Turning the World Upside Down

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

Evangelizing the world in our generation – Impossible; Converting our family members – impossible. David defeating Goliath was nowhere in the plan because no one would have ever hoped for it. It was beyond the Sanhedrin’s wildest imagination that the fishermen they were about to flog would take their message to an entire world. Who would have ever thought that out of Jesus’ greatest opposition – the Pharisees – would come a man of character and integrity, who would proclaim the message of Jesus like the Apostle Paul. And yet, all of these events happened. They all took place because that is how God rolls! In his letter to the church in Corinth Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah, explaining how God works saying “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate” and again, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him(1 Corinthians 1:19, 2:9). Paul is referring to the way of the cross of Christ how God Characterizes the working of His will, and how it left the theological and philosophical experts (both Jews and Greeks) of that day (and our day) absolutely confounded. Man plans elaborate schemes of wisdom and miracles to plot his own salvation, yet God simply laid a stone in Zion, the one the builders have rejected, to become the cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22; 1 Peter 2:6-7).

 

As we survey God’s dealing with man, we see that this has always been His way. God has always worked to make His will clearly known, but in a manner which leaves man astounded by the way promised events actually transpire. The Jewish nation was made from Abraham and Sarah, and as Romans 4 records, it was “against all hope”. From the locust-eating John the Baptist to our cross-bearing Messiah; from unschooled and ordinary men to the very throne of the Caesars – God has always worked to confound the experts – against all hope – to do the impossible. We deny ourselves the greatest blessings when our plans and goals do not go beyond what we perceive as “possible”. The reason so many Christians and congregations confine themselves to mediocrity, unfruitfulness, and a “safe” lifestyle is that they do not believe in the God who delights to work the impossible.

 

The impossible and the hopeless remain the domain of God, yet He wants us to be co-workers with Him in these areas. The impossible to us is not only possible with God, but is the way He has always chosen. To see the most powerful of his miracles and for our discipleship to be genuine, we must learn to walk in His way. In Matthew 17:14-23 Jesus called His disciples “unbelieving and perverted” when they failed to heal a boy suffering with seizures. This was a totally new way of thinking, which the disciples failed to imitate until later. It is not that accomplishing the impossible provides God a needed stimulation, which comes from an exciting challenge, because to God the impossible does not even exist. Its purpose is always to benefit us. As God continues to work out the impossible in our personal lives, our relationships, and our evangelism, we are left with a greater trust, security, and confidence that “nothing will be impossible for you.” The Question we must face is would Jesus today address us as perverted and unbelieving disciples, or would we be those in whom he would find mountain-moving faith? Our lives are the answer to Jesus’ question: “When the Son of Man comes, will find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Let’s have faith when life seems impossible and hopeless so we can turn this world upside down!

Part Three: Preaching the Gospel to the End of the Earth (12:25 – 28:31)

I. The First Missionary Journey 12:25 – 14:28

Barnabas and Saul are Sent from Antioch 12:25 – 13:3

Ministry at Cyprus 13:4-12

Ministry at Antioch 13:13-50

Ministry at Iconium 13:51 – 14:5

Ministry at Lystra 14:6-20

Ministry on the Return Trip 14:21-25

Report on the First Missionary Journey 14:26-28

II. The Jerusalem Council 15:1-35

Debate over Gentiles Keeping the Law 15:1-5

Peter Preaches Salvation through Grace 15:6-11

Paul and Barnabas Testify 15:12

James uses his Leadership Role to Unify the Church 15:13-21

The Council Sends an Official Letter 15:22-29

Report to Antioch 15:30-35

III. The Second Missionary Journey 15:36 – 18:22

Disagreement over John Mark 15:36-41

Derbe and Lystra: Timothy is Circumcised 16:1-5

Troas: Macedonian Call 16:6-10

Philippi: Extensive Ministry 16:11-40

Thessalonica: “Turning the World Upside Down” 17:1-9

Berea: Many Receive the Word 17:10-15

Athens: Paul’s Sermon in the Areopagus 17:16-34

Corinth: One-and-a-half Years of Ministry 18:1-17

Return Trip to Antioch 18:18-22

IV. The Third Missionary Journey 18:23 – 21:14

Galatia and Phrygia: Strengthening the Disciples 18:23

Ephesus: Three Years of Ministry 18:24 – 19:41

Macedonia: Three Months of Ministry 20:1-6

Troas: Eutychus Falls from Loft 20:7-12

Miletus: Paul Bids Farewell to Ephesian Elders 20:13-38

Tyre: Paul is Warned about Jerusalem 21:1-6

Caesarea: Agabus’ Prediction 21:7-14

V. The Trip to Rome 21:15 – 28:31

Paul Preaches the Gospel in Jerusalem 21:15 – 23:33

Paul Preaches the Gospel in Caesarea 23:34 – 26:32

Paul Preaches the Gospel in Rome 27:1 – 28:31

 

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