Our Nation needs a stirring. It needs to be turned upside down!
17 When they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 According to his custom, Paul went in, and on three Sabbaths he lectured to them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I preach to you, is the Christ.” 4 Some of them were persuaded and joined with Paul and Silas, including a great crowd of devout Greeks and many leading women. 5 But the Jews who did not believe became jealous and, taking some evil men from the marketplace, gathered a crowd, stirred up the city, and attacked the house of Jason, trying to bring them out to the mob. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers to the city officials, crying out, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They troubled the crowd and the city officials when they heard these things. 9 When they had taken a bail payment from Jason and the rest, they released them. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
What was it like for the men who had the report given that they had turned the world upside down? Sometimes you make a statement and don’t think it will have any effect on someone, but it does. It can cause a turnaround in their life.
What were these men like? What had they seen in their lives? What did they see and face?
They Saw Jesus’ Miracles, Opposition, and Deliverance
When speaking of the 12 apostles, Jesus called them and they started following Him. They saw Him do many miracles. At least 4 of them saw the water turned into wine. They saw the healing of the nobleman’s son. There are 5 more miracles recorded in the book of John.
These were ordinary men. Some were professional fishermen, but they weren’t like the teachers of the Law who had studied it in depth.
But they say the miracles. They saw blind men receive their sight. They saw lame men walk.
They also saw the growing opposition toward Jesus.
They also saw deliverance. Early in Jesus’ ministry, there was a group that wanted to capture and kill Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus stepped into the midst of the crowd and just disappeared. His enemies couldn’t find Him. The apostles witnessed that.
They saw Jesus overcoming the opposition that was coming to Him.
Then it got worse, and Jesus was captured. He was taken before Pilate with a series of false accusations. Even Pilate could find no fault in Him and said He was innocent. But, He was crucified.
The apostles saw the persecution and the death.
But they also saw the greatest victory of all. Three days after His crucifixion, he rose from the dead. Mary told them she had seen the risen Jesus, He was alive. Peter and John ran to the tomb and found it empty.
He is alive!
The apostles were ordinary people like you and me. When the soldiers came and arrested Jesus, they feared for their own lives. All of them forsook Him and fled. But after they saw Jesus alive again after He had been dead, they saw that what He had preached about was true. They saw that because He lives, we, too, can live. They saw that He was the first fruits of the resurrection, and when we go through the valley of the shadow of death, we come out on the other side.
Life After the Ascension
Jesus ascended and went to Heaven. The apostles began to see God working without the physical presence of Jesus. He was there spiritually, and the power of the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost.
Peter preached and 3,000 souls came to the Lord. (That was just counting the men.) Many came to Christ.
They immediately had a space problem. They had nowhere to meet. They considered the temple, but it was the Jews’, and these people were Christians.
They began meeting in people’s homes daily. They broke bread together, they remembered the Lord as they had communion, and would go to the temple for larger gatherings when they could.
These were the people who saw God moving and it turned their world upside down.
Eighteen centuries after the words about these men that turned the world upside down, according to 100 Verses that Shaped America by Robert Morgan, this verse was one of them.
There was a man named William Tennent who came from Scotland to America in 1718, 58 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Like many who came to the New World, he was a man of faith and had a prominent role in the founding of the country. Many of them were well educated. William Tennent graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1695.
Also, like the others, he saw a need for training new preachers. He built a log cabin. It was a seminary. It became known as The Log College. Men who felt called to preach attended and studied at the college. They studied the Bible, and then they would be equipped to go out and pastor churches.
It was during this time that “The Great Awakening” began in America, and it was all because of the people that came seeking God, not gold, and wanted to evangelize the people who were already here.
There was another man named George Whitfield who came from England. He was quite an evangelist. He heard about the Log College and offered to come and preach. William Tennent gladly accepted the offer. However, he didn’t know what time George Whitfield was to arrive.
Word spread around the community that he was coming, and a large crowd began to gather at the 20×20 cabin. It turned out to be around 3,000 people!
Since he didn’t know when his special speaker was going to arrive, William Tennent took the opportunity to preach a sermon himself. It’s said that it was very powerful.
These men were instrumental in being used by God for the Great Awakening in the fledgling nation.
A recent Gallup poll said that, in the years since they’ve been keeping records, church attendance has been steadily declining. It’s the lowest that it’s ever been.
We need another Great Awakening in the United States. It will not be by our might or power, but by God’s spirit.
These were people who turned the world upside down.
The 12 apostles saw the beginning of the church and the ministry of the church.
They Saw Their Own Miracles, Opposition, and Deliverance on Occasion
Then they began to experience opposition.
Peter was thrown into prison. Prayers for his release went up. That night, an angel came and released Peter from his chains and he was free. He went to the house where he knew the group was gathered and knocked on the door. A young girl went to answer the knock and recognized Peter’s voice. She was so excited that she didn’t even open it but instead ran to tell the others. They thought she was insane. They said it couldn’t be him, it was probably his ghost. Peter continued to knock, and when they finally opened the door, they were astonished. (Acts 12:6-16)
They saw God’s deliverance.
Paul and Silas faced opposition as well. But they also experienced miracles, time and time again, just like they did when Jesus walked the earth. There are stories about it all throughout the book of Acts.
Paul and Silas were thrown into prison in Philippi. At midnight, they were singing praises to God. The other prisoners heard them. Then, an earthquake came and all the doors of the prison were opened and their chains fell away.
Now, the other prisoners were smart. They figured they could just walk out, but they knew they would be recaptured and it would be worse than before.
The jailer came and found the door open and thought all the prisoners had escaped. He was so afraid of the consequences that he pulled out his sword with the intent of killing himself.
But Paul called out to him and told him that they were all still there, and no one had escaped.
The jailer took them out of their cell and took them to his house. He asked what he had to do to be saved. They told him he had to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and he would be saved, as well as anyone in his household who believed. The jailer and his household believed and were saved. (Acts 16: 16-40)
So the apostles had seen deliverance from opposition too.
Just as it was in the life of Jesus, their ministry went on, and they would be delivered time and time again.
The Bible doesn’t tell their whole life stories, the book of Acts just ends, and their lives went on.
They Experienced Ministry, Death, and Ultimate Victory
Many of them were crucified. According to tradition, the Apostle Peter said he wasn’t worthy to be crucified like Jesus was so he was hung upside down on the cross.
Another one was crucified on a cross that was shaped like an “X” as opposed to the traditional one. On a traditional cross, one wouldn’t last very long. This man was in agony for 3 days before he died.
These were some of the same men who had run away before. They were capable of having human fear just like you and me. But they had seen Jesus die and had seen him risen, and knew that it was real. They knew that if they passed from this life and if they knew Jesus, they would pass on to Glory.
It changed their lives. It changed their boldness. They preached time after time, and many souls came to the Lord.
It didn’t end after that first century. It’s gone on and on and on and is still going on today. Millions have believed because their message was passed on.
They turned the world upside down because they had been with Jesus.
What part of your world needs to be turned upside down? Your school? Your job? Your family? Your nation? Let it happen because you know Jesus and you’re not afraid to talk about Him.
Since 1973, over 60 million babies have been killed. We didn’t stand up! The other side made their voices heard and continues to.
We need to be bold and radical for the Lord.
Your Personal Relationship with Christ
If you have never accepted Christ as your savior, I urge you to find a place to get alone with God and ask Him to come into your heart and your life.
The apostle Paul wrote that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved and whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13)
You may have prayed many times in the past. You may have prayed for safety on a trip, or for the health of a loved one. But have you ever talked to Jesus and told Him that you believe that He is who the Bible says He is and you’re willing to submit your life to Him? Have you ever called upon Him and asked Him to save you? If you’ve not done that, I urge you to do that.