The Determination of a Christian

What Makes it Possible for a Christian to Stay “On-Track” for the Lord?

Acts 20:24

DATE: 23 June, 2002 PM         PLACE: BBC Blarney

DATE: 28 July, 2002          PLACE: BBC Mallow


I.         Introduction (Acts 20:24)


A.      This passage is the final words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians pastors. There are great many truths found in these words.


1.        He gave the mature Christians words of exhortation.

2.        He gives them words of warning especially with the false brethren that try to sneak into the local church.

3.        He shows them exactly what a pastor and not a hireling does.

4.        And he tells of what he knows lay ahead for him – more prison, more troubles, and probable death – what if YOU knew the future?


B.       This brings me to my text today. It is those first seven words in this verse that shows his determination. “But none of these things move me” I want to be a blessing to you today with some thoughts on the determination of a Christian.

C.       Is this thought that none of these things move me a new theme of Paul’s?

D.      No, it is not. Let’s look at a few other places (Romans 8:35-39 ; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 2 Timothy 1:12)

E.       By way of introduction, I want to look at some things that did not move Paul.


1.        To move means to discourage, to remove you from your place of confidence, to be disheartened, to cause you to slip, or even to fall

2.        To be steadfast is a Christian trait (1Cor 15:57,58).


F.       The following things did not move, or discourage Paul (write these down):


1.        Darkness did not move Paul.


a.       There were times that the will of God was not crystal clear to Paul. In fact, it may have been dark, but Paul would not allow the darkness to move him from his life of serving the Lord Jesus.

b.       There are times that the darkness of not knowing the end of God’s will for our lives makes it difficult to go on, but we should do like Paul and not allow that darkness to move us out of God’s will.

c.       What about the darkness OF knowing God’s will – everything is not always bright and gay!


2.        Discouragement did not move Paul.


a.       Paul was no super Christian with a red “S” on his chest. Things discouraged him at times like it does us.  Christians discouraged him, family discouraged him, his own people the Jews discouraged him.

b.       One thing about Paul - he didn’t stay in the path of discouragement

c.       This is what was a great characteristic of king David as well


3.        Demons did not move Paul.


a.       Satan and his crowd did not like the work that Paul was doing for the Lord so he threw darts his way. The young lady possessed of the devil in Philippi did not move Paul. In fact, her salvation and deliverance opened the door to a new church beginning in Philippi.

b.       Demonic attacks, demonic oppressions take their toll, but should never move us from our course, or our place of rest (Isa 26:3,4)!


4.        Disobedient believers did not move Paul.


a.       If anything, Paul was moved to help disobedient believers in his epistles. Each of his epistles deals with disobedience in some form or fashion that we face today. Disobedient believers seem to be abounding in the church today. I am speaking of the church as a whole now, not necessarily our church.

b.       Churches are full of carnal, babyish, spoiled Christians who don’t read their Bibles, don’t trust God, and don’t go out soul-winning, don’t stand up for right, and don’t care about obeying God’s word!

c.       Proverbs 14:12, and 16:25 apply to Christians as well - “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

d.       Sad - disobedient Christians will get you down – don’t let it stop you


5.        Departing brethren did not move Paul.


a.       In his final letter to Timothy, Paul mentions several names.


1)       Demas

2)       Crescens

3)       Titus

4)       Only Luke was with him


b.       It broke his heart that they had departed but he did not get moved from the path of blessings – Paul feared backsliding!

c.       Jesus had 10’s of thousands  pull out from following Him! Thank God He stayed on track for the cross!

d.       We have had our share people come and go – only eternity will show the greatness of our labours here in Blarney and Mallow


6.        Destruction did not move Paul.


a.       When the ship carrying him and 253 other prisoners to Italy was destroyed by the storm, he was not moved to quit. In fact, he used this as another opportunity to lead others to Christ. Folks saw God alive in Paul’s life in the times of destruction.

b.       Most of us couldn’t handle destruction in our lives – why not? Is not Christ worth more, and of greater joy than anything in this life?


7.        Death did not move Paul.


a.       In fact he looked forward to it in some ways (2Co 5:6-8; Phil 1:20-24)

b.       Not in a morbid way. He was struck between a rock and a hard place so to speak. He wanted to go home and be with Jesus. On the other hand, he wanted to be with the folks he led to Christ.

c.       Death was never something he feared – and God help us not to fear death, but to see it for what it is


1)       If you are NOT a born again child of God, it is the beginning of the end that never ends

2)       If you are saved, it is simply falling asleep, and the stepping into God’s eternity, without anything that made this life miserable!


8.        Disease did not move Paul.


a.       We are not sure all the diseases that affected Paul.  He wasn’t like most people – always talking about problems. Some thinks it was his eyes by what we wrote in several places. I am sure he was plagued with arthritis. He was imprisoned in damp dungeons. Even I feel some arthritis in my hands and other places in the cold weather. Think how much more would it affected him.

b.       He had been beaten on several occasions. Those areas would have been weakening by time and injury.

c.       But his discomfort and pain never took him away from his calling – rather it strengthened his resolve to go on by the grace of God – his own strength gave out long ago!


G.       If these things did not move him, what kept him on course? I want to give you a few thoughts on his determination because it will work for all of us as well!


II.       Message – The Determination of a Christian Requires the Following Things:


A.      He Had A Solid Conversion (Acts 9:1-6)


1.        Paul knew he was saved. He knew that he had eternal salvation (1Ti 1:12)

a.       He wasn’t hoping for forgiveness, or for heaven – he had it!

b.       Most people are hoping that heaven is even there – sad

c.       People need to hear the Bible, and know what the gospel is all about – quit telling people “we are all the people of God, and in the family of God”

2.        When he met the Master on the road to Damascus, his life changed instantly.


a.       His desires changed.

b.       His direction in life was certainly changed.

c.       His determination was changed. He was determined to go forward for the Lord, no matter the cost.  He led more people to Christ in his ignorance when he was first saved than most of us do on purpose in our entire lifetime. 


3.        He did not want to go back to the old life of dead religion. All his good works were dead. All his sacrifices for sin were dead. All his fastings and tithings and best efforts as a religionist was dead.

4.        If your life never changed, or keeps slipping back into old ways and old habits, with little or no remorse, it may be that you never got saved or you are just very immature in your Christian life and you need to get growing.


B.       He Was Standing On God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17)


1.        I encourage you to personalize scriptures. Let me do so for you today to show how Paul was able to stand and not be moved.


a.       Psalm 46:1 My God is my refuge. My God is my strength. My God is my very present help in my trouble.

b.       Deuteronomy 31:6 My Lord is my God. My God is he that goes with me. My God never fails or forsakes me.

c.       Psalm 34:4,6,15,17


2.        This only can happen if you are memorizing Scriptures, and believing them, and trusting the Lord


a.       Did He save you by His great grace?

b.       Did He save you with a purpose in mind?

c.       Do you know that purpose? If you don’t then I am sad for you

d.       Can God fail you? Show me where he can fail the Christian!

e.       Too many stand on their own abilities and fall at the first breeze

f.        This Book ought to be more precious to us that food and life itself – if it is, it will show! We won’t be so easily discouraged, AMEN!


C.       He Had a Schedule to Keep (Lk 2:49; 4:43; 13:31-33; Acts 19:21)


1.        Not that every hour was laid out and perfectly organized – as much as I wish I could do that

2.        But that he knew what he was to be doing

3.        People today are drifters – just working from day to day with no course, or real focus to their lives – so, when discouragement comes, it easily overwhelms them

4.        Some people have schedules, good schedules, but no God!

5.        The kind of schedule to keep


a.       A job – something that keeps us busy, and bettering ourselves

b.       A family – most of us need responsibility that presses us to trust God

c.       A ministry in the church


1)       Link up with Kevin O’Keeffe for soul-winning

2)       Link up with Paul for teaching discipleship

3)       Link up with me for teaching a Sunday School class

4)       Link up on your own with others just for fellowship


d.       A calling – to know what GOD has saved you to do


6.        We need to ask ourselves these questions everyday


a.       Did I read my Bible today? Got to do it!

b.       Did I spend any time in prayer before God’s throne? Got to do it!

c.       Did I tell anyone about Jesus today yet? Got to do it!

d.       Did I hug my family today and tell them I love them? Got to do it!

e.       Did I say AMEN in church yet?

f.        Did I look for a way to be a special blessing to someone today yet?

g.       Did I seek the filling and power of the Holy Spirit of God yet today?


7.        If your day is filled with lots of other things while ignoring these, you will fall at the next storm that blows our way!


D.      He Had Songs In The Night (Acts 16:25; Job 35:10) – the most important!


1.         I do not know what songs Paul and Silas may have sung but it may have been “Amazing Grace”. Or he could have been “Under His Wings” and a host of other songs.

2.        Everyone in this room needs to spend about €100 on some godly music and discard all the rubbish that does nothing for you but numbs you to the Spirit of God – I bet many people in this room have hundreds of euros worth of worldly music, and they don’t realise what they are missing!

3.        Take you an old hymnal home and review the hymns we sing – sing them all day in preparation for the night times when they will become precious!

4.        God help us to get filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18,19)


E.       He Had A Supreme Commander. – Someone in Control!


1.        He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End! He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all! He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times. He always was, He always is, and He always will be... Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone! He was bruised and brought healing! He was pierced and yet eased pain! He was persecuted and yet brought freedom! He was dead and brought life!

2.        He is risen and brings power! He reigns and brings Peace! The world can’t understand him, The armies can’t defeat Him, The schools can’t explain Him, and The leaders can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him, The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and the people couldn’t hold Him! Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him, The New Age can’t replace Him, and Vincent Brown can’t explain Him away!

3.        He is light, love, longevity, and Lord of all. He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God. He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.  His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me. He is my Redeemer, He is my Saviour, He is my guide, and He is my peace! He is my Joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord, and He rules my life!

4.        I serve Jesus because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life.

5.        I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the Power of the powerful, the Ancient of days, the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of leaders, the Overseer of the overcomers, and the Sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.

6.        And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size. His goal is a relationship with ME!


a.       He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me, never overlook me, and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

b.       When I fall, He lifts me up! When I fail, He forgives! When I am weak, He is strong! When I am lost, He is the way! When I am afraid, He is my courage! When I stumble, He steadies me! When I am hurt, He heals me!  When I am broken, He mends me! When I am blind, He leads me! When I am hungry, He feeds me! When I face trials, He is with me! When I face persecution, He shields me! When I face problems, He comforts me! When I face loss, He provides for me! When I face Death, He carries me Home!  He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every time, and every way. He is God. He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine! My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.

c.       So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this . . . He said it and that settles it. God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.


III.     Conclusion


A.      Will we be moved by the events of our lives? or can we say like Paul “… none of these things move me.” The choice is ours to make.

B.       Have you had the kind of conversion that helps you from being moved? Getting saved is the greatest event of anyone’s life. I have been saved for 22 years. It is sweeter in many ways now than it was 22 years ago.

C.       Is your stand on the infallible Word of God or the wisdom of men? God’s Word is the only tool that you have outside of the Holy Spirit that will help you stand and not be moved by things and events.

D.      Are there some songs in the night that helps you in those lonely times in life? I am talking of some sweet songs. Songs about heaven, about the blood of Jesus, about the Old Rugged Cross, about prayer, about the Promises of God.

E.       Do you have the Supreme commander in your life that makes the difference.