Speaker 1: Amen. Thank you for that, brother, Matt. I had to say that I don't know if I'll ever be able to sing grace greater than our sin again without thinking about one of our one of the kids in our church dancing to that song. I know, I know, not everybody knows that. Have you heard of the floss? OK. I'm not going to do it for you, though, I can't. Don't doubt me. But I saw one of the children in our church doing the floss to grace greater than our sin, and I thought, Well, you know what, that's that's interesting and I did not really think that at him would be conducive to that dance move, but they figured it out. Somebody like, What kid was it?
Speaker 4: I'm not telling. I take your Bibles. We have them and turn to the book of acts.
Speaker 1: Is where we're going to be today, access chapter number twenty three, how many of you all were here Wednesday night for the trunk or treat? All right. Quite a few. Yes, we typically have between four and six hundred people show up for that event. And Wednesday night we had definitely eleven hundred, but probably closer to twelve hundred people here on the property. So it was very exciting, more exciting. That is that we actually had, I believe, was a man get saved in the gym. And so praise the Lord for that. We've heard many good comments about the event, several folks saying that it is one of the things that they look forward to every year. Their kids won't let him miss it. And so we're very grateful for your service and the outreach into the community to have twelve hundred people here on the property who would not normally come on this property. You say, what will they ever come back? I don't know. But we always have some that do come back. Um, now some of you may be aware of some of the things that were said in a couple of community groups about an incident that took place in the parking lot. Some of you maybe saw that just to let you know, and in case anybody asks, I will let you know what happened. We have a parking lot attendants that all did a fantastic job of of trying to find places to park all the vehicles that were here. Thank the Lord. It was dry, so we were able to use the the fields to park a lot of vehicles. But there was a situation where a lady was pulling out of the parking lot, heading to leave and a child that was in line bolted ran away from his mom and dad's. The dad ran to catch him. That grabbed the child and pulled him out of the way. The lady that was driving slammed on her brakes but did make contact with the father. He was not injured from the testimony of the family that was involved. They were just really shaken up because the child had run out. As that happened, there was a bystander who did not see it happen, but decided to insert himself into the situation and cause a problem, preventing our parking lot attendants from doing what they were trying to do and taking care of the situation. The man, the father that was made contact with the vehicle, is a member of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department. He he knows how to make a police report. It was his decision not to call the authorities. And so our men took care of them, brought them into the church. Everyone stayed that was involved. I went through the line eight hot dogs, all of that stuff. I spoke with the family before they left, and they said that everything was fine, that they were, they were not upset and they looked forward to coming back next year. But online, the statement was made that a father and his son were run over in our church parking lot. That is not true. The father did make contact with the vehicle. They exchanged contact information with the driver, but nothing further was was was. Pursuit, I did talk to the Collinsville Police Department to make sure that the church was not liable in any way, they said, because of the situation. It is the responsibility of the individuals involved to pursue further action should they so desire. And so if you do hear about that in the community, as I know many of you have now you know more of the details, but you say, Well, what do we do different in the future to prevent this? Well, we can move the line. We will look into having a uniformed officer at such events. It's a whole different ballgame trying to take care of twelve hundred people than it is four hundred people. And so just as our church continues to grow. Praise the Lord. And these events continue to draw more people because people are having a good experience. Then we'll just have to adjust and do do a little bit more to protect the church's reputation and the people protect the people that will be here because we do not want our church to have a bad reputation in the community. We want to have a good reputation. We want people to think of the Baptist Tabernacle and think that's a church that loves its community, that wants to serve its community, is trying to tell people about Jesus and his love. And so that is what we are going to continue to pursue as we move forward in the future. And I appreciate every person that has spoken out and defended the church's reputation during this time. I'm sure many of you that are members of the church members group. If you're not a member of the church members Facebook group, I'd encourage you to hop on there. But many of you saw the post and hopefully that was helpful to you. But anyways, I don't want spending more time on it. It took up a lot of my weekend and I'm ready to push forward and we're going to be we're going to be excited about what God did accomplish, not what different people tried to stir up. So anyways, I accept number twenty three. If you were there, please join me in standing in honor of reading God's Word Acts Chapter number twenty three. We're going to begin reading in verse number one. Actually, go back to verse 30 of Chapter 22. Bible says on the Morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands and commanded the chief priests and all their counsel to appear
Speaker 4: and brought Paul down and set him before them. And Paul, earnestly
Speaker 1: beholding the council, said Men and brethren,
Speaker 4: I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
Speaker 1: The high priest in is commanded them that stood by him to smite
Speaker 4: him on the mouth. Then said Paul and him. God shall smite the thou whited wall for us now to judge me after the Lord commands me to be smitten, contrary to the law. They stood by, said Revivalists.
Speaker 1: Thou gods high priest then said, Paul, I was not brethren. He was the high priest
Speaker 4: where it is written. Thou shalt not speak evil of
Speaker 1: the ruler of thy people. But when Paul perceived one part, we're sad suggesting, see, he's the other Pharisees
Speaker 4: cried out in the council, men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee of the hope and resurrection of the dead. I am called in question. When he had so said, there arose the dissension between the
Speaker 1: Pharisees
Speaker 4: and the Sadducees and the multitude was divided for the sadnesses say that there is
Speaker 1: no resurrection.
Speaker 4: Neither angel nor spirit. But the Pharisees confessed both and there arose a great cry in the scribes that were of the Pharisees. Part arose and strove, saying We find no evil in this man, but of a spirit or an angel has spoken to him. Let us not fight against God. And when there arose a great dissension chief captain fearing Les Paul should have been pulled in, pieces of them commanded the soldiers to go down and to take him by force from among them and to bring him into the castle. The night following.
Speaker 1: Lord stood by him and said. Be of good cheer, Paul. Rozelle has testified of me in Jerusalem, so my style bear witness also at Rome. Let's pray or we thank you for this day. Thank you for the opportunity we have to come together and to look into your word. I pray that you would help us this morning as we spend these moments with you. Got to pray that you speak to our hearts. Use your Holy Spirit to convict us of. Changes that we may need to make in our life or that we would leave here better equipped to serve you in Jesus name that I ask these things. Amen. Thank you. May be seated. Every story has a hero. Perhaps you like Disney movies and Simba is maybe the hero of the Lion King, I don't know it could be pooh to.
Speaker 4: Maybe you prefer science fiction. And so Luke Skywalker is the hero of your favorite galactic series.
Speaker 1: Maybe you prefer a fantasy series. And so Frodo and Bilbo are the heroes that you look to. There are many different genres, many different literary styles,
Speaker 4: but there there is usually a hero somewhere involved in the story. Sometimes the hero is very evident. Sometimes the hero is maybe more in the background hiding in the shadows and doesn't reveal himself to later. Sometimes, as we go through our life, we think that we are the heroes of our story. We think that we are always on the side of right. We could never do wrong, and anyone that would accuse us of wrong
Speaker 1: is the enemy in the opposition. Here we have been looking for the last several weeks that the Apostle Paul
Speaker 4: and I'm so glad that we've come to this passage here today because as we've looked at Paul's life, there have been some moments where it seemed like it was the end for Paul that Paul was about to buy the farm. He was about to kick the bucket. But then something would happen. Somebody would swoop in and save the day. Maybe it was a Roman captain. Maybe it was Paul's citizenship that saved his bacon. Today, we're going to see that, Paul, he's pretty capable of thinking on his feet. Paul's pretty clever. And it's going to seem today like Paul is the hero of the story.
Speaker 1: But, you know, there's going to be an actual hero behind the scenes.
Speaker 4: Somebody that's not immediately evident who is working on Paul's behalf to accomplish his will. You see, in the universe, the No are the end of chapter number twenty two. The Bible tells us that the Roman captain, the one that had pulled Paul out of the mob, saved his life, the one that was about to scourge him all but then had withheld after he found out he was a Roman. That Roman captain is going to send Paul to stand before the Jews. The captain wants to find out what is going on with this guy. Paul, who is he really? Why are the Jews so upset? And so he's going to leave it up to them to discover what was so bad about this man, Paul? Well, as Paul stands before them in verse number one, he immediately starts off by making a statement protesting his innocence. He stands up for his own integrity. Just, you know, let's use an example is pretty close in our minds. As I was watching this post in the comments over the weekend and different people saying things that were just absolutely absurd about our church and the people here. It was just it was making my blood boil and it was everything within me not to get on there and become a keyboard warrior and put that person in their place. I wanted to defend the integrity of the Baptist Tabernacle,
Speaker 1: but you know how online interactions go. Reason always prevails. Logic is held in high regard. No, not usually so.
Speaker 4: I restrained. But I wanted to protect Star Integrity. I wanted to stand up for what I knew to be the truth. You know, the Bible doesn't give us a
Speaker 1: record of any formal accusations
Speaker 4: being leveled against Paul, but Paul has to know by this point any time the Jews get together, he usually ends up bearing the brunt of their anger. And so he is studying his audience. Bible says that he earnestly beheld the council that stood before him. The council that is here. This is the Sanhedrin that you have probably heard about. The Saint Hedren was made up of 70 members, plus the high priest. The Sanhedrin was a very dignified group of men, or at least it had been tracing its lineage all the way back to Moses during Moses time. There have been sixty nine men plus Moses, so 70 all together that had worked to judge and lead the people of Israel. Well, now in this day and age, there are 70 members, plus the High Priest. So you've got seventy one men that are all circled around Paul. They are the highest religious, political and civil court in Judaism. Kind of like the four one one is the highest level court in Collinsville.
Speaker 1: No, that's sarcasm to. Good night. I'm not going to say anything else about it. I said I was done talking about it.
Speaker 4: Certainly, as Paul is there and he is studying them, I'm he is looking at the people that are
Speaker 1: staring back at him.
Speaker 4: I see smile. I mean, wouldn't it be awkward if I just
Speaker 1: sat here and talked to you and just stared at each one of you? I mean, you're supposed to make eye contact, but you don't want it to get weird. You know the snap people like that. It's not comfortable for them to just become like the target of somebody's gaze.
Speaker 4: Well, that's what Paul is doing. He is studying his audience, and I'm sure he's looking around at the Sanhedrin. These men are all about his age. There's probably some guys sitting there that Paul knows. There's probably some guy sitting there who were students of Gamaliel. At the same time, Paul was the admin Pharisees coming up together. And so there is a recognition, a a knowledge of who it is that's sitting before him. And so for whatever reason, Paul opens by confidently and boldly asserting his innocence. Now, the High Priest doesn't seem to appreciate Paul's boldness,
Speaker 1: it doesn't appreciate Paul's
Speaker 4: outburst, and so in verse number two, the Bible says that the high priests in India's commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Don't raise your hand.
Speaker 1: How many of you might have got popped in the mouth for talking back to an authority figure sometime in your life? OK. And you know what it's like when that happens.
Speaker 4: It doesn't even take much, you don't even have to hit somebody with the palm of your hand. You can take two fingers and pop somebody in the lips and they're like, Whoa, what was wrong with you? Why would you do that to me? It doesn't take much striking someone in the mouth is a common reaction to someone who says something that is unacceptable in this region of the world. Still, to this day, if someone says something inappropriate or someone says something disrespectful, the common reaction is not to give them a piece of your mind. It's to give them a piece of the back of your hand. It's one of the fastest ways to I can I say that to shut somebody up is that. Also, let's say,
Speaker 1: shut up when I was a kid was rude and say that this is OK that make them be quiet, OK? And to get their attention. Also, if you haven't noticed lips bleed really easily. And so this action might have been common
Speaker 4: at their time out in the marketplace or at the business place or in the hall. But it was against the law and shouldn't have happened here. As Paul stood before the council, Paul responds to this breaking of the law and maybe the breaking of the skin on his lip. And he condemns the high priests. Not knowing is the high priest condemns him for striking him. He tells the High Priest in verse number three, he says God shall smite thee. Now, Paul doesn't know
Speaker 1: that in an eye, as is the high priest,
Speaker 4: but his words hear that God shall smite thee are actually prophetic because indeed, in a few years and I will be killed by an assassin.
Speaker 1: He doesn't just keel over, it doesn't get sick and die.
Speaker 4: No, an assassin, you know? Kills him. Will striking. He also calls in an isolated wall, you know, for not knowing and and I, as Paul is right on with what was recorded about him in history. Josephus described in and is as an insulin hot tempered, profane and greedy man. Other historical sources tell us that NAIAS was one of the worst high priests the nation ever had. He stole money from other priests and used every political trick
Speaker 1: that he could to enlarge his power. It was a wasted wall. He could put on all the high priestly garments that were meant to
Speaker 4: represent and display so many different truths about God and his people. And yet, underneath it
Speaker 1: all, he was just as crooked and corrupt as you could be. So Paul says God's going to strike you, you whited wall. First number for. Well, after accusing Ani's of breaking the law, somebody that's standing nearby tells
Speaker 4: Paul, Hey, this is the high priest. And actually, if you look at first before knowing now what you know about nice, isn't it ironic? He says, revile us now what Gods
Speaker 1: High Priest introduced here? The the the what's the word I'm thinking of? Huh? Arrogance, pious
Speaker 4: ness, that's the one just the the the
Speaker 1: the proper ness, the oh, we're so much better than you. You nasty little Christian you.
Speaker 4: How dare you
Speaker 1: speak in such a way to God's high priest? Not much godly about this man, as far as I can tell. But Paul. So, as you know, I didn't know,
Speaker 4: Paul revealed some version or five that he did not know, he was unaware that this was the high priest. And he goes on and he says he says I will snot rather than the who is the high priest friend has written Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. Paul's saying, Hey, listen, if I had known who he was, I would have not. I would not have said this even if I believed it to be true. Paul knew that was wrong to speak evil of the High Priest, even if you disagreed with them. Do you think that might translate into today's climate?
Speaker 1: Is it possible to respect the position and not the person? All of this culminates in it leads Paul to change his approach to his defense.
Speaker 4: Remember, as a Pharisee, Paul is essentially a lawyer, a student of the law, and Paul is one of the best. He was one of the best students of the law that is Judaism had ever seen. And so he's clever. He's a quick thinker. He sees that what he was trying to do before isn't working. And so he changes his approach on the fly. The Luke tells us that in verse number six, that Paul perceived, or Paul discerns that the Sanhedrin is actually a fractured group. Is he on the Sanhedrin? There are Pharisees and Sadducees. At this point in history, the sadnesses were the the group that was in the majority. They held the political power, they were the the majority party and the Pharisees were the minority party. And so Paul decides he's going to use this to his advantage. A house divided against itself. The falls that cannot stand, and so Paul says, let's make let's make good use of the cracks in the foundation that I can see here. And so Paul stirs up a little bit of a controversy. He says in verse number six, he says, men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. Now the hope and resurrection of the dead. I am called in question. First thing he does, he identifies with the parasites he identifies with the minority group. Have you ever noticed in our political climate that whoever
Speaker 1: is in the minority, they seem to be a little bit
Speaker 4: more passionate
Speaker 1: about regaining power?
Speaker 4: I mean, when the
Speaker 1: Republicans are in the minority, well, then it's all, Hey, you know what? The midterms are coming up and we're going to take back the House and the Senate and all this other stuff. And when the Democrats are in the
Speaker 4: minority, they're doing the same thing. Whoever is not in power is trying to get power, and those who are trying to get power are usually more passionate
Speaker 1: than those who already have the power. So Paul says I'm a Pharisee.
Speaker 4: In fact, Paul actually comes from a heritage of Pharisees. We know for certain that his father was a Pharisee, but many believe his grandfather was a Pharisee as well. And so Paul is trying to make a connection with his audience. I'm so grateful for every month and week and year that passes,
Speaker 1: and I get to be the pastor of this church
Speaker 4: because the longer that I am here with you, the more I get to know you, and hopefully the more you get to know me so that we have this connection. You know, I mean, it was it was really hard and awkward to try and preach when we first got here because I didn't know you. You didn't know me. You didn't get my humor.
Speaker 1: Still, don't get my humor sometimes. Problem is definitely with you, not me. I'm very funny guy. Trying to make a connection with some of his audience, hoping that they will
Speaker 4: feel some sort of loyalty to him, some sort of defense of him. He tells them he claims that he is being targeted primarily because of his belief in the resurrection, and we're not going to talk a whole lot about it, but you can see in the passage how the resurrection was a sticking point for the Pharisees in the sadnesses to IS. Didn't believe in it. They didn't believe in the resurrection. They didn't believe in angels. They didn't believe in the spirit. But the convert the Pharisees believed both. And so Paul says, I'm being accused today because I believe
Speaker 1: in the resurrection. Now let me ask you this question Is he lying? Not at all.
Speaker 4: You see, it was the appearance of the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus that had brought Paul to this point. If the resurrection wasn't true, Paul wouldn't be here right now. And so what he's saying is essentially true. If it wasn't for the resurrection, Paul would not be singing before them. He would probably be sitting with them.
Speaker 1: If the resurrection was not a true doctrinal thing. Now hearing this and verse number seven,
Speaker 4: the two groups turn their attention from Paul and begin to fight one another. Paul's claim is successful in diverting attention. The Bible says there arose a great dissension. It tells us that the council was divided and there arose a great cry from among them. Is there how big of a cry can come up from 70 people? Well, let me get 70 teenagers and
Speaker 1: leave them alone for a moment and then come back in the room and you'll find out how big a cry can come from 70 people. Paul had cleverly
Speaker 4: tapped into the deep seated hatred that these two groups had for each other. He's not only successful in diverting
Speaker 1: attention, though, he's also successful in convincing some of the Pharisees. Now, this point, I'll admit, is a little more shaky, but I want you to look at what some of the Pharisees have to say about Paul says in verse number nine. Towards the end, the Pharisees said,
Speaker 4: We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or an angel had spoken to him, let us not fight against God. I wouldn't necessarily
Speaker 1: say that that's a salvation testimony, but it sure does seem like Paul is getting to some of them. They're willing to admit that, you know what, maybe this guy is on to something. You know, God didn't an angel or
Speaker 4: or our spirit didn't show up to us and tell us these things, but if it showed up to him and told him to do this, then we're kind of having a hard time finding
Speaker 1: evil in him. At the very least, they were willing to accept that Paul might be working for God. As there, great dissension in the great cry increased. The Roman captain that's been active in all of our messages he learns of.
Speaker 4: The the commotion, and he sends some soldiers to go collect Paul. You see, what's going on here is you've got you've got a game of tug of war going on and you've got the sadnesses who are trying to get it, Paul. And you've got the Pharisees who are trying to protect him. And so the captain is afraid that these two groups are going to tear Paul apart. They're going to tear him into pieces. And so once again, we see that Rome swoops in,
Speaker 1: takes Paul back into the safety of the castle. So Paul is safe. It's back under Roman protection. Who should get the credit? For Paul's safety, Paul's survival is continued. Life in this situation. There are a lot of different actors at play here.
Speaker 4: And as I read, some different
Speaker 1: commentators said different things.
Speaker 4: Some said the poll was safe because of his cleverness. He was able to discern the cracks in the foundation, and he was able to manipulate and use those to save his own skin. Paul took advantage
Speaker 1: of the situation.
Speaker 4: Some say that Paul was safe. Because the Pharisees had rallied to protect one of their own. Others even said that Paul is safe because of the Roman captain's intervention.
Speaker 1: Who is the hero of the story? Is it, Paul?
Speaker 4: Is it the Pharisees? Is it role?
Speaker 1: Before we make a hero out of any of these different players. Can we turn our attention back to verse number 11 and what happened that night
Speaker 4: after all of this goes down at the Sanhedrin, and Paul is again placed in the safety of the Roman fortress there. Paul receives a special visitor.
Speaker 1: It's not his mommy. She didn't come and bring him cookies or cake with a saw hidden inside of it for him to make an escape. The Bible says that that night the Lord stood by him. And said. Be of good cheer, Paul. Put yourself there. Try to imagine what that was like. Paul is going through one of the most difficult times in his life, it has been day after day after
Speaker 4: day of attack and opposition and persecution and near-death experiences. There he is, laying in his bed. Maybe on the verge of sleep, maybe he's asleep. Maybe he's brushing his teeth.
Speaker 1: There in the mirror there next to the bed. Is Jesus? The first thing he says is be of good cheer. Paul. Compare that back with the first time he heard Jesus speak. All. Paul, why persecuted style me?
Speaker 4: Who are you, Lord? I don't even know who you are. No, he's blinded by the light. He's scared, he's fallen on the ground.
Unidentified: So much fear. Dread.
Speaker 1: Hearing in the voice of Jesus.
Speaker 4: But now the middle of the night.
Speaker 1: Be of good cheer, Paul. You say. Be of good cheer, Paul, none of you did it. Say it. Be of good cheer, Paul. That was very good. Let's do it again. Be of good cheer, Paul. Why should Paul be of good cheer? Well, we can go back to the hero analogy, it's because Paul is not the hero of his story.
Speaker 4: Jesus, it's. Jesus is showing up at one of Paul's darkest moments. Maybe, perhaps one of the most scary times in his life. He has no idea what tomorrow holds. Jesus shows up.
Speaker 1: Tells him. To be of good cheer. I have repeated that to myself over and over and over since I read it for the first time on Monday. Paul can be of good cheer because Jesus is the hero
Speaker 4: of his story. Paul can be a good cheer because, as the verse tells us, Jesus is not finished with him. Is he,
Speaker 1: as you have presented the gospel here in Jerusalem? You will also present the gospel in Rome. Paul can be of good cheer because Jesus had never left him. It was right there the whole time.
Speaker 4: In the background, working on Paul's behalf, accomplishing things that Paul could have never accomplished in his own ability.
Speaker 1: See the hero of polls protection throughout all that he has experienced
Speaker 4: is the same hero from his testimony, which he delivered on the balcony of the fortress just a few days earlier. It's Jesus, the risen Jesus, you see, Jesus has and will continue to preserve Paul's life. Jesus has a plan for Paul, and no enemy of the gospel will derail those plans
Speaker 1: until they are accomplished. So, Paul. Be of good cheer. You've got enemies. But your hero is stronger than your enemies.
Speaker 4: Paul, be of good cheer.
Speaker 1: I've still got a plan for your life. You've accomplished much, but there is more for you to accomplish. This morning. I want us all to take a step back. From the problems of our live lives. Realize that we can be of good cheer to. Because we're not the hero of our own story.
Speaker 4: Jesus, it's. You see, when you set out to live for Jesus, it is not a question of if you will face opposition, but when. Right. It's not if it's when. Opposition may be internal.
Speaker 1: Like inside yourself. You ever been through a situation where you know what's right to do, but there's something inside of you that's just like holding you back
Speaker 4: your own fear, your own distrust, your own doubts. Opposition can be internal. Opposition could be from other humans. You decide you want to live for the Lord, you want to serve God, do what's right? Try to live a holy life. There will be humans who will stand in your way. They will make you make fun of you. Try to tempt you.
Speaker 1: It would be internal, it could be other humans, it could be spiritual warfare. Let's not forget that spiritual warfare is a very real thing, Satan and his forces are active in this world. Opposition may be temptation to sin. You decide you want to serve the Lord. Temptation will all of a sudden be offered to you.
Speaker 4: Temptation uniquely fitted for you and the sin that does so easily beset you. It may be temptation, it may be persecution. It may be someone spreading false stories about you.
Speaker 1: It may just be a distraction. The Satan can't get you to sin, maybe he can buy you out. Would you ever watch these corporations, they've got a competitor that
Speaker 4: is gaining ground in their market as they're becoming more and more of a threat to their sales numbers and someone who they just go, they go buy them out.
Speaker 1: You know, we'll give you four billion dollars for your company so that we can have all your assets and you won't be a problem for us anymore. Satan does that to. Don't think that every door that opens before you is God opened. Right. Oh, but it's more money. Yeah, but it got open the door or Satan trying to buy you out.
Speaker 4: And if I move here, I know there's not a church there where there's no real Christian community that we can get involved with, but oh man, I'm going to be making six figures.
Speaker 1: You may be careful. May not be God leading, you may be Satan trying to buy you out. Temptation, persecution, distraction, or it could just be discouragement. And one of those mornings your alarm goes off and you're so discouraged, you can't even hardly bring yourself to get out of bed.
Speaker 4: And has that happened to you? There's been times coming and coming up here to preach that that just just don't feel it, you know?
Speaker 1: Was like. Not for you guys. Teenagers in the past, you know,
Speaker 4: well, like you're talking to a brick wall,
Speaker 1: but not your. You're like, what good is it going to do? Are they even listening?
Speaker 4: Does anyone even take what is said
Speaker 1: and apply it to their
Speaker 4: lives? I mean, I know we pray about it every time we ask God to use your Holy Spirit to apply this to their life. But is it really happening? Is there any real change or growth taking place? You know, that is that's just discouragement. I know God's word said his word will not return on him void. I know
Speaker 1: it. Discouragement makes me forget it. Opposition comes a lot of different ways
Speaker 4: and get you down. It will come, and the more committed you are to living out the gospel, the more of a target you will attract. Don't think that as our church grows and as we become more and more effective in the gospel, that there won't be more and more attacks. Satan will do everything he can. The enemies of the gospel will do everything they can to tempt the members of this church to persecute the members of this church, to distract the members of this church, to discourage the members of this church.
Speaker 1: We really shouldn't be surprised by this. So Jesus told us. That they hated him. Hate us to. Let me ask you this question. Do you think Satan wants a gospel focused employee at your place of business? Is that just like the devil with all kinds of good, warm feelings? You decide I'm going to be a white. What about your neighborhood? Nixon likes it all over Collinsville, and the surrounding area is Green Country. There are homes where where the Bible is read and Jesus is praised and thanked and spoken to on a regular basis.
Speaker 4: Do you think he likes that? Some of you went out and throughout the year take gospel tracts and invitations to church and put them on the doors of your neighbors? You think that just makes Satan really happy? You think do you think Satan wants to have a gospel focused church in the Collinsville community? Answer is no. So our position will come. Whatever way it needs to come to get you and get me and get our church knocked off track.
Speaker 1: Maybe thinking I'll never let these things get my focus off of Jesus.
Speaker 4: I am too strong for that. I'm too clever for that. I have faced worse before and I'm staying true. You know what I hear? I. You, sir. You, ma'am.
Speaker 1: Are not do the credit. For making it through temptation. May I ask you this, did Paul craft his testimony or did Jesus give it to him?
Speaker 4: Who showed up to who on the road to Damascus? Jesus. Did did Paul choose to be a Roman citizen or did Jesus do that for him? Last time I checked, I didn't have a form to fill out before I was born
Speaker 1: and said, You know what? America sounds like a great place to be born. I think I'll go there. Did Paul choose to be born in a family of Pharisees, or did Jesus orchestrate that? You see, the reason that Paul could be of good cheer was because his past, present and future were in the hands of the
Speaker 4: same Jesus that had appeared to him when he got same. The same Jesus that had saved him was with him in that Roman fortress.
Speaker 1: The same is true for us. See, when we live for Jesus.
Speaker 4: We can be of good cheer. No matter what this life brings. Some falsely accuse you. We have good cheer. You're facing intense temptation. Be of good cheer. Struggling with distractions. Be of good cheer.
Speaker 1: You're discouraged. Be of good cheer. So you are not the hero of your story. Jesus is. Every single one of us has reason. Be of good cheer. All right. Father, we think for this. Thank you for the good attention of the people that are here this morning. Thank you for guiding us to this passage today. What I am confident that every person here is. Facing some kind of resistance or opposition to their attempt to live for you. What I pray that we would not face. This resistance, this opposition in our own power. Or we would depend upon you. We will allow you to do the work in our life that needs to be done, we would let you be the hero. Of our story. Or if there's someone here that's discouraged or distracted, tempted someone is accusing them of something. Or because of their testimony for you, I pray that you had filled them with cheer today. They would be of good cheer and that they would remember that you are there with them. You saved them from their sins. Died for them on the cross, and you are there with them today. Lord, I pray that we would find strength in who you are, all that you've done for us. Jesus name names, I ask these things. Amen.