Spiritual hunger brought people together. Their fellowship experienced the work of God. They gladly heard long preaching. A man fell down from the loft and was dead. Paul embraced him and he came alive. Could we step out by faith into places where these kind of things can happen? (Acts 20:7-12; Psalm 13)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller
Sermon: 12579
7:00 PM on 09/13/2023

P. Schaller –

We have a church of praising God tonight. Thank you, Lord. Wow. Praising the Lord. Isn’t that a joy? Wednesday.
Wednesday we come together and we’re praising God. During the last few days, we’ve heard
good news and also bad news. Some of our people in Morocco, they’re physically fine but they
lost – one of our brothers lost his house because of the earthquake. Another brother, his house
is damaged a little bit. Of course, when we think of suffering, then we heard about a tragedy in
Libya with the dams breaking and a village or city wiped out. Then, one of our pastors in Peru,
he passed. He went to be with the Lord, Monday. He was at our Convention here, and then on
the other hand, how’s your life? Turn to your neighbor and say, how are you feeling tonight?
What’s your life like? How are you doing?

So, here’s the text that we want to refer to. Psalm 13 and it is six verses. I’m not teaching a lot on
this psalm right now, but I want to draw your attention to it. vs. 1. So, he is in a down direction.
He’s down. He’s sad. He’s also missing God. Where is God? But he’s a believer. He is a believer,
but he feels the presence of God isn’t with him. Have you ever felt that way? Have you felt
strongly the presence of God for a period of time in your life and simple it seems to go away?
That’s what he’s saying. It seems like he’s gone. Where are you?

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Look at vs. 2. Maybe I will do it all. That happens. So, our theme in our little sketch here is that
there is a spectrum of experience and also mood. A mood experience and feelings and thoughts
from a bad time to like a good time. Or from sadness to praise. Sadness to praise. It’s hard to
praise God and be thankful and worship when you feel he’s gone, or you feel the sorrow. This is
sorrow that he’s feeling.

The reason I’m picking this psalm is because it has the spectrum in it from 1 to vs. 6. It has the spectrum from where are you? I have sorrow in my heart. Sorrow,
maybe because of a tragic thing or a broken heart. Sad news. I don’t say this to alarm anybody.
My sister was hit. She was bicycling and she got hit by a car. She’s fine. Yeah, another. Yeah,
where is Cynthia tonight? Okay. It’s Karen. My other one.

So, yeah. What will happen to you tomorrow? There’s a proverb. It says you don’t know what a
day will bring forth. We don’t know, and our brother in Peru was pastoring, operating,
functioning, and gone. And so keep his family in our prayers. This is the outline of the psalm. Go
to vs. 2. That smacks of some spiritual enemy that is over me, that is provoking me or
condemning me or keeping me in that mood. And I don’t like it. I’d like to shake it off. I’d like to
move on. I’d like to be healed, but it takes time because sorrow is like that. It’s ordained of God.
Sorrow is the will of God in many cases. It’s our emotional response to tragic things.

Reality. Reality can be sad. Life can be sad, and we can feel that. But it can’t bury us so to speak. It
cannot dominate and ruin our life. We go through the grieving. We realize what it is and we are
waiting on God and we are believing in God and finding our way in it.

So, go to vs. 3. Let’s see. I have a short list of people that had legitimate sorrow in the Bible.
Hannah, 1 Samuel 1. David with his son, Absalom. “O Absalom, my son, my son. O Absalom.” Five
times he’s crying out for his son when he has died. Mary and Martha at the tomb of their
brother, Lazarus. Real grief. Jeremiah, Lamentations 1:15. Jesus had real grief and Jacob for
Joseph when they had the bloody coat, remember? Genesis 37. Jacob said that’s it. I will sorrow for

the rest of my life. So, this is real. I don’t think we should deny it or change it or try to pretend
it’s not there. I think it’s a part of life. This isn’t our message. I just want to make that point.
Look at vs. 4. Now comes the praise, vs. 5. Will I be healed? Yes. Will I be restored? Yes. Will I go
through this period? Yes. Will God again, will I again praise him? Will I again? Will I again feel it
or know it? Will I again be – will he restore my soul?

Psalm 17:15, “I will awake with his likeness.” It’s a very good psalm. Another psalm similar,
different but he said I will be satisfied when I awake with your likeness. Then vs. 6. It’s not just
like a sentence that just comes. It’s really built in the psalm. Like “how long” and then “I will
sing.” “He has dealt bountifully with me.” He has. He has dealt bountifully with me. But I
thought you were sad? Yes, but he has dealt bountifully with me. He really has. He has kept me.
He has provided for me. He has helped me. He has answered me. He has comforted me. He has.
Really? Has he? Yes, this is a saint who has gone through things and then finds that reality that
God has dealt bountifully with me.

Let me read a couple verses to you about this joy. In Ezra, when they returned they kept the
feast of unleavened bread with joy in Ezra 6:22. Nehemiah 8:10-12, they had a real party, real
celebration. They had a great time, but they had been through so much hardship. But this is the
Spirit of God that is with us. The same Spirit that we are able to move. We are able to live and
love and forgive and be patient and rejoice and be together. In Psalm 4:7, Psalm 16:5-11. This is a
good one, Psalm 19:8, Psalm. 20:5, Psalm 21:1,6, this is the Messiah. He is so glad with the Father looking
upon Him. Psalm 28:7, I feel this really. Psalm 30:5, Psalm 30:11.

Remember Richard Wurmbrand in the solitary cell in Romania talked about dancing. Andrew
Brunson had read that. Andrew went to jail in Turkey, and he decided to do the same thing that
Wurmbrand did, and he found the presence of God helping him and comforting him. Psalm 42:4, I
like this about Greater Grace. On a Wednesday night with the voice of joy and praise. Praising
God. The Spirit of God in our words, in our heart, in our faith, to restore us, encourage us, lead
us. Better than being by myself alone but be in the Body of Christ.

Be in the fellowship of Christ. Psalm 45:15, Psalm 46:4, Psalm 51:8, when I lived in Budapest, we had a school. I lived in the school upstairs above the kitchen. I had a little room, a very small, little room, but I loved to hear the
children coming into the school. You know, the chatter, the laughter, the banter, the footsteps,
the little pat, pat, pattering. I don’t know. The little steps. And them talking. The sound of it. I
love it when we assemble, and we are talking and then we say goodbye.

I remember in Europe, so many times we would say goodbye at the Bible study, and they would
go out to the bus stop and keep saying goodbye. And they’d get on the train and keep saying
goodbye, and then waving goodbye from the bus or the bus stop. I said today that in Russia one
time I took the bus from Finland to Russia for one meeting, to Saint Petersburg, Russia. I was so
tired because I had a full schedule. I was so tired. I got there, and the meeting was in five
minutes. I just sat down and fell asleep.

They woke me up. Then, we walked down this hallway to go to the meeting. There were people waiting. To them, it’s a big deal. And to me, I was exhausted. They said, how do you think the meeting is going to go? I said it’s going to be either very, very bad or very, very good. I cannot do it. It happened. Two and a half hours later.
Everybody is dismissed. They’re on their feet clapping. We have a message. We had another
message. We had a rap session. We had such a good time. Thirty of them followed me to the
bus to take the night bus back to Finland. And we’re waving and saying goodbye.

What is the meaning of this? It’s from Acts 20. That will be our message tonight. Acts 20. This is
a sad world, but we are glad people. But don’t we suffer too? Yeah, real suffering. Real tears.
Real sadness. Real broken hearts. Absolutely. Absolutely. But here’s the key: do you believe
that God has dealt bountifully with you? Do you believe that you can gather in his name? And
where two or three are gathered, he is in our midst. Do you believe that he answers our
prayers? That he helps us in our suffering? Do you believe that he can heal me again from my
sorrow and my trouble? Can I come into the house of God with joy and gladness and the sound
of the voice of a multitude and hear again and be restored again and refreshed again and
anointed with fresh oil, Psalm 92:8?

Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and
forever? Do I believe that this Word is enough? That man cannot live by bread only, but by
every Word that comes out of God’s heart and mouth for us? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Amen. So, we’ll
look at Acts 20 tonight.

The high school girls. Graduates. Right? Let’s see. Lindsay. Hannah. Beautiful. Great group. The
school. P. Barry Quirk. Huh? Amazing. How about his wife? How about it? She gets no credit. No
credit. She’s amazing. You have a good attitude. You’re Spirit-filled. You’re rejoicing in God.
Would you stand with me for a moment, and express all that goodness to your neighbor? And
just pour it on. Pour it on. They need to hear it. Build them up. Give it to them. Give them a hug,
a handshake. Build them up. Pour it on. Praise the Lord. Okay. You may be seated.
Okay. Ten or fifteen minute message from Acts 20.

How many of you have gone on a trip with a group of Christians in faith, and the purpose of the
trip was a mission? It was a mission. It wasn’t a vacation although that’s beautiful. Go on a
vacation with believers. Absolutely. But in this case it was some kind of mission. You got on a
plane. You got on a bus somewhere. On a train.

Real story. Gary Groenewold and I were traveling from Hungary to Ukraine I think. Was it
Ukraine? And he climbed up. He didn’t have the right – I don’t know what it was. But he hid up
in the cabin, and the customs guy comes in to look at our documents and everything, and P.
Gary is hidden up in a compartment up there. I’m like thinking no good! Not good! We’re going
to be in trouble! But we got to the border okay.

How many of you have been on some kind of crazy trip on a mission for God? You smuggled
Bibles. That’s illegal. You crossed a border. Illegal. Huh? You paid a bribe. Shouldn’t do it. You
preached in a square. The police shut it down. It is so much fun! It’s fun. People do extreme
sports because they don’t get to do the things we do. They dive without a parachute and the
whole thing. Am I for law and order? Yeah, once in a while! Yes. But you are to obey all the
authorities, Romans 13. Absolutely. Absolutely. But sometimes, things do go this way. They’re out
of the box.

This is a story from Acts 20:7-12. I’m going to embellished it a little bit, and just have a good
time with you tonight, and help you think about the kind of church that you are in tonight. At
the end of the message you’re going to say, I’m never coming back here again! I’m done! These
people are crazy! They’re crazy! Yeah, we’re crazy but we have a good time. We want to be in
the will of God. We’re sensitive to God’s heart and mind regarding the gospel.

Let’s see here, vs. 7. Now, in the ancient world when the sun went down, the day ended unless
you had a lamp. You could stay up another hour or two, but not five hours. Five hours
extended. Why? Why? Why did Paul keep preaching? What was going on? What was
happening? He’s visiting them and the Spirit is teaching people and there’s something going on
in the assembly. There’s something happening there that is spiritual. If you’ve never had that in
your life, I would hope and pray that you could have it some day in your life. That this is hunger.
This is spiritual hunger.

In our history, we’re filled with stories. Honestly. Like…Lange over here. He knows it. We’ve
been in Russia. We had in Hungary, we had things. We had a hundred Russians up until 3:00 in
the morning if not 4 in the morning, cause the Soviet Union ended and they came to
conferences. And they had questions about God, about election, about the Bible. How can I
know it’s true? Fundamental questions and it just went on and on.

Steve Duff years ago in St. Petersburg, the Spirit of God used him. It was beautiful what the
Spirit of God did. I’m not talking about us and the past primarily. I’m talking about us now. I
really like you to think with me about what happened here and really something that can
happen in your life now if it hasn’t already. It is not that Paul was longwinded. It is God had
something to say to these pagan/Hellenized Jews who were hungry for real answers. They
wanted to know. Paul is preaching from Isaiah and Jeremiah and the Psalms. He’s teaching from
the law of Moses. He’s really doing it, and it goes to midnight.

Now, the lamps are burning. As I’ve read in that book that I referred to a number of times, they
didn’t have ventilation in their buildings. Chimneys. They didn’t have in the ancient world. So,
to heat the room or to burn the fuel, fumes were there. Therefore, there were many fires. Also,
there were lung diseases and sicknesses and so on.
So, this room has lamps burning. And it goes for hours. There’s a guy in the third loft, third
floor. Young guy up there. He falls asleep, and he falls.

Okay. Vs. 8. They could say, when is this going to stop? No, I don’t think they were saying that.
They were saying this is awesome. I need to hear this. Who is Jesus? How do we know he was
raised from the dead? Was it the third day? What happened on the third day? And then all the
discussion and the believers and the room is filled. And God is writing in the hearts of people.
They’re very excited about it in their hearts.

Are they tired? Sure. But something about the spiritual life and tiredness – like Romans 8:11.
You can be physically tired, but you also can be quickened. Your body could be quickened or
refreshed. Your physical body can come alive. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the day
will one day take our dead body out of the grave, but how about now in my mortality? My
tiredness could be changed by the presence of God.

You know Moses was with God. He was 120 years old, and his face was not weathered. His face
was not abated. He didn’t show his age. One hundred and twenty years because of God.
Beautiful picture. All right. What is happening in this meeting? Vs. 9. Long preaching. Hours.
Now, this is what I mean about crazy. Crazy. Like something, something – it could have been
prevented maybe. Something happened in the assembly. Something that the critics would say
that should have never happened. He should not have preached so long, and we should have
known better and so on. All that could happen.

But there is something that overrides that. That’s like our fellowship. When Jesus is so real in
our life, we can preach from the rooftop. There’s no discussion about it. We’re preaching from
the rooftop. You understand what I’m saying. A young person could get on an airplane and fly
to Serbia and meet P. Westera over there. That’s kind of – is that crazy? Well, maybe. No. But
you see what I want to, I want to get to a point here. I want to say that this story is telling us
that bad things happen, but when God is there, and this is the will of God. You might say if this
is the will of God, he would not have fallen dead. Third stories? Fall three stories and die? He’s
taken up dead. This should not have happened. I know but it did. It did.

But there’s something else going on here. And that is this is the Body of Christ. This is the
message of God. This is the presence of God. These are the people of God, and this is a man of
God. Let’s enjoy that. Yeah, but we have a dead young man. Yes, we do. We also have
something else here. We have the work of God. It may not be going according to your perfect
mindset, perfect world. I know that, but something is happening. And how can you be sure that
God is not in all of it? That God is not in all of it that is happening? Maybe this should be a
comfort for us because our life can look pretty crazy sometimes on many levels cause this life
happens like we know.

Let’s go to vs. 10. Why? I think because Paul had faith. I think Paul had faith. Paul could say this
shouldn’t happen, but God is with us. This is a mission. This is a ministry. God is with us. And
these people, we’re all learning to rejoice with God. We’re walking with God. This boy has died
but perhaps they thought he was…I don’t know that it’s clear. As if he was and people believed
he was, and Paul fell on him and embraced him. What did he say? “Trouble not yourself for his
life is in him.” Vs. 11. What does that mean? Okay. The boy is back. The meeting’s not ended.
It’s midnight. Let’s have the Lord’s Supper again. But they already had it in vs. 7.

Now it’s midnight. Let’s have it again. We’re not leaving. We’re moving on. They are staying with him.
They are excited. You be sure in this room there was a lot of faith, there was a lot of
encouragement, there was a lot of understanding. They were being built up, and something
was happening that I would like you and myself. I know about it. I enjoy it very much, and I love
it when I get in a car with a bunch of guys, and we go on a mission to Philadelphia. We tumbled out of the car. We talked all the way. We tumbled out of the car. We got a Philly cheesesteak
sandwich.

One of the guys says I know of a better place. We eat one. We got to eat another
one. We’re testing Philly cheesesteaks. And we’re talking about Jesus in the pizza shop. We’re
reaching some young guy. We’re encouraged in our faith. We come driving back home thinking
what about Philadelphia? What about Philadelphia? What is God saying to us about
Philadelphia. That’s how these churches start.

It’s not like we have a big formula. We don’t have any. It’s this story in some way. They are,
they are in touch, and they will – let me say this. They will never forget it. They have been with
Paul for some hours. And this meeting goes on until the sun comes up. Look at vs. 11. Finally,
he’s leaving. Finally, he’s leaving. Finally, Paul is leaving town. Finally, when the sun is coming
up he’s leaving. What is this? I just know we are locked in. We have beautiful homes. Many of
us are fortunate to have places to live and refrigerators and we have our jobs and our families
and a lot of things.

And in the course of your life, if you cannot step out of your life by faith and be in something
like this, then you’re missing something. You don’t have to go to another country to do it. You
can do it by walking across the street knocking on somebody’s door and praying with them with
a sister or brother. Little things. You find God in a fresh way. Teaching in a Sunday School.
Singing in a group. Meeting again. Meeting again. Saying goodbye again. Having a prayer time
again. It’s not – I’m talking about outward things, but I’m talking about something very real
internally, spiritually in your heart. It can’t be manufactured. There is no recipe for it. I’m just
saying it exists and there it is. Isn’t that cool?

Let me finish reading. Vs. 12. So, in the morning when the sun came up, they were all saying
goodbye to Paul and the young man is there. Can you see the young man standing there. What
happened again? Tell me again. Tell me again. I was up there and what happened? Do you
know about it? I want you to. This fellowship you can take it any way you want it. Nobody is on
your case. You live your life. I’m so happy that people come and avail themselves to what the
Lord is doing in our hearts. It’s very good. It’s very good what God is doing. But I also would like
to challenge sisters and brothers, whoever is listening.

Come and be with us and challenge sisters and brothers if you only know your own friends –
three or five friends or thirty friends – and you don’t know anybody new? You only know your
own circle and you’re comfortable with your circle. Then, I just ask you to pray about that. Be
led by the Spirit and find out what maybe there is somebody – it’s not about – sorry. It sounds
funny but if you only know the same route that you travel by your car, exit 28, you know. You
only know your own pattern of life because you’re secure and safe there and that’s how you
roll. Then that’s fine. But I would like to suggest to you that you might stay alive with a lot of joy
and discover something new and fresh over there where God is.

Over there doing something with those people. Over there with that thing. That’s what’s happening.
And just a shout out to the Federal Hill church. I’ve been so edified by the Federal Hill church.
Justin said we’re going to Tennessee. They kind of look at each other. Where’s Tennessee? Why are we going there? Just get in the van. We’re going to Tennessee. And they come back with
like revival, right? And then, hey. Let’s pray about going to Argentina. Like Argentina? Where
are we going? To the moon or Argentina? I’m not saying I got to go anywhere. I’m just saying
it’s something to do with what we read in this story that I believe has happened through our
history with many of the visits, with many of our pastors and many people have made big
decisions.

We’re in Nepal, and a guy on a motor scooter said I traveled 48 hours to be here you know with
his motorcycle. Forty-eight hours to drive through the mountains. I came cause I wanted to
meet you. I wanted to be in this conference. And you can be sure when he drives away, he will
say that was – I had a guy in the mountains in Kyrgyzstan pull out a folded paper like this kind of
a thing. It was a photocopy of one of my messages in Russian. It was this kind of a thing. I don’t
know. Three or four pages folded up. He pulled it out of his pocket and said I drove over two
mountain ranges. Like two days of travel to meet you cause of this message that I read that
stirred my heart. Tell me about it. Tell me about it.

Do those people go back home, and they say I saw something. I was with something and so on.
I’m just saying, I mean, I’m saying – okay. I already said it fourteen times! I’m just encouraged.
I’m encouraged. And to those that are stuck. To those that are stuck. I want you to hear what
I’m saying and get unstuck and just be – just walk with God and challenge yourself to be part of
something, and to get out of your own thing.

Cause somebody is going to fall from the third loft, and when Paul isn’t there and the church isn’t there, that’s a great tragedy. And that happens. But when it happens in our presence and we have faith and we have hope and we
have love, we still may be very sad, but at least we have something to say. We got the living
God who cares for us and will help us through that trouble. Amen. Amen.

Okay. Pray for Millie Rodriquz. She’s having surgery tomorrow. All right. In closing, have you
ever like they have so much joy and Paul finally is leaving. It’s like, bye! Bye! Okay. Bye! See you
later! Bye! See you next year. Bye. Bye. Bye. See you. Goodbye. Bye. Okay. See you. Bye. Has
any of that ever happened to you. Has it ever? Have you ever had that kind of love and joy.
Hey, I remember reading a story about a man. His son was going to war, and they had their last
night together. And the father said I’m not going to go to sleep.

Let me just sit with you all night because this is our last night and you’re going to war, and I love you so much. I’m just going to sit with you. You can sleep if you want. I’m going to stay up all night with you. I love you so
much. We’ll say goodbye in the morning. I love that. Is anything like that in your heart in your
life regarding your faith? Yeah. How about the Body? Yes. That is so. That’s how we end the
meeting tonight. Bye. Bye. See you. See you again. Bye. Bye. See you. Okay. Bye. (Prayer)

 

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