Order, Words, & Voices
04.30.23, Seeing Good, Acts 13:1-3; 14:8-18
Pre Worship Music
Opening Song Lynn
Better Is One Day
Call to Worship Response/Lord’s Prayer Rick
Reading 2 Acts 13:1-3; 14:8-18 ?
Songs You’re the One Lynn
Message Seeing Good Rick
Music Rising (Hosanna) Lynn
Post Worship Music
Slides Note: There is a blank title slide between each Section – except for message/sermon slides.
How lovely is Your dwelling place
O Lord almighty
For my soul longs and even faints for You
For here my heart is satisfied
Within Your presence
I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings
Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere
(Than thousands elsewhere)
One thing I ask and I would seek
To see Your beauty
To find You in the place
Your glory dwells
My heart and flesh cry out
For You the living God
Your Spirit’s water to my soul
I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Come once again to me
I will draw near to You
I will draw near to You to You
Better is one day better is one day
Better is one day than thousands elsewhere
Better is one day better is one day
Better is one day than thousands elsewhere
Call to Worship (Slides)
Leader: It was in Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit spilled out from the disciples’ hiding place.
Response: It was on the streets that the resurrection was proclaimed.
Leader: It was on a roof that a hungry apostle learned that nothing, and no person, created by God is profane.
Response: It was in the home of Cornelius that the Spirit spilled out on the gentiles.
Leader: It was in the city of Lystra that a man lame from birth received the hopeful news of the resurrection.
Response: It was in the city square that a lame man arose and danced in the streets.
Leader: It was in there that a crowd was amazed by a miracle yet refused to hear the truth that was the foundation of the moment.
Response: It was there that few heard the good news of life.
Leader: May we be ready to see and to hear truth.
Response: May we be ready to believe.
Leader: May we have open ears, open eyes, open minds, open hearts, all ready to hear, see, and receive truth.
Response: May we be ready to recognize the truth given to us.
Lord’s Prayer (Slides) ‘Join me in the prayer of Jesus’
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us. And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been lame from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice.
When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “People, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all peoples to follow their own ways, yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Lord the people praise You
(Lord the people praise You)
Lift You up and raise You
(Lift You up and raise You)
You are the Holy One
(You’re the Holy One)
You’re the One You’re the only One
(You’re the only One)
Halle halle hallelu
(Halle halle hallelu)
All the glory is due You
(All the glory is due You)
Lord the people love You
(Lord the people love You)
Place nobody above You
(Place nobody above You)
Bless Your name Lord Jesus
(Bless Your name Lord Jesus)
Only name that frees us
(Only name that frees us)
We will praise You right here and now
(We will praise You right here and now)
Lest the hills and the rocks cry out
(Lest the hills and the rocks cry out)
All my words fall short
I got nothing new
How could I express
All my gratitude
I could sing these songs
As I often do
But every song must end
And You never do
So I throw up my hands
And praise You again and again
‘Cause all that I have is a hallelujah hallelujah
And I know it’s not much
But I’ve nothing else fit for a king
Except for a heart singing hallelujah
I’ve got one response
I’ve got just one move
With my arms stretched wide
I will worship You
Come on my soul
Oh don’t you get shy on me
Lift up your song
‘Cause you’ve got a lion inside of those lungs
Get up and praise the Lord
Message – Seeing Good (Slides)
When I was a youth minister I found that there were certain Bible stories which immediately held the attention of my younger teen guys. One of those stories is the story of the death of Isrealite King Herod – killed, not by a warrior but by an angel of the Lord who struck him down after which he was subsequently eaten by worms dying a slow death. The telling of Herod’s death begins as the people of Tyre and Sidon recognized that King Herod was upset with them, which was concerning because Herod held the keys to much of their food supply. So, they came before Herod, treated him like a god, and in accepting their praise, Herod refused to give the real God the glory leading to his disgusting death.
So,when the apostle Paul healed a lame man and the people proclaimed them as gods, both apostles quickly attempted to quickly squash this misunderstanding. The apostles understood the enormity of being a false god. Even the priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands to the gates to offer sacrifice before Paul and Barnabas.
(Slide – leave up until ‘Exit Screen Share’)
The quick reaction of the apostle’s response to the crowds rush to crown these 2 men is found in Paul’s articulate words
“In past generations, ‘Paul said, “God allowed all peoples to follow their own ways, yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.”
Paul told the people that up to the recent revelation of Jesus, God had blessed all people and peoples in a way which they could visualize. They could see the good of the rains and the sun that grew and nourished their crops. They could expect the different seasons of the year in which they would see the need to plant. The season during which they could see that they need to care for the sprouting plants. They could see the season of death when the fields needed to be tilled allowing them to once again enter the season in which they would plant. Each of these seasons, as well as the miracles of water, soil, seeds, and sun all reminded them of a God that cared.
However, even in seeing these consistent acts of goodness, those who were not Jews, only knew OF the true God. Only the Jews, up to the point of Jesus, had accepted and received the knowledge and explanation of the Law, the proclamation of the one true God. So, during those years of intellectual ignorance about God, God allowed the gentiles to respond to God/or gods in whatever way they developed – they created gods, heroes, images, practices and sacrifices.
Their lack of knowing the true God had not been unexpected in the past. The gentiles had rejected the gift of God’s law, they did not, and would not, and probably could not, hear from the prophets, and they did not know of the leading of the spirit, so correcting the gentiles prior to Jesus was, basically, a waste of time. But, now, it was different. Whereas before they were on their own, living a life apart from God, only to know of a very vague something or someone who provided the blessings of life. Now, after the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, after the resurrection and the empty tomb, after the proven aliveness of Jesus up to the ascension, after Cornelius and the gentile pentecost, after Paul and barnabas were sent to the gentiles, the gentiles stood in the shadow of the opportunity to live a life of hope, peace, and promise here on earth and for eternity. However, now, it was essential that all humanity understand the one true God – and that only through Jesus comes hope, peace, and promise.
(Exit Screen Share)
It is our human tendency to make gods out of those who are not God. We do it with politicians, with religious leaders and religious celebrities, we do it with those we respect and/or fear, and, possibly in our current times, we are most prone to make gods out of political pundits, religious doctrines, and even moral and political agendas. Just this week I heard it said that political talking heads, as well as our political agendas, have become the new disciplers who humanity has given god-like power and authority.
Ironically, in making these individuals, doctrines, and agendas into gods, we have lost our ability to see the true God as he blesses, moves, and acts all around us. I’m concerned humanity is losing the basic ability to see the true God in God’s most base provisions of water, sun, seeds and soil.
Knowing and following the true God, as opposed to human institutions, and mankind’s presentations of god/God, is the difference between a life of hope, peace, and love now as well as eternally – or a life much like that of the descendants of Noah who expected the mighty tower of Babel to provide them with life fulfilled.
Let’s refocus on this story of the events in Lystra. This is not really a story about the crowd. The crowd that was so amazed when Paul healed the lame man. This crowd that quickly declared Barnabas to be the greek god Zeus and Paul the greek god Hermes – which were probably the only gods they had ever heard of. This crowd that, after there were convinced not to make sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas, began listening to the enemies of Jesus, Paul, and Barnabas. This crowd, that quickly changed sides at the persuasion of those enemies and stoned Paul until they thought he was dead – this is not a story of a crowd that was not really looking to see truth.
This is a story about one man who was willing to believe and ready to trust. Not trust with wild abandonment of reason like the crowd did. This man was willing to trust truth, his eyes were looking for good which he believed would be revealed to him. This is the story of a man who was born unable to use his feet and his legs, a man who could not stand yet, even in adulthood, was still holding onto hope and looking for God.
This was a man who listened to Paul’s words. And then Paul, looking at this man intently, saw that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk.’ (Acts 14:8-10)
(Slide – Leave up until ‘Exit Screen Share) Look at the elements of this story, it begins not with Paul or Barnabas but this man who was sitting in the city square seeing life all around him. As he sat there he watched, there he listened, there he didn’t give up on hope, whatever, at the end of the day, hope would look like. And as this stranger began to talk he looked at the man intently and saw that he had faith to be healed.’ Some translations say that ‘the man had belief that he could be healed.’ In his paraphrase The Message, Eugene Petersen, chose the words, the man was ‘was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe.’
‘Ready to believe,’ what a magnificent way to describe this moment – this man went to the city square every day for decades ready to believe. This was not a silly vulnerable readiness, this man was using the assets he had, he could hope, while at the same time, using his ability to rationally think on the words of this stranger – so he watched and he listened, and he considered. He had probably done this hundreds of times prior to this day. Each day considering, and each day recognizing that other words he had heard were hollow. But on this day, what he heard and what he saw, allowed him to Give into that Readiness To Believe.
(Slide) Even in his readiness, his hope, eyes, and ears were going to be needed. Paul looked at the man and without speaking to the man about his lifelong condition, Paul, instead said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.”
Let your mind place you in this position. Paul was putting himself out there trusting enough to do this in a loud voice for all to hear. Paul, himself, was ready to believe enough to let everyone in on his words. Words that would either prove God or make a mockery of God. With these words leaving his mouth, the listening man heard. He too, surely having lived a very guarded life, determined not to look like a fool, also knowing that his feet, nor his legs, had ever supported his body to stand. Still, in this moment, he did not stand, instead he sprung to his feet and successfully stood.
(Exit Share Screen)
Now this is not a story about ‘having enough faith’ as many false prophet preachers and religious celebrity evangelists have proclaimed over the centuries since Jesus’ accession. This was a moment when a man who had an inquisitive yet critical mind was sitting on the precipice of a rare moment of truth, ready to believe, in this moment he took the risk of standing. And the Spirit took him beyond standing, he jumped up.
All that the Spirit revealed to Paul was that this man was ready to believe. It was not that he was going to be healed, but that he was ready to believe. Paul did not make a promise of healing to the man, possibly because Paul had not been told, by the Spirit, that this would be a healing. All the Spirit had told Paul was that this man was ready to believe. I’m not sure that Paul had any expectations of the outcome of his command to the man to stand – Paul only expected the man to believe because the man was ready to believe.
There are so many questions such as ‘what was it like for the man the next day when his ordinary routine of sitting in the city square begging was no longer acceptable? ‘Was he then devastated by his fellow citizens’ stoning of Paul?’ How was he now perceived among his people?’ All we get to hear was that the man was ready to believe and when the time came he acted out of that readiness.
What keeps you and us from being ready to believe?
Praise is rising
Eyes are turning to You
We turn to You
Hope is stirring
Hearts are yearning for You
We long for You
‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
In Your presence
All our fears are washed away
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here Lord Jesus
Hear the sound of
Hearts returning to You
We turn to You
In Your Kingdom
Broken lives are made new
You make us new
- Next Sunday, May 7, Romans 1:1-17, ‘Mutually Encouraged’
- Book Study Interest, Armageddon, Speak, email, or text Rick if interested.
Benediction (Blank Slide)
May we walk securely in the confidence of the defeat of death on the cross. May we release our burdens at the wonder of the empty grave. May we continue forward in our hope proven through the resurrection. May we meet our world understanding the blessedness and struggle of humanity. May we live in our reality with the challenge to be salt and light. May we show Jesus through our lives. May we see others with God’s eyes. May we glorify God in our lives.
Leader: May the Peace and Hope of the Lord go with you.
Response: And also with you.
Leader: Go in the Peace and Hope of the Lord.