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The Church Encouraged

Today’s church sermon is titled “The Church Encouraged”. The Bible reading is from Acts 15:36-16:15. This is a summary of Pastor Robbie Symons sermon from Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. Here you can find a summary for last weekend’s message Easter 2020 – He is Risen! This week’s whole church service is available in the video below.

We Receive INSTRUCTION within DISAGREEMENT

In Acts 15:36-41, Paul and Barnabas’ plan was to go on their second missionary trip to encourage the churches. Barnabas was John Mark’s cousin. Barnabas was called the son of encouragement. He was a man of kindness and compassion. He was the first one to welcome Paul and introduced him to the rest of the apostles after Paul’s conversion. Paul was a man of conviction, determination, qualification, and efficiency. He was a man who got things done. Paul had a point that the one who deserted them wasn’t fit to accompany them again. We need both personalities in the church today. Now, who was right? Both were probably right and wrong in a sense.

Disagreements will occur in the church. Godliness within disagreements is important. It was sad to see Barnabas and Paul as bothers separate. However, reconciliation was important too. In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul said that Mark was very useful to him for ministry. So there was where reconciliation happened between Paul and Mark. We need different personalities in the church but no need for quarrelling and division.

We Must Be INTENTIONAL in Our DISCIPLESHIP

In Acts 16:1-5, this was where Paul met Timothy for the first time. Timothy was an older teenager at this point. In verse 3, it says that Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him. This was very intentional from Paul in choosing to disciple Timothy. Later all over the Bible, we see Paul and Timothy in many situations together. They were in prison together, they travelled all over together. Paul called Timothy his son many times. Timothy also wrote two letters in the New Testament.

Who are we intentionally discipling today? One of the greatest forms of encouragement is the intentional discipleship of someone. Who is the Timothy in my life and who is the Paul in my life? Am I being discipled and intentionally discipling others?

We Must Long for Supernatural DIRECTION

In Acts 16:6-10, Paul thought that he was going to trace his first missionary journey. However, God had another plan altogether. Some commentators think that the door that was closed for Paul was maybe a form of sickness. Below are Paul’s first and secondary missionary journeys taken from conformingtojesus.com.

 Paul's First Missionary Journey
Paul’s First Missionary Journey
Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

The implications were incredible by that one change in direction right there. This was the beginning of the gospel going to western Europe. God closed a door before Paul and Silas. Below is such a true quote:

“It is better to go to Troas with God, than anywhere else without Him.”

G. Campbell Morgan

Think of all the closed doors to us. Shutting down one door to open another door. Right now we are all shut down because of COVID-19. We can’t even worship in person at our church. However, think of the opportunity of the gospel spreading online as a result.

Online coronavirus searches are leading millions to find Jesus. Many are receiving the Lord Jesus as saviour during this time. How is the Holy Spirit specifically leading us today?

We Must Anticipate DECISIONS for Salvation

In Acts 16:11-15, the Holy Spirit led Paul and Silas to Macedonia for supernatural encounters with certain people. One encounter was with Lydia. There are so many people searching today. May the Lord lead us to such encounters. It’s quite probable that last Easter weekend there were more people who heard the message of the gospel than ever in the history of the world.

This is a great message for the church today…the church encouraged!

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