Making Disciples in Tribulation
Topic: Sent Passage: Acts 14:19–14:23
A Recap of Sunday’s Sermon
Preaching Text: Acts 14:19-23
God allows hardships in the lives of His people.
Paul, the leader of the early church movement as it expanded, was pursued and stoned by jealous men who refused to receive the Gospel. He later told the people "We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22). Like Paul, we shouldn't expect that following Jesus will be easy or smooth. God won't let go of us, but He also may allow hardships in our lives, and can use them to teach us more about Jesus' suffering and to draw us closer to Him.
When the church responds by surrounding those who are going through suffering:
- God is able to strengthen His family...
Paul was surrounded by the disciples, then he got up. We may find ourselves in a time of “smooth sailing.” If this is our situation, we should look for ways to surround and assist those who may be going through a tough time. If one part suffers, the other parts suffer with it. (1 Cor 12:28). When we are facing a hardship, we can look to our church family to come to our side with prayer, encouragement, and healing.
- ...and expand His kingdom.
Paul didn't let his hardship prevent him from continuing his mission. He used it at a chance to persevere and preach to even more people. Certainly, the effectiveness and impact of his message was strengthened by the fact that he preached even as he was suffering. He didn't just reach a new city (Derbe), but circled back to the very people and places where his life was almost taken. We can take courage in knowing that God wants to use us even in the places where it may be difficult or uncomfortable.
Taking It Home:
Do you know of anyone who is facing a hardship? What can you do to "gather around" them with Christ's love?
Can you think of someone who you may have "written off" who you think God may want you to circle back to?