The message was brought by Rev. Joe Powers.
Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
My hands are tied unless God is with me. Without him we waste our time. If we turn to God with our needs he can meet them. God spoke in times past by his prophets but now he speaks to us by his Son. The Holy Spirit needs to step in the pulpits so men of God can preach. God isn’t mad at us; he wants to take care of our needs naturally and spiritually. We need to look to him. He’s big enough to help but little enough to live in our hearts. Just think what it would be like if God didn’t step in and help us.
One night about 11 PM I was in bed asleep and the phone rang. A home in Chilhowie wanted me to come down. I asked why they didn’t get their regular person and they couldn’t get in touch with him. I got up and prayed, not knowing what to do. God told me to get my oil and go down. I anointed the woman and prayed for her. That’s what she was wanting. We need to listen to the leadership of the Spirit to help us through life.
Verse 26 says And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. We need help and it won’t come through just anybody. Search out the old paths to find help and strength. It’s there if we turn to the right source. When God steps in, the carrying on at the house of God is a Christian work. They preached Jesus. We need to obey God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We need to be filled with the Spirit and power of the Lord. He’ll bring forth strength to our lives.
In John 9:1-3 we see And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. In others words this happened for a purpose to show God’s power to work in us. If God wanted he could make a dog bark like a preacher. I can’t get around like I used to. I started praying at mailboxes of people as I pass by. Jesus saw this man as a person to show his power in. They used to say of me “I didn’t think God could save you.” God’s arm isn’t shortened that he can’t save. He can reach us. He steps in. In the next verses the Bible says I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. His presence is wonderful. I did a study on this pool. There were 34 steps leading down into it. The man was blind plus had clay on his eyes. He had to count them down. He washed and came out being able to see. It wasn’t the water but his obedience to what Jesus told him. The Bible says obedience is better than sacrifice. It’s time to put legs on prayers and start moving for God. When God steps in, what seems impossible can happen. Don’t let obstacles stop you from following Jesus. People used to say they didn’t know why God called me to preach. I don’t know either. But 40 years later I’m still doing it. I can’t get around like I used to but I can still talk and follow God. He’ll help us.
Believers were first called Christians at Antioch. If we follow the Lord, he wants some action. First Peter 4:16 tells us Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. If you’re suffering God will deliver you. If we live godly we will suffer persecution. Not everyone will like you. When you talk about me you’re talking about Jesus. Verse 12 says think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. It’s not a strange thing if we suffer. It goes on to say But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Don’t run off and hide because of persecution. There’ll be a time of rejoicing. It’s not all over yet. We can shout and rejoice because God loves us. The shout has stopped for a pout. I think we ought to practice a little shouting here for the shouting in heaven. If reproach comes, rejoice. God stepped in and brought joy, peace and satisfaction. I’ve been cleansed from sin. One day I hope to hear him say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” When God steps in he can help us with all things. If we could see that old blind man now, he’d still be rejoicing.
Without Jesus we’ll not get to heaven. When God steps in things happen. We need him to help us with our life. He can use each of us if we let him. Has God been talking to you about going out to see others? He does me. Don’t neglect the ways of God. We all do but everything we do for the Lord will find a reward on the other side.