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PART 17. COUNTERINTELLIGENCE. Sophomores Among Us. We all strive to be the right mixture of experience, education, intelligence, wisdom, and maturity. Many of us FAIL. What does Christ encourage us to achieve?. Top Secret Backwards Scene.

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Part 17



Sophomores among us

Sophomores Among Us

We all strive to be the right mixture of experience, education, intelligence, wisdom, and maturity.

Many of us FAIL.

What does Christ encourage us to achieve?

Top secret backwards scene

Top Secret Backwards Scene

We are going to retrace the closing moments of Paul’s ministries (as recorded in Acts) in reverse order to solve this puzzle.

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“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

ACTS 28:28

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“‘Go to this people and say,

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

For this people’s heart has become calloused;

they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts

and turn, and I would heal them.’

ACTS 28:26-27

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He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

ACTS 28:23(b)-25

So much for education

So much for education.

Paul spent all day with them.

He quoted Scripture, law, and prophet.

He eloquently tied everything together, pointing to Jesus.

All had knowledge, but some “would not believe.”

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At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

ACTS 27:24

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But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

ACTS 27:22-23

Incredible story

Incredible Story

In Agrippa and Festus, Paul had an open-minded audience.

Paul’s supernatural points were too much for Festus to handle.

In what way was Paul commissioned to evangelize?

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“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

ACTS 27:15(b)-18

Jesus formula

Jesus’ Formula:

  • Stand on your feet!

    • You are my servant, and I have a purpose for you.

  • You are my witness!

    • Of what you have seen and will see of me.

  • I will rescue you!

    • From the Jews and Gentiles I am sending you to.

Did you catch that eeyore

Did you catch that, Eeyore?

  • Paul had the most advanced education a religious person could hope for.

  • Christ’s commands are compatible with our own level of education and experience.

    • Get up.

    • Share what I do for you.

    • Experience My Hand on you.

Acts 22

Acts 22

  • Paul delivers his detailed testimony:

    • Personal history, education.

    • Review of sins.

    • Encounter with Jesus.

    • “You will be a witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.”

Myths of ineffectiveness

Myths of Ineffectiveness

“I don’t know enough.”

“I don’t have experience.”

“I’m not completely right with God on (X).”

“Others are gifted to do this.”

“I’m not good with words.”

“I have afflictions of my own.”

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At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

LUKE 10:21

Child sacrifice

Child Sacrifice

  • We gain wisdom, insight, knowledge, experience, trust, perseverance, eloquence, power, encouragement . . .

    • By experiencing the power of our Holy Father through Christ Jesus with the faith and trust of a little child.

  • Jesus calls for us to give Him our all, now.

    • Not when we’re all “spiritually grown-up.”

Practical application

Practical Application

Get up. There is a mission before you.

Share who you are.

Share what you know.

Be a blessing and encouragement.

Stand out, stand apart.

Let God grow you.

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