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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode · 2 years ago

Unchartered Territory

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Unchartered Territory

Acts 16:34

Ed Wolff - Preaching

Hello and welcome to Grace Bible Church in Gatesville, Texas. This is the audio segment of our sermons here at Grace Bible Church. If you would like to find out more about us and watch our full Lord's Day services with video, go to Grace Bible tx dotcom. Let's pray together. Now with me, Lord, God, we come to you this morning. We are so grateful for who you are and if we are not, Lord make us. We confess, Lord, this morning, that we have failed you in thought, word indeed, and we ask that you would forgive us, not because of what we have done, but because, though our sins are many, your mercy is more, not because of what I've done or we've done, but because of what you have done. We ask that you would forgive us because of what Jesus has done in living for us, dying for us, rising again for us and bringing us to faith in Christ. Oh God, forgive us for Sin Because of Christ and know. We ask this morning that you would fill us with your spirit and that you would speak to us this morning through your word, that your spirit would be moving on our hearts our minds, that you would open our eyes and hearts to what you would want us to know and learn and how to grow. This morning, Lord, like the Potter that you are, mold us and shape us into the image of your son, which is the greatest good for our lives. We ask these things in the strong and glorious and precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen, if you have a Bible, I would encourage you to turn to acts Chapter Sixteen. It's behind me, Acts Chapter Sixteen. You know, when you boil it down, there really are only two kinds of people in this world. There are star Trek fans and there are star wars fans. I'm just I'm just summing it up to see where it's we're which camp y'all are in. Now I recognize that there is probably a third category, which is I don't care, but those people really don't count. But since we've had some amends that y'all don't care, let me let you in on a little bit of of a fandom act, though. These two science fiction franchises have been around for decades now. Usually, if you're a fan of one, you just really aren't that big of a fan of the other one. For some reason, the Geekdom just doesn't quom mingle for some reason, and I don't really know why that is. Now, if you know me at all, you probably know which Camp I fall in. I'm a star wars guy. I could go home today. Hey, it's father's Day. This may be my father's Day request. I could go home today and watch the four or the three original movies, the first three, the first trilogy, and I would be just as enthralled and entertained as I was when I was Ella's age, at six. I love it. It just they never get old. And if you are one of those people, sadly, that has never seen a star wars movie, you still have been influenced by them. I mean you know the tagline right, you know the phrase right, may the I would ask you to do that again, but that would seem odd, so I'm not going to do that. Yeah, may the force be with you. Now, even though I'm a star Wars Geek, I have to give props to star Trek because they have a pretty cool tagline to you know what? The Star Trek Tagline is boldly going what we're no man has gone before. Star wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but star trek takes place in the future of earth, where space exploration is possible, and the whole idea of the starship enterprise is it is going were places where human beings have never been before. They're going into uncharted territory. Now, whether you like it or not, we are a little bit this morning like the crew of the starship enterprise. We are, as a church, going into uncharted territory. We have never, as a church,...

...had to look for a pastor outside of the walls of this church and within the faith community that we have. But that's exactly what we're doing. This is uncharted territory. Not that's not uncharted territory for many churches. It's hard pressed to find a church that hasn't had to do that. Well, we are the hard press church to find, and yet here we are, going into places that we've never been before. Now I want to encourage you in something. One of the things I want to encourage you in is that we that this morning the process didn't start. The process is already been going on. It might encourage you to know that we are already taking applications. We're taking applications till the end of this month and we already have luther. Luther helped me. We have over fifty applications, fifty four applications as of yesterday already. Not only that, we already have a pastor GBC pastor search team. In fact, if you're here this morning and you're on the GBC pastor search team, would you mind standing? Please? Would you stand if you're on that team? Brothers and sisters, look around. These are the men and women, the elders and the deacons and the members who are for the next six months to a year. Maybe we don't know how long it's going to take. Could take that long, maybe longer, maybe shorter. are going to be praying together, meeting together, listening to a lot of sermons, asking questions, doing interviews, pouring over resumes and questionnaires and humbly, faithfully searching for God's will, being led by the spirit of God to who God wants the next pastor to be of this church. I encourage you pray for these people individually, pray for their families. Is going to take a lot of time. Pray for them collectively. Pray, pray, pray. In fact, this morning, if you don't mind, let y'all mind if I pray over you this morning. Let's pray for them this morning. Father God, we do not know what is a head, but you do. Lord. We don't have a plan what we do, but we know that you have a greater plan. Lord, I pray for each one of these men and women who have humbly and faithfully given of their time and will be giving of their time for the next however long you ordained it to be, to search for the next pastor of Grace Bible Church. We know that you are the one leading them. We pray for them, we pray for their families, as they'll be taking away from their families more because of this, for the time, for the stress, for all that it will be in the next few months in the process. We pray for them and we asked that you would bind them together, you would lead them, that you would guide them and that you would sovereignly and providentially bring them to the knowledge of the person whom you want to serve as our next senior pastor. Thank you for them and ultimately, our trust is in what you will be doing in the midst of them and the next few months. We thank you and we praise you and we ask that you would do your will. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen. Men, you may be seated. Pardon a minute. This morning we are going to be beginning a study on the book of Philippians. Between now and the time, mind that we have another senior pastor, unfortunately you're going to have to hear a little bit more from me, so I'll apologize ahead of time. I won't be preaching every single week, but I will be preaching the most, most of the time and there will be other faithful men, both within our congregation and outside our congregation, that are going to come in and and fill that spot. But I began praying through. What should we what should we preach on? What? What book should we go to? The book of Philippians popped into my mind. Now I do have to give a spoiler alert. I love the book of Philippians. I absolutely love it. In fact, I actually remember the night I fell in love with it. Is it language? Okay, I fell in love with this book. It's just amazing. I was around fifteen years ago, sitting in a predominantly empty parking lot in temple Texas, outside of the JC pennies at the mall, waiting on a beautiful gorgeous, lovely, young red heeaded girl that I had just started dating to get off work...

...and as I was there, I'd like to say that I did something like this spiritual every time I waited on her. But this particular evening I opened up my Bible and read the book of Philippians and the words just jumped off the page. Have you ever had that happened? This word that we are preaching, this word that we are reading, this word that guides our life, is living and active, and that evening it was just so so it just jumped off the page at me. And so, though I love the book of Philippians, that is not the only reason I might have influenced it a little bit of why we're going to go through this book. I do think that the book of Philippians has some truths that God would like for us to hear during this time, some truths that will help us, that will benefit us, that will stir our souls, that will bring humility and unity and and God's honor and glory during this time as we, as a church, search for a new pastor. And so I'm excited about what's next. But you may be wondering. You said we're going to study the book of Philippians. Why in the world is my Bible turned to the book of acts? Well, it's always good to start at the beginning. It's always good to see the foundation. That was late. So this morning I am not going to focus on the letter of the Philippians. I want us to focus first on the Church of the Philippians and how God started that Church. And what we see in this passage is that God started this church by leading a man into uncharted territory. So acts, Chapter Sixteen, we're going to read together in verse, starting in Verse Six. Would you stand for the reading of God's word? Let's stand together and read this together. Verse six and they went through the region of PHRYGIA and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come to my sea, they attempted to go into Bethynia, but the spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by my sea, they went down to Troas and a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia was standing there urging him and saying come over to Macedonia and help us. And when Paul had seen the vision. Immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them. So, setting sail from troas, we made a direct voyage to smithetris and the following day to Neapolis and from there to Philippi, which was a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in the city some days and on the Sabbath Day we went outside the gate to the river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One Who heard was a woman named Lydia, who was from the city of Thiatira, a seller of purple goods who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul and after she was baptized and her household as well, she urged us, saying if you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay, and she prevailed upon us. As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought our owners much gain. By fortune telling, she followed Paul and us, crying out these men are servants of the most High God, who proclaimed, proclaimed to you the way of salvation, and this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her, and it came out of her that very hour. But when our owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and drag them into the market place before the rulers. When they had brought them to the magistrates, they said these men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us, as Romans, to accept or practice. The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods, and when they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stalks. About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing him to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all...

...the doors were open and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw the prison doors were open, he drew his sword out and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped, but Paul cried out with a loud voice, do not harm yourself, for we are all here, and the jailer called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who are in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them and he rejoiced, along with his entire household, that he had believed in God. Brothers and sisters, this is the word of our God. Thanks be to God. You may be seated. There are three things I want you to see in this passage. There's a ton in this passage and we're not going to be able to cover all of it, but there are three things that I want you to see in this passage that I think we're true for Paul as he went into uncharted territory and I think that are true for us as we as a church go into uncharted territory, or maybe even as you, as an individual, go into uncharted territory that I don't even know about. Three things that I want you to see. Number One, I want you to see God's guidance. Number One, God's guidance. Number two, I want you to see God's Providence, God's Providence, and number three, I want you to see God's accomplishments, God's accomplishment. So number one, let's look at God's guidance. We this is evident in verses six through six through ten. What we have in x Chapter Sixteen is Paul Beginning his second missionary journey and at the end of Chapter Fifteen we realized that Paul didn't begin this missionary journey thinking he would go plant more churches. He seemingly only wanted to go and encourage and help and check on the churches that he had already planned on his first missionary journey in glacier. But when we get to verse six, what we see is Paul and his companions not turning back east and going back to Antioch. We see them continuing on West and Paul's first idea, Paul's first plan, the first thing that Paul wanted to do was to go into Asia, maybe to go to the town of Ephesus, we're not real sure. But he didn't because though he had a plan, the spirit had another plan. Look at what it says in verse six, this odd phrase forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. Now this is not him saying that they can never speak the word in Asian. In fact, Paul, he ends up going to Ephesus in Asia on the way back in this particular missionary journey. But what the spirit at this point is saying is not right. Now you want to do this, you have a plan, but I have another plan. So Paul turns northwest instead of going southwest like he wanted. And then he says okay, okay, how about Bethinian? Let's go into Bethenian. Let's preach the Gospel to those in Bethynia. And again, in verse seven, the spirit of Jesus did not allow them. Again the spirit says no, not yet. Peter would write to the churches in Bethinnias. So we know the Gospel came to them. But even though Paul wanted to do that, then the spirit says no, not yet, I have another plan. And so Paul and his companions are sort of Abraham like, wandering around following the spirit to a land that they know not of. And they follow the spirit until they hit the water, till they come to the port city of Troas, where there is no more land. There's just the AEGEANC. Paul is intro as and he has no ideal what's next. He doesn't know where the spirit is leading, he doesn't know where he's going. He doesn't know what the plan is. But he does know this. He does know that where he is, following the spirit is better than following any plan that he has, any plan that he has. Now we don't tell here Luke when he's recording this does not tell us how the spirit of God is leading them. He we have no idea. John Piper is mentioned that there are really four ways that the spirit of God leads his people over salvation history one way, and he uses for d's to to to to to to explain these things, which is helpful. The first one...

...is by decree. God leads his people by Decree. This is when we say things like well, the doors just opened or the doors just closed, or saying is is that God's is working in the midst of our everyday situations to get us to the places that we need to go. He is decreed certain things so that we will follow the will that he wants us to follow by decree. The second is direction, and this is the blatant word of God. God saying this is what I want you to do, giving us specific and explicit direction in his word. Right, we're learning our our catechism. Question Right. What does God require in the first, second and Third Commandments? They we know God as the only true God, that we avoid all idolatry, that we treat God's name with fear and reverence. That's God's will for our lives. Our God's will is that we know him as the only true God, that we avoid all idolatry, that we treat God's name with fear and reverence in every other commandment he has given us. That's his will for our lives. But we recognize, we know that without the leading and the empowerment of the spirit of God, we can't do these things. That's why Jesus had to come. Jesus came and knew God as the only true God and avoided all idolatry and treated God's name with fear and reverence. And then Jesus went to the Cross and died in our place, took the punishment for the Times that I have not known God as the only True God, that I have not I've avoided all idolatry, that I did not treat God's name with fear and reverence, and all of the other sins that I have committed. And he died in my place, taking my punishment and rose from the grave victorious over my sin. And then he has drought me to salvation. I put my faith in him. My sins have been forgiven because of what he has done, and then he sends his spirit into our hearts and our lives to lead us and empower us so that we can know God as the only true God, that we can avoid all idolatry, and then we can treat God's name with fear and reverence. Now we know we don't do this perfect Lee, but we couldn't do it at all and now, by God's power, we can do it legibly. God empowers us. God leads us. The Third Way that God leads his people is by discernment. This is probably the normal way we think of when we think of God spirit leading us. There are not a section of the Bible that we can turn to a necessarily find out what person we're supposed to marry or what college we're supposed to go to, or what career we're supposed to have, or whether we're supposed to go into full time ministry or part time ministry or Ministry at all, or whether or not we should preach this church or preach at that church, or where that we should be a foreign missionary or we should just witness where we are, or whether it's should go into Asia or whether we should go into Bethenia. We don't know, and so we trust God's decree. We strive, by the power of the spirit, to follow his direction and then we use we pray, we seek God's face and we seek counsel and we use the the minds that God has given us in this discernment that he gives us by the power of his spirit, and we make decisions through discernment, hoping and praying and trusting that this is what the Lord wants. And many times when we do that, not all the time, and many times when we do that, there can be Inter promptings, there can be confirmations from other people or things like that help us make those decisions. That's discernment. That's one way that God leads his people and the last way that God has led his people. This is rare. This is rare. It's rare. Over all of Salvation History is declaration. This is when God's says. This is what I say. This is what happens to Paul when he gets to troas. He has a vision, a vision of a Macedonian man who says come over to Macedonia and help us. God, through a vision, speaks directly to Paul and says you wonder what you're supposed to be doing in Troas? Go go cross the AGANC, step into the West. The Europe for the very first time. Go to Macedonia and bring them the Gospel. Go into that uncharted territory, because that is my plan. But Paul doesn't, I mean Luke doesn't, tell us how the spirit of God leads. You know why? Because what's really important here is not how the spirit of God led, it's that the spirit of God led. Paul knew that it was better to be where God wanted him to be, where the spirit had led, even if he had no idea what was next, then to try to go fallow his plan for his life and for this missionary journey. Do you remember Peter in the boat in the storm? Matthew Fourteen Jesus comes...

...walking to him in the wall on the water. What is Peter? What is Peter say? What's Peter asked? Y'All can help me. What does Peter ask you remember? Do what he says. I want to come out there. Letting me walk to you on the water. Now, poor Peter, he gets a hard time because his face. He looked around at the wind and waves and he started to sink, but he stepped out of the boat. Why? Why did he step out of the boat? What made him want to come out to Jesus on the water. He he knew the boat, maybe even been his boat. He knew the people in the boat. He'd spend some time fishing with them in a business. He knew the sea. This is where he made his living. He knew the storms on the sea. Yes, this one was scary, this was frightening, but he'd been in frightening storms to the boat was familiar, the boat was comfortable. The boat he's been through that before. But he I'm speculating here. This is ed talking, but I wonder if Peter didn't look out and see Jesus walking on top of the waves and said, you know what, it is better to be out in the midst of the storm with Jesus that it is to be here where it's familiar and comfortable. But he's walking on the waves, not being tossed by the waves. Brothers and sisters, we're here this morning in this uncharted territory not simply because our former pastor chose another job. It's not simply that we are here this morning because God's spirit has led us here. We don't know what's next. There is uncharted territory ahead. We have no idea where this process is going to lead, but it is better to be here where God has led us, then where it is comfortable. It is better to be here this morning, where we are because God has led us here, that it is for this morning to look like three weeks ago and everything seemed normal. This is better because we don't Miss Perry. Of course we do. I'd much rather be listening to him this morning me, but but God has led him away. God is leading us here and God will lead us through. There's a song I used to sing when I was a kid. Some of you may know it. It's not. It's not exactly in the genres that we normally sing, but there's a song I remember growing up singing. It says something like this. Many things about to morrow I don't seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. Brothers and sisters, we don't have confidence this morning because we know the future. We have confidence because we are being held by the one who does. He's the one that will guide us, he's the one with the he will lead us. He's let us here, he's going to lead us through and he's got something great for us in this journey, God's guidance. That's number one. Number two I want you to see God's Providence, God's Providence. Now, providence is an interesting word. Interestingly enough, the reformers in the sixteen century actually use the word providence more than they use the word sovereignty. Providence. What does providence mean? It's not necessarily a word we hear a whole lot in company around. What is Providence mean? Well, the root word of providence is provide, provide. It's interesting if you look at how that word is structure that's made up of two parts. Provide is made up of two parts, PRO and V da. Vday means to see. It's the way we get the word video from. I'm pretty thankful for that word because I make my living as a videographer, so I'm happy that we get that word from there. The word pro on the beginning of it can mean a couple of different things. One of the things that it can mean is it can mean to foresee, to see beforehand. Now I'm going to pick on the DAD's this morning it's father's Day. We've honored you, we prayed for you. Now I'm going to pick on you. We as Mother's no that it is our job and responsibility to provide for our families. Right now, sisters, I'm not saying you don't help provide for the family. I'm not seeing you don't provide from the family, but this is this is father's they won't pick on the guys this morning.

As we as parents, as we as father's, provide for our family, there is a bit of looking forward that has to happen. Right. If we desire and want our children to go to college, we are probably right now preparing and doing things to help them go to college. Right. Or let's just take the normal everyday life. If I want my kids to eat tomorrow, if I want my kids to have clothes to where tomorrow, I am doing things today to prepare so that they can eat and they can be closed and they can have a house and a roof over their heads. Right, to provide, to see beforehand. So there is something in that to providing. But we already have a word we talked about God that talks about him seeing beforehand. Right. Did he mean? Know what that word is? When we talk about God seeing beforehand, would we call that God's what? Y'All are quired much this morning. What Sovereignty Cay. It's included in that. It's his foreknowledge. God knows all, including that which hasn't happened yet. But the war, the the the phrase pro, the the the prefix pro can actually means something else too. It can mean on behalf of let me. Let Me Buil it down like this. So my wife could come to me and say something like, and quite honestly she may have this week, the lawn needs to be mode. Now. My response to that is not something I can share with you because I would need to repent. Don't tell her this. I hate mowing lawn. I despise it. Don't tell her. It's our secret. So after I Moan and Groan and grumble, I might say something like okay, honey, you've worn me down. I'll see to it. I'll see to it. What does that mean? It means that she wants the lawn mode and I will do whatever it takes. Whatever that however, I have to work out whatever I have to plan or whatever in order to make sure the lawn gets mode. That may be pulling AC cord and pushing it may mean changing the spark plugs. It may mean loading it up in my truck and taking it to Noris. So Colby can fix what I've broken, but I will take care, I will see to the lawn being mode. That's the idea God provides for us. God works all things, as Effesian says, to the counsel of his will. He mysteriously and sovereignly and providentially works in every situation of our life to bring about his will in our lives. US. He sees to it. He works in all of those things. Listen to how the Heidelberg Catechism, Question Number Twenty seven answers this question. What do you understand by the Providence of God? Listen to this. God's providence is his Almighty and ever present power, whereby, with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures and so governs them. That leaf and blade, reign and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand. That's the providence of God. He is right now providing. We do not believe in a Deist God. We do not believe in a god who created the world, made up some natural laws, spun it into existence and then sits back and says I hope everything works out well. Now we believe in a God who not only created this world, not only create its natural laws, not only made the world and spun it into existence, if you will, but he is actually right now actively working in every minute part of this world. Do you know why we have natural laws? That happens so regularly and so normal every day that scientists can actually study them. Do you know why? Because God upholds them, because God is working in them. If he didn't, we'd spin off into the sun. This is the work of God. He works in the normal, everyday parts of our lives and he's working governing all things for his will. Now sometimes he works outside of those natural laws. We call those miracles. When he works inside just normal life, that's providence. That's God providentially working out all things in and for his will. Listen to what John Flavill says, a Puritan writer, in his book the mystery of Providence. It it is the great support and solace of the saints and all the distresses that befall them here,...

...that there is a wise spirit sitting in all the wheels of emotion and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs, to blessed and happy issues. God is working in all of the wheels of motion. He's working it out for his good and, according to Romans Twenty eight, if we are saved, if we are his children, he is working it out for our good, which is ultimately for us to be conformed into the image of God. This morning, brothers and sisters, we have confidence of knowing something. We have confidence of knowing that our God is right now providing for us. Right now he is providing for us, he is working in the midst of this. We are ultimately not trusting our plans and how good a planner we are. We have plans, but we are trusting the God who has everything in his hands and actually is in control of everything, and he will be working in the midst of our lives. Look at next chapter, sixteen. Let's just take a moment. I want you to see God's providential hands in this text. All right, so when there's a woman by the name of Lydia, Lydia just so happens to live in Thyatira, a city in Asia, and thiat Thiatira just so happens to be known for its Purple Dyes, and it just so happens that Lydia actually gets involved in the trade of garments with these purple dies. And it just so happens that God actually opens up a trade route, a successful trade route for her, between Thiatira and Philippi, and it's this becomes a very successful business for her. It turns out, in fact, so successful she's able to get a house in Philippi. And it just so happens that thyatira actually has a fairly large Jewish population. It just so happens that, even though she seems to be a gentile, she hears about the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and she just so happens to begin to worship him. And they just so happens that when she gets to Philippi, she tries to find a synagd but there there's not a synagod because you have to have ten Jewish men to have a synagogue. But she just so happens to find several other women who are worshiping God, and so they just so happened to find a place down by the Riverside to worship, and this place just so happens to be known by other people in town that that that that one true God is being worshiped down by the Riverside. And it just so happens when Paul gets there and asks about the synagogue and he finds out that there's not a synagogue, the people in the town just so happened to tell him, you know, there's some there's some there's some ladies down by the river that they're worshiping God. And it just so happens that on the same day that Paul comes into that that worship service, Lydia just so happens to be there and Paul shares the message of Christ with them and it just so happens that Lydia's eyes are open and she believes her and her household and she just so happens to have this home that she can invite Paul in his companions into. And then the next days is there just so happened to be going from Lydia's house to the place of prayer. In the path there just so happens to be a slave girl who just so happens to have a spirit of divination that can tell the future, and it just so happens that when that spirit sees Paul and Silas and Timothy and Luke, they cry out like like they demons did around Jesus. These men are our servants of the most High God. They will show you the way of salvation. It just so happens that after a few days of that, Paul just gets annoyed and he turns around and, in the name of Jesus, cast out that demon in the demon just so happens to leave. Now this just so happens to really make her slave owners unhappy, because now they don't have a way to make money, and so they just so happened to grab Paul and Silas and pull them into the town and begin to beat them, pulling them before the magistrates. The magistrates just so happened, and I really care whether not their Roman citizens are not in they don't, they don't find it out, and they they whip them and beat them and throw them into prison, and they throw them into a jail where a particular jailer just so happens to be watching them that evening. And it just so happens that, though their backs are lacerated, their legs and hands are in stocks. That would probably cause their bodies to ache. It just so happens that in the midst of that, they are praising God and praying, so that it just so happens that everybody else in the prison here's everything that they're saying it, Here's The gospel of Christ. And then it just so happens at midnight an earthquake comes and that earthquake just so happens to open up the doors of the prison and even the stocks that they're in fall off, and it just so happens that the Philippian jailer wakes up and runs in and...

...doesn't see anybody, is about to kill himself and Paul just so happens US yell out stop, because it just so happens that we're all here, we haven't gone anywhere, and it just so happens that that causes the Philippian jailer to bring them out into fall at their feet and ask the question, what must I do to be saved? Brothers and sisters, every time that I just said just so happens. That's God. That's God providentially working that out for the salvation of Lydia, for the freedom of the slave girl and for the redemption of the Philippian jailer and for the establishment of the Church at Philippi. That's the providence of God, brothers and sisters. That's exactly what God is going to be doing in our midst, in your midst, in the midst of the search team. We ultimately, like I said, don't trust our plans. We trust the one who actually has a greater and glorious plan and can actually bring it to fruition. which brings us to our final point, God's accomplishment. Want you to look back at Verse Fourteen of Act Chapter Sixteen. Read this one more time with me. One Who heard us was a woman named Lydia from the city of Thiatirah, a seller of purple goods who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart. Who opened her heart? Who opened her heart? Who opened her heart? The Lord opened her heart. God did not simply lead Paul to this place and providentially work so that Paul and Lydia could meet and then again step back and say they got it, I'm just going to see what happens. No, Paul, God accomplished his purposes. He accomplished it through opening the heart of Lydia. God, in this moment, accomplishes the salvation of Lydia and her household. He accomplishes it is God who opens her heart. It is God who casts out the demon from the slave girl. It is God who causes an earthquake that shakes not only the foundations of the jail, but shakes the foundations of the Philippian jailer's life and causes him to ask the question, what must I do to be saved? This is God completing and accomplishing his purposes. Listen to what Isaiah says. This is God speaking through the Prophet Isaia, and I say a forty six. Listen to what he says, for I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end, from the beginning and from ancient times, things not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand and I will a accomplish all my purposes, calling a bird of prey from the east, a man from my counsel, from a far country. I have spoken and I will bring it to pass. I have purposed and I will do it. Brothers and sisters, we do not serve an impotent God. We do not serve a God who is just trying his best. We do not serve a God who is just trying to do the best that he can. We serve God Almighty who is completely in control and when he purposes it, it will come to pass. Nothing can fort nothing can thwart the will of God. That is where our confidence is, not in the fact that the elders of this church can accomplish anything, that the deacons of this church can accomplish anything, that, ultimately, that the search team can't accomplish anything, that the members can accomplish anything. That's not our ultimate hope. Yes, all of us need to be faithfully doing that which God has called us to do. Yes, God doesn't simply work outside of our wills, he works within our wheels. Y'All can talk about that in growth group. But ultimately, what we are trusting in is the God who will accomplish his purposes here in your life, in my life and in the life of our church. That's where our hope lies. Our hope lies in the guidance of God, our hope lies in the providence of God and our hope lies in the accomplishments of God. Do you see? Our hope lies in God, not us. One last thing I want you to see. Do you remember in Genesis Twenty Two?...

You remember the story of Isaac and Abraham and how God came to Isaac, i'man, came to Abraham and brought him some guidance. Go sacrifice your son. Now, that guidance didn't make any sense. This, this was this was a child of promise. This is the child through whom all of the promises of God are supposed to be brought forth. This is the child that, through him, all of the nations are going to be blessed by Abraham and and he'll have as many children as the stars of the sky and the sand on the sea. This doesn't make any sense. Go Go kill my son. Doesn't make sense, but he goes. They're walking up the mountain and Isaac, Isaac's no dummy. Isaac looks around in Verse Seven and says this is this is the dead paraphrase. Hey Dad, so we got fire, we got wood, we don't have a lamb. Where's the lamb? We're missing something. Here's what Abraham says. In Verse Eight. Abraham said to Isaac, God will provide for himself a lamb. And so you know the story. The Wood is laid out. Isaac gets up on the wood, Abraham raises his his knife, about to plunge it into the child of promise, and God says stop. Just about that time they hear something behind them. But what's that? It's a ram caught in the thicket. This Ram was apparently at some point on the mountain with his flock and wandered away and the shepherd didn't see him go and, as a ram would do, it followed its stomach to this, to that, and eventually he gets caught in a thicket that just so happens to be rid by Isaac and Abraham and they take that Ram. They bring Isaac off of the altar and place that Ram on the altar in place of Isaac. Thousands of years later, John the Baptist would look with his disciples around him and see Jesus that he would say, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and Jesus, the lamb of God, would also be stretched out on wood, stretched out on a cross, and he would like Isaac, like the lamb was to Isaac. He would stand in our place and he would take the punishment that we deserved. For All of the sins that we have committed, and he would be punished for us and he would drink the cup of the wrath of God, the good and just wrath of God that we deserve for our sin. He drank every last drop and when it was done, when he had exhausted the cup, he looks up to his father and he says it is finished. Three days later he rises from the grave, accomplishing that which God wanted him to accomplish, and one day the skies will split and Jesus will return and all will be made well, because God will accomplish his purposes. Brother than sisters, we have hope this morning. We have excitement this morning. We have something look forward to this morning because we know God is guiding us. We know that God is providentially working out all things for the counsel of his will, including in our lives, and we know that God will accomplish his purposes. He will accomplish them here and in the future. That is the God we serve, that is the God we have hope in. That is the God that has saved us. Let's pray God. We are so humbled because so many times we want to control things we want to trust in our own ability to know where to go, we want to trust in our own plans that we have come up with and we...

...want to trust in our own ability to accomplish the plans that we have devised. But, God, it is better to be exactly where you have called us to be, not having a clue where to go, and to be in the midst of the plans that we have created. So, God, we trust this morning not in our plans but in yours. We trust not in our guidance, but in yours, and we trust not in our ability, but in yours, because this morning we look to the cross, and that cross shows us, the cross shows us that you can take that which was meant for evil and make it and ordain it for good, that which looked on the outside like it was the greatest evil on the face of the planet and it was Sain. Yes, from the perspective of pilot, these are sin they were responsible for what they did, but yet somehow, mysteriously, you ordained it so that you might save us and make it into the greatest good that is ever known, that this planet has ever known. That's that's a testimony to you. If you can do that. You can save us, though we deserve your wrath. Lord, we know and trust that you are working right now, just as you as Paul wrote to the Philippians that we will talk about next week. You have begun a good work in US and you will complete it the day of Christ. Jesus Lord, help us to trust today, today, and who you are and what you are doing, doing in this place. We ask all this in the strong and glorious and precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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