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Acts 20:7-12 FROM
SLUMBER TO SPLENDOR
Intro: One night, the meeting place of a small, ineffective church
caught on fire and burned to the ground. Several from the community, as well as the
church, had gathered to combat the blaze, but to no avail! It was a total loss. Looking
around the gathered faces, one church member saw a local man who had always been opposed
to the work of the church and who refused to attend church. The church member said to him,
"Well, I never saw you come near this church before." "No," said the
man, "but then, I have never seen this church on fire before either." We have
met here this week for the sole purpose of seeking the Lord in revival. Only He can sent
it, I didnt bring it and I cant preach it up and we cant work it up!. We
need something tonight that only God can give us. We need some of the things the early
church had that we are missing in our day, Ill. Acts 2! Ill. The context. Paul is in the
midst of his second missionary journey. Stops at Troas for a week. He goes to church on
Sunday to preach. Notice with me some truths in this passage that can help us tonight, as
we think together on this thought, From Slumber To Splendor.
I. v.7-8 A DEVOTED CHURCH (Devoted = On fire!)
A. An Appointed Hour - Ill. The Lords Day. The purpose - to worship
Jesus and hear the Word.
B. An Eager Attendance - (Ill. Love of assembly - Acts 2:46) Ill. Why
should I go to church? Matt. 18:20; Jude 1:18-19; Heb. 10:25 Ill. Easy to get a crowd for
a Feast, A Funeral, or a Fight - But its hard to fill up a church for preaching!
(Ill. Once there was an old man who, although he was nearly totally deaf, still walked
to church every Sunday morning. One day, his neighbor stopped him and said, "Hey, old
timer, why do go insist on going to that church down there? After all, you cant hear
a thing that preacher says." The old man responded, "Yes, I know, but they love
me and I feel at home there.")
(Ill. Someone has said, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder!" If that
statement is true, then there are some people who really love their church!)
(Ill. One preacher said that his church was afflicted with "Divers Diseases"
He said they dive for the mountains. They dive for the beach and they dive for the door.)
(Ill. One fellow was asked why he refused to go to church. He said that he wasnt
going back because every time he did, they threw something at him. He said that when he
was a baby, they threw water, and when He got married they threw rice. His friend
responded, "Yes, and if you wait too long, the next time they will be throwing
(Ill. Why I dont go to church, versus movies. Some years ago a news reporter
invited people to send in their response to the statement, "Why I don't go to
church." After he had received a number of replies, he decided to show the weakness
of their alibis by inserting the word "movies" wherever "church"
appeared in their letters. Here is a sampling of his column: One said, "I am out of
the habit of going to the movies, that's why I no longer attend." Another wrote,
"I know a man who has gone to the movies for years, and he is no better than I
am." Still another remarked, "There are as many good people outside the movies
as inside." Some commented, "I stay away from the movies because I went when I
was a child." A number of other excuses were given which proved equally absurd when
"movies" was substituted for the word "church." The reasons given were
not valid. They were attempts to conceal a declining interest in their spiritual life, a
refusal to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, or a lack of love for God's people.)
C. A Close Fellowship - (Ill. Amos 3:3) Ill There is a need for unity in
the church! Psa. 133:1; Eph. 4:3; 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil 1:27 (Ill. Rom. 16:17) (Ill. Anything
that disrupts the unity of the church is not of the Lord 1 Cor. 14:33.)
D. Word of God in Prominence - (Ill. The Centerpiece!) (1 Cor. 1:18; 21)
(Ill. 2 Tim. 4:2-4) (Ill. We need preaching that is gun barrel straight, Hell hot and
Heaven sweet! Preaching that god can use to touch hearts!)
(Ill. Liberal Preaching - "Brethren, unless you repent, in a measure, and be
converted, as it were, you will, I regret to say, be damned, to some extent!")
(Ill. The liberal version of Three Blind Mice and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Three Blind Mice
A trio of sightless rodents,
A trio of sightless rodents,
Perceive how they scamper about,
Perceive how they scamper about,
They all pursued the agriculturists spouse,
Who severed their extremities with a carving utensil.
Did you ever perceive such and phenomenon in all your existence,
As a trio of sightless rodents,
A trio of sightless rodents.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Propel, Propel, Propel your craft,
Languidly down the liquid solution,
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically,
Life is but an illusion.)
(These are marks of a devoted church!)
II. v.9 A DEAD CHURCH MEMBER
A. A Dangerous Position - (Ill. Window!) Probably didnt start
there. Backsliding is subtle and dangerous!
(Ill. Airplane and a rat! An airplane pilot was flying his plane one day when he heard
a scratching sound behind him. Knowing he was the only one on board, he quickly realized
that it must be a rat. Putting on his oxygen mask, he began to increase altitude and
continued this until the scratching and gnawing sounds stopped. After concluding his
flight, the aviator searched his plane and found the dead body of the rat next to a
hydraulic line that was almost chewed into. He had killed it by taking it to an altitude
where there wasnt enough oxygen to sustain its life. Had he not done so, that little
rat could have taken the pilots life.
In a spiritual sense, when we allow ourselves to fly too low, we also run the risk of
letting little things into our lives that can defeat and destroy us. Out duty is to fly
high and to fly for the Lord. Sin cant live at high spiritual altitudes.)
(Ill. A man in a window can look inside and outside - The outward look is very
dangerous! Ill. Heb. 12:2)
(Ill. The disciples - Matt. 26 - 8 left at the gate! Only 4 were close enough to Jesus
to hear Him pray. The other eight could look into the garden and out at the world. It was
a very dangerous place!)
Only Two questions for you who are looking where you ought not:
1.) Gal. 3:1
2.) Jer. 2:5 (Ill. Israel and their looks!)
B. A Sad Condition - (Ill. Asleep!) (Ill. Paul a longwinded preacher -
Ill. Why - Jer 20:9)
(Ill. One fellow went to church and the sermon was extremely long. In the middle of the
message he arose to leave, when an usher said to him, "Where are you going?" The
man answered, To get a haircut!" The usher asked, "Why didnt you do
that before you came?" The man answered, "I did!")
(Ill. One fellow gets up to walk out of a church service and an usher says to him,
"Hey, you cant leave, our Pastor isnt finished yet." Oh hes
finished." said the man, "He just hasnt quit yet.")
(Ill. Once a Bishop at Yale preached in the chapel service and spent considerable time
on each letter of the name, drawing a spiritual lesson from the y, the a, the l, and the
e. It was extremely boring and all the students were dying to get out. After it was over,
and all the students were leaving, on young man was noticed bowing at his seat and praying
silently. When he finished his friend said, "Man, that speech must have really
touched your heart." "No." said the boy, "I was just thanking God that
I didnt go to Dartmouth.")
(Ill. One Sunday morning in a service, a man was listening to the sermon and nodded
off. His wife didnt notice it until the man began to snore loudly. At this point,
she elbowed him pretty hard in the side. Like a flash, the man cried out, "Hit me
again, I can still him!")
Ill. A lot of Christians are asleep - Ill Disciples - Matt. 26; Ill. Rom. 13:11) (Ill.
Be good to the preacher! He isnt your hired boy, he is Gods man! Check on him,
encourage him and be a friend to the man of God!)
C. A Tragic Fall - (Ill. More out than in!) (Ill. You cannot control sin
it will control you!) (If you play around at the edge, you will fall out! Ill. David! 2
D. A Terrible Conclusion - (Dead!) Ill. The condition of many believers
(No joy, no peace, no zeal, no power!) (Ill. There are consequences to
backsliding and dying on God! Heb. 12:6-8) (Ill. What about the kids and the lost?)
III. v.10-12 A DELIGHTED CHURCH
A. v.10 A Genuine Reaction
1. Went Down - Concern - Gal. 6:2
2. Embrace - Love - Matt. 22:39
B. v.11 A Glorious Reunion - Total and absolute reconciliation - Ill.
Most peoples attitude Ill. Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-24 - Ill. Contrast between the
Father and the brother! Ill. Gal. 6:2. What many churches need is genuine restoration of
fellowship between the brethren
(Ill. There were 2 Deacons who hadnt spoken in years. Each hated the other
and whenever they came to church, neither would speak, but would look the other way.
Another fellow in the church, tired of the hinderence it was to worship, decided to
become a peacemaker. One day, he was at Deacon Jones' house, and Deacon Jones was
complaining about Deacon Smith and just fussing. The peacemaker spoke up and said,
"Well, all that you said may be true, but don't you think that Deacon Smith is a
pretty good carpenter?" Old Deacon Jones answered, "Yes, I'll have to
admit that he is a fine carpenter." Well the peacemaker took this compliment
and went straight to Deacon Smith's house. When he got there the conversation soon
turned to Deacon Jones and the awful thigs he was supposed to have done. As they
talked, the peacemake said, "Deacon Smith, can you guess what Deacon Jones said about
you?" Deacon Smith was ready for a fight and he asked, "What did that old
buzzard say?" "Well," said the peacemaker, "He said that you were a
fine carpenter." "He did!", exclaimed Deacon Smith.
The next Sunday, these two brothers met coming into the church house,
and for the first time in years old Deacon Smith said, "Morning, Deacon Jones."
After that day, they eventually buried the hatchet and had their fellowship
restored because one fellow was a peacemaker and not a talebearer!
(Ill. Matt. 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:32) Dont be a Prodigal brother!
C. v.12 A Great Revival - (Ill. sadness over a dead member! But the joy
over one reclaimed! There is great joy in repentance for all involved!
(Ill. All revival really is, is waking up and going with God!)
Conc: What keeps Gods people from seeing their churches set on fire in
old-fashioned Holy Ghost revival? Gods people! Guess what? There is hope to be found
in the Heavenly Father. Ask God right now, to reveal anything in your life that in
hindering your church. Ask Him what He would have you to do to see revival come this week!