Every Christian Becoming a Preacher of the Word
March 8, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Acts 1:8)
A. It is Mission’s Month
1. Every year, it is a month that I want us all to be pushed out of our comfort zones and entertainments and busy schedules
2. So that we become Acts 1:8 Christians
B. Jesus saved every one of us to be Acts 1:8 Christians
1. A people who can declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone!
2. Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
3. Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
C. To reach everyone in this world with the Gospel
1. Every generation needs to be reached with the Gospel
2. Every nation, and language and culture needs to repent and believe the Gospel
3. No exceptions
D. What has gone wrong?
1. What happened here?
2. Some of you used to be so excited about winning a soul – about what happenbed to YOU
3. And now you worry about economics, and politics and business, and kingdoms
4. You mainly sit in front of your Netflix, and your Youtubes
5. Now you Debate Scripture instead of preach Scripture
6. Now some of you only Criticize people instead of strive win them to Christ!
II. Background (Acts 1:8)
A. The Gospel had gotten STUCK in Jerusalem (Acts 6:7)
1. All the preaching, all the soul-winning was centralized around Jerusalem
a. It all started with about 120 in an upper room after the resurrection of Jesus
b. Then 3,000 got saved
c. Then 5,000 repented and believed that Jesus was alive and cried out for mercy
d. Act 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
2. That was fine for a while at the start
a. But the early Jewish believers were only focused on reaching Jews
b. And they never ventured out of their land
c. Much like Christians get today – stay around church and home, and that’s it
3. Yet, Jesus had commanded His followers to ignore the kingdom questions and instead reach out to all directions (Acts 1:8), and into all people groups with the Gospel!
B. So God got it UNSTUCK (Acts 8:1-4)
1. Acts 8 describes God allowing intense persecution against the Christians IN Jerusalem
a. God just stepped back and let the devil’s “dogs” attack
b. Christians were dismissed from their jobs
c. Kicked out of their homes – by their own families
d. Older people, widows and widowers were disowned and neglected
e. There were massive numbers of divorcements by unbelievers, who wanted nothing to do with their converted spouses
f. Not to mention all the public beatings and humiliations of Christians
1) The beating of Peter and John (Acts 4:1,2)
2) The extreme stoning of Stephen
3) The house to house abuse and massacre of Christian families
2. And this was not a once off happening…
a. The Roman emperor Nero would soon turn all of Rome against Christianity
b. And it lasted for 250 years!
3. Sounds cruel, but it wasn’t – it was and still is necessary
C. Why was that any good at all?
1. Because it SCATTERED the Christians into all directions
2. And that was when those scattered Christians preached the word as they were supposed to
a. Not in bits and pieces, or the traditions and popular opinions of men
b. But the words of eternal life!
c. IT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW ALL OVER CENTRAL AFRICA
d. And Ireland has the Gospel BECAUSE of Acts 8
3. PRAY that God opens all OUR mouths
a. Love ought to do it (2Co 5:14,15) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
b. But Pain will do it too!
4. The unsaved, ignorant soul is worth more to God than our comfort! God thinks THEY are worth suffering to win
a. Jesus thought so
b. God in His longsuffering throughout history thought so
c. The challenge is to get US to think so
III. Message – Acts 1:8 Christians Preach the Gospel Because…
A. They were Prepared to Preach
1. Carefully, systematically taught the Scriptures (Acts 2:41-42) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
2. It was part of their lives from childhood (2Ti 3:15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
3. They knew the Bible – even though didn’t understand it all (Genesis to Malachi)
4. And they did not believe all the deception that people are basically good…
5. They knew the heart of men was wicked, and not good
6. THAT was solid preparation for preaching
7. And that’s why YOU need to be in church here
a. Sunday morning – yes, I TEACH THIS BOOK, but it is NOT ENOUGH
b. You NEED to be here Sunday evenings at 6pm for MORE instructions and fellowship
c. And Wednesday evenings to PRAY and study and grow!
e. Because you wouldn’t trust a doctor, a lawyer, a bank manager who didn’t put his/her time into leaning their trade well – would you?
f. Being a Christian is MORE than just getting saved!
g. It is BEING TRAINED for a purpose – the winning of the world to Christ!
8. You need to read through your Bible every year – 4 chapters a day!
9. And it does not matter that you fail, or struggle – just do it!
10. We are supposed to be preparing for whatever happens – not be like the world at all
11. I beg of you to get prepared so that you can be an Acts 1:8 Christian
B. They were Pushed to Preach (Acts 8:1-3) Boy were they pushed
1. Did you know that all of us all called to preach the words of this Book?
a. Some say “share” it, as in “Let me share with you the Gospel…”
b. Some say “witness”
c. Some say “evangelize”
d. The Bible simply calls it preaching – declaring what is right and true
e. I don’t care WHAT you call it – JUST DO IT!
f. Mark 16:15 And he said unto [ALL OF] them, Go ye [ALL] into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to every [ALL] creature.
2. But not many FEEL like preaching
a. It would be like being in a university, training doctors, and the students not actually wanting to help anybody
b. Just wanted the M.D. degree and the high wages
c. That would be wrong wouldn’t it?
3. Most people won’t ever open their mouth and even admit they are Christians unless they are pushed, pressed, goaded
a. Success rarely makes you shine – FIRE does!
b. Moses wouldn’t until God pushed him
1) Exo 4:10-12 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
c. The Apostle Paul constantly feared not having the courage to boldly speak of Christ
1) Eph 6:18-20 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
4. So God PUSHED His people
a. Powerful new anti-christian laws were now put in motion
b. High up leaders were now dead because they had converted to faith in Christ
c. Believers were rounded up and forced to renounce their new faith in Jesus as Messiah
d. What would that do to YOU?
5. God SCATTERED His people
a. He didn’t surround them with an army to keep them from the persecution
b. He shoved them in every direction, away from Jerusalem- away from home
c. Whether they were ready or not
d. Whether they were able to preach, teach, soul-win or not
e. They were thrown in every direction, ready or not!
C. They were becoming Blind to physical and cultural differences (Acts 8:5) This is amazing
1. They at first would only speak to other Jews (Act 11:19) Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
2. But rapidly, to those who were scattered talked to anybody who would listen! Here the soul-winners went beyond their borders to the pagan Samaritans and preached
3. And then they went out to the Greeks and Romans and Persians and Germanic tribes and Goths, and Huns, and Asians…
a. Act 11:20,21 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
b. NOW they were reaching out to the “uttermost parts of the earth…”
4. They just saw people as SOULS
a. Male, female, black, white, red, yellow, green – didn’t matter
b. God made us all LIVING SOULS!
c. Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
5. You DO know there are no races in the Bible, right? Just one race – the human race (Act 17:24-26) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation
6. You and I need to be completely blind to who we give the Gospel to!
a. Sinners, harlots, queers, adulterers, addicts, Doctors, lawyers, TD’s, Priests, & Vicars!
b. Just give the Gospel out!
D. They were Practical (Acts 8:4-7; 2:44-47)
1. The first century was a wild time
2. They didn’t just “preach” the Gospel – they lived it
a. They lived what they preached
b. Miracles, healing of all diseases were happening then, yes!
c. But most of the time, it was hard – everything was against them
3. They endured because the Gospel is not about prosperity and comfort
a. But about trusting Jesus
b. Just doing what Jesus said do, the WAY He said do it
c. During the good times AND the hard!
E. They were Enjoying the Preaching (Acts 8:8)
1. Enjoyed the truth of it
a. It just rings true in every heart that will listen
b. It is not against science – like the flat earth is
c. The Gospel is the foundation of all the sciences
d. The more I read any book, the more I come back to and enjoy THIS BOOK!
e. That’s why I love singing hymns – because it is all true
2. And enjoyed the fruit of it - the results (made better men and women, better society)
3. They even enjoyed the labour of learning it – it is so satisfying to study this Book
F. They were Poking at serious Enemies (Acts 8:9-23)
1. As much as the Gospel excites the believer… and saves the sinner…
2. It aggravates the wicked, and confuses the carnal believer – like stirring up wasps
a. My Dad was furious at every book and pamphlet I gave him to read
b. Why? Turn the light on in a darkened room, and everyone will be upset
c. The Gospel upset Pharisees – shows them to be just as wicked as a whore
d. It targets confusion too – makes things very clear
e. It even attacks and stirs up the roots of bitterness in the hearers
3. It really aggravated Saul of Tarsus – and then brought about his conversion!
4. So, expect to stir up some hornet nests – it is a spiritual war we are in
G. And in the end, They Changed their World – for the better!
1. The whole world heard in one generation – all 300 million of them!
a. Col 1:3-6 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth
2. Turned the world upside down - flipping
a. Acts 17:6 These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also
3. The effects of the Gospel are still felt today
a. Our year is known as the Year of our Lord, 2020 since His birth – It is the same ALL OVER THE WORLD!
b. Cannibalism is gone
c. Massive HUMANITARIAN organizations exist today like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, YWCA and YMCA, and World Vision – ALL because because of the Gospel
d. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was written because of the Gospel
e. There are 100,000 universities and colleges all other the world because of the effect of the Gospel that compelled Christian rulers to make education available so the masses who learn the Bible!
f. Because of the Gospel, the greatest Book in the world now has an ending… the New Testament!
g. Christmas is celebrated all over the world, as well as the Resurrection at Easter time
h. Government officials are forced to serve the people, instead of the people forced to serve the government!
4. But believe me, our world needs some serious flipping again!
IV.Application and Invitation
A. Most of Christianity today is very stuck – not doing much of anything
1. We have all the reasons why we can’t be an Acts 1:8 Christian
2. We do little to nothing
3. But the world is collapsing fast – sliding down a steep hillside
4. Headed to hell – and nobody is trying to stop them!
B. What will it take for US to faithfully open our mouths and preach the word?
C. Here is what we ALL need to do
1. PRAY that God opens all our mouths
a. Love out to do it
b. But Pain will do it too!
2. Use every opportunity God gives – every open door
3. Become prepared
4. Carry Gospel tracts everywhere you go
5. Talk to one person a day
6. Never quit – keep reaching further than ever!