Breaking the Barriers of Unbelief

Breaking The Barriers To Sharing The Gospel With Non-Believers

Jordan Hill
Sep 4, 2022    48m
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Join us and explore four steps to breaking the barriers of sharing the Gospel with non-believers. God calls us to go and make disciples of all nations; to accomplish this, we've got to intentionally get outside of our Christian bubbles and look for opportunities to speak of Jesus and trust God to do the rest. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Jordan Hill: [00:00:09] Hey, everybody, Happy September. It's officially fall, right, this is a great time. Pumpkin spice lattes are in Starbucks now, so we can officially kick off the fall. I will say this, those things are like 12 things of donuts or something like that. There's so much sugar in there, so I just try to avoid that. I love the summer, but when it was like a month of 108 that like beat the summer out of me. So I'm ready, I'm ready for the fall.

Jordan Hill: [00:00:35] This is a great time for sports fans, we've got the first week of college football. Yeah, here we go, we've got a couple of college football fans in here. Let me say this if your team started out terrible, I'm looking at you Oregan, this is the house of the Lord and there's hope and we believe your team will be able to pull it and turn it around even though Oregon got just dominated, I don't know about this 12-team playoff thing, we'll see how that goes. But high school football is here, we're about to have NFL football. So this is definitely the season, the Cowboys are going to do it. The Cowboys are going to win. I love this, that's going to be the biggest amen I think I get like this entire sermon, was the Cowboys are going to do it. Which is why this is the house of hope.

Jordan Hill: [00:01:26] So, I particularly love this time of the year because I love baseball and that just means we are one month closer to playoff baseball baby, we are one month closer. We've got some teams that are doing well, the Rangers, not so much, but again, hope, right? We've got some guys in the system that are going to be pretty good in the next couple of years. I love baseball, I really do. I used to, for those of you who don't know me, I used to play in college, and I coached in college. And I just really believe baseball itself is the game that most represents our personal walks with the Lord as well as, what it's really like when you're trying to share the Gospel and live out Jesus' great commission to go and make more disciples, I really believe that. See, like our hope, right, when we're living out the commission is that we're trying to speak the Gospel in hope that somebody's barrier of unbelief will then fall.

Jordan Hill: [00:02:21] But just like with baseball, like, I don't know if you know this show, you can't actually control if you're going to get a hit? You really can't. But what you can do is put yourself in a position that gives you the best opportunity to get a hit. So when I used to coach and we talked to our guys about hitting, we would try to just break it down into four simple things because you can't control the outcome when it comes to hitting. Just try to break it down as simply as you can into four things. So the first one is your timing, all right, I'm going to make sure I'm getting my timing, am I getting ready to hit? Am I going, I'm going to make sure I'm getting on time starting early enough, so I can recognize the pitch and get going. The second thing is my position, am I in a good athletic position that I can then launch the barrel from there and produce the best swing possible from there? Do I have good intent? Am I putting the best swing on the baseball or am I just kind of flipping my wrist at it? Am I really trying to drive the baseball? Now, after that, though, I'm just trying to make sure I hit a good pitch, I'm making sure I'm hitting a strike. But once I get to the position where I make contact, after the ball's hit, I've got no control. I have zero control if it's going to be a line drive out, if it's going to be a home run, none of it, I can't control that. But what I can do is make sure I've got good timing, I'm in a good position to hit, I've got good intent on the ball, and I'm swinging at a good pitch. I thought about having a tee and hitting, but then that would have been a sermon on how you trust God after you get fired, so that's not that today.

Jordan Hill: [00:04:03] With hitting, you want to just break it down as simply as you can because you can't control the outcome, and I actually think that's the same with sharing our faith. I need to put that down or I'm going to mess with it the entire time. See, what we're going to see today in the life of Peter is God performs two miracles. But it's God who makes the miracles happen, not Peter, Peter can't control that. And what I think Luke, the writer, wants us to see, is Peter just puts himself in a position for God to use him, and God uses him in a mighty powerful way, more than Peter could ever even possibly imagine. But he put himself there, he put himself in a position for God to use him to break down other people's barriers of unbelief. And all he did was just simply four things, he was intentional, he then spoke to Jesus, he was available, and then he just acted like Jesus. And I think that's what we need to pull out of this text today. Yes, we're going to see two amazing miracles and praise God. But I think for our own life, of our walks with the Lord. Of us, because the commission, the great commission to go make more disciples, that's not just for Peter, that's for us too. If we just focus on these four things and put ourselves in a position to be used by God through these four things, God might do a work in us today, similar to Peter far more abundantly and greater than we could possibly imagine.

Jordan Hill: [00:05:44] So we're going to be in Acts chapter 9, starting in verse 32. So we've titled this portion of Acts, Breaking Barriers, because now we're about to read about how the Gospel starts making its way out from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, where it's primarily just reaching a bunch of Jews, where now it's going to start making its way to the various cities that surround the area, that then go to the nations and start reaching Gentiles or non-Jewish people. And it's going to be here at this moment, there's going to be a catalytic moment with Peter because he just simply put himself in a position to be used by God.

Jordan Hill: [00:06:23] See God's plan from the beginning, we see this in Malachi 1:11, is that his name will be glorified among all the nations in every corner of the world. We see that it's accomplished in Revelation 12 and also Revelation 7, where at the throne of God, every knee is bowed from every tribe, language, and nation on this earth, and they're proclaiming, Jesus is Lord. We're now in this in-between spot where the Gospel is starting to break out through different barriers, through different socioeconomic barriers, different cultural barriers, different language barriers, and different geographic areas.

Jordan Hill: [00:07:04] We're now at that catalytic moment here in Acts 9, and it all started just because Peter was extremely intentional. Let's look at the text, "Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years." So Peter is doing this kind of pastoral tour amongst all the different surrounding cities of Jerusalem because disciples and believers had been scattered due to great persecution. So he's making his way throughout all the various cities, but this is what's interesting, he's being very intentional with his purpose of going there. And here's why, we see this phrase, he is among them all. Now, that's a very interesting and intentional phrase. The 'all' right there, are nonbelievers and believers. He's really intentional to go to where nonbelievers are going to be because we see right here in the text, he also came down to the Saints, he also came to them.

Jordan Hill: [00:08:16] So what's his primary purpose of going to Lydda? He's going to be around nonbelievers, that's his purpose there. He knows there's going to be a group of people there who don't know the power of Christ, and he is intentionally getting outside of his walls, outside of his kind of Christian bubble, and he's going where there aren't believers. He's being very intentional, and we see this stated in another way because he then finds a man named Aeneas. Now for you to find somebody, for you to find something, means you're looking for it, right? And we see here, he's a man. He's not, you'll see later, a disciple. He finds a man named Aeneas.

Jordan Hill: [00:08:16] Now, earlier in Acts chapter 3, Peter actually healed a man in this same region who is a nonbeliever. So he knows there's a good chance if I go here, there's going to be somebody there that doesn't know Jesus, and I'm going to have the opportunity to share the power of the Gospel with him. He's being extremely intentional as he's going. And I think that's a question for us today, are we that? Like, are we being extremely intentional to get outside of our spaces, to get outside of our four walls, to get outside of our comfort zones, and kind of get outside of our Christian bubbles. Because I don't know if you know this or not, but when somebody becomes a believer, statistically within three years, they remove almost every single nonbeliever from their life. And it's not from like a bad place, and even oftentimes it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just kind of what happens, right? If you became a believer later in life, you know, maybe you grew up and you ran with a rough crowd. Well, then, next thing you know, you stop, you become a believer, and then you get plugged into a church community, then you get plugged into serving, and then you potentially even move to different areas, and now you're not hanging around with that rough crowd. You just find yourself unintentionally now being around nothing but believers, which again is not bad, but God's calling us to go and make disciples of all nations. So we've got to do work to intentionally get outside of our Christian bubbles.

Jordan Hill: [00:10:34] Like candidly, guys, I remember coming on staff here and thinking, yeah, I'm going to be around a lot of nonbelievers, and it's hard. I find myself rarely ever, unless I'm focused on it, being around people who don't know Jesus. But Peter here is being extremely intentional to get outside of himself and go be among them all, which is where Jesus is calling us to be.

Jordan Hill: [00:11:02] We have a men's group here at 121, and I love the fact they are taking very seriously our heartbeat this fall, here at 121, we're thinking about being outside. And that's not necessarily just outside in creation, that's part of it, but it's being outside these walls, it's being outside of our regular rhythms, it's trying to get outside of ourselves to potentially be used by God. Because we see this, when we step outside of our comfort zones, God does some pretty amazing things.

Jordan Hill: [00:11:32] So the group was talking, and they really wanted to start to go share their faith more, and they feel like as a group they weren't really doing that great, and so like alright, we're going to do this together. And so they decided they were going to go to a dog park in Grapevine, where there was this kind of big dog event happening that one Saturday. This was particularly outside the comfort zones for the leader, because he doesn't own a dog, and in fact he's never owned a dog before. So this is really outside of his comfort zone. But they said, no, we're going to do this. And so they went to the dog park that day, and there are tons of people, and they're handing out dog treats and waters and they're sharing the Gospel with people, and he told me he bets they probably had 40 to 60 conversations about Jesus with people there. That is awesome. One of the guys who was there ended up spending a significant amount of time with one individual that he met, and it turns out the guy he met was just going through a divorce. Well, because of this 121rs history, he's been through a divorce, too, that God has really redeemed. And he was able to be there and encourage him in the Lord and invite him here to 121, and who knows what's going to come out of that? Now, they didn't plan on that to happen, but because they were focused and intentional to get outside of themselves, God had them there and had those two guys specifically meet on that day.

Jordan Hill: [00:13:07] So how are we doing that? How am I looking at my life and seeing all the different places and spaces with which I live and play, and how can I get outside myself? Because that's what God's calling us to do, he's calling us to be among them all. And we will have no shot at helping break through people's disbelief, their barriers of unbelief in Jesus unless we make time to be among them.

Jordan Hill: [00:13:37] Think about this too, Peter, he's the top dog in this Jesus movement. He's one of the disciples, and then he's one of the three other closest guys to Jesus. He's the guy that Jesus even said, Peter, I'm going to call you Peter because you're going to be the rock on which I build the church on. He's the dude, and yet he decides he's going to set himself up so that his ministry is to be among the people. I think that's a powerful witness, and I think that's something we need to be looking at when it comes to our own lives, is how are we being intentional to be outside of our own selves?

Jordan Hill: [00:14:16] From there, we've got to then just boldly speak Jesus. Let's go back to the text, "And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose." Peter here makes it all about Jesus. Notice he doesn't say I heal you. He doesn't even say I, in the name of Jesus, heal you. He just simply, yet powerfully and beautifully says Jesus heals you. And the way he could translate this as well in the original language, you could almost say that it reads even like this, Jesus Christ is making you whole. What a beautiful and powerful truth that is, that Jesus Christ is the one who makes us whole. How many people don't know that? How many people that you know, that have some idea about who Jesus is, they have some idea about what he potentially does, and I bet if you asked them, they would probably say, well, I hear Jesus is a hater of women, and he's this and he's that, and he's really staunch, and he just basically tells you what to not do all the time. And that is not Jesus at all, they don't know that Jesus Christ heals them, they don't know that Jesus Christ came to this earth, and he lived a perfect life for them. So that all they now have to do is just trust that, and then he willingly, intentionally laid his life down on a cross and he died for their sins, and now all they have to do is just put their faith and trust in that. And then their relationship with God will then fully be restored based on nothing that they do, except for just believing in that. But then you don't just get that when you get Jesus, you get all of your hopes, all of your desires, all of your longings of your heart, are fully, forever found in Jesus and made whole. They don't know that Jesus is the one who makes them whole. How many people don't know that?

Jordan Hill: [00:16:32] Think about it like this too, this man has been bedridden for eight years. How many people walked by him and never told him that Jesus is the one who makes you whole? Man, who do you know today that doesn't know that? Maybe God is trying to tell us, all right, we need to intentionally position ourselves to be around that person, to tell them about Jesus. Think back to your own lives, that's what Peter thought back to here, what did Jesus do in my life? And just tell them that, hey. This is how Jesus made me whole. And you can believe it or not, but it's true, look at my life. Oh, it's powerful when we speak Jesus, and oftentimes Jesus will do something far more abundantly than we can ever even think when we just speak his name. We see in Isaiah when we speak his name, his words never come back void, Jesus' and God's word never come back void. It does something every time we say the name Jesus, but just like we can't control if we get a hit or not, just like we can't control if somebody's heart actually opens up to the Gospel, we can control if we just speak it, that's all God is calling us to do. He's saying, I got the salvation part, just say my name.

Jordan Hill: [00:17:57] And look what happens with this one interaction, immediately, then we see in verse 35, "And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord." Now that all is not necessarily the entire city, but it's so much that the the writer of Acts, Luke, it's like all of them. It's tons and tons of people, this one interaction, this one conversation led to tons and tons and tons of people in the land, in the area, turning to who? Not the man who just healed the guy, the Lord. One conversation speaking the name of Jesus turned out in so many people believing in him. You never know what might happen with just one conversation.

Jordan Hill: [00:18:56] Man, I always think about this, too. It's like, who was the guy who first shared the Gospel with Billy Graham? Man, what might God do with just one conversation speaking the name of Jesus? See, from there, when we speak Jesus, oftentimes he does things we don't even know, and he's doing other works and he's opening up other doors. And then from there, he gives us more and more and more opportunities. It's why a lot of actually here in Kids, you start seeing parents who don't believe in Jesus coming to church because their kids love what they're getting from Pam and Diana in Creation Land and Kids. And now they're like parents, we're coming to church, and then they come to faith. Just one conversation, speaking Jesus.

Jordan Hill: [00:19:45] From there, after we've been intentional and we're speaking His name, we've got to then make ourselves available for where God might direct us for more and more opportunities. And that's what happens here with Peter in verse 36, "Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity." I love that the Bible oftentimes will give us these people that we don't know much about, but we can see a little bit of who they are. That, man, this woman, Tabitha, or Dorcas. Now, I will say this if you're about to have a daughter...You are jumping the gun, there's a lot of beautiful names, Tabitha is a beautiful name. Right? So Tabitha is her Jewish name, Dorcas is her Greek name, maybe don't do Dorcas. I'm just saying, there are a lot of beautiful names out there. However, though, I pray that my daughter, and I pray your daughter will be remembered like Dorcas is here, that she was full of good works and of charity. And in fact, we see when it says she's a disciple, a follower of Jesus, this is actually the only time in the New Testament that the feminine form of disciple is used. So this isn't just a woman of God, this is a woman to be remembered for her faith. I pray that my daughter is like that. It's a powerful picture, of probably somebody who was just simply being available, and you'll see how much of she was available later. But man, I pray that's me at the end of my life. So we have this powerful woman. It's a great example too, of Proverbs 22:1 where it says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

Jordan Hill: [00:21:41] So in verse 37 we see, "In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Tabitha dies, two men there get this idea because of what they hear is happening in Lydda, that they're going to send two guys there to go urge Peter, okay, Peter, you're healing people there, maybe you can come heal and raise Tabitha from the dead. Now, if you're Peter, you've been traveling a lot, like you've been walking around a lot, things are happening now in the city that you're at. Again, he's Peter, he's the guy at the top of this Jesus movement, he's got a lot going on, he's probably tired. I mean, there's a lot of stuff that he can do. And then he gets word, hey, will you please come with us to come heal and raise our friend Tabitha from the dead? I mean, he could have passed on this. He could have said, guys, I got too much going on. He could have said, hey, look, I've healed a couple of people before, I've never raised the somebody from the dead, like, this ain't happening. But he didn't do that, he made himself available to God's direction and is prompting.

Jordan Hill: [00:23:07] How often do we not approach somebody because we're just not really available? We've got our day planned out, we've got our time planned out, this is it, and it's just kind of all on me, and maybe we don't even hear the promptings of God. It's one of the reasons we've been talking about rest here, recently, because very often God will prompt us in the quietness and the stillness of our hearts. It's like he just kind of whispers, hey, that person needs to be talked to. Like I was thinking about this when I went and got my car registration renewed, and I was in this little, small auto body shop. And I'm just honest guys, I'm really bad about constantly listening to like podcasts and stuff like that. I'm just like, I'm just kind of constantly listening to stuff. Some of it is because I'm trying to learn, and some of it, truthfully, is just insecurity in me that I just don't think I know enough. It's like I'm trying to constantly, like, just be up on the newest news and the newest thing. And so I'm sitting there and I'm about to put my earbud in and I just look around and not only is everybody on their phone in there, everybody, everybody had earbuds in. I was like, man, have I been crowding out God with noise? My wife is really great about this, and it's very convicting for me. She oftentimes is just like, God, hey, guide me today where I need to talk to somebody. Can you show me, Lord, where I might encourage somebody with who you are today? She does this all the time in the grocery store, it's beautiful. She's constantly, we'll be walking down the aisles and she's like, I think God wants us to go talk to that person. And if I'm honest with you, sometimes, like just me being truthful, I'm like, I do this all day long as a minister, I'm just trying to get in the grocery store and get out. Like, I don't even know what I'm going half the time anyway, but I'm just, like, trying to, come on, let's go, I can be available at another time. But I miss, I'm probably missing what God might have me do in that moment to be available for somebody.

Jordan Hill: [00:25:19] There's plenty of times Ashley will go up to somebody and you know, sometimes they give you the stiff arm like, no, I'm good. But there have been some really sweet times where somebody is just sort of breaking down because somebody actually said hi to them and asked how they were doing. And it's like they were just bottling it in, begging for somebody to notice them. And Ashley gets to encourage them in the Gospel and pray for them. And both times, whether she gets denied or she gets this beautiful moment, honors the Lord. Because again, we don't control the outcome. Just to use the baseball terms, just get in the box, step up to the plate, and take a swing. Who knows what God might have? Are we making ourselves available for what God would have us do?

Jordan Hill: [00:26:10] And oftentimes God will speak to us and he'll prompt us in ways that seem totally irrational and seem like there's no way that could be done, there's no way this could ever happen, there's no way that God could ever break through this person. Like, think of this right now. Do you know somebody who you think there is zero shot that this person would ever believe in the Gospel? I think one of the reasons we get these two stories of miracles, it's because it's a reminder that there is nothing that can stop our God's power and there is nothing that our God cannot do. He can break through, we just have to position ourselves in a way by being intentional, speaking Jesus, and just being available wherever he would have us go. See, when you're doing that, you're being like Jesus. And oftentimes, God will prompt you in ways that are so outside of your comfort zones that all you can do is just completely rely on him and just try to do exactly what Jesus was doing and just be just like him.

Jordan Hill: [00:27:26] Let's see what happens with Peter here. So in verse 39, "Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them." Now, I just want to paint the picture before we look at what happens. This is a heavy scene, I mean, this is a heavy, heavy scene. This beautiful, powerful woman of God is dead, and there's a bunch of widows who are there that Tabitha so lovingly served and took care of, they're there, and their friend has died, and they're weeping and they're crying and there are other people there that are crying. And I can guarantee you many of them are probably wailing and just saying, how is this fair, God? Why let this happen? Why, Tabitha? I mean, she's been so faithful. Why did this happen? And then Peter comes in, and now they're looking to Peter. They just have sent for him, and they're looking at Peter to be the guy to do it. Hey, Peter, come on, you can do this, you can help us out, you can raise her from the dead, you've got this? I mean, that's a heavy scene.

Jordan Hill: [00:28:52] But look what Peter does, "But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” This is massively significant, because Peter in the midst of this extremely heavy, almost unbreakable barrier of a situation, does exactly, action for action and word for word what he at one point saw Jesus do when Jesus raised a man named Jairus' daughter from the dead. You see this in the Gospels, but especially, you see this in Mark 5, Jesus takes Peter with him when Jesus is asked to come to heal this man named Jairus' daughter. So Jesus shows up on the scene and there's a lot of commotion going on, and what does Jesus do? He casts them all outside, and he tells them, to get out of the upper room. That's what Peter does. Jesus prayed. Peter prayed. Jesus, at this point, said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Peter here says, Tabitha cumi, which means, Tabitha, I say to you, arise. Jesus takes her by the right hand. Peter takes her by the right hand. Jesus presents her alive. Peter presents to her alive. So it's like here in this moment, Peter steps into this scenario and he's like, I have no idea what to do here, oh, I'm trusting you, God. Oh, I remember that you did it like this. And then just goes word for word, action for action, just like Jesus did. That's a powerful witness for us because I think sometimes, we don't even attempt to break down someone's barrier of unbelief because we just don't feel equipped enough, and all God is saying here to do is just step up and just do what Jesus did.

Jordan Hill: [00:30:59] That's one of the reasons we came up with the eight ways here at 121, is because we wanted to equip everybody because it doesn't just take some special talent to make disciples. All we did was just say, hey, here's what Jesus did, now let's just do this, and here are eight tangible things for you to do.

Jordan Hill: [00:31:21] One of the other reasons we constantly are telling people, hey, get in life groups, get into some sort of community, because it's in community that we actually learn to live like Jesus lived. And you surround yourself with people who you can say, hey, I want to act like Jesus, I want to be like Jesus, can you talk to me and show me ways where I might be off? It's like, truthfully, it's like a good coach, especially a good hitting coach. There are plenty of times where hitters will go wrong and they'll kind of go bad and they need somebody to go, hey, here's what you're doing wrong, but you just can't see it, you can't feel it. So you need a coach to come in and go, you're starting to do this, let's go do this. I think we sometimes so overcomplicate it, because we're trying to control the other end, all we got to do is just fix our eyes on Jesus and then let's just do that.

Jordan Hill: [00:32:14] A friend of mine, I got to know, he's a big-league hitting coach, he's now with the Nationals. I got to know Kevin Long at the time when he was the Yankees hitting coach. Now, I will say this for our Yankee bandwagons in here, when Kevin Long was there, they won a World Series, they fired him, and they haven't been back since. He got on with the Nationals, they won a World Series, it's the first time I think they've ever done that. So I'm just saying, Yankees, I'm shouting out to my boy K Long, like that's what you get for firing him. But when I talked to Kevin, he said when he first became a coach, he looked out and he tried to see who's the best player in the league right now, who's the best player going in? It was Barry Bonds, and so he just thought, all right, I'm going to literally study Barry Bond, I'm going to get hours and hours and hours of his swing and I'm going to break down everything. Why does Barry do this? Why does he do this? Why does he do this this way? This is what e does on a breaking ball. This is what's what he does on a fastball. This is what he's doing on changeups. He just broke Barry's swing down so much because he said that's clearly working. How can I then teach my guys to do this? Because he's doing it better than anybody. And that right there is like the essence of discipleship, it's like the essence of essentially my life's work right here. It's like I'm just trying to study God's word and just be like, hey, everybody, let's just do this, let's just do what Jesus is doing. We don't need to overcomplicate it too much, let's just do what Jesus is doing and go follow that because that is what truly breaks so many different barriers down. So when we look at our life, are we acting like Jesus there? Are we being intentional? Are we speaking his name? Are we being available? And ultimately, though, are we actually acting like him?

Jordan Hill: [00:34:11] Now, you might be sitting there saying, I hear you, Jordan, this is great, thanks for the four tangible takeaways, okay, I can do all that. But like there are still two miracles here that I've never healed anybody, I've never even seen anybody raise somebody from the dead, so there's no shot, right? To which I would say fair, that's fair, but I think if we think that we're missing the whole point of what miracles are supposed to do. See miracles lead to an explosion of the Gospel, miracles lead to people coming to faith in him. That's the whole purpose of the entire Acts, you see a miracle, they came to know the Lord; miracle, they turned to the Lord; miracle, many believed in the Lord. That's the point of them, they lead to worship, that's the entire purpose of a biblical miracle.

Jordan Hill: [00:35:09] Tim Keller, in his book Reason for God. would say it like this when it comes to biblical miracles. He said, "They don't lead to cognitive belief, but to worship to all and wonder. We, modern people, think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant for them to be the restoration of the natural order." You see, the Bible tells us that originally this world was not created to have disease, death, and famine in it. All of those things that happen are a distortion of the beautiful reality in which our God made this Earth. And every time God invades, and He restores something through a miracle, it's not just proof of his power, it's a promise of what is to come, it's a promise of what God's going to do with his power, and restore all things to how they were originally intended. And it's a promise that the world we desire is coming one day, it's not just for our minds, it's a promise to our hearts that if we hold on, one day, Jesus will restore all things as they were originally intended to be. Good. Perfect.

Jordan Hill: [00:36:24] And every time we share the Gospel, that's what we proclaim. And so if you've ever been there and you've proclaimed that and you've sat on the other side of a conversation like that, and somebody came to faith in there, guess what? You just were a part of a miracle. Somebody went from being dead in their sins, to alive in Jesus. And every time we celebrate a baptism, guess what we're celebrating? A miracle occurred. A miracle at one point happened, and we celebrate that. So maybe, sure, you haven't raised somebody from the dead. But maybe God's used you to spiritually raise somebody from the dead. And that is the greater miracle because, in both cities, many, many, many people came to faith in Jesus. But again, I think we just don't even put ourselves in those positions because we try to make it all about us. How can I do that? And that's not what God's calling us to do, he's just calling us to be faithful and just simply be intentional. Speak Jesus when you're there, make yourself available for when I want to move you, and act like Jesus.

Jordan Hill: [00:37:46] Now we get a really cool picture at the end of this text, how Peter was continually doing all those four things, it didn't stop there. Because we then see Peter evidently stayed in the city, in Joppa, for many days and what he's doing is he's establishing a church, he's helping disciple all the different people who are now coming to faith in Jesus. And then we get this interesting phrase where it says, "And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner." Now, here's a combination of all four of those things that we've talked about right here in this one sentence, because a tanner is the most despicable trade a Jew could ever have. A tanner is unclean because he's dealing with unclean, dead animals. It is the worst thing a Jew could ever do, and no self-respecting Jew whatever associate with a tanner, let alone be one.

Jordan Hill: [00:38:50] In fact, there's a book of Jewish tradition of how to basically raise up any Jewish person to live as they're supposed to live as a Jew. And it's a book called The Mishnah, and in the Mishnah, it says that a wife has the legal right, no matter what happens, to divorce her husband if he ever becomes a tanner for his trade. You become a tanner, and boom, you're getting a divorce right there. Tanners are despised, and Peter, who is Jewish, is now staying with him. Isn't that just like Jesus would do? Jesus constantly associated himself with the people who are on the outside of society, he constantly was around the people who were on the outskirts and the fringes of society. So much so, people were like, oh, that Jesus guy, he's nothing but a drunk because he was around a bunch of drunks. But what was Jesus doing? He was getting outside of the normal religious circles, and he was getting outside on the fringes, because that's where he was needed. And it's because of this chance decision by Peter to stay with Simon, that then we're going to read about how the Gospel made its way to the nations and ultimately then to us. All because Peter was just simply being available, speaking Jesus, making himself available for people. And being just like Jesus, getting on the outside of his comfort zone, and being around people who needed him.

Jordan Hill: [00:40:37] So we talked earlier about hitters and hitting. And one of the things I love is if you look at MLB hitters, they all have different styles, every one of them does. So you get some guys that are like really up tall, like Ken Griffey Junior, you know, if you watch him, he is really up tall. You get some guys that are really like kind of down like Jeff Bagwell. You get some guys that are kind of open. You get some guys that start close. You get some guys that swing with one hand. You get some guys that go two hands, right, all these different styles, some guys have leg kicks, some guys just pick their toe up, there's a bunch of different ones. But every big leaguer, every one of them, and I've got hundreds of photos and even more videos that can prove this, it's why my iCloud is constantly telling me I'm out of storage. All of them, eventually, right before contact, get to the same hitting position, all of them. They all get to this portion where they're just about to launch, and their hands are back, and their hips are clear, and then, boom, the barrel comes in. All of them, it's what makes them big leaguers, they all do it. And do you know what also? Every big leaguer at some point struggles, these are the best of the best of the best of the best, and they struggle.

Jordan Hill: [00:42:06] Like I remember back when I played, there would be plenty of times I'd be getting ready to hit, and I'd be in the box and it'd be like, I am never getting another hit again. I haven't got a hit in a month, all my teammates hate me, everyone hates me, and my parents aren't here because I haven't got a hit in a month. Why am I doing this? I'm going to strike out again, here we go. Strike! I knew it. There were so many times that would happen, and in that moment, I would need a coach to grab me and go, hey, let's go back to the real simple basics, let's go see where you're going off. And every time it hitter goes off, every time I hit her has a slump, they're off on those four things that we said earlier. Hey, let's look at your timing. You're late. All right, come on, get going again. You're late, let's get started earlier, right? You're in a weird hitting position, what are you doing? Get back to what you normally do. Why are you doing that? Get back to what you normally do. Hey, what's your intent like? Well, coach, my intent is I'm going to strike out. Well, okay, let's not do that. Let's watch it, come on, you got another opportunity. Hey, hit the baseball with some contact, drive the ball, let's go, loosen it up, quit thinking, go. And then what are you swinging at? You're swinging at pitches that are up here and down the dirt. Funnel your zone in, that's your advantage, get back to your advantage. You keep it simple.

Jordan Hill: [00:43:51] And I have to wonder, like, maybe we're not seeing, I mean, we're seeing God do some great stuff, we really are. And I think we're so ready for, like, a real revival, I really do. And maybe we're not seeing that yet because maybe we, as like the church global, especially in America, and just maybe, if I'm honest, even in our own lives, maybe we've gotten off on just the four simple things. Like maybe if I look at my life, I'm not really being intentional to see God break through somebody's barrier of unbelief. Or I'm there and I'm just not speaking Jesus. Maybe I'm not even being available for God to even use me. And if I'm not, maybe I'm really not being like, Jesus. It's something to consider if we're not seeing movements like this.

Jordan Hill: [00:44:56] But do you know why else I love baseball? It's a game of grace, because you get another at bat, you get another opportunity. Baseball is the only game where you could go 0 for three, have three strikeouts, make a bunch of errors, pretty much even though people say, hey, teams lose games, but pretty much sometimes it's like all on you. You could be the reason you're losing and still get one more at bat to get the game-winning hit. I love baseball, too, because even if you have a terrible day, you've tomorrow. So maybe in your life...I also like baseball, too, because you could go like one for four with a double and that's a good day.

Jordan Hill: [00:45:42] So maybe for you, you're looking at it like, man, I am 0 for 4. Hey in Christ, you're four for four. In Christ, you're perfect. In Christ, you're holy. And in Chris, God willing, we get another opportunity to step up and just take a swing. Who cares about what's happened before? You got today. You've got another opportunity to step up and take a swing. Who cares? You can't control if you're going to hit a home run, all God's calling us to do is just step up to the plate, take a deep breath, and just be intentional. Speak Jesus, make yourself available for him to do something far more abundantly than you could ever think in your life, and just be like, Jesus.

Jordan Hill: [00:46:45] Let me pray for us. Lord, thank you so much that you'd send your son, God. Lord Jesus, thank you, that you lay down your life for us, and you intentionally place yourself up on the cross to save us from our sins. Lord, I pray that today, if there's anyone in here who's looking at their life and they're thinking, man, I'm failing at all these things. I pray, God, you will encourage them and remind them that they are your sons and daughters, and in you, you never once view them as failures. And I pray, God, you'll give us more opportunities, would you use this church body to do a work in Grapevine and in our surrounding cities? We just see things happen, like in Joppa, how people are hearing about what's happening in this grapevine area of the Metroplex. And, man, I got to get in some of that.

Jordan Hill: [00:47:48] I love you, Lord, thank you for your grace and your mercy. Now let's spend a couple of moments with God, and in the stillness, let's just ask him to seal anything on our hearts, and maybe he might bring somebody to your mind that you can talk to. Maybe you haven't really made yourself available for him here lately, here's an opportunity now. Let's quiet ourselves before the Father and let him speak to us.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213