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The Secret to Being Used of God - Pastor Stacey Shiflett

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The Secret to Being Used by God

Acts 14:27

Intro: Paul’s first missionary journey is detailed in chapter 13-the end of chapter 14.

They left Antioch and went to Selucia, and then on to Cyprus. (13:4)

They then went through the isle of Paphos (vs. 6) and from there to Perga in Pamphylia (vs. 13).

When they left Perga, they went to Antioch Pisidia (vs. 14) and from there to Iconium (vs. 51).

They went through Iconium to Lystra and Derbe (14:1, 6).

Then they backtracked all the way to Antioch. (14:21, 24, 25)

This statement has been ringing in my head for almost a week.

They rehearsed all that God had done with them.

I can’t think of anything greater than to partner with God, and for God to be able to use me.

I lay in bed at night excited at the prospect of God doing something with me.

I. Be Willing to be Faithfully Serving – vs. 2 …as they ministered to the Lord

If you want stories to tell of what God has done with you, you have to be doing something!

They were already serving; already faithful.

They were already doing what they could, where they could, when they could.

II. Be Willing to be Fully Separated – Acts 11:2

If you want to have a story to tell of how God used you, you must first be willing to:

1. Do what others won’t do – 13:2 …for the WORK (see 14:26 for the work which they fulfilled)

2. Answer when others won’t answer – …whereunto I have called them

3. Go where others won’t go – 13:3, 4

4. Leave what others won’t leave – 13:4 - …away.

AWAY – what a word!

Away from family, away from friends, away from your comfort zone, away from all you know.

Verse 4 – so they, being sent forth…departed.

III. Be Willing to be Filled with the Spirit – 13:9, 52

Most people cannot be used of God because they are so full of themselves and not the Spirit of God.

· The Holy Ghost is who does the calling – 13:2

· The Holy Ghost is Who does the sending – 13:4

· The Holy Ghost is Who does the work – 13:9

They were filled with the Holy Ghost because they fasted and prayed. (see 13:2; 14:23)

They worked and operated in the power of God.

A person that will not be Spirit-filled won’t have very many stories to tell.

· The Fire we need comes from the Holy Spirit.

· The Fuel we need comes from the Holy Spirit.

· The Fervency we need comes from the Holy Spirit.

· The Focus we need comes from the Holy Spirit.

· The Finish we need comes from the Holy Spirit.

IV. Be Willing to Fight Satan – 13:8-12

If you are afraid or unprepared to enter into spiritual warfare, your chances of being used by God diminishes greatly!

You can mark this down – doing anything for God will draw fire from the forces of Hell.

· 1 Thessalonians 2:18Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

The Bible is clear; Paul and Barnabas faced sorcerers.

They were withstood by demonic and evil forces.

They were confronted and opposed by the children of the devil. (vs. 10)

· Romans 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces.

· 2 Corinthians 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

V. Be Willing to Face Suffering – 13:45, 50; 14:2,4,5,19,22

· Acts 13:45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Acts 13

· 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

· 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

· Acts 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.

Acts 14

· 4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

· 5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,

· 6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:

· Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

Acts 14

· 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

· 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

God cannot use a person that won’t endure suffering.

In fact, you cannot be His disciple if you are not willing to take up your cross and follow Jesus.

· Luke 14:27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

· 1 Peter 2:21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

VI. Be Willing to Fathom the Scripture

FATHOM: To comprehend and to understand

Paul and Barnabas were Bible teachers and Bible preachers.

The Word of God was their life.

This entire First Missionary Journey was one concentrated effort to preach and teach the Scriptures.

One of the most invaluable yet underestimated secrets to being used of God is knowing the Scriptures.

One of the qualifications of the bishop in 1 Timothy 3:1-6 is that he be not a novice.

NOVICE: One who is new in any business; one unacquainted or unskilled; one in the rudiments; a beginner

· Hebrews 5:13For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

The Word of God is our only source, our only authority and our only weapon.

You MUST know your Bible!

Notice how many verses in Acts 13 and 14 tells us that Paul and Barnabas were teaching or preaching Scripture.

· Acts 13:5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

· Acts 13:7Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

· Acts 13:15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

(We will come back to this verse…)

· Acts 13:44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

· Acts 13:46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

· Acts 13:48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

· Acts 13:49And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

· Acts 14:3Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

· Acts 14:25And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

Paul’s message from Acts 13:15-41 was filled with Scripture.

Scripture that he had read, memorized, understood and could accurately insert into his message.

· Paul quoted Genesis 14:8 in verse 17

· Paul quoted 1 Samuel 13:14 in verse 22.

· Paul quoted Isaiah 11:1 in verse 23

· Paul quoted Mark 1:7 in verse 26

· Paul quoted Matthew 27:22 in verse 28

· Paul quoted Psalm 2:7 in verse 33

· Paul quoted Isaiah 55:3 in verse 34

· Paul quoted Psalm 16:10 in verse 35

· Paul quoted Isaiah 53:11 in verse 39

· Paul quoted Habakkuk 1:5 in verse 41

And that is not all of them. He referred to multiple passages of Scriptures from both the Old Testament and the Gospels from memory; preaching extemporaneously according to verse 15.

ILLUSTRATION: Apollos was described as “mighty in Scripture…” yet he still had much to learn.

Turn to Acts 18

· 24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

· 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

· 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

· 27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

· 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

You want stories to tell of changed lives?

You want stories to rehearse of salvations and conversions and a mighty moving of God?

You will need to know your Bible. Nothing else matters!!

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

You need a good understanding of the Scriptures if you want to be used of God in a mighty way.

It is NOT an option!

· 2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

VII. Be Willing to Fortify the Saints

One of the greatest requirements for being used of God is to be able to be trusted to help other believers grow.

When you’re willing to live day and night for others, you can be used of God.

(I’ll do a deep dive on this subject on Saturday during Leadership Orientation!)

Notice how many times on this first missionary journey that Paul and Barnabas invested heavily in effort to build up and strengthen the faith others.

· Acts 13:43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 14

· 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

· 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

· 23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Acts 14

· 27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

· 28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.

What do you think Paul and Barnabas did during that “long time”?

Eat out? Fish? Golf? I doubt it!

I’m positive that they did in their home church at the end of chapter 14 what they did at the beginning of chapter 13.

They were all about fortifying and strengthening the people God.

That’s what they were doing in chapter 11:23-27.

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