Writings on Christianity

Acts 19:11-41 Sermon Outline

Here’s my sermon and sermon notes for Acts 19:11-41, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville on 1.14.24.

Acts 19:11-41: 3 Approaches to Christ
As Christianity reaches a new area, it generates different responses
        1 MEANS OF GAIN. (Use Christianity for mere personal profit or gain) [USE Christ]
        2 THREAT TO GAIN. (Christ is a threat to personal profit or freedom) [OPPOSE Christ]
        3 GREATEST GAIN. (Christ is better than everything and worth giving all for). [TREASURE Christ]
M.S.:  As Christianity spreads some will see Christ as a means of gain, others as a threat to gain, but to those who have experienced God’s saving grace, they will recognize that Christ is the greatest gain.
        How do you view Christ?
Means of Gain? Threat to Gain? Greatest Gain?
        –Acts: Expansion and establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth
                    -LAST WEEK: Gospel reaches Ephesus—Paul’s ministry in synagogue and public sphere.
TODAY: Additional Gospel ministry in Ephesus
        -3 Responses to the gospel: 1 Means of Gain 2 Threat to Gain 3 Greatest Gain
                    -Let’s ask ourselves: How do I view and treat Christ?

1. Jesus as a Means of Gain (19:11-17): As the kingdom of God advances some will seek to use Christ as a means to gain
IMAGINE: You got a new puppy, and your friend came over, but only to play it and ignored you.
        -What would that show you about your friend? (Don’t really love or care about you, just your puppy).                    -Some people approach Jesus and Christianity as a means of gain: using Christ to get something else
                                –Seen in 11-17: Not a genuine belief in Christ but attempt to use Christ for personal gain.
-CONTEXT: 11-12
        -God doing ‘extraordinary’ miracles through Paul
                    -Purpose of miracles is authenticate Paul as apostle and strengthen the church
-Jewish mindset: demons are real; torment people; they can be cast out (expelled) from people through exorcism
                    -Jewish exorcists would often use fumes, artifacts and call on names to bring about deliverance of people
                                -7 brothers sought to invoke ‘the name of Jesus’ (v 13)
                                            -Recognition of Christ’s power
        -OBSERVE: Not genuine followers of Jesus, but seeking to Jesus as means of gain.
                  -TODAY: People use Christ/Christianity as means to make money (products, services, causes)
                                -SUBURBIA: Church/Christianity for social reasons or moralism
                                            -Christ as means of gain: friendships; programs; services.
                                –INDICATOR: Easily dissatisfied w/church; critical spirit; consumeristic approach to church
                      *GRACIOUS SANCTIFYING: Allow frustrations in ministry/church to purify motives & purify love
        -The demon knew they were fakers
                    -Supernatural power and overcame them all.
        -The incident became well-known
                    -Fear fell upon them all: great power of Jesus’ name
                                -Lord Jesus was extolled: His greatness recognized.
: It is foolish and futile to use Jesus a means of gain.   
        FOOLISH: You will fail or be exposed at some point (this life or the next)
                    FUTILE: In the end, Jesus will reject you, because you were not serving him but your idols: Matt 7:21-23

2. Jesus as a Threat to My Gain (23-41): As the kingdom of God advances other will view Jesus as threat
As the gospel advances some will oppose Christianity, because they view it as a THREAT personal freedom & happiness.
        -Early Christianity= Christians labeled as treasonous or seditious (refused to called Caesar lord).
        –TODAY=Christianity reaches new cultures and peoples it is often viewed as threat to culture and society
                    -OUR CULTURE: Rise of secularism cause some to view Christians as threat to personal freedom.                                    –SOCIETY: Cake Bakers, Photographers, Court Clerks
                                –PERSONAL: threat to freedom/happiness: non-Christian couple living together; Sunday activities


        -DISTURBANCE about Christianity (23)
-Demetrius rallied opposition to Christianity (24-27)
                    -Silversmith who made money off idols for Artemis (24)
                          -Gathered others and spread fear about Christianity (25-27)
                                -Lose our wealth (25)
                                -Paul and others are a public menace! (26)
                                -We’ll lose our jobs (27a)
                                -People won’t respect Artemis (27b)
-Anger, confusion, rioting
                    -Gaius and Aristarchus dragged into the theatre
                                -Paul wants to go, but friends hold him back
        -Town Clerk gives speech to settle down the crowd
                    -Crowd goes home and Christians are delivered (God often delivers in unexpected ways).

APPLICATION: As gospel advances here, in our lives, in our culture, there will be opposition and Christ viewed as threat
        -Christians called intolerant and bigoted for refusing to bake cake, photograph, sign off on homosexual weddings
        -Christian groups banned from college campus (“Bias-incidence” at NCC after we gave our Christian books/Bibles)
                    -Tension and anger in families, friendship, marriages
        -Christians will not be spared from suffering, but God will deliver you through it.
As Christianity spreads some will see Christ as a means of gain, others as a threat to gain, but to those who have experienced God’s saving grace, they will recognize that Christ is the greatest gain!

3. Jesus as the Greatest Gain (18-22): As the kingdom of God advances some will see Christ as the greatest gain!
Jesus Words: Pearl of Great Price (Matt 13:45-46)
        -Gaining Christ=GREATEST GAIN!
        -Believers “confessing and divulging their practices” (18)
                    -Coming clean, repenting and turning from sin
        -Former practicers of magic and occult getting rid of their books (19a)
                    –VALUE: “50,000 pieces of silver”= 6 million dollars!
  *OBSERVE: These Christians, by God’s grace, have come to see Christ as the GREATEST GAIN!
        –Phil 3:4-10à Christ the GREATEST GAIN!
                    -GOSPEL APPLICATION: in grace & love, Jesus died for our sins to bring us back to God!
                                -To know God and be close to Him is the greatest gain!
        -Paul wanted to see the gospel get to Rome! (21)
                    -In Romans we see he wanted it to go even further: to Spain
        -Paul took steps for future ministry and continued in Ephesus (22)
                    *CHALLENGE TO US: What do we prioritize as think about the future?
                                -Is the advance of God’s kingdom on our hearts?
        ANSWER: Through the Word
à 19:20
                    -Word of the Lord continued to “increase” = bearing fruit
                    -Word of the Lord “prevailed” = conquered!
                                –APPLICATION: Read the Word, share the Word, Rejoice in the Word’s power!
CONLUSION: How do you view and treat Christ?
1. Means to Gain; 2 Threat to Gain; 3 Greatest Gain.

CLOSE: Christ is the greatest gain. His death on the cross and bringing us back to God is worth losing everything for. Come to Christ, believe, and rejoice in Him: our greatest gain.

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