Devoted to God

Preached by Andrew Smellie, April 13, 2008

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Thaddeus confessed Jesus is Lord!

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The Central New York Church of Christ family had the blessing of hearing a powerful “guest evangelist” Sunday, April 13 . . . and his name just happens to be Andrew Smellie! With the Adams and O’Donnell’s encouraging the growing fellowship of disciples in Chi-town, Andrew preached a stirring message from Acts 20. Preaching without hesitation and with grace as the motivation was the theme, as Andrew called us back to the standard Paul upheld with tears every day for three years in Asia–not a standard of leadership but a standard of discipleship!!

It’s exciting that when we do live by this standard of wholehearted devotion to God, our lives will bear much fruit, just as Paul’s life did. The campus disciples at Syracuse University are fired up to see their friend Thaddeus make this decision to follow Jesus. Despite trials and persecution from religious students angry at the challenging message of Jesus not being watered down, the joy-level of the SU disciples is growing!

“A Life of Wholehearted Devotion to God” preached by Andrew Smellie
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ephesians 3:7–12
Question: Is that your heart this morning?
Question: Are you really serving God because you are grateful for His grace?
Question: Are you really serving God out of duty?
• Ephesus was located at what is now modern day Turkey.
• Paul wrote this from prison.
Question: Is that your heart of gratitude?
• Sometimes you think that you deserve great blessings in your life.
• There are people that need to know Him.
Question: Are you fed up with seeing so many different types of churches?
Question: Does it cut your heart that people are deceived?
Question: What are you going to do about it?
• Everyone needs to have a mission team mindset.
• Syracuse has not been won for God yet.

Matthew 11:28
Question: Have you ever felt like that?
Question: How can you be more like Christ if you are not humble?
• Pride is being confident in what you know; that is why you do not ask for help.
Question: How eager are you to declare the grace of God?
• To preach the Word of God is an act of grace.
Question: Have you ever considered sharing your faith an act of grace?
• You are showing grace to other people when you share your faith.
Question: How urgent are you to help people receive the grace of God?
Question: Who are you?
Question: How important is the church to you?

Acts 1:3
Question: Would you delay going to heaven to preach about the Kingdom of God?

Matthew 6:33
• You need to dream to preach in the full-time ministry.
Question: How important is preaching God’s Word and extending His grace to other people?
“People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” – Nate Saint

Question: What has an eternal significance in someone’s life?
Question: Are you more fired up to be a disciple of Jesus Christ than anything else?
Question: Do you say that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ when someone asks you who you are?
Question: Are you living a life of wholehearted devotion to God?
Question: Are you living a life that when the children see you that they say, “That’s what I want to be”?
Question: How are you living?

Acts 20:18–21

1. Preach without hesitation
• He did not hesitate to call people to repent and call people to obedience.
Question: Why do you hesitate to say what needs to be said?

Proverbs 27:5–6
• You are sentimental.
• You value your relationships more than the truth.
• You end up saying nothing out of selfishness.
• A friend will tell you what you needed to hear.
Question: Do you see sin as the cancer of your soul?

Proverbs 27:17
• When iron sharpens iron, sparks fly.
Question: Why do you hesitate to speak the truth in love?
• One reason why you hesitate may be because your life may not back up what you say.
• Your life has to be a good example of discipleship.
• God wants to use you to inspire others to be more like Christ.

Hebrews 3:12–13
• Every single disciple of Jesus Christ in the Central New York Church of Christ has a discipling partner.
• You preach to people because you expect obedience from them.
Question: Who is encouraging you everyday?

Colossians 1:28
• It is a Biblical command to call one another to obedience.
• Do not hesitate to preach the Word of God.
• God can use your meager efforts.
Question: Can you kill hesitation?
• Do not sabotage yourself but instead, preach the Word.

2. Preach in the face of persecution.
Acts 20:22–24
Question: Do you face persecution everyday?
Question: What kind of persecution do you face?
• The following information below is about an article published by a campus based newspaper:
“For Christ’s sake: Cult-like groups pose potential threat to college students”
The Daily Orange, May 9, 2002
By Linda Ober
“The SCC’s expectations extended beyond Bible interpretations, Miller said, claiming the minister expected all members to abstain from taking drugs, smoking, getting drunk and having sex.”
Question: What do you think about fraternities and sororities?
Question: Do you have a backbone in the face of persecution?
Question: What kind of urgency do you have to preach the Word?
Question: Can you have a successful hospital if you do not have a sense of urgency?
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” – Oswald J. Smith

• Unless you are grateful for the grace that you have received, you will not preach in the face of humiliation.
• Challenge: Have Acts 20:24 as a Memory Scripture.
• The reason why you hesitate is because you do not believe that you deserve to be humiliated.
Question: What is your salvation worth to you?
• Your life ought to mean nothing to you except to please God.
• You need to love people the way that God loves you!

3. Preach to guard the truth.
Acts 20:25–31
• You have to have the willingness to preach to people.
• If you hesitate because of a lack of integrity, cowardice or the like, then this church will change and become lukewarm.
• If you do not preach to guard the truth in your heart, then Satan will continue to water down the standard until you become lukewarm and fall away.
• A sold-out commitment is not for everyone.
Question: Can you discern the truth from tradition?
• People will distort the truth if you do not study your Bible at greater length.
• People have distorted the truth.

Acts 17:11
• They are blinded from the truth.
• Your unity cannot be based on disobedience.
• You got to know the Bible.
Question: Can you defend your faith?

Romans 16:17

4. Preach that no sacrifice is enough.
Acts 20:32–38
Question: What are you willing to give up for the sake of the gospel and for those who have not heard it?
Question: Do you give your tithe of ten percent or do you sacrifice?
“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.
You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”
And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood—that’s the end of you.
It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital.
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.