God's Forcefully Advancing Kingdom

Preached by Chris Adams, May 18, 2008

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Jim said joyfully, “I finally found friends!”

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What a great miracle we got to witness, as Jim Rosato confessed Jesus is Lord before many members of his new Central New York Church of Christ family. One of the things that was consistently shared about Jim’s heart for God was how he allowed the Word of God to change him from the inside out. When he studied out the words in Proverbs 8:13: “to fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” he wholeheartedly agreed to hate what God hates–as simple and as challenging as that may be in his life.

Question: What will keep the faithful disciple strong until the end? Answer: Having the same zeal for building his church on the amazing truth that God forgives us!!

“The Forcefully Advancing Kingdom of God” preached by Chris Adams
Sunday, May 18, 2008

Matthew 11:12
• Laying hold of God’s Kingdom means it’s already powerfully moving . . .
• Like the unity of the Spirit in Ephesians 4:3, where you must preserve the unity that is already created BY GOD!

1. Zeal for the truth.
Question: Are you going in the wrong direction?

Acts 8:1-3
• Saul was totally on fire to destroy the church.
• Saul was the most zealous for the truth person that you could find.

Acts 9:1-6
• Paul was going on his way to ruin God’s church.
• Men of great courage and zeal can be very wrong.
• Jesus confronted him on the road.
Question: Had anyone talked to Saul that way before?
• Saul had held more zealously to the traditions of his forefathers than any of his peers had.
• Until you get in the light God’s way, you are in the darkness . . . and you have to stay in the light God’s way or you will be in the darkness.

Acts 9:7-19
• Realize that the truth about God’s plan is so much more than being religious.
Question: Do you know the truth about Jesus?
Question: Why do you think God had scales cover Paul’s eyes?
• God was working on his heart—the scales helped Paul understand he was WRONG and in the darkness—he saw his need for God!
• Paul was a man who submitted to another man.
• Saul let God work on his life.
Question: Have you gotten scaly?
Question: Can you really say that you are seeing if you do not have a discipling partner?
• It is God’s plan to help you through discipling and mentoring relationship.
• Sin is common to man.
• God will put you up against the wall to help you to see what you need to see.
• It was tough for Paul to deal with what he did.
• As a true, baptized disciple of Jesus Christ, you can fall into hypocrisy, but it is so amazing how quickly you can repent.
Question: Are you just satisfied with just going to church?
Question: Are you going to place yourself in that situation?
Question: Who will be your Ananias?

Acts 9:19-25
Question: How many new disciples of Jesus Christ would say that they are not ready to preach?
• Paul went back to his old environment, where it would have been easy for people to doubt and challenge his new-found convictions.
• Paul was preaching the Word of God.
• He did not wait until he had more training.

2 Corinthians 11:30-33
• Power is made perfect in weakness.
• Paul went through these times of great weakness.

Acts 9:26
• The Book of Acts is not about the life of Paul, but rather the spread of God’s movement from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.
• There are people judging you as to whether you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:11-17
• A Jew’s picture of zeal at that time would most likely have included Phinehas and Elijah.
• Phinehas was zealous for God. (Numbers 25:7-13)
Question: Have you ever been there, in your life, when you were zealous at first, but then got in a downward spiral so that nothing seemed to matter anymore?

Galatians 4:25
• Elijah went back to Mount Sinai. Why?

2 Timothy 3:16-17
• Anytime you pick up your Bible, God is speaking to you.
Question: How is your Bible study?
• You know that God has a plan.
Question: How encouraging would that be?
• There are people raising themselves up in the Singles Ministry.
Question: Are you encouraging them?

Acts 9:27-31
• God’s plan for that whole region of the world had happened, before the disciples very eyes. (Acts 8:4)

2. Zeal to Preach.
• Paul was Jewish but was sent to the Gentiles who were brought into the Kingdom by by Peter. God had his own plan to bring everything together through Christ.
• Rely on God for the unity of the Spirit.

Acts 11:19-20
• Antioch was this happening city.
• God would build a church in a city like this one, to reach the rest of the world.
• He encouraged them to do things with all of their heart.
Question: Do you see your need for encouragement?

Acts 11:21-24
• Barnabas was sent out, alone at first!
• On their own initiative, they preached the Word of God.

Acts 11:25-26
Question: Why do you think that he went to Tarsus to look for Saul? There was such an amazing open door for ministry that he needed to find a partner in the gospel!
• In the Bible, the words disciple and Christian are synonymous; both mean to be a follower and student of Jesus.
• A disciple is a student of Jesus.
• A Christian is someone who is Christ-like.
Question: How many people would accuse you of being a Christian?
• Inspire people to be like Jesus, to be a disciple.
• A lot of people have zeal for the truth.
• Paul did change. So can you. So too can hundreds and thousands of other you’s!

Mark 1:17
Question: Do you have a partner in the gospel?
• You got to look for that partner in the gospel.
• Two by two – partners in the gospel. (Acts 11:27-28)

Acts 12:19-23
• Look at what happens if you do not praise God.
• Have great humility.

Acts 12:12
• The place where many people gathered and prayed.

Colossians 4:10
• John Mark is the cousin of Barnabas.
This family had zeal to preach! Cousins, uncles, aunts—they all were inter-twined with the first century church.

3. Zeal for the mission.
Acts 13:1-3
• There were people of different backgrounds in the church.
• You need to go after the training, as these guys went after Paul!

Acts 13:4-10
• The Holy Spirit is actually who sends out a church.
• The Holy Spirit is always working.
• The Holy Spirit calls men and sends them out to be holy for God.
• If you believe that the Holy Spirit works in you, then you will be zealous.
Acts 13:11-12
• Bar-Jesus was this intense sorcerer.
Question: How is your outreach going?
• When any church is zealous and reaching out, then it will receive persecution.
• When God brought darkness over the sorcerer’s eyes, Paul must have thought about his own blindness. He had faith that anyone could become a Christian!
Question: How hard is it to live for Jesus?
Question: Is it complex?
• If you go through the gate, then you will make it.
• Jesus is the gate. (John 10:7-10)
• People can be very, very, very open.
Question: Are you going to help someone else to go through the gate?
• You are going to make it to the end.
• The confidence that you can have through God’s grace.