Tuesday, January 4, 2010
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A lot of us were like broke most of the time we were in college. So, it was always nice to find some free Saturday night entertainment. And in downtown Chicago, there was a place called Bug House Square. Yeah, it's not the real name it was, but that was what it was affectionately known in the neighborhood at the time. See, Bug House Square was a small city park just north of downtown Chicago. And it was a place where anybody could get up and make a speech about anything - thus, the name. So, people who couldn't find a platform anywhere else, well, they could find one at Bug House Square. Some frustrated people got to deliver the message that they never got to deliver anywhere else. You know, it's frustrating to have a message and no platform to proclaim it from. And it's surprising sometimes where our platform turns out to be.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Platform You Would Never Choose."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts 16. Now, Paul and Silas are in prison for preaching the Gospel in Philippi. They have been severely beaten, they're in the stocks, they're in the inner dungeon, they are in great pain, and they aren't going anywhere. "About midnight Paul and Silas get to praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners are listening to them." Never heard anything like this in prison! "Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors were open, he drew his sword, he was about to kill himself..." Well, that would mean he'd be executed by Rome anyway. "...he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don't harm yourself! We are all here!' The jailer called for lights, he rushed in and he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and he asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"
Now, Paul and Silas have, up to this point, only been able to come to Philippi and find the places where people prayed together. I think their question might be, "How do we get a hearing for the Gospel here in Philippi?" Well, here you've got people with a message, and they're trying to find a point of entry to preach that message - a platform. Maybe that sounds like you. Now, you're not in Philippi, but you know that you have in Christ what your family is looking for; your friends are looking for; your coworkers. But how do you get their attention? Well, you might be surprised.
God started the church at Philippi by putting Paul and Silas in a prison and in an earthquake. And it was how they handled their prison and their earthquake that opened a way for the Gospel. That suggests a very eye-opening principle. The big problem that you've got may be the best platform you've got. Maybe you're in a prison right now: physical limitations, an injury, an illness. Maybe you're going through a really lonely time, and it's like a prison. Or you're on the edge of financial or business disaster. You're unemployed. People are watching you now. Can you sing in your prison? Can you demonstrate the inner freedom and the peace that only Christ can give? Or maybe you're in an earthquake right now and everything's shaking. Things that have never moved before are breaking loose.
See, if you can demonstrate that inner peace when the walls are caving in, you will preach Christ more eloquently than any sermon ever could. You're surrounded by people who are in depression because of their prison; who are in panic because of their earthquake. And they're watching to see the difference in how you handle yours.
So, let God sanctify that sick bed, that crisis, that unemployment line, that struggle. He will make it into a platform for the life-saving message of the Gospel. It's a platform you'd never choose, but God has. And you can speak eloquently through your songs in the middle of the night.