Sermon Tone Analysis

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That fateful week began and progressed as normal for the majority of Christendom.
Oh, this week was quite different, but only a few Christians would notice—far too few.
One pastor arose early on Sunday to review the sermon that he had prepared.
He would begin his three-point evangelistic message with a funny story.
Then he had included a few Bible verses, the quote from /Time /magazine, and a story about a dramatic conversion.
And, of course, he would conclude with an emotional appeal to come forward and make a decision.
“Yes,” he thought, “this one has been planned perfectly.
It ought to produce great results.”
As he reread the sermon for the last time, it was obvious that he didn’t notice the difference.
Sunday morning services throughout the country went exactly as planned.
Each sanctuary was full of smiling, well-dressed Christians.
The services began with the doxology, prayer, announcements, a couple of hymns, and special music during the offering.
Although the hymns sounded rather dead, it was no worse than usual.
In fact, people responded to the ministers’ pleas, and the offerings were larger than usual.
Even the invitations were a success.
As the congregation finished the third verse of “Just As I Am,” many came forward for rededication, salvation, or church membership.
As the people filed out the door to get home in time for the football game on TV, it was obvious that none of them had noticed the difference.
The week continued on flawlessly.
The banquet Tuesday night was a huge success, as the church raised enough pledges for the down payment on the new sanctuary.
The Wednesday evening prayer meeting also went on as usual.
The few who came prayed that God would bless all of the missionaries.
For the Friday night high school social, the youth pastor had come up with some crazy new games that made it a roaring success.
But no one noticed the difference.
A few church members even got to witness at work that week.
Rick, for example, had been feeling guilty about not talking with Don.
So at lunch he took a deep breath, pulled the booklet from his pocket, and read the laws to Don.
Although Don didn’t seem very interested, Rick plowed through the entire presentation.
He left the booklet with Don and encouraged him to pray the prayer at the end to invite Christ into his heart.
Rick felt a sense of relief that he finally had shared the laws.
But Rick didn’t notice.
In fact, few Christians would have noticed, even in an entire year.
But there were a few Christians that had a most frustrating week.
One pastor sat and stared at his Bible, but couldn’t get anything out of it.
He knew the Bible and he knew how to prepare biblical sermons.
But the Bible had become a dead book to him.
He was frustrated and perplexed.
But he noticed the difference!
Some other believers also noticed.
One man kept succumbing to lusting after an attractive woman at work.
He couldn’t get the victory, no matter how hard he tried.
Another man angrily snapped at his wife and yelled at his kids.
When he felt a twinge of guilt, he justified himself by blaming them for being insensitive to his needs.
A small group that normally was overflowing with joy in the Lord and love for one another found themselves depressed and bickering.
Several other Christians found themselves doubting their salvation, and even wondering if God existed.
These believers were defeated, frustrated, and confused.
But, they definitely noticed the difference!
When those at the church who had experienced a normal week heard about those who were having trouble, they weren’t surprised.
They knew that something like this would happen sooner or later.
They knew that these other Christians were just too radical.
Those whose week had gone well smugly thought, “It serves those fanatics right!
You can’t be excited about Jesus week in and week out!”
What was there to notice as different about this week?
God decided to see which Christians were living in dependence on His Holy Spirit, and which ones were just depending on their own intellect and human plans to live the Christian life.
So, He completely withdrew His Holy Spirit from the earth for the entire week!
Think about it—would you notice the difference?
As we have already noted earlier in our study of this great book that it was more than just the Acts of the Apostles; it was the Acts of the Spirit.
In other words, this book has been about the guidance of the Spirit in the life of the early church.
And this is definitely true in our passage, this morning.
Luke tells us that the Spirit gave guidance for a new disciple and guidance for a new direction.
            Paul and Barnabas separate due to a sharp disagreement over John Mark.
So Luke picks up the story with Paul and Silas embarking on the second missionary journey.
In verse 1, Luke said they came to Derbe and Lystra.
It had been five years since Paul had been in either of those two places.
And if you recall, Paul preached in Derbe and there were many disciples made.
But it was in Lystra where Paul was stoned and left for dead by the Jews from Antioch and Iconium.
I am amazed at Paul’s confidence in the Lord to return to these cities that treated him so badly.
Most people would not go back to such places, especially if they endured hardships there.
Isn’t it like us to believe that it must not be God’s will if we suffer in certain places or among certain people?
Surely we must have misread the directions of the Lord because God wouldn’t bring suffering to us because we are willing to serve Him.
Yet, if I read the New Testament correctly, we are going to have many trials and tribulations.
There is suffering on this earth for doing the Lord’s work.
But I encourage you that God promised never to leave us or forsake us.
He tells us to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.
So Paul must have sensed that this is where he must go.
In Lystra, God directed his heart toward a new disciple, who would help him in the missions to the Gentiles.
The young man’s was Timothy.
Timothy means “honoring God.” Timothy may have been influenced by Paul’s testimony and bravery while in Lystra on his first missionary journey.
It may have been then that he gave his heart to Christ.
He was cultivated in the faith by his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice.
Paul had seen evidence of a sincere faith in these two women and knew that it was in Timothy, as well.
In fact, his faith had become a topic among the people in Lystra and the nearby town of Iconium.
This was a continuous witness to those who had known him.
Folks, I wonder if people say the same thing about our faith.
Can people see the difference that God has made in our life?
Or is the only thing we can point back to is the time we were baptized?
I believe our testimony is what God is continually doing in our lives on a regular basis.
We ought to be more like Christ today than when we first believed.
We ought to be more in love with Christ now then we have ever been.
So can people that know you realize that you are who you are because of the Spirit’s work in your heart?
So Timothy was well spoken of by the people of his town and the nearby city.
In knowing Timothy’s reputation among the people, Paul wanted him to accompany him in the missions.
But for the sake of the ministry Paul had to have Timothy circumcised.
Now I thought that was not necessary for salvation.
It, isn’t?
That is the reason Paul did not have Titus, a full Greek, circumcised.
Gentile liberty was at stake in that situation.
The situation of Timothy is different.
The reason Timothy was circumcised was a question of efficient service, not salvation.
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