Last evening, I preached at the PazNaz Saturday Service. The passage this weekend was Acts 14:8-20. I spoke from more of an outline/cues than a text, as I’m trying to get better at speaking like this. I said more than what’s in the notes, including some extra points and a bit of personal touches/honesty.
Here’s my notes:Acts 14:8-20
The Story of God in Contrast to other Stories.
Luke is establishing the story of the followers of Jesus as the continuing story of the story of God.
We can’t attach our own story to this story, we have to listen to the story God is telling so that we interpret everything right.
Perspectives in Lystra:
Characters—Putting ourselves in each characters shoes to observe the passage from different perspectives.
A. The healed man – asked for alms, and got his legs.
Types of needs – healing, jobs, protection, financial
Types of salvation
The man needed healing, and that’s he got. Let’s not overlook this.
God is a God who heals. Who provides. Let’s not get distracted by all the wrong ways of responding to this moment and forget the power of the God we serve. We get so distracted by being nervous about being wrong, that we forget that God is a God of salvation who is reaching out to us.
When God works that’s a testimony. For us and for others. It’s a testimony for us because God working helps us think about how God will continue to work.
But how do we interpret this work?
Story of God — Exodus (Red Sea) — Exodus 14 Pharoah had the signs of the plagues, but then dismissed them and attacked Israel.
This story echoes Acts 3, establishing Paul as approved by God, with Barnabas.
B. The crowd
What is the story they know?
Olympian deities roaming the earth – Ovid
Types of hopes – gods, work, money, health
Types of devotion – transactional, religious, financial, influence
Types of leaders—CEO, priest, king—we want to put our identity in the one who saves us.
Most enthusiastic and most fickle—they support you until you disappoint them, then their passion is still as great, in the other direction.
New Atheists—disappointment with God turns to antipathy with God.
Desperation is a dangerous drive, it drives us into the arms of supposed heroes and often against God, who we only judge based on how well he is meeting our needs.
Fickle servants for a fickle god—they acted in the way their worship formed them.
Looking for incarnations, mistaking the servants for the master
Don’t trust in Egypt – (Isaiah 30) fickle masters make fickle people, blowing with the wind
(Exodus Golden Calf—Egypt) – Exodus 32
C. The Jewish leaders
Devoted to God—jealous for God—heresy hunters
Takes advantage of ignorance
We know these people, people so sure about their interpretation of God that they won’t allow any other expression, and often drive away healing and salvation in doing so.
What could they do for the lame man? They could be right. How does that help anyone?
And they weren’t even right! Being right with God comes with power, with hope, with thanksgiving, not destruction and stoning.
(Korah) – Numbers 12, 16 (Moses did not need to avenge himself)
D. Paul and Barnabas
Parallel with Peter (Acts 3:8)
serving God according to God’s story. First came healing, then preaching, then stoning?
The speech. A very succinct summary of the story told in the early chapters of Genesis (see also Romans 1)
The power of God
The testimony of God
God the creator – in charge of all—rejected the deities
God the provider
God the patient restorer—asserting God’s promises
The humility of serving God – testify to God’s power, not our own abilities.
Doing right does not mean all goes right and things going wrong does not mean we did wrong
Models for ministry, turn a misunderstanding into a moment for preaching
Reminders of Moses – as a Leader and the Creation/salvation narrative.
We can’t take Jesus out of his context, out of the context of the story of Scripture, because then we start attaching to him our own perceptions of the kind of Messiah we think we need.
Acts 14:21-22 “going through considerable suffering”. Speaking from experience!
What kind of hopes to do we have? What kind of savior are we looking for? What kind of story are we a part of. We must get deeper into God’s story so that we know who we are.
***Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13**
Let us go forth an live in God’s story and celebrate the story that he is bringing to fulfillment in this world.