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Helping Jesus Turn Our World Right-side Up

Notes & Transcripts

Helping Jesus Turn Our World Right-side Up

Acts 17:1-6

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 11, 2013

*Today is the twelfth anniversary of the savage, terrorist attacks on 9-11. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Just to put it in perspective, the kids in kindergarten on that day are now seniors in high school. It has been 12 years, and much has happened since, but we must not forget what happened on this day.

*An F-15 pilot flying directly over one of the towers when it went down said, "It's my generation's Pearl Harbor." And he was right.

*So much happened so fast:

At 7:45 a.m. (our time) American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles with 92 people slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

8:03 a.m. About 18 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles with 65 people hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

8:43 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles to LAX with 64 people crashed into the Pentagon. One of the building's 5 sides collapsed.

9:00 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco with 45 people crashed 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, PA. It was stopped by brave passengers who gave their lives to keep that plane from hitting the White House or the Capital Building.

9:05 a.m. The south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed in a plume of ash and debris.

9:28 a.m. The World Trade Center's north tower collapsed. (1)

*We live in a world that can turn upside down in a second. What can we do about it? We can help Jesus turn our world right-side up! That's what Paul and his friends were doing in Acts 17.

*The rioting unbelievers in vs. 6 yelled out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too." But those blind people just didn't know the truth. Their lost and dying world was already upside down. Paul and his mission team were helping Jesus turn the world right-side up. And we can do the same thing today.

1. But first, we need to wake up.

*We need to be more like the Christians in vs. 1, where God's Word says: "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews."

*Paul and his team were on the road. They were on the move for Jesus Christ. But why were they on the move? Church: it's because they were fully awake to the truth that Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world. The Bible makes this truth perfectly clear.

*In John 3:17-18, Jesus said this about Himself:

17. . . "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

*In John 3:36, John the Baptist said: "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him."

*In John 14:6, Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me."

*In Acts 4:10-12, the Apostle Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, and said:

10. "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole.

11. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

*The only way to heaven is Jesus Christ. The only way to escape hell is Jesus Christ. And we need to wake up more and more to this truth, so we can help turn our world right-side up!

2. We need to wake up. And we need to speak up.

*That's what Paul did in vs. 2&3, where the Bible says:

2. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

3. explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.''

*Here's the good news about Jesus Christ in a nutshell: Jesus is the Almighty Son of God, but a little over 2,000 years ago, He humbled Himself to become a man. After living the only perfect life ever lived, Jesus suffered on the cross and died for our sins. But three days later He rose again from the dead! Jesus is the promised Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

*Jesus is Lord! And He will give eternal life to everyone who receives Him as their personal Lord and Savior. But they can't receive Him, if we don't tell them the truth about Jesus. People have to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. So Christians have to speak up about our Savior.

*Jimmy and Jennifer Mauldin were missionaries from 1996 to 2000. With 4 small children, they went to Ghana, West Africa to serve the Lord. Jimmy was a hospital administrator at a Baptist medical center that treated 10,000 inpatients and 60,000 outpatients every year. The experience was rewarding but very difficult. And when the family came home to Cullman, Alabama, they were ready for a break.

*Jimmy worked on his master's degree. But he began to question if he really wanted to return to the field. (You know, God needs workers right here too!)

*9-11 confirmed it for Jimmy. Watching TV coverage, there was no question left. Jimmy said: "I definitely was not taking my family overseas again. I surely did not want to get on a plane. Jennifer and I have four small children. How could I put them in danger?"

*Jimmy had his mind made up, but God changed Jimmy's mind the very next day. It happened when Jimmy was driving their 5-yr-old daughter to kindergarten. Her name is Katie, and during the drive she asked her daddy why all the flags were at half-mast.

*Jimmy told her it was because of the actions of some bad men. Then Katie asked: "Daddy, why didn't someone tell them about Jesus?" That question hit Jimmy right in the gut. He tried to put it out of his mind, but he later said, "God reminded me that there are 1.7 billion people in the world who have never heard about the love of Jesus Christ."

*After much prayer, Jimmy and Jennifer decided that it was time to return to Africa to finish the work they started. The whole family left for Ghana the following June. (2)

*God used a little girl with a big question to make it happen: "Daddy, why didn't someone tell them about Jesus?"

3. We need to speak up. And we need to join up.

*That's what happened in vs. 4: "And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas."

*Those people believed the truth about Jesus, and they received Him as their Lord and Savior. But we see more here in vs. 4. We see a commitment of their lives.

*Verse 4 tells us that these new Christians "joined Paul and Silas." The KJV says they "consorted with Paul and Silas." The idea behind that word is that the new Christians "cast their lots" with Paul and Silas. They "cast their lots" with Jesus!

*In other words, they chose to share in whatever happened to God's people. They committed their lives to the Lord and His church. And that's what God wants us to do!

*An unexpected example of this kind of commitment came from a guide dog named "Salty." On 9-11, Salty was one of two guide dogs who guided their blind owners out of the World Trade Center to safety.

*Please listen to part of the testimony from Salty's owner, Omar Rivera:

"Trust, -- that is the most important thing in a relationship with a guide dog. They give everything they have for almost nothing, just for love.

*9/11 was a normal day. Salty and I, we started our day very early, cuz I needed to prepare for a meeting. So I got to the Trade Center early, around 7. We grabbed my elevator, got to the 44th floor, and then switched and go all the way up to the 71st floor. Salty was very obedient, so he didn't even need to be tied down.

*I was just preparing my papers. I needed to print some documents out. I was just preparing my papers. It was about 8:44. Salty was asleep. I remember I put the command 'print,' and 30 seconds later, I heard this 'WOW-POW.' Salty started running, and the building went 'puhk, puhk' (making the sound and showing the motion of the building swaying back and forth). Computer went down (on the floor). There was this huge wind and smoke.

*I really got very scared, because there were only a couple of people who knew that I was there. Salty was running back and forth, absolutely berserk. We used to be instructed that you should stay in your place, wait for announcements, so I hesitated. Should I stay? Should I go?

*But then he came back, and he just sat next to me, completely anxious. I realize he's telling me something. I have to get out of here. So I put the harness on him, and we run to the nearest stairs. They were really bad, everybody screaming. It was full of smoke, very hot. People were basically beginning to panic.

*After a few minutes, everybody kind of relaxed, and the movement going down became very slow, because there were people from other floors getting into the stairs, so you needed to wait and let people get in.

*The stair was very narrow. With a dog, you need to have a space like for two people, or three. The policemen and the firemen were moving up, and I am going down with a guide dog that has not enough space. It all was too much for him. I said, 'Well, Salty, maybe it is better for you to go.' So I decided to let Salty be completely free.

*Salty continued his way down. Then at one point he decided 'No. I can not go without him.' So he came back. He was telling me, 'I am with you. -- No matter what, I am with you. You and I together, and that's no question. Don't even ask me. Don't even send me back. I'm gonna be with you.'" (3)

*That's the spirit that moved the Christians in vs. 4 to cast their lots with Paul and Silas. They committed their lives to the Lord and His church, and that's what God wants us to do!

*Can our commitment make a difference? Can we help turn the world right-side up? Raymond McHenry reminds us that we can, because the living Lord is living in us! The Lord gave Raymond this insight as he stood and looked out over the devastation where the World Trade Center had stood.

*And Raymond said: "September 11th is etched into history as a day when the whole world was literally changed. Perspectives on life were altered, daily living was affected, and the global economy recoiled from the attack.

*When standing at Ground Zero it was surreal to realize only ten men were needed to cause such incredible devastation. How could so few do so much? Thankfully, evil doesn't have a monopoly on change. In fact, Scripture reminds us of that very truth: 'greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world' (1 John 4:4). We have seen what Satan can do through a small band of committed terrorists. May we now see what God can do through an army of His devoted followers." (4)

4. We need to join up. And we need to stand up.

*That's what the believers had to do in vs. 5&6:

5. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

6. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."

*We must not think that we won't face trials and tribulations along the way. Satan is working against the Gospel today as much as he ever has. And he will do everything he possibly can to pull us down. We have to stand up for the Lord, and keep standing in the face of opposition.

*Seventy years ago, our nation was in the middle of the biggest war this world has ever faced. During the war, Eric Barker was serving as a missionary in Portugal. Barker was from Great Britain, and he spent over 50 years in Portugal preaching about Jesus.

*Things often got difficult. And at one point during the war, the situation became so critical that Eric was advised to send his wife and 8 children to England for safety. Eric's sister and her 3 children were also evacuated on the same ship.

*Pastor Barker remained behind to carry on the work. On the Sunday following their departure, Eric stood before his congregation and said, "I have just received word that all of my family has arrived safely home!"

*He then proceeded with the service as usual. But after church, the members found out about the telegram Bro. Barker received. It said that a submarine had torpedoed the ship. And everyone on board had been drowned. (5)

*"I have just received word that all my family has arrived safely home!" -- A strange thing to say from the world's point of view. But Bro. Barker knew they were home with Jesus, and that gave him the strength to carry on.

*Yes, he was overwhelmed with grief over losing 13 loved ones at one time. But God gave him the strength to stand. And by His grace, we can stand.

5. So, stand up. And look up!

*We know something that the rioting mob in vs. 6 did not know. It wasn't really Paul and Silas who turned the world around. It was Jesus! We can't turn our world around, -- not by ourselves.

*But Jesus could carry this world around like a marble in His pocket if He wanted to! And He has given us the privilege of helping Him turn our world right-side up. So, keep looking up to Jesus!

Conclusion:

*We can help Jesus turn our world right-side up!

-So wake up.

-Speak up.

-Join up.

-Stand up.

-And keep looking up to Jesus!

*Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

(1) Sermonillustrations.com illustrations for 9-11

(2) Article in the "Baptist Message" 09052002

(3) (I put the complete testimony below.) "GEB Guide Dog Salty and Omar Rivera at WTC on 911" (Testimony from Omar Rivera in "Where Were You" on the NTGEO Channel as part of their ten year remembrance of 911) Posted on YouTube by ers54va - www.youtube.com/watch?v=3plODb9Xd4c

(4) Editor Raymond McHenry - Perspective from Ground Zero - Special Illus for 9-11 - "In Other Words" - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - 6130 Barrington - Beaumont, Texas 77706 (409) 866-2111 www.iows.net

(5) Henry G. Bosch - Source: www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-illustrations/1333/arrived-safely-home/

Saved by a guide dog on 9-11:

*An unexpected example of this kind of commitment came from a guide dog named "Salty." On 9-11, Salty was one of two guide dogs who guided their blind owners out of the World Trade Center to safety.

*Please listen to part of the testimony from Salty's owner, Omar Rivera:

"Trust, -- that is the most important thing in a relationship with a guide dog. They give everything they have for almost nothing, just for love.

*9/11 was a normal day. Salty and I, we started our day very early, cuz I needed to prepare for a meeting. So I got to the Trade Center early, around 7. We grabbed my elevator, got to the 44th floor, and then switched and go all the way up to the 71st floor. Salty was very obedient, so he didn't even need to be tied down.

*I was just preparing my papers. I needed to print some documents out. I was just preparing my papers. It was about 8:44. Salty was asleep. I remember I put the command 'print,' and 30 seconds later, I heard this 'WOW-POW.' Salty started running, and the building went 'puhk, puhk' (making the sound and showing the motion of the building swaying back and forth). Computer went down (on the floor). There was this huge wind and smoke.

*I really got very scared, because there were only a couple of people who knew that I was there. Salty was running back and forth, absolutely berserk. We used to be instructed that you should stay in your place, wait for announcements, so I hesitated. Should I stay? Should I go?

*But then he came back, and he just sat next to me, completely anxious. I realize he's telling me something. I have to get out of here. So I put the harness on him, and we run to the nearest stairs. They were really bad, everybody screaming. It was full of smoke, very hot. People were basically beginning to panic.

*After a few minutes, everybody kind of relaxed, and the movement going down became very slow, because there were people from other floors getting into the stairs, so you needed to wait and let people get in.

*The stair was very narrow. With a dog, you need to have a space like for two people, or three. The policemen and the firemen were moving up, and I am going down with a guide dog that has not enough space. It all was too much for him. I said, 'Well, Salty, maybe it is better for you to go.' So I decided to let Salty be completely free.

*Salty continued his way down. Then at one point he decided 'No. I can not go without him.' So he came back. He was telling me, 'I am with you. -- No matter what, I am with you. You and I together, and that's no question. Don't even ask me. Don't even send me back. I'm gonna be with you.'"

*On the stairs, I can hear the structure go 'pop, pop, pop.' The whole building was basically collapsing. We were able to reach the ground level and outward. And five minutes later, we crossed the street and for a moment we stopped. I didn't see anything, but I heard everything, -- people screaming, crying, -- helicopters, -- ambulances, -- fire trucks. It was amazing. It was a hundred million sounds concentrated in one place.

*Suddenly I hear (spoken rapidly), 'pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pa-skooo.' The building came down. I start running, Salty next to me, like I was completely tight with his harness, like he was just opening the area, trying to open my path. We keep running, running, running. There were thousands of people.

*Even today when I hear the ambulances or fire trucks, I get a little anxious, and Salty was the same way. Even he, himself, developed some kind of fear after 9/11.

*Salty worked for me for ten years, and in March, 2008, -- we didn't have a choice but to put him to sleep. I start working with this guy (his new dog), but Salty will remain in my heart forever. 'Guiding Eyes' prepares such beautiful dogs. Maybe one day there will be another Salty for somebody else, but I hope not for the same purpose, of taking people out of terrible things like the destruction of the World Trade Center. (In tears) I'm sorry"

"GEB Guide Dog Salty and Omar Rivera at WTC on 911" (Testimony from Omar Rivera in "Where Were You" on the NTGEO Channel as part of their ten year remembrance of 911) Posted on YouTube by ers54va - www.youtube.com/watch?v=3plODb9Xd4c

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