📝 = Fill in the Blank on Bulletin
“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.”
“However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”
“They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,”
“strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.”
WE must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.”
Title: We’re All In This Together
Don’t believe the hype. Don’t be fooled by the pictures. Don’t be fooled by the captions, and by all of the Instagram and Facebook stories that you see. Hear me church, they call them stories for a reason. Don’t believe the hype, we’re all going through it. We’re all figuring it out as we go. We’re all in some type of fight.
It’s hard to hear, but it makes me feel better to hear Paul and his team say, "WE must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” That’s a breath of fresh air right there. Now I know that it’s not just me. Now at least I know it’s not just my household. Now at least I know it’s not just my workplace, it’s not just my family and friends. WE must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. We’re all in this together. Peter understood this and wrote this about the enemy and about hard times. 1 Peter 5:9 says,
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
1 Peter 5:9
Peter opens up 1 Peter 5:9 by saying, "Resist him.” Resist the temptation that he’ll bring us to compare our lives. Resist the temptation that he’ll bring us to size each other up, and to covet things that aren’t true, and to covet things that have been manipulated, and photoshopped. Resist the temptation that he’ll bring you that you’re the only one going through a difficult time. Why? Because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. We’re All In This Together. Paul says it like this in 1 Corinthians 10:13,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is COMMON TO MANKIND…
1 Corinthians 10:13
📝 What we’re going through is COMMON, but we think it’s UNCOMMON, so we don’t COMMENT.
What we’re going through is COMMON, but we think it’s UNCOMMON, so we don’t COMMENT.
We suffer in silence since we perceive that everyone else has it all together. We don’t comment on what we’re really going through because we don’t want to look weak in front of everyone who appears to be strong. So we keep to ourselves. We take on the stones of life and it’s after effects alone, because we don’t want anyone to see us like this. Hear me church…
📝 None of us have it all together but that shouldn’t stop us from HAVING EACH OTHER.
It took vulnerability for Paul to allow everyone to see him like that. It took courage for Paul to stand back up, and to preach the gospel in the next verse, in the next city, eyes still swollen, body still bruised, blood stains still showing. Just by him showing up, his life preached, We’re all in this together!
Moses can relate to our need for one another, and for none of us being able to handle battles on our own. Exodus 17:8-9 says,
“While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.””
“So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.”
“As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.”
“Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.”
I wonder how much vulnerability did it take for Moses to admit to Aaron & Hur that he was getting tired.
I wonder how much vulnerability and courage did it take for Moses the leader of Israel, the great man of God that God used to split the Red Sea, to tell Aaron and Hur,
Joshua and the army was on the battlefield, while Aaron & Hur held up Moses’s arms until the battle was won. This beautiful portrait conveys to us that none of us can do it alone. We’re all in this together.
Similar to Paul and Moses, Job had the right circle. At the lowest point of his life after he lost his family and fortune. Job 2:11 says.
“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.”
“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.” Job 2:12
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:13
JOB HAD THE RIGHT CIRCLE.
📝 Your circle is only as strong as you’re willing to be VULNERABLE. Your circle is only as strong as you’re willing to be HONEST. Your circle is only as strong as you’re willing to be CONNECTED.
I don’t feel connected.
📝 WHAT AM I DOING TO STAY CONNECTED?
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
How do you show yourself?
You can be as connected as you want to be, but I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to take you being VULNERABLE. It’s going to take you being HONEST. It’s going to take you going out of your way to stay CONNECTED.
Satan doesn’t want you to see the big picture of community so he keeps your mind in small frames of fear. Small frames of isolation.
Small frames of, "What If”. Small frames that say WHAT IF they see the real me and don’t like me. Small frames of, "WHAT IF they see the real me and judge me? What IF I don’t know the Bible as good as someone else, or WHAT IF I get called on to pray? God forbid they get around me and my spouse and they really realize that we really don’t have it all together.”
None of us have it all together but that shouldn’t stop us from having each other.
WE must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. We’re all in this together. When Paul and his team said, "we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” In essence they were telling us two things…
• Expect a FIGHT.
• Expect to WIN.
We will go through hardships—expect a fight. But we will enter the kingdom of God—expect to win!!!
Case and point, Jesus cried out to Peter in Luke 22:231,
““Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.”
In other words, expect a fight.
But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others." Luke 22:32
This wasn’t a matter of IF you will come back to me, this was a matter of WHEN you come back to me. Since Satan desires to sift you—expect a fight. But on the other side of this fight—EXPECT TO WIN!
Peter conveyed the same thing to us in 1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
I Peter 5:8
In other words, expect a fight.
Peter goes on to say in verse 10….
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A LITTLE WHILE, WILL HIMSELF RESTORE YOU and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10
In other words, expect to win.
Even though it’s going to be a fight we’re not called to fight alone. Even though we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, we’re not called to go through them alone.
There was a group of people in the Bible who found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place for this very reason. Judges 18:27-28 says,
“Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city.”
“There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon AND HAD NO RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYONE ELSE.” Judges 18:28
Even though it’s going to be a fight we’re not called to fight alone. Even though we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, we’re not called to go through it alone.
📝 Satan does his best work through ISOLATION. God does His best work through COMMUNITY.
Even though it’s going to be a fight we’re not called to fight alone. Even though we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, we’re not called to go through it alone. We’re all in this together.
“Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.”
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
We’re All In This Together.
• We’re united through our HARDSHIPS.
“WE are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
• We’re united through our WEARINESS.
“And let US not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
“Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
Jesus gives us permission to get weary on the journey, because Jesus Himself was weary from the journey.
📝 Weariness isn’t a sign that I’m ready to quit, but rather I’ve been exerting EFFORT.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
He doesn’t rebuke them for being weary, He strengthens them.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;”
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Since we’re united through our hardships. Since we’re united through our weariness, today’s message gives you and I permission to RETIRE THE CAPE. No more will I keep people at a distance that God has assigned to my life to be up close. Today I retire my cape.
• We’re united through our VICTORIES.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57
“(As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)”
“No, despite all these things, OVERWHELMING VICTORY IS OURS through Christ, who loved us.”
WE must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. It’s better to go through it together, than it is to go through it alone.
We know that God is the source of our strength. Sometimes God strengthens us HIMSELF. In Jesus’s case, Luke 22:43 says,
An angel from heaven appeared to him AND STRENGTHENED him. Luke 23:43
Sometimes God strengthens us Himself. In Jesus’s case strength came from an angel. But for Moses, and Paul in the cases that we read about today, STRENGTH CAME FROM GOD’S PEOPLE.
📝 STRENGTH COMES FROM GOD’S PEOPLE.
Philippians 1:27 says,
“Only [be sure to] lead your lives in a manner [that will be] worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I do come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one mind striving side by side [as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel.”
striving side by side [as if in combat]…
Who do you have to strive with side by side when you find yourself in spiritual combat?
In one of the toughest moments of Paul’s life, Acts 14:20 says,
“But the disciples FORMED A CIRCLE AROUND HIM, and he got up and went back into the city... Acts 14:20 AMP
Who do have to form a circle around you when the stones of life hit?
Who do you have that you can be vulnerable with, to see you down, to see you with no make up, to see you without your cape?
Moses the great man of God, the Red Sea splitter, looked at Aaron and Hur, and said, "I’m tired.” The leader looked at his followers and said, "Will you help me? Can you hold my arms up?”
Who do you have in your corner that you can look to and be real with and say, "I’m tired. I’m weary.” Who do you have in your life that can hold your arms up when the weight of this world gets too heavy?You’re not the only one feeling this way. You’re not the only one going through it.
"…you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
1 Peter 5:9
It’s going to be a fight. We will win, but we’re not called to fight alone. We’re all in this together.