: The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Let’s put evangelism back into what it means to be an Evangelical.
KEY: Become accountable to keep on mission and do something every week!
II. HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE
Vs 5: Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.
Luke 9: 1-6; And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal… 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
It is the message, not the means, that is sacred.
The vital Significance of the Samaritans
James 4:1-2; What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.
No one has a monopoly on tribalism, it is the common, fallen prejudice of all mankind.
Jesus went out of his way to minister to the hated Samaritans.
John 4:4: Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar… 39-42: Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony… 40…And many more believed because of his word. 42 … we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.
Luke 9:51-55: When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them.
Jesus will call out His redeemed people from among ALL ethnicities, people groups and subcultures, even despised ones, even as he called you!
Let’s pray for God to do to them what he did for you- show radical, undeserved mercy!
No one has an answer to tribalism except Jesus!
III. THE MINISTRY OF JESUS IN HIS CHURCH
Vss. 6-7: And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
Here again we see Jesus at work in His people, growing His Kingdom in size and power.
Luke 10:19; Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
It is often just a simple act of mercy or justice that God will use!
Mat 7:7; Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened unto you.
Mat 18:19; Again I say to you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
Mark 11:24; Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Vs 8; So there was much joy in that city.
Luke 15:7: … there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance… 10 ... there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
God is still redeeming and saving people in hostile California!
Rom 5:20: Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!
Prov 11:30: He who wins souls is wise.
More in Acts
April 3, 2022"Tensions of Our Faith & Life" - Gary Cass
March 27, 2022"Marks of True Conversion" - Dr. Gary Cass
March 20, 2022"Christ's Mission to the Nations" - Dr. Gary Cass