Acts Series #31
Back to the Beginning: When Church Was Church
"Calling All Radicals"
What do I mean?
Am I looking for trouble makers? NO NO NO!
I don't have to put out a call for trouble makers, trouble makers always seem to find their way into the church don't they?
Am I calling for wierdos? NO …
But I AM calling for peculiar people … radicals in the very best sense of the word
For we are a Peculiar People 1 Peter 2:9 says "we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people belonging to or 'peculiar' people"
Peculiar means - characteristic of ONLY one person, group, or thing, distinctive … different from the usual or normal; special
So I'm calling for Radicals
What does Radical mean? I thought radicals were TROUBLE makers…
Well Let's go to Mr Webster - a Radical from the Latin radicalis … From the Latin radix which means root --- Radical means --
1- of, relating to, or prceeding from a root: as
a - of or growing from the root of a plant
2 - or of relating to the origin
3 - marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional
b - tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views habits, conditions, or institutions
So a Radical is not simply an offshoot of a branch or leaf … a Radical … breaks from Tradition or the normal which is often far from the original intent or root, and a radical come off the ROOT the place of origin
So, I'm calling for some people who will break from the status quo, break from tradition, break from the normal and actually RETURN to the root , what we were intended to be when we call ourselves Christians, followers of Christ, part of the Church … who are predisposed to and willing to make extreme changes in the existing habits and conditions of the church, society, the hearts of men, women, boys and girls
So, if we're going back to the root, what's the root …
Turn to Acts 17:1-9
The world doesn't want to hear about Jesus
The world wants to silence the message of Christ
Satan has an evil system bent on destruction
They will come after you, they will lie about Christ, they will lie about you, they will "round up some bad characters", or whatever it takes …
So what are we going to do about it?
Are we going to be silent?
Are we going to be patient?
Are we going to be ugly?
Are we going to be fools?
Or are we going to TURN the World Upside down? That's how the King James renders verse 6 "these men who have turned the world upside down have come here also"
"these who have caused trouble all over the world"
No they didn't cause trouble in a real sense of the world, they caused trouble in the sense that they challenged the worlds system of pagan beliefs,
They caused trouble for godless
They caused trouble for the forces of evil ..
They didn't Turn the world UPSIDE down, no, they were taking an UPSIDE down world and turning it RIGHT SIDE UP
Did these men turn the world upside down by violent means? No
Did they turn the world upside down by illegal means? No
So, how did they cause trouble all over the world?
They were RADICALS … branching off directly from the root … and I'm calling
1. A Radical Claim --- Jesus is the Christ - v 3
A. THIS Jesus
The name "Jesus" means "Jehovah Saves" - but they had been substituting other things for the thing that Jesus was to be for them.
They were creating their own Jesus
Their Job saves
Their Education saves
Their Government saves
Their Religious System saves
What or who is YOUR Savior?
Is it your 401K? Your Savings account
We make a Radical Claim … We claim that THIS Jesus … Jesus born in a manger in Bethlehem during the Census Caesar Augustus when Quirinius was governor, born into the household of Joseph and his promised wife Mary, raised the son of a Carpenter, brother to James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon, and sisters as well (Mk 6:3), cousin to John born to Elizabeth and Zechariah, who ministered through Galilee and Judea, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate outside Jerusalem, and resurrected Three days later, who appeared to more than 400 witnesses, and ascended to the Father 40 days later … THIS Jesus … is Jehovah in the Flesh …
This JESUS …
- I am Radical enough to proclaim
B. IS the Christ - Messiah, Anointed one, The ONE YOU HAVE DREAMED OF
The Messiah had been expected for hundreds of years.
There were three primary things that they were dreaming of and expecting in the Messiah …
1. The Messiah would be like Adam and be a part of a recreation of all things, the beginning of the wonder of God's restoration
2. The Messiah would be like Moses who set them free from the captivity and led them into promise, so the Messiah would set them free from sin and lead them into the promise of God's presence, blessing and provision
3. The Messiah would be like David and rule them and protect them as a good King. He would slay the Giant, lead them in true worship of God, direct them in the righteous way to live and go.
If you have dreamed of a recreation, a new beginning, new life, we have the Radical understanding that Jesus IS the Christ that you've been dreaming of
If you've dreamed of being released from the hold and bondage that this life and sin has on you, we are radical enough to claim that Jesus is the Messiah you have longed for
If you've dreamed of the protection and direction that you need in this life, Then We radically proclaim that Jesus is the Christ
Do we have some Radicals here today?
What else did these first century Radicals have?
2. A Radical Group of Friends - v 4 Jews, Greeks, Prominent Women, v 7
This was a diverse group of people that were receiving the Message of Christ and following the truth that Paul proclaimed. They were Jew and Greek, they were Men yes but Women too, there were poor as there always were, but there were prominent men and Prominent Women
Remember that Radicals: marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional ; tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views habits, conditions, or institutions
What is the norm when it comes to Friends? People LIKE us, people with our background, our likes and dislikes.
What is the norm in churches today? It has been said that Sunday morning from 11:00 - 12:00 is the most segregated hour in America.
But not these Radicals … and NOT the Radicals I'm continuing to call for at New Life Baptist Church
How do we break with tradition, normal, habits?
A. Jason welcomed them -
1. we ALL know what it's like to NOT be welcome … we have all experienced it
2. we have experienced it socially, we have experienced it ethnically, we have experienced it economically … but we do NOT have to continue the tradition, we do not have to justify being exclusionary …
3. we have to WELCOME people - the Dictionary defines welcome as 1 to greet hospitably and with courtesy or cordiality 2 to accept with pleasure the presence of
4. they were radical and we must be radical, not just tolerating people different from us but to pleasured to have the presence of others.
But it says that Jason Welcomed them
B. Into his House
1. the English definition of welcome isn't the complete definition of this Greek word used here. NO … the Greek word (hoop-od-ekh-om-ahee) here is the whole phrase. It means to receive under one's roof, to receive as a guest …
2. If someone isn't welcome in your house, they will not feel welcome here. If you want to get to know someone that is not like you whether it's a different, race, station, someone who doesn't know Christ, invite them into your home. Take them to lunch, … welcoming begins there
3. Jason welcomed them into his house …
4. By the way, this was NOT a complement, this was an accusation. We ought to be a people that are ACCUSED of welcoming people, into our house and into our church house.
5. WHY? Because you need the support and strength of a group. And you can't be a radical group of friends if you don't know each other, have surface relationships "welcomed them into his house".
6. We have to open up our homes and lives to others to build deeper relationships … open up our shared struggles … life lessons …
In a world that is drawn to gather in homogeneous groups, that is groups where everyone is the same … the Only Sameness about the Radicals I'm calling to is ONE Lord, One Faith, One Baptism … apart from that we are many yet we are one
It's a Radical Claim … It's a Radical Group of Friends and they have …
3. A Radical Mind v7---
A Radical mind is one
A. Daring to buck the status quo
1. Status Quo - means the existing state of affairs
2. Radical minds do not just readily accept the ways of thinking of the world …
3. The accusation against Jason was that they were "defying Caesar's degrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus" -
4. the people of that day not only saw Caesar as King, worshipped him as a God … The Radicals dare not to worship Knowledge as King and God, not to worship Money as King/God, not to worship Government as King/God …
5. Radicals won't expect or relay on or worship any other but Jesus Christ
B. Believe the unbelievable v7 -
1. they are defying Ceasar's decrees saying there is another king" - dare to say that there is a different truth from the accepted way of thinking
2. in our age of enlightenment, science, knowledge, would we dare to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that there is a place called Heaven and Jesus is preparing a place for us there that all who believe in him would NOT perish but have everlasting life.
3. would we dare to be so closed minded to believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the Father
4. would we dare to believe that Jesus Christ created all things JUST like the Bible Says. --- Students … if you are in public school and they are teaching you that this world wasn't created by God and it wasn't created like the scripture says … you be respectful, learn what they want you to learn … give them the answers they want to you give them … then if they have asked you to write something you don't believe … turn it over on the back and write "but I do not believe this, I believe that God created all things … I believe the Bible." Jesus said to "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's … so if school wants an answer that isn't true, give it to them, but you can respectfully tell them the truth.
Are there any Radicals here who will stand up and buck the status quo and believe the unbelievable?
I'm looking for some Radicals … who make a Radical Claim, have Radical Friends, a Radical mind and finally who follow a
4. A Radical Plan --- vv1-3
A. To Tell the World -
1. What did Paul do? He reasoned with them from the scriptures
2. it was more than just saying …. "Jesus Loves you" and "you need to give your heart to him"
3. Paul explained it to them, -- "reasoning" the word means that he opened it up by dividing it or breaking it down … explaining and proving … that word means "to set the table" or "set the teaching before" … we've got to lay it out there … set the table
4. We need to lay out the wonder and truth of God and tell the world to "taste and see for themselves"
B. Take it TO the World
1. They went to Troas, to Philippi, to Amphipolis and Apollonia, Thessalonica …
2. they didn't stay INSIDE the church, they WENT to where the people are who needed the trouble they brought … They aren't coming to us … we gotta take it to them …
He reasoned with them out of the scriptures … opening and alleging … explaining and proving … that Jesus had to suffer and rise from the dead
I was in Geri Doggett's hospital room on Thursday and when I walked in she was talking to a young man who looked uncomfortable … when he saw me he seemed relieved and said "oh … here's your Doctor" … she said "that's not my Doctor that's my preacher!" and then she said "Pastor I'm telling him about Jesus!" The young man saw his last chance and was heading out the door … she called out "he's running Pastor" I asked her about that discussion, he was the one who secured her meals for her and was getting her order and she asked "Do you love God" … "Oh I believe in God" he explained … now most of us would stop there and say "wonderful". But she pressed and said "I'm glad you believe, but do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" he said "I have a friend that is always talking about that." She said "you should come to our church, we talk about it all the time". That's what I'm talking about.
Folks we need to be careful that we don't lose sight of what we are here for. The church exists for ONE reason, to glorify, lift up, magnify God through Christ Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit. That's why Jesus said "GO! And Make disciples" "You will be my witnesses".
We need to forget about fighting over control, or recognition, or what color carpet or walls we are going to have, and be about the business of telling people about Jesus. Living the life of Christ in front of hurting people. The reason the church thrives in persecuted and poor countries is because they don't have the time or the possessions to argue about things, all they have is Jesus and they want you to have him TOO!
If we will be the Radicals that these men were in scripture, it will throw the world into a turmoil, the world won't know what to do with us …
But people who are living upside down, thinking we created God when God created us
Thinking we can tell God what to do, when we were meant to serve him
Thinking others ought to be like us when we are all created and meant to be like God
Those people living upside down, need us to turn them right side up
How do we fight evil in this world?
We learned in this past Wednesday night in Revelation 12:11 … by the way … if you aren't coming Wednesday to Bible Study you are short changing yourself. You are missing a blessing because Jesus said BLESSED is the one who reads this Prophesy and puts it into practice. Satan has lied to you and told you Revelation was too hard, or not relevant to life, and you are robbing yourself, your kids, from a blessing by missing that teaching. If you can't get here, get on the web and read the notes, order the tapes. But … we learned how to Battle the Evil one
And I'll give it to you quickly … something extra … They overcame
By the Blood of the Lamb
By the Word of their Testimony
By Releasing their Grip on Life (they loved not their life as to shrink back from death)
Oh that last one is the KEY … it is the Foundation for witnessing, the foundation for Receiving Christ … releasing the grip on control of your life, your home, your job, your church, your family …
If you want to turn the world upside down, let go, be not afraid, don't worry if things get out of your control … don't worry about the outcome
I've got news … if we turn North County Upside down, things will change around here
We might need more seats and that scares some of you
We might lose a position to someone else and that scares some of you
But does it scare some of you that if we don't tell someone, they might go to Hell?
Does it scare you that if we don't be radical for Christ someone's marriage may fall apart?
Does it scare you that if we don't turn the world upside down somebody might lose a mommy or daddy?
Does it scare you that if we don't be radical for Christ that lives may be destroyed?
The ONLY fear we should have is a Holy Fear a Fear of NOT obeying God
A Fear of not following in obedience
A fear of Not hearing "well done thou good and faithful servant"
Oh that it could be said about New Life Baptist Church
"The same ones who have caused trouble all over North County, All over st. Louis, All over the world, have come here TOO!"
Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, Hancock, Adams, they didn't proclaim the Declaration of Independence in the secrecy of their homes.
The minute men didn't stay home and tell their wives how "ticked off" they were … They Proclaimed to the World, The took up arms, they stood up for what was right
What are we going to do?
Calling all Radicals … Are there some Radicals here today … is there anyone here today who will Stand Up with Me and Proclaim Christ
Do we have any Radicals in here?
What are you going to do about it?
Who's with me?
Who's here that needs to take the first Radical Step and Give their heart to Christ?