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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



ACTS 17:1-9

Sermon of the Week #200904 – February 1, 2009

Paul and Silas, two refugees from the jailhouse at Philippi, still suffering from a beating with rods, came limping into the city of Thessalonica in Macedonia where there was a synagogue of the Jews.

Paul found a synagogue, so according to his custom he and Silas went in and for three Sabbath days they reasoned with them from the Scriptures. It was a successful venture and many of them were persuaded, and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

But there were some who were jealous, and took issue with the message, and obtained the services of certain vile fellows of the rabble, and gathering a crowd set the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason. Jason was one of the converts in Paul and Silas’ preaching and he evidently had an extra room, and took Paul and Silas in; we suppose at no charge. Today we call it parsonage allowance. The rabble broke down the door and did not find Paul and Silas, so they dragged Jason and certain brethren before the rulers saying, “These that have turned the world upside down have come hither also.” They were charged with acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar and saying there was another king, one Jesus.

That was an interesting charge, “They that have turned the world upside down have come hither also.” One cannot help but wonder, “Just what was that message that had such power that it could turn the world upside down?” If we could find out what it was, perhaps we should be able to do it. So looking at the message we notice that Paul and Silas reasoned with them from the Scriptures.


Reasoning from the Scriptures is evidently part of the answer to the message that can turn the world upside down. In Ephesians 6:14 Paul advises to put on the armor of God, and part of that armor was to take up the Sword of the Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit is the most powerful weapon in God’s gospel armor. Jesus said in John 10:34, “The Word of God cannot be broken,” and He also said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My Word shall never pass away.”

We can illustrate the power of the unbreakable Sword of the Spirit from the Old Testament account of the sword of Goliath in 1st Samuel 21:9. David was fleeing from the wrath of King Saul, and told Ahimelech the priest he had forgotten to take a weapon because the king’s business required haste. He asked if there was a spear, or a sword he could use. Ahimelech said, “There is only one weapon here, the sword of Goliath whom you slew. David said, There is none like it; give it to me.”

If the sword of Goliath was the greatest weapon, it seems it did not do Goliath any good. The reason it did him no good was because David hit him in the head with a rock before he had a chance to use it. And the reason most Christians have little or no understanding of the Word of God, and do not profit from the power of the Sword of the Spirit is because the devil has hit them in the head, and convinced them they would not understand it anyway, so why bother? So the book that is called the Sword of the Spirit is kept in the scabbard, or laid on the table week after week and never picked up except to dust it off.

Then there is Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Try reading the Scriptures for about a half hour, and one of those verses will leap off the page and stab you. In fact, it may do worse than that. In Luke 24:32 there is an example of two disciples listening to a recitation of the Word of God and their hearts caught on fire. Actually, reasoning about the Word of God can do worse than that; at Thessalonica it turned the world upside down. Another part of the message that turned the world upside down was the message about the suffering of Jesus.


When Paul reasoned with them from the Scriptures the first item of the gospel he mentioned was the suffering of Jesus. He said it behooved the Christ to suffer. In fact, the suffering of Jesus was such an important part of the gospel message that Jesus spoke of it in the Great Commission according to Luke 24:46, “Thus it is written that the Christ must suffer and rise again from the dead, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations beginning from Jerusalem.”

In 1st Peter 3:18 the Apostle tells us that Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous,” and a vivid description of the suffering of our Lord can be read in Isaiah 53, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have gone every one in his own way; and He hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.”

Surely we can appreciate the statement of Jesus in Luke 22:15 when He told the Apostles at the Last Supper, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Jesus remembered the first Passover in the land of Egypt when the lamb was slain for each household just before Israel crossed over the Red Sea on dry ground. At this Last Passover He knew His death on the cross was the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” And this was part of the message that Paul and Silas preached at Thessalonica when they were accused of turning the world upside down.

But not only was the reasoning from the Scriptures, and the suffering of the Lord the message that turned the world upside down, they also preached the message that He would rise again from the dead.


So Paul reasoned unto them from the Word of God concerning the resurrection of Jesus as he had often done, and no better example of it than he told the Corinthians later as found in 1st Corinthians 15, “Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel that I preached unto you, which ye received.” And then he said, “…wherein also ye stand.” The gospel is something that we can stand on; it is a solid foundation for life, as we stand on the rock of the Word of God. Not only can we stand on it, he said, “…by which we also are saved by it.” We can stand on it, and are saved by it, and that indicates we are lost without it. Then Paul said, “We must hold fast the word I preached unto you except you have believed in vain.” He said some have believed in vain and that reminds us of the statement in Matthew 10:32, “He that endures unto the end shall be saved.”

Then he said, “For I delivered unto you the gospel that I also received.” He said he received it, and delivered it. He did not deliver something else. He did not make it up; he did not find it, he did not get it from any of the other Apostles, but he got it from the same place as he said in Galatians 1:11, “I make known unto you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.”

All churches have received the same revelation, but all have not delivered the revelation they have received. Many have received it and delivered something else. Then after this he said, “I received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you;” he said, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He hath been raised the third day according to the scriptures;” and that is the Gospel.

Actually, the history of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is reproduced in the conversion of the redeemed. For the first thing, Christ died for us. Paul says in Romans 6:2, “We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?” The second, Christ was buried in the tomb, and we were buried with Him therefore in baptism unto death. And the third, Christ arose from the tomb. Paul continues in the same verse, “…that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we might arise to walk in newness of life.” The history of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is reproduced in the life of the redeemed.

Paul reasoned unto them from the Scriptures on the suffering of Jesus on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection; and the preaching of that Gospel will turn the world upside down today by the efforts of those who are persuaded as it was at Thessalonica where it is written, “Many of them were persuaded and consorted with Paul and Silas of the Greeks a great multitude.”


As a result of the reasoning from the Scriptures and the suffering of Jesus, many of them were persuaded, and consorted with Paul and Silas of the devout Greeks a great multitude. The great tragedy is that although some are persuaded, some never will be persuaded. Jesus tells of one such case in Luke sixteen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

The rich man had everything, Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, and begging for bread. Both men died Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom the rich man died and was in torment. The rich man begged that Lazarus be sent back to earth and testify to my five brethren lest they come to this place of torment. He was told they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. The rich man said, “If one go unto them from the dead, they will repent.” He was told, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, they will not believe though one rise from the dead.”

That statement could be applied to many areas of the Word of God. For one thing, if people will not believe the Biblical story of the creation of man, they will not be persuaded if Adam were risen from the dead and said that God made him of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. If they will not believe the Bible, they will not be persuaded though one rise from the dead.

Then another example: If people will not believe the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the terms of pardon given that day, they would not be persuaded if Peter would rise from the dead and tell them in person, “Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” If they will not believe the Word of God, they will not be persuaded though one rise from the dead.

Those who are persuaded can claim with Paul that wonderful assurance in 2nd Timothy 1:6, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded, that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Then last of all, the message that will turn the world upside down is the message of another king.


That was the charge made to the rulers, “These that have turned the word upside down have come hither also, and they all say there is another king, one Jesus.” That accusation was correct; there is another king, and His name is Jesus, because God Himself said it. The words of Psalm 2:1-6 fits this occasion perfectly, “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and His anointed saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then shall He speak in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon My holy hill of Zion.” There is another king, and His name is Jesus.

Matthew 2:1-2 informs us, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise-men from the east saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and are come to worship Him.” There is another king, and His name is Jesus.

Then in John 19:19, “And Pilate wrote a title also and put it on the cross. And there was written, THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” That title was written in Hebrew, and in Latin, and in Greek. Everyone could see it, and everyone could read it; there could be no question. There is another king, and His name is Jesus.

In Revelation 19:16, “John saw the Lord Jesus coming in judgment on the nations, riding a white horse and on His garment, and on His thigh a name written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” There is another king, and His name is Jesus.

In Revelation 11:15, “The Christians can rejoice on that day when the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of the Lord, and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.” There is another king, and His name is Jesus.

What the enemies of the cross also said was true when they said, “These that have turned the world upside down have come hither also.” However, before we can ever think of turning the world upside down, we first must turn ourselves upside down, and after that, we need to work on the project of turning the Church upside down; then and only then are we ready to start on the little matter of turning the world upside down.

The gospel song says, “Since Jesus came into my heart, Since Jesus came into my heart, Floods of joy o’er my soul; like the seas billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.” Years ago in revivals we sometimes sang it this way, “Since Jesus came into our town, the devil has been wearing a frown, many lives have been changed, many homes rearranged, since Jesus came into our town.” When that happens we will hear the charge again, “These that have turned the world upside down have come hither also.”