Body: Read Acts 17:1-9 5. The Work At Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica. In this section of the book of Acts they were ran out of town by some “bad characters” who were influenced by jealous Jews. They ended up causing trouble for Jason, the one who provided hospitality for Paul and Silas.
Applications – - Going where God sends us. Notice in vs. 1 that Paul goes where God calls him to go. He doesn’t stay in one place because of the comfort that it provides. There are too many who stay in their comfort zones, instead of going where God is calling them to go.
This is true of physical locations as well as of spiritual maturity and even interacting with people and trying new ways of doing things. Let’s always be open to going where God wants us to go and doing what God wants us to do. God is bigger than or comfort zones. Think about your ministry or service to God.
- Regular attendance and centering on the Word. Notice in vss. 2-3 of this section of the book of Acts that Paul was known for going to synagogue and sharing the word of God with those who assembled.
Every disciple of Christ should be in church on a regular bases. And the word of God should be central in what is going on in church. A Jewish synagogue should not be confused with a Christian church. But the principle is helpful.
Let’s work on being regular in our church attendance and supporting the word of God being central in what is going on at our churches.
- The drawing and driving power of God’s word. Notice in vss. 4-5 that the word of God will draw some and drive others. Those who are sensitive to God’s word find comfort in the preaching of God’s word.
Those who are easily distracted by the messenger or who love their sin more than they love living by God’s word are often driven by the word of God. Let’s be a part of the group that is drawn to living by God’s word.
At the end of day, God is going to have His way, with or without our obedience and cooperation. But there are so many blessings and benefits for those who simply line up with and obey God’s word.
- A jealous based plan. Notice in vss. 5-9 that the devil uses jealousy again to start trouble for those who are striving to do God’s will. In this case, he uses religious leaders to give direction to both “bad characters” and to an emotional crowd.
First, we should guard our hearts from being jealous. Whatever God has for us, it is for us. Second, we should make sure we don’t get caught up in other people’s wicked plans, by doing things out of emotions, instead of understanding how our actions relate to God’s will.
Let’s work on keeping the devil from using us in his jealous and wicked plans.
- Twisting words. Notice in vs. 7 of the book of Acts that the enemies twisted what was being said for the sake of their agenda. It is not strange for the devil take a sound bite of what is said and twist it into something altogether different than what was intended.
We see this quite often with politicians. On one hand, we need to work on being careful what we say. But on the other hand, we should understand that no matter how careful we are, the devil has a way of twisting things for the sake of causing trouble.
Let’s be aware of the devil’s tactics and avoid getting caught up in such. As listeners, we should strive to understand both the words and the intent, instead of allowing the devil to have us upset about a technical meaning of words, when we know that is not what was intended.
In church, love should cover a multitude of sin. And we should all strive to live in peace, which means working on what we say and what we don’t say. However, when jealousy is in a person’s heart, instead of love, everything becomes a very technical conversation.
- Faith for the troubles. Notice in vss. 5-9 of the book of Acts that Jason ended up getting dragged into the persecution aimed at Paul. It is dangerous to be on the Lord’s side. When the devil cannot take out the general, he aims for the lieutenant or sergeant or even a private.
The reason every disciple should have daily dedication to doing God’s will is because every disciple is subject to experience some pain for the sake of the kingdom. But thank God, God can be trusted to take care of His own.
Let’s work on having the faith to endure whatever happens, as we are doing what God is calling us to do. We should seek strength to do good, instead of avoiding such because we don’t want to experience the pain seen in the text.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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