19 Mar 3/19/17 “IS GOD A PRIORITY?” – Pastor Shane Idleman
ACTS 9:8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
The purpose of Visions and Dreams – I’m cautiously careful: warn, confirm, or direct.
People get weird and we throw out the baby with the bath water.
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
The Questioner vs the Skeptic: one truly seeks answers and is trying to understand, but the other is a skeptical scoffer.
God became the priority [relationally] – he experienced God.
A true conversion changes the heart: he was that – now he is this. Not everyone has radical encounters, but everyone who has been converted should have fruit. ~ GOD IS THE PRIORITY!
“The Holy Spirit never enters a man and then lets him live like the world. You can be sure of that!” – Tozer
How can a loving God allow suffering? “I will show you how many things you must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Redemption through suffering – Jesus even ministered while dying.
Humility through suffering.
Clarity and Conviction through suffering.
Redirection through suffering [prioritizing].
….GOD BECOMES THE PRIORITY.
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
The power of unity and agreeing together.
Was Paul already a Christian for 3-days? Then why wasn’t he filled?
Converted, Filled, Baptized – “Wait until you are clothed with power.”
“I think the essence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is when a person, who is already a believer, receives extraordinary spiritual power for Christ-exalting ministry.” ~ John Piper
20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Christ is the Son of God: sets us apart from all other religions – God is relational – God reveals Himself.
“The false prophet is a man who has no `strait gate’ or `narrow way’ in his gospel. He has nothing which is offensive to the natural man; he pleases all.” ― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
They saw the conversion – can people SEE the difference?
“But Saul increased all the more in strength.”
23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. 26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists [Greek speaking Jews], but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.
Someone has to be the peacemaker: “Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.”
Sum It Up: “Proving that this Jesus is the Christ”…
Apologetics – “giving a defense for what you believe.”
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks why we believe what we believe and to do it with gentleness and respect.
1. Know what the Bible says: read, reflect, and ponder – jot down questions for later.
2. Pray for direction and clarification.
3. Limit who you read and what you watch: God should be the priority.
*Who’s website or video is it? What do the majority of solid Christian leaders believe? I’d rather trust them then some loose cannon on Youtube or the Web.
4. Read and read some more: Read according to your passion –
The reason most people don’t read, STUDY or grow is because GOD IS NOT THE PRIORITY.
This is a BIG problem in the church – “I don’t have time.” Yes you do – you don’t have hunger.
Turn off FIXER-UPPER and stop worry about TEREK and CHRISTINAS
Those who hunger will be full.
Those who thirst will be satisfied.
Those who seek will find.
Those who empty themselves will be filled!