I usually rest on Sunday, myself. I may play on the computer a little, but mostly I listen to sermons or audiobooks. I enjoy hearing sermons most of all the different types of things that take place at church, so it seems I can’t get enough in the one sermon. Too bad we don’t have a Red Zone for Sunday Sermons! Just imagine the highlights from over in Alabama, up in Canada, down in an El Salvadoran mission and right here in Georgia. Skip all the anecdotes, and quotations, fast forward to the highlights, instant replay of the big play, and pan to the crowd going wild at the altar.
I can’t hear all those sermons in Red Zone mode, but I can give you sermons from some very important Bible preachers who were definitely in the zone. For the complete sermons, see Acts 7, 10, and 13. Or, just follow my Red Zone highlights.
We bring you today’s sermons from the Middle East. Pastor Paul, on the upper coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Antioch; Deacon Stephen inland in Jerusalem, and Pastor Peter on the southern coast in Caesarea each have found crowds of eager listeners. What’s this young man Paul saying?
Pastor Paul takes the platform nervously, but Coach Barnabus gives him a pat on the helmet as he takes the mic. You know, I love that unique coaching style that Coach Barnabus uses with all the preachers. Forgetting his nervousness, Paul looks the congregation in the eyes and begins with the words,
“ God has raised up to Israel the promised Savior, from the lineage of David.” (v. 23)
Down in Jerusalem record crowds of agitated fans have gathered. Deacon Stephen needs no encouragement. Would you look at him! Preaching on the streets again… no mic needed with that booming voice! He draws himself to his full height… he speaks with such authority!
“ In days past, David wanted to build God a house. His son Solomon built God a home. But, God doesn’t want to live in man-made churches.” (v. 46-48)
And out in Caesarea we have Pastor Peter who is evangelizing the Gentiles on the coast. His plain-spoken working man style appeals to the crowds. He speaks with such wisdom for an uneducated man, shouting at the top of his voice for the crowds to hear him, he calls out,
“ Truth is, God does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or nationality! He accepts all who fear Him and do right.” (v. 34-35)
Let’s go back to Pastor Paul in Antioch, where we see him warming to the message as the anointing falls…
“All Jerusalem, and their rulers, have fulfilled the Scriptures by condemning this Savior, because they didn’t know Him, or the Scriptures.” (v. 27)
Meanwhile, Deacon Stephen the Greek waxes eloquent on his history, and cuts to the big question…
“Heaven is God’s throne, and earth is just his footstool. Where will you let God rest?” (v. 49) From the looks on the faces in the crowds, you’d think they would like for Stephen to give it a rest. I don’t know.
And, out on the coast Pastor Peter has the crowd on their feet. His deep voice booms across the heads of his listeners who hang on every word…
“You’ve all heard the good news of how Jesus came to Earth and went about doing good and healing the sick.” (v. 38)
North in Antioch, it looks like Paul has become a different person; animated, focused on the mission, he ceases his pacing across the platform and turns to the crowd motionless as he shouts,
“But, God raised Him from the dead!”(v. 30) The stomp of his concurring boot echoes through the electric crowd.
Things aren’t looking so good in Jerusalem. Stephen has every listener by the ear alright, but from the looks of those clenched fists, I’d say this day won’t end as it began for Deacon Stephen. What’s that he’s saying to this irate crowd?
“But, now you’re pushing the Holy Ghost away, just like your parents’ generation did.” (v. 51) Oh no, this can’t end well folks!
Let’s go back out to the coast with Pastor Peter. He seems to have reached the pinnacle of his message, and the crowd is on the edge of their seats…
“God raised Him up on the third day!” (v. 40)
And, likewise Pastor Paul is shouting the house down!
“Let me tell you, people, through this man Jesus I’m preaching to you the forgiveness of sin!” (v. 38)
Unfortunately folks, Stephen has been dragged out of the church now! It looks like the game is OVER for Stephen! But, he’s still preaching. What’s with that guy?! What’s that he is saying now?
“Look! I see Jesus! There he is now! Heaven has opened up for us to see Him!” (v. 56) Looks like he’s finished folks. Call it a game in Jerusalem!
But, Pastor Peter is still preaching to the crowd in Caesarea….
“This risen Jesus told us to preach that through his name, whosoever believes in Him shall have their sins washed away!” (v. 42-43)
Taking a look at the final score in Antioch with Pastor Paul, it seems the congregation has split, and some of the congregation has followed the new way. By next week, predictions are that the whole city will be out to hear the Word of God! (v. 42-44)
But, down in Jerusalem, the crowds are roaring in anger. What is happening??!! Oh no, the enemy has attempted a quarterback sack in overtime. Deacon Stephen falls to the ground… Oh my, he landed just across the goal line, with the ball clutched tight in his hands. Touchdown!!!!
And, Pastor Peter? He hasn’t even had a chance to finish the altar call! Would you look at this! The Holy Ghost has fallen on everybody who heard the preacher! Holy Ghost stompdown! Power everywhere! (v. 44)
….Fade out with worship music……