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Paul’s Third Missionary Journey | The Book of Acts (Part 11)

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well good morning everyone it’s great to see you all this morning and uh you know I’m glad to be up here um but I have to admit you know Alex has done a terrific job taking us through acts and now I’m gonna do the last one in the series and that doesn’t seem to be quite fair but um I’ll do it but I’d love to hear what Alex would say about these in fact you know as we went through acts you know we kind of focused on that the first part and then we had a couple times dealing with Paul who was formerly called Saul who was on his missionary journey when he went to Philippi when he went to Athens and now we’re coming to the end and I’d love to see us revisit acts and do the second part of acts together sometime so I’ll just put that out as a request to Alex and um hey it’s going to be on tape so it’s there for all to see um I I welcome

you and you know we’re coming to thanksgiving it’s going to be a great time then we come to advent and um tonight Kerry and I are gonna hop on a plane and uh we’re gonna go back east and we’re gonna go back east for a family celebration my mom now this kind of gives away my age a little bit I always thought it was my hairstyle but my mom is turning a hundred this week and we’re going to have a chance to celebrate her yeah it’s a neat time it’s a neat time it’s going to be a sweet time and just reflecting as a family together but you know it kind of sets me into this thing of realizing hey we’re a family together and we reflect every week together we’re a community and I want to help us just kind of dig into some as we look at acts in which we see the birth of the church we see the birth of this community that’s been going generation after

generation after generation up until right now and will continue to go it’s amazing to see how I think there are two I’ll say solid themes that come in acts and are still as important today as they were back then and those two themes come out in the first couple verses of acts so we’re going to go back to the beginning of acts and just see what the author of acts his name is Luke but see what he kind of says as he’s getting ready to write this book now I would just preface all this by saying we’re going to go through like six chapters so if you’re gonna try to follow in your bibles it may be a little hard and I apologize about that we’re gonna fly through these so I’ll try to have the scriptures up there but just so you know it is the bible okay here we go uh back at verse 1 of chapter 1 in my first book I told you Theophilus about everything Jesus began to do

and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the holy spirit now he’s talking about his gospel or the biography of Jesus that he wrote Luke wrote during the 40 days after he suffered and died he appeared to the apostles from time to time and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive now that just seems a little odd to me um he’s with them he’s standing in front of them and he’s proving to them that he’s alive which means that some of them said prove to me you’re alive the resurrection from the dead Jesus was the first one to rise from the dead and that’s one of those themes that we get in the book of acts throughout the good news that Jesus is alive the

resurrection’s for real the resurrection brings a change a transformation if we really believe that there’s a resurrection from the dead and there will be a resurrection from the dead in the future it should bring an immediate impact on our lives right now and sometimes that immediate impact yeah we can be a little bit uh I don’t know scared sometimes to speak up about it because face it the resurrection can be kind of a stumbling block for some people and we don’t like to be criticized for something that we believe so strongly so there’s the next verse that he has in Luke chapter one and he talked to them about the kingdom of God once when he was eating with them he commanded them do not leave Jerusalem until the father sends you the gift he promised as I told you before john baptized with water but in just a few days you’re

going to be baptized with the holy spirit here’s this wonderful transforming belief about the resurrection and now here’s this wonderful transforming gift of the holy spirit of God himself who comes to dwell within us to empower us to be able to have that courage to be able to have that creativity to be able to know the words to share and so the second principle is hey this was God’s plan so he could live within us the holy spirit is for real and we see that on page after page after page after page of acts we see we see that the transforming power of these people who are a small scared little group and then the holy spirit came upon them and suddenly they have this courage to go out and speak to all these people on Pentecost and there’s thousands that come to believe and throughout the pages we see time and time again sometimes there’s

victory sometimes there’s questions and challenges sometimes it makes so much sense and other times it’s kind of why but the holy spirit is there all along the way and the power of the resurrection is there all along the way and it brings us then toward the end of acts in this life of Paul as we’re going to see how he ends but as I think of this transforming power of the resurrection I have to go back um I’ve been around south for a while and years ago there was a song that we used a chorus that we used to sing it doesn’t have any tricky metally or melody so we probably won’t sing it much today but the words are powerful every morning’s easter morning from now on every day is resurrection day the past is over and gone goodbye fear goodbye guilt good riddance hello lord hello son I am one of the easter people my new life is

begun I always have that going through my mind and um I don’t know how to end it but you know we used to sing it over and over and over but it makes someone say goodbye fear goodbye guilt good riddance because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ these things are put away the past is over and done and now we’re starting a new life with him a transformative life in which we are called with his purpose and power to step into the world to be his hands and feet that’s amazing and the spirit empowers us to do it and we’re going to see how Paul with his with his belief in the resurrection with the power of the holy spirit he endured he persevered he was determined at the end of this book of acts to do something I’m going to pick up here’s a map of what we call Paul’s third missionary journey which means he had two before that um so

he had three missionary journeys and you know Alex has been kind of focusing the last couple weeks on some things that happened during the second missionary journey when he went to Philippi and when he went down to Athens and spoke in both of those places that happened on his second missionary journey but in this third one we see where Paul went and he visited some of the churches that he had already planted and then he came to Ephesus and in Ephesus it tells us he stayed there for three whole years teaching and preaching and uh and telling them more and more about the resurrection and while he was there he heard that the church in Jerusalem was suffering because it was a famine and many of the people were very needy so he let all of his churches know that he had planted he let them know that this was going on in Jerusalem

and he wanted them to put money together and then he was going to take a big offering a big gift back to the church in Jerusalem so they could have it so that’s when you see him going over there into Greece and some of those places Macedonia and then you see that purple line that purple line is when he’s coming back towards Jerusalem and he sails back to Jerusalem and he lands at a place down there if you can read that word tire he lands it tire and here’s what happens in tire some people come to we went ashore we found the local believers we stayed with them a week these believers prophesied through the holy spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem when we returned to the ship at the end of the week the entire congregation including women and children left the city came down to the shore with us they there we now

prayed and set our farewells then we went aboard and they returned home you know I read that and I go now wait a minute wait I thought the holy spirit said don’t go and it doesn’t seem like Paul stopped they went um they went down the coast a little bit and they ended up a place called Caesarea and in Caesarea this happened several days later a man named Agabus who also had the gift of prophecy arrived from Judah he came over took Paul’s belt bound his own feet and hands with it he said the holy spirit declares so shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the gentiles and when we heard this we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem so I ask you what’s going on here because Paul went on to Jerusalem um you know when we look at the apostle Paul and if we

come back to acts we’ll look a little bit deeper into this but Paul listen to the holy spirit he didn’t disobey the spirit if I go back to this map right here if I go back to this map now this is the third missionary journey but what happened when he went on a second journey notice where Ephesus is he never got to Ephesus in fact he wanted to go to Ephesus but he started going and all of a sudden the spirit said no he it says he hindered him from going so Paul stopped I don’t know if he heard a voice I don’t know what happened but the spirit hindered him from going to Ephesus and Paul obeyed that so then he was going to go up to see that big word Asia right up in there is a is a province like Bithynia it’s called and he thought well it makes sense I’ll just go up north I’ll go to Bethania and the spirit stopped him from going there hindered him from

going both times he listened and I’m sure both times he said what gives come on and he ended up going over to Troas and when he was in Troas he had a dream and the dream said come across to us come over to Macedonia come over to Greece and speak to us and he interpreted that as the holy spirit he went now back to the third journey I’m sorry if I’m mixing you up but back to the third journey you see that purple line that’s after Paul collected all this money for Jerusalem and then he hopped on a boat and he went across and ended up down in tyre but when you look there it says he stopped not far from Ephesus and when he went to Ephesus he asked for the elders of the Ephesian church to come meet with him and basically he said goodbye to him and this is what he said to them and realized this was a few days before he got

to tyre and heard some of these prophecies about not going to Jerusalem he said to the folks in Ephesus and now I’m bound by the spirit to go to Jerusalem I don’t know what awaits me except that the holy spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead but my life’s worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the lord Jesus the work of telling others the good news the wonderful news of the grace of God the wonderful news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the wonderful news that the holy spirit empowers us I’ve got to go but you wonder wow his spirit is he’s bound by the spirit and the holy spirit tells him in city after city he’s going to suffer so I had to go back and do a little bit of digging and you know the bible was written in Aramaic and Greek and when I got back into the Greek I found

that that word spirit is pneumonia pneumatos pneumatus and that was that was there but right there where it says holy spirit there was also a second word agios which means holy and it defined the spirit it said this is the holy spirit who’s saying when you go you’re going to face jail and all kinds of persecution the first word and now I’m bound by the spirit to go to Jerusalem when I looked it was just pneumatos it didn’t have any aggios with it so it was just spirit and some people have translated that as saying Paul is saying I’m bound by my conscience I’m bound by my spirit to go because God’s spirit himself has told me yes I’m going to suffer but I’ve got to complete the work so I went back to the other things that were said to Agabus he came over took Paul’s belt bound his hand and feet and he said the holy spirit declares it and guess

what when I went in there yes it was agios and pneumatos it was holy spirit and when you look at his message it doesn’t contradict what God was telling him in Ephesus it’s the very same thing you’re going to suffer when I went to that other passage in tyre we went ashore found the local believers stayed with them a week these believers prophesied through the spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem in other words when I got in there and looked there wasn’t that word aguios there was just pneumatus now I know we can open up a whole can of worms when we get into this but I believe what was going on there these people were very well meaning and they were saying hey we’ve heard that things are going to be bad if you go to Jerusalem don’t go we feel in our spirit that you’re not to go to Jerusalem um you know I I guess uh I would I

would share a little personal situation that Kerry and I had and many well most of you know that Kerry and I have never been able to have children and that’s a great sadness for us and we’ve learned to live with that but years ago I’ve been at south a number of years and back in 1999 when I was an associate pastor earlier we went with a group of students from south down to Mexico and we had a great trip it was an amazing time and it stretched us out of our comfort zones I can still remember when we drove in we’d been driving on a bus all day we’d been driving all day Saturday we got there Sunday night about 4 45 and we were told we were going to be at a church at 5 30 and I had to preach a sermon that was out of my comfort zone but uh Thursday night I had fair warning so I was able to preach on Thursday night things went quite a

bit better we had a great time in this service and Kerry shared her story and she shared how we couldn’t have children and she was a teacher I was I can see this so clearly at the end of the service they were having some great times of worship and it was a much more emotional service and um all of a sudden coming down the aisle was this older gentleman with tears flowing down his face and he was raising his hands and he was just speaking in Spanish and I had no idea what he was saying and the missionary just kind of turned to me and said uh dan you better get prepared I said oh and anyway he came down and basically he announced the whole church God had told him that this woman was going to have a child and so they called Kerry down to join me and probably 40 people gathered around and laid hands and everybody

was praying they laid hands all over Kerry they were praying all over and I’m sitting there saying wow okay lord and the missionary said you better go home and paint your nursery I’m looking in the back of the church two rows of kids students at south who are sitting there saying what in the world is going on um we had to download that summon we said hey let’s meet in 10 months and see if this comes out we met in 10 months and as you can imagine no we didn’t have a child um and Kerry and I have had to wrestle and deal with that that will always be in my mind but I believe every one of those people in that church loved Jesus to the max and the last thing they wanted was for us not to have a child and so in their heart of hearts they were saying you’re gonna have a child but it says in scripture to test the spirits to make sure to make sure

this is a message coming from Jesus anyway I believe very much that Paul as he’s coming back these people met so much they so much didn’t want to see Paul suffer but he said I’ve got to go because I have to complete the work of telling others the good news about the grace of God and so he went to Jerusalem and guess what everything broke loose he goes to Jerusalem he meets with the apostles and the leaders of the Jerusalem church and they say you know some people are really questioning if you’re preaching against the law of Moses as as we present Jesus Christ and so Paul said okay I’ll go to the temple and I will prove that I still love the law of Moses but Jesus is the one who’d come and freeze us and so he went to the temple and while he was at the temple it was Pentecost so there were a lot of people there and some of the

Jewish men from Ephesus had hopped on a boat and come all the way over to Jerusalem to worship at Pentecost and when they saw Paul they recognized this man who had taught there for three years and they started sending out rumors that he had tried to undermine the Jewish faith listen to what happened the whole city was rocked by these accusations and a great riot followed and Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the temple and immediately the gates were closed behind him and as they were trying to kill him they were trying to kill him word reached to the roman to the commander of the roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar and he immediately called out of soldiers and officers they ran down among the crowd and when the mob saw the commander and the troops coming they stopped beating Paul now there’s

some pretty physical violence going on here and I would think oh my goodness you know if I were Paul you might say I should have listened but he was grabbed and he was dragged by a mob and then they were trying to kill him who knows what they were doing to him but at that time word comes to a commander in the roman legion that this is happening so he musters his forces and he comes down and dissipates it but that takes some time I think Paul was looking in pretty bad shape by the time they got there anyway the roman soldiers get around Paul they protect him they’re walking with Paul out of this mob and Paul says to him would you let me speak to my people wow he’s just been beaten up and now he wants to speak to them and so he speaks to them he shares that hey he’s just here to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus and

this happens the mob grew so violent at that that the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him and the crowd followed behind shouting kill him kill him kill him boy I can’t imagine being in his shoes and it just reminds me it reminds me when the holy spirit speaks it may not always be good news but it will be truthful when the holy spirit speaks and he does speak and his presence is with us but sometimes we have this picture of such a loving God who’s our best friend and he would never hurt us he would never discourage us it may not always be good news but he will provide the power to be able to follow into his truth and it reminds me of a verse that Paul gives us in romans when he said and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his

purpose for them God will go with us into his truth and like Paul yes I I’m not saying Paul was not afraid man I’d be so afraid if I had a mob after me but the spirit of God kept him alive and kept him moving forward so that he could proclaim the good news um there’s four characters that we’re gonna see now four characters that Paul has the opportunity to be able to live in front of speak to and these four characters I doubt that he ever would have had the opportunity to come into their presence if he hadn’t followed the holy spirit’s leading to Jerusalem the first is a roman tribune Claudius lycias and Claudius lycias is the one who came down and saved Paul’s life from that mob he was in charge of a cohort which is part of a legion of roman soldiers a cohort is about 600 soldiers so this man was no pansy but he led these

soldiers there in Jerusalem which was a tough place to have a cohort of roman soldiers um so he not only saved Paul’s life then but he saved Paul’s life a couple other times that we’re going to see the next person that comes in is Marcus Antonius Felix he was a governor of Judea or a procurator of Judea this guy was kind of a he was kind of a character he ruled about eight to nine years in Judea he was known for being very rather vicious and uh cruel and also he was kind of conniving he was very greedy anyway Felix the next one is uh Porsche’s Festus Porsche Festus now he was the next governor that came in which kind of gives you a clue that Paul was under prison arrest for quite a period of time here enough time so that these two governors one could be deposed while the other one came in and what happened to Felix was that he got

a little too cruel and Caesar called him back to Rome and he was demoted at that point whereas Festus then was appointed to come in to uh Jerusalem into Caesarea and Judea and the final character we’re going to see is herod Agrippa the second herod Agrippa the second is king of Judea all four of these individuals have some kind of interaction with Paul over the next four chapters and we’re going to fly through these four chapters first lycias has this idea if I can just bring Paul together with this council of Jews uh the Jewish counselors then they’ll be able to reason together and I can find out what’s going on here so he brings them together and Paul says brothers I’m a pharisee as were my ancestors and I’m on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead and guess what happened after he said that a conflict grew more

violent and the commander was afraid they’d tear Paul apart now this is about a day later and these people are still after Paul’s neck because he believes in the resurrection because he believes in what all the Jews were hoping for that the messiah would come so he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress after doing that he uncovered a plot he would he was told about a plot that they wanted to kill Paul as they were going to escort him to the governor and he intervened with that but that night as Paul was lying in the jail cell and I have a feeling probably pretty bloodied probably pretty bruised this happened that night the lord appeared to Paul and said be encouraged Paul just as you have been a witness for to me here in Jerusalem you must preach the good news in Rome as well so

he has that promise he has a determination the resurrection is for real he knows the holy spirit is with him lyceus realizes it’s probably a little bit too hot to have him down here so I’m going to send him to Caesarea and I’m going to send him there by night so that there won’t be anybody along the way to assassinate him and he writes a letter to the governor Felix and he says these words when I learned that he was a roman citizen I removed him to safety but then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him and I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law it was certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death so he had him taken up to Caesarea which is in the north part of Judea and governor Felix met him read Leicester’s letter and said okay I’m going to bring that

Jewish council up here and we’re going to hear what happened so he had the council come up there and uh they presented their argument they had a hot shot lawyer with them who presented their pa their case and then Paul stood in front of Felix and said these words these men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing but I do admit that I follow the way which they call a cult I worship the God of our ancestors I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets I have the same hope and God that these men have that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous the resurrection the resurrection um he’s saying that in front of this council which half of that council didn’t believe that there was a resurrection and Paul’s saying this before the governor I believe in the resurrection um he also

says ask these men hear what crime the Jewish high council found me guilty of except for the one time I shouted I’m on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead at that point Felix said okay enough and he called the closing uh he called it to a closing and he sent the council back to Jerusalem and he sent Paul back to prison but listen to what happened next a few days later Felix came back with his wife Drusilla who was Jewish sending for Paul they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus as he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control in the coming day of judgment Felix became frightened go away for now he replied and when I looked up that word frightened it really means frightened which probably says a lot about his character that he would be frightened that here’s this

prisoner talking about righteousness and talking about justice and all of a sudden he starts to get convicted when it’s more convenient I’ll call you again and get this he also hoped that Paul would bribe him I’m not sure where he expected Paul to get the money unless he heard that maybe Paul had come to Jerusalem with a large offering for the Jerusalem church I’m not sure but for some reason he thought he could get money out of Paul but look at the last one so he sent for him quite often and he talked with him this lasted for two years two years that Felix didn’t let him out of prison two years that Felix would call him to come to him and talk two years that they would dialogue back and forth two years that Paul would share about the resurrection of Jesus Christ like I said Felix went a little too far he got a little too violent at one

point and Caesar called him back and so then he sent Festus and Festus came and Festus learned from the Jews that there was this guy Paul in his jail up there in Caesarea and Festus said well okay come up and talk to me about Paul and so they had a little interaction and then Paul said to Festus I’m not guilty of any crimes against the Jewish laws of the temple of the roman government if I’ve done something worthy of death I don’t refuse to die but if I’m innocent no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me I appeal to Caesar up until this time Paul has really had freedom to be able to go around and share his faith he’s been able to travel all around the roman empire now Paul is in jail Paul is confined and to tell you the truth Paul is dependent on the holy spirit to come up with his travel arrangements he is now in

a prison cell and he’s able to talk to Festus the governor um when his accusers came here this is Festus talking now and I should back up because Festus heard Paul and then sent Paul back to the jail cell and then king Agrippa came and he’s trying to explain to herod Agrippa the second about this prisoner when his accusers came for the trial I didn’t delay I called the case in the very next day and I ordered Paul brought in but the accusations met against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected instead it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus who Paul insists is alive I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things you know I read that and I thought man if Paul can be in a jail cell and he insists that Jesus is alive I should be able to do that over a cup of coffee isn’t this something how integral the resurrection is the

power of the resurrection the transformation of the resurrection Festus is explaining this to king herod ii inherits says well let’s hear Paul let’s let him share and so this is what Paul shares with uh Festus and Agrippa he says if they would admit it they know that I’ve been a member of the pharisees the strictest sect of our religion now I’m on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors yet your majesty they accused me because I have this hope why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead some Jews arrested me in the temple for preaching this and they tried to kill me but God has protected me right up to the present time so I can testify to everyone from the least to the greatest I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen that the

messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and gentiles alike and at that point governor Festus interrupted and said Paul I think you’ve lost your mind you’ve been reading too much the resurrection can be a stumbling block believing that the dead can come alive can stretch people so much but the resurrection is so crucial and look what herod Agrippa says do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly now that almost sounds like it’s a challenge some other versions put it this way you almost persuade me to become a Christian wow four men four chapters and at the end of each chapter you hear this same theme this man has done nothing to deserve capital punishment he does not deserve death but he’s appealed to Caesar so he’s got to go to Rome

and so he starts the next section of his journey with the holy spirit as his tour guide he hops on a boat he’s put on a ship and he’s going to be sent to Rome where he’s supposed to talk to Caesar and this is a little map of the of the trip that the boat takes when he goes um and I’ll just highlight a few things it goes up to Sidon that’s the first place they go to and Sidon actually the commander who was in charge of these uh the prisoners who were on this boat the commander lets Paul have freedom to be able to go and visit some friends inside so you can see Paul and this commander his name is Julius are starting to be able to know each other some then they hop back in the boat again and you see it curves around that they were in and this storm lasted for two weeks and there’s a verse in here that says they couldn’t see the sun they

couldn’t see the moon they couldn’t see the stars to be able to figure out where they were they thought they were going to crash into the shore of north Africa this was such a violent storm that the sailors actually took ropes and tried to lash the hull together I don’t know who went underneath to put the rope underneath and back up but they tried to keep the boat together that way it was being tossed torn apart and I can just imagine Paul he’s not in a jail sound now but he’s down the base of this boat and they’re being tossed all over and he’s probably thinking to himself I thought I was going to get to Rome it says that all the sailors and all the people on this boat didn’t eat anything for two weeks in this storm at first I thought that’s a that’s a stretch until I kind of put myself in their shoes and realized I probably would have lost anything

I would have eaten if I had a storm like that Paul says these words to him in the middle of the storm no one had eaten for a long time finally Paul called the crew together and said men you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete you would have avoided all this damage and lost but take courage none of you will lose your lives even though the ship is going to go down last night an angel the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and he said don’t be afraid Paul for you will surely stand trial before Caesar what’s more God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you so take courage for I believe God I believe it will be just as he said but we are going to be shipwrecked and we’re going to be on an island wow and you know what it happened just like that they were tossed around some more

um the storm was fierce they couldn’t tell where they were but as they were starting to take soundings they realized oh we’re coming to some landmass and the sailors actually thought there’s no way we can bring this boat in so they tried to steal the lifeboats and get off themselves the soldiers caught them before they could do that and then the soldiers cut the lifeboats and let the lifeboats go so nobody could get off the boat and the boat was driven farther and farther in and finally you know it looked like it was inevitable they were going to hit these rocks and so the soldiers themselves thought well these prisoners if they escape it’s our neck so they pulled out their swords and they were ready to execute these prisoners when the commander Julius stepped in and said no Paul said everyone’s going to let make it so we’re

going to make it together isn’t that amazing and sure enough they hit the rocks the boat went to smithereens the commander or the captain of the ship said everybody grab some wood and take it wherever it takes you and everybody got to shore safely but the drama didn’t stop there um they’re soaking wet it’s a storm as things began to die down they built a bonfire to and the people from the town came to help them and in the middle of gathering wood Paul gets bit by a snake a viper it’s hanging from his hand and it says the people from the town were saying oh this guy must really be a bad criminal because his justice is caught up with him and Paul shakes the snake off it goes in the fire and then they’re watching him saying this guy’s going to swell up and he’s going to burst right in front of us and he didn’t and he was healed and they said he’s a

God and then a little while later this happens near the shore where we landed which was in this island of Malta was an estate belong to the Publius the chief official of the island and he welcomed us and he treated us kindly for three days as it happened Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentee Paul went in and prayed for him and laying his hands on him he healed him then all the other sick people on the island came and they were healed as well and as a result we were showered with honors and when the time came to sail people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip the holy spirit the holy spirit with them every step of the way and they were provided with the means to be able to get from Malta up to Italy and from Italy where they landed up to Rome and when they got into Rome it’s amazing but Paul as he’s

coming there and he’s anticipating I’m going to appeal to Caesar I’m going to be before Caesar but the first thing he does is call the Jewish synagogue and say I want to meet with you as leaders and here’s what he says to them I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I’m bound with this change because I believe that the hope of Israel the messiah has already come he explained and he testified about the kingdom of God and he tried to persuade them about Jesus from the scriptures using the law of Moses in the books of the prophets he spoke to them from morning until evening but guess what he persuaded some he didn’t persuade others the spirit worked with some spirit did work with others and Paul stayed in a rest there in Rome for two years and that is the end of acts he

didn’t die at the end he still has some life to live but he spent two years in prison waiting to talk to Caesar but listen to this as the closing of acts for the next two years Paul lived in Rome at his own expense he welcomed all who visited him boldly proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the lord Jesus Christ and no one tried to stop him wow what a journey what a determination because the resurrection is true the resurrection is for real and what an empowerment because the holy spirit was with him every step of the way guiding him and I’m convinced that the same is true of us today the resurrection’s for real every morning is easter morning from now on every day is resurrection day the past is over it’s gone goodbye guilt goodbye fear good riddance because the resurrection’s for real and the holy spirit empowers us

um I wonder what Paul might have said to folks who would come visit him and I’m just going to read some last verses that are written in a letter to Corinth and the reason I’m reading it is because Corinth the letters that he wrote to Corinth first and second Corinthians that was written just before he hopped on that boat and came across to Jerusalem where all of this drama began to unfold and so this is some of his latest thought here’s what he said and this is a paraphrase from the message now let me ask you something profound yet troubling if you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive risen from the dead how can you let people say that there’s no such thing as a resurrection it seems like there were some people right in that Corinthian church who were saying you know I love this stuff about

Jesus but not the resurrection you just can’t believe that that’s too much and Paul’s challenging them saying no the resurrection is key if there’s no resurrection there’s no living Christ and face it if there’s no resurrection for Christ everything we’ve told you smoke and mirrors and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors not only that but we’d be guilty of telling a string of bare-faced lies about God all these affidavits we passed unto you verifying that God raised up Christ sheer fabrication if there’s no resurrection if corpses can’t be raised well then Christ wasn’t because he was in indeed dead and if Christ wasn’t raised well then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark as lost as ever it’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection because they’re already in their grave if all we get out of

Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years we’re a pretty sorry lot but the truth is that Christ has been raised he has been the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries and I believe that includes each and every one of us you know I I think of how I’m going to be going home tonight I’m going to see mom and we’re going to celebrate her 100th birthday which face it most people don’t get to that um we had a little open house for her yesterday and I wasn’t able to be there but my brother I talked to him last night and he said you know the interesting thing happened there was probably about 30 people all sitting there in the room they were all chatting and everything kind of quieted down and then mom just said very clearly to one of the ladies who used to sing in their church said hey donna would you sing at

my funeral everybody’s going whoa we’re here to celebrate your life but you know what she has said to me so many times on Monday mornings when we talk on the phone dan I want to go home I want to go home she totally believes in the resurrection now I know I’ll see her someday too and I believe each and every one of us the resurrection is so pivotal to our faith yes it can be a stumbling block and you know what God will take it when it’s when we stumble and he’ll help us to step back up and he’ll walk with us more and more into the power of that knowledge of the resurrection is true and that his holy spirit is walking with us let’s bow our heads in a word of prayer our dear heavenly father I thank you so much you are here I thank you so much that you were there with Paul I thank you so much you’re the way you spoke to

him and the way you revealed him that he was going to get to Rome the way you got them they’re safe and sound what a what a picture what a story what a fact and lord I thank you that today you are here and you are walking with each and every one of us the resurrection is real we love you thank you God thank you Jesus thank you holy spirit amen as Aaron in the band get ready uh to lead us in our last song I just want to share one thing this is kind of a little family news um but you know I think back to that story in Mexico when Kerry and I were there and when they came down and prophesied over us and we never had a child um it was a about a year after that time as someone from here at south who I highly respect and love and still do came to me as well and spoke to me and said dan I don’t usually say things like this but I just

sense God is telling me to say to you you’re going to have a little girl and you’re to call her grace I said well thank you and I went home and shared that with Kerry and you know I was playing with the Greek one day you know and I said okay grace Greek in grace in Greek is karis and I thought hey that’s the name we’re going to name our little girl charis and her nickname will be Kerry that makes all the sense in the world we were excited we were ready you know years passed and it never happened and Kerry wrestled through that wrestled through that and finally asked well I wonder I wonder who my charis really is and she came to the conviction to believe that you know what my charis is those 20 or 25 students that I have every year in second grade that I’m teaching that I’m investing my life in that I want them to know about the

resurrection of Jesus Christ being for real and I want them to know that the holy spirit walks for them and I had to wrestle with who was my charism and I came to the conviction that my charis is you is this church that God has placed me in for all these years I got a little something in my email that said dan Elliot has worked at south fellowship for 24 years as associate pastor I saying 24 years that’s a long time and it’s been a great ride and I just want to announce to all of you that you know we have a tremendous staff here at south and the time has come for me to think about retirement and when I say that I don’t mean leaving I but I mean gradually going I think I’d go nuts if I just went into retirement cold turkey but I’m gonna in a few months start working part-time and I’ll still be here but I’ll be working part-time and the elders have asked

that I take a sabbatical which I think is hey I like that idea but uh the reason that they would like me to have a sabbatical is so that other folks can come in and start doing the responsibilities that I’ve been doing and Jodi Nevins will come in and she’ll be taking over more and more of the responsibilities of local outreach which is community care and Jessica Rust is going to be coming in and she’s going to be taking over more and more of the responsibilities of care for our particular community right here and when I come back after sabbatical I’ll be part time working with them and for them I’ll still be here and I still love each and every one of you but it’ll be a little different anyway the resurrection’s for real the holy spirit’s for real and we will continue to go on as a church influencing this community for Jesus Christ let’s sing

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey | The Book of Acts (Part 11)2022-01-13T15:27:56-07:00

How to Share the Gospel | The Book of Acts (Part 10)

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good morning friends how you doing today my name is Alex I’m one of the pastors here it’s great to see you if you’re visiting I’d love to meet you after the service thanks for being here today we’re going to jump into acts chapter 17 verse 16 in a couple of minutes if you have a text that you’d like to open and get ready in front of you then feel free to do that I’d just like to complain for a little while just before we get into it about the fact that all of my kids were sick again uh so on Sunday night after preaching Sunday morning we had three buckets working in rotation around the three different kids and there’s only two of us which just isn’t fair um and someone should do a class on parenting that says to you this is what you do when all of your kids are sick at the same time just so you can deal with it and I said to someone I think maybe the most depressing part of being a parent the most depressing moment is the first time a kid throws up on your hand or you get poop on your hand or something and you just go oh well what can you do that’s just how this day’s gonna be and you just you shrug it off I got to a point after Jude had thrown up for the 14th time I just said well I’m just going to get through this together pal we’re going to be fine um and there we go so acts chapter 6 17 verse 16. while Paul was waiting for them is Luke and Silas in Athens he was greatly distressed to see that the

city was full of idols so he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and Greek and god-fearing Greeks as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happen to be there a group of epicurean and stoic philosophers began to debate with him some of them asked what is this babbler trying to say others remarked he seems to be advocating foreign gods this they said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus where they said to him may we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting you are bringing some strange idea to at ears and we would like to know what they mean all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about the and listening to the latest ideas Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said people of Athens I see that in every way you are very religious for as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship I even found an altar with this inscription to an unknown god see you are ignorant of the very thing that you worship this is what I’m saying I’m going to proclaim to you the god who made the world and everything in it is the lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything rather he

himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else from one man he made all the nations that they should inhabit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands god did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him though he is not very far from any one of us for in him we live and move and have our being as some of our your own poets have said we are his offspring therefore since we are god’s offspring we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone an image made by human design and skill in the past god overlooked such ignorance but now he commands all people everywhere to repent for he has said a day where he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed he has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead when they heard about the resurrection of the dead some of them sneered others said we want to hear you again on the subject and at that Paul left the council let’s pray god as we open this text as we look at it and ask what you would have to say to us would you speak for those of us that are comfortable would you afflict us something new up for those of us that are afflicted that walked in here just surviving would you bring some comfort for each of us would you nudge us further on our journey and may we be

able to see just a little bit more of who you are may you reveal just a little bit more of yourself to us your people ah man okay so let’s start here I think today some years ago uh Mr. frank Sinatra sang the now immortal lines um start spreading the news I’m leaving today and he goes on to give this articulation of the incredibleness of this particular city of new York city if I can make it there I’ll make it anywhere it’s up to you new York new York is what he said it’s the story of a person bringing artistic talents to what he considers to be the greatest city in the world now my wife and I we lived in new York for a little while we were a bit further upstate but I remember the first time I went to new York city I remember standing there amongst all these buildings and looking around me and saying it’s no London it’s just not the same it’s just not as good enough it’s this place of that is truly spectacular truly incredible it has a commonality with London in that it’s one of those few places where you can spend 150 to hundred dollars on a meal for two and say huh I could have cooked that at home it was okay it was just average but there is for some people this idea that there is only one city that they would ever want to live again and that’s why you can buy penthouse apartments for 200 million

dollars in some of these incredible high-rise skyscrapers to a certain group of people this is the only place to be in its time the city that we’re looking at today Athens was perhaps that city Athens wasn’t the political capital of the world Rome was certainly that and it probably wasn’t the spiritual capital of the world that would be Jerusalem and some other cities like it but Athens was the place of intellect the place of ideas it’s the place that ideas went and they either lived or they died a bad idea would be ripped apart by the incredible Athenian philosophers they would think through all of the details of it and a bad idea would dissipate and good ideas would catch hold and they would be discussed there and they would flourish there so when we read that Paul walks into Athens and I love how Luke sets it up he sets it up as though it’s just Paul in this moment it’s really Paul versus everybody else all of these great thinkers Paul walks in bringing this new idea that he’s going to articulate for them this is the place where the gospel faces its toughest test it has so far moved around Greece it’s starting to spread it’s starting to catch hole but when it comes to Athens there’s this moment of can it survive here what does this gospel this this way of explaining the world this story what does it mean and can it survive amongst these people these people who bring incredible intellect who bring incredible

argument to everything and so we’re told immediately while Paul was waiting for them he goes for a walk he goes to see this city that he’s probably heard so much about and we’re told straight away he was greatly distressed as Paul goes and looks at what he can see there’s something in him that gets stirred up and to help you understand this phrase let’s dig into what greatly distressed means just a little bit it’s this word pariksano irritated stirred and some of you guys know this phrase because you live this phrase the core to this Greek word is this I’m gonna I’m gonna say something I’m gonna have to say something I’m gonna have to speak up and I don’t struggle with this at all uh so I did that strength finder test some of you may have done and it gives you your 34 strengths the lowest one of mine was harmony for some reason I don’t find awkward conversations that awkward I’m okay I once sent the same breakfast back three times I just said still not right still not right still not right take it back and my wife she’s just dying of embarrassment she looks at me finally and says something like I’m going to be in the car and I’m going to be driving home without you I just wasn’t that bad but she just she does not like those things we get some of us to that moment where we’re like I’m so irritated by this I’m gonna have to speak up and say something maybe a pictorial version that would help you is this

one it’s this moment of driving where you’re like you know there’s some wives looking at husbands right now and some husbands looking at wives like you have this problem and there’s something that can happen to us where we just start to get to that point the other day somebody cut me up uh they cut you know we cut right in front of me and I and I was about to pull up to a light and like when I get to that light I’m gonna pull up right next to them and I’m gonna wag my finger at them or something like that something you know very very much like that and then I realized I was driving the church van and it’s got south fellowship church emblazoned all over the side of it so I was like I can just picture them googling the church living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus except when we’re driving uh this this is where Paul is he is in that moment of I’m done I’m gonna say something has stirred inside him and he’s going to protest so he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and god-fearing Greeks this group of people that meets in in the Jewish synagogue and then the marketplace day by day with those who happen to be there the marketplace was known as the agora it was this place where market stalls everywhere conversations happening all over the place the hub of every day society and he starts debating with these two groups of philosophers a group of epicurean

and stoic philosophers so just a little bit of an aside on them epicureans were agnostics atheists they said this about the world there is a body and it is good for pleasure and it also can experience suffering so we can choose to experience pleasure we can deal with the suffering but that’s the essence of what makes up life there isn’t much else to it the gods if they’re there do not impact our day today they are distant far away the stoics were a little bit different the stoics had a traditional view of the Greek pantheon you may know those names Zeus beside and hades and they believe that those gods rule at least Greece if nothing else and so this is the group that Paul is chatting with debating with and we’re told this some of them asked what is this babbler trying to say what is this babala trying to say the word forbabila is spermalogus it is just as it’s exactly what it looks like when you read the first part of the word it’s where we get the word seed from so they look at Paul this man articulating this new idea and they say this you’re like somebody who just picked up seeds of ideas you don’t really have any grounding in them you don’t really even understand them yourself you just grab this new thing and now you’re here trying to impress us all with your wisdom but there’s nothing really to it you just there’s no there’s no substance poor it’s just a vague idea and we don’t buy it for those of you

that love movies the movie goodwill hunting has a great example of this there’s this moment where will the eidetic genius walks into a bar and his friend he’s having a conversation with a girl and another man approaches them and starts quoting random bits of a historical text and tries to pass it off as his own idea and because will is just so brilliant he can memorize these huge texts just and hold them there he comes alongside his friend and says wow you’re quoting this obscure book and you’re quoting page 68 yeah I’ve read that book is that what you do you just you grab a quote and pass it off as your own and he says to the guy there’s two certainties in life right don’t do that that’s a terrible way to live and two you wasted thousands of dollars on an education you could have got from late charges in a library like don’t put up a facade don’t play that you know what you’re talking about when you don’t really don’t be what they’re saying Paul is don’t be a picker-up of seeds someone who survives on scraps of knowledge when they hear Paul when they hear him present his story his idea they say no nepal we don’t buy that we don’t think that’s real you’re just talking it’s just nice sounding words you might say their accusation towards Paul is this your story has no substance your story has no substance and when I use the word story I want to make sure we’re on the same page of that because

story can seem very lightweight almost light-hearted we think about fairy stories we think about stories we tell our kids and yet story is actually a very robust word because you and I have stories that explain how we see the world if you grew up in a Christian home if you embrace this Jesus way of life the reality is that is your story doesn’t make it not true it just means that that is your worldview how you explain everything about the world and really everybody has one of these the stoics that we just talked about they have their story the epicureans they have their story and so Paul is to them bringing this new way of explaining the world and their first reaction is this Paul we don’t buy this you’re just picking up random threads we don’t believe this can explain anything about the way that the world works he’s a babbler trying to say things to sound clever and others remarked he seems to be advocating foreign gods they said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection but something that he says some comment is enough that they said we want to take you from the agora this place where people meet by random chants they discuss ideas we want to take you from there to the Areopagus this place where all of the best ideas of the day

are discussed they took him to the area of Pakistan brought him sorry they took him and brought him to a meeting of the ariel pagus where they said to him may we know what this new teaching you are presenting is so forgive me for just a second while I play like fourth grade geography or history teacher because this is the one place in the bible that I’ve actually been so I’m just going to live in this moment for just a little while so this is the area of pagas this is random rock in the middle of Athens up there is the Parthenon and all those famous buildings so this is me just with shorter hair and some terrible sunglasses just figuring out where I am and this is Paul’s sermon that we’re about to read that they’ve plastered all over the world wall so it was so fun to stand there at the break of day I went there at around sunrise just uh just to feel what it must have been like to have Paul articulating all of these ideas at that time and you sit there with these religious buildings overlooking this area and realize that you’re standing in a place where some of the most significant ideas in history were discussed and this moment where this gospel this message of Jesus faces this toughing toughest test does it stand up to a group of people who really understand how to think and this is the discussion that Paul will

have with these thinkers in Athens they took him to the area pagas where they said to him may we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting you are bringing some strange ideas to our ears and we would like to know what they mean all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas they are a group of people that like to think they like the newest ideas they like to know what is happening and now they want to know what Paul’s idea is Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said people of Athens I see that in every way you are very religious this is verse 22. so let’s pause there if you have a paper text in front of you depending on the version you have it may say one of two things it may say very religious or it may say too superstitious the first one sounds kind of like a compliment the second one sounds kind of like an insult and the truth is it’s so hard to know which Paul’s phrase is intended as this phrase Greek we’re going to say it together is dicey diamonsterous dicey diamonsterous you got that you now know more Greek than 99 of the world way to go it really could mean one thing or the other too superstitious very religious on one hand it’s got almost this compliment to it Paul

opens with this sort of complementary tone guys in Athens people that love to think you you’re

really searching for this stuff you’re doing a good job you’re investigating things and yet on the other hand it has this lurking undercurrent off but the way you do it the way you approach it you’re kind of like wearing amulets and believing that they protect you in some way you’re kind of tapping into old superstitions that we know don’t really work you’re kind of not being as intellectual as you pretend that you’re being remember this is a group of people famous for their intellect famous for discussing ideas and yet Paul’s accusation is really you’re dabbling with some like older stories that nobody really believes in anymore it’s almost like a challenge to them remember Paul is set up in this passage passages it’s him versus everybody else for those of you that can track with some old testament thinking remember Elijah the famous prophet who stands up to 400 prophets of another religion and they call down fire and there’s this moment where fire comes down when Elijah asks for it the passage has some sort of symmetry with that it is Paul versus everybody else and we’re left waiting for the tension of what will happen will the same thing happen has happened before does fire still come down from heaven Paul suggests to them you’re certainly very religious but maybe it’s just superstition maybe you don’t really understand what you’re talking about as I walked around

and looked carefully at your objects of worship I even found an altar with this inscription to an unknown god so you are ignorant of the very thing that you worship and this is what I’m going to proclaim to you Paul’s accusation his observation of these Athenians is you’re so superstitious you’re even naming gods that you can’t name it’s so vague so empty you’re essentially doing this you are walking around blindfolded and you’re building somewhere you’re building these things out of out of dirt and dust and you’re proclaiming that these things have substance this is just an excuse for me to play with sand by the way it’s just like a just a nice relaxing moment for me but you’re kind of building these things and they just they don’t stay they don’t go they have nothing to them Paul’s suggestion is that this group of people that claim to be so intellectual are still playing around with building things to gods that they don’t know and so then his proclamation will be eventually I’m going to tear that blindfold off the thing that you can’t see the thing that you don’t know I’m going to show it to you you’re going to get to see it for real when I unveil it to you but initially as they said to him his accusation towards them could be this your story has no substance you Athenians your story has no substance it’s not based on anything it’s not real he even uses this phrase a few times human

hands just articulate how human it is the god who made the world and everything in it is the lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands he’s not served by human hands as if he needed anything rather he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything in it his comment on the Athenians is this there is no substance to your story you’re still playing around building things to a god who doesn’t need them it’s not real there’s no substance there and then now we get to watch as poor this first missionary out in the world bringing this new Christian story to places that it has never been before now we get to watch as he articulates that we get to watch how he does it because this story has always spread this story has always been captivating enough that it is it has grown it is spread to other people that was its core in the beginning we see 12 scared guys standing in a room who then go out and spread the message in a street we watch as Christianity goes from being just a few hundred people right after Jesus death and resurrection to 100 a.d where it’s now 40 000 people and it spreads to this point where by 250 a.d there are 1.2 million Christians and now a couple of billion people that would proclaim to be Jesus followers this story has always spread always grown and yet for many of us in this room that say we are followers of Jesus we probably would

express this struggle with how how do I be involved in that I I don’t know that I find that as easy as maybe Paul would find it I don’t know if spreading this message is an easy thing for me I feel like I don’t always know how to articulate it and when I do feel like I’ve articulated well I feel like I get pushback I feel like people don’t respond to it how does Paul this early mission what does he take and what does he say to these incredible thinkers in Athens how does he shape this message how will Paul share this story Paul believes this story is big enough to encompass everything to him it’s not a competing worldview it’s not an argument against other religions it is pulling everything into it because it is the only thing that has substance that’s just how broad he sees it so how does he share it what does he say he starts here from one man he made all the nations that they should inhabit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands Paul’s starting point is this this story is for everybody and that itself in that day and age was a new idea because most stories had a limit on them for most people when you track through this idea of gods and pantheons in Greece and in Rome when you read about the gods that were worshiped people like gods like Baal most of them in most thinking people’s minds had a limit on how much power they had they were controlled by their own geography Baal may be a god of one territory but he had no

influence outside of that the gods of Greece had power and influence in Greece but they had no influence out of that the gods of Egypt had influence and power in Egypt but they had no influence out of that or at least it was diminished outside of their territories that idea of henoism was how the world was seen to work and so now here comes Paul saying no there are no boundaries for this guy he doesn’t stop anywhere he pulls everything into his story that’s just how broad he is this story isn’t just for a select few this story is big enough to include every single person who has ever been born to us that idea may sound normal to people listening to poor for the first time that’s a new idea this really is big enough to include everybody this god set the boundaries he’s calling everybody into it god did this so they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him though he is not very far from any of us for in him we live and move and have our being as some of your own poets have said we are his offspring one of the fascinating things about this passage is this Paul is giving his first sermon first address to this group of people in Athens he’s sharing this message of Jesus and he doesn’t once quote the bible I’m not just talking about the bible as we know it I’m talking about the Jewish bible the old testament scriptures he doesn’t once mention a single passage from the old testament the

Jewish bible doesn’t go there he quotes their own poets to them can you imagine the tension here if I were to give a sermon and say I’m just going to put the bible aside for the day we’re just we’re just not going to really deal with that I’ve actually bizarrely been in a sermon like that I was in a sermon once when a guy actually just read the dictionary to us he said I’m going to quote you the word audacious and I’m going to describe what it means and you need to know that god is audacious and that was the sermon that’s where we landed but if I did that here I would probably get run out of town I suspect and yet Paul here what does he do he approaches this group of people and he doesn’t go he goes to their own prophets their own thinkers the only explanation I can come up with is this he knows that the old testament means nothing to these people that they just aren’t tracking with that idea but he knows that the stories connect and he knows that when he goes to this point when he quotes these people he’s giving it a basis to then talk about how Jesus encompasses that story as well this story is not only for everybody but this story it seems makes sense of your story for some of you that came to follow Jesus in later life I would suspect that there’s some of you that would articulate it like

this there were things that I believed about the world experiences that I had that weren’t strictly church experiences once strictly Jesus experiences in my first understanding of them but then something happened then I experienced Jesus for myself and suddenly there was stuff from my past that suddenly made sense that there’s language that people will use when they experience Jesus of oh that was you all along I didn’t have a name for you I didn’t understand everything about what I was experiencing but somewhere all of this was leading me to this final moment when now you and I are in relationship I’ve heard that articulation from people over and over again and it seems like what happens here is Paul takes their past stories and says let me explain to you how this fits into what god has been doing all along these people have an understanding of how the world works and god is saying I’m pulling that into my story you are going to get to be part of this and it’s all because of Jesus therefore since we are god’s offspring we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone an image made by human design and skill in the past god overlooked such ignorance that now he commands all people everywhere to repent essentially Paul’s language is your old story matters your old story was leading you here but now it’s time now it’s time to come into my story now it’s time to get

involved in this thing my story is big enough this story according to Paul it has substance it has substance it has something that you can rely on that you can live into for he has set a day when he would judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed he has given proof of this to everybody by raising him from the dead and this is where it gets controversial because it seems like for poor they’ve been tracking they’ve been tracking they’ve been tracking okay Paul we get it you’re quoting our own profits to us we’re on board we’re on board we can buy into this and then he mentions resurrection and it’s like in one big gasp they say really resurrection we could go with you until there but we you lost us you lost us at resurrection he lost us at resurrection some of them sneered when they heard about the resurrection of the dead some of them sneered this story has substance because it’s grounded in the idea that Jesus died physically and rose again physically it is based on man made from dirt and then that dirt being re-animated back to life and that to the Greeks was nonsense they could not buy that idea this story has both substance because it’s based in history and actual reality and stumbling blocks because resurrection is maybe hard to believe maybe harder than anything to buy into a physical resurrection some of you may say something like I believe one day there’s a spatial

thing maybe everything will be okay there’s this better place that our loved ones have gone to the something up in the spacial sky somewhere up in the void and yet physical resurrection dead bodies back to life some of us in this room would say I find that stretch I find that difficult you might say that this story may be for everybody but everybody will not be for this story because this story asks a lot of you this story asks a lot of me physical resurrection for those Greek people listening one of their own poets Euripides had explained it like this when the dust has soaked up the blood of a man once he has died there is no resurrection when he has gone back to dust he is back to dust and that is it there is no way that that can be regathered that when its dust stays dust and I wonder if it’s this conversation what the Paul was thinking about when he writes this to this church in Corinth we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the gentiles foolishness to the gentiles because they can’t buy that they can’t buy that dust can be re-animated isn’t it true that that idea is disruptive that idea is difficult in itself this is a passage from a pastor a poet Casey smith how now may we celebrate the radiant emergent the emergence the disruption that transfixed the faith for so few hours away ahead how would we paint and create resurrection the disruption that transfixed the

faithful this moment of we didn’t see that coming that wasn’t how we expected the story to go as Jesus starts to articulate this to his earliest followers before his death he says destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again the response from the religious leaders this temple took 46 years to build the Jews replied are you going to raise it up in three days but Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body the truth is that resurrecting the physical temple in three days would have been less surprising than resurrecting a dead body in three days the truth is he’s not saying no it’s easier than I’m making it sound he’s saying no it’s more difficult that I’m making it sound and yet the bible was unashamed that the first followers of Jesus were unashamed about their proclamation of physical in this earth in this dirt resurrection in 1933 the baseball player babe ruth in game three of the world series looks to the stands and reportedly points to the right field and then on the next pitch begins to proceeds to hit a home run to that very section that he just pointed about now it’s become something of an urgent urban legend and some people say it never really happened and yet it seems that this story is this moment where an incredible athlete says he’s going to do something incredible and then does it in some ways the story it mirrors this Jesus moment of

saying I’m going to die and I am coming back again we often treat the people in the first century as though they’re kind of just a lot more superstitious than us as though resurrection was a common piece of language in the first century and yet the truth is the dead stayed dead with the same monotony 2000 years ago as they do today this isn’t a normal story this has always been a supernatural story it’s as though that language that those Greeks used of once the man’s blood is in the dust there is no coming back from that it’s as though this god said huh we’ll see about that from dust you came to dust you will return but that isn’t the end of the story it seems like the last thing isn’t the last thing at all it’s the next to last thing that this this Jesus faith has always been bold in its proclamation of resurrection and yet also bold in its acceptance of death that the thing that we avoid the thing that we don’t like to talk about this faith this religion has always said no that’s a journey you will take outside of Jesus return that’s a journey you will take that’s a journey that I will take and yet this Jesus story has said would you like to take that journey alongside and with someone who has been that way before it’s as though psalm 23 somewhat prophetic in it it’s nature when it says even though I walk through the valley of death shadow I will fear no evil for you are with me imagines this journey with

Jesus alongside that says come this way I’ve done this thing this isn’t my first time here it may be yours but I’ve been there we’re going to walk this road together this isn’t the final word this isn’t the last thing Christianity this Jesus story has always been declarative in the idea that this resurrection is not some spatial thing one day this is real this is physical this is dirt this is uh the writer Fleming Rutledge the resurrection happened at night nobody was there to see it when the women and disciples arrived he was gone he arose from the kingdom of death and carried off its spoils the sun rising revealed the victory already accomplished we’re going to walk with a couple of people through the sacrament known as baptism baptism is this journey of death and resurrection when they go down in the water is this symbol of the death that every single one of us will experience and there’s this moment of pause of like two and a half minutes where they’re underwater it’s not two and a half minutes it’s like it’s like two and a half seconds whether they’re under water and that in itself encompasses every moment of life it isn’t already not yet of waiting for a resurrection that we believe in that we haven’t seen yet and in this glorious moment we pull them up from the water and they in their own hearts are saying I believe one day the death will lead to resurrection I believe one day that night will lead to day

that the sun rising will reveal the victory that he’s already won when the dust has soaked up the blood of man once he has died there is no resurrection it’s as though the god of the universe says we will see about that I took dust once and made humanity I can do it again that’s the substance of this story it is bold and it borders unabsurd and if you can’t believe it I kind of get that I kind of understand where you’re coming from and yet this story is so good why wouldn’t you want this story to be true so my question might be have you ever examined that story have you examined why people believe Jesus rose for the dead have you examined why it seems like that’s the best explanation for the next things that happened that the best explanation for the church and how it develops is the very fact that Jesus didn’t stay dead he did rise again and that changes everything that changes everything does your story have substance how do you see the world and what is happening amongst us and what will come next is it just somewhere up in the sky one day somehow or does it end with this god taking dirt as he did once before and breathing new life into it this is resurrection I’m going to invite Aaron and the worship team to come up on stage and we’re going to walk into this this moment of baptism where we’re going to celebrate with some people who have made that decision to follow Jesus together we’re

going to articulate a couple of things to help us understand this we’re going to recite a thing called the apostles creed it’s a statement of faith that’s a few a couple of thousand years old now and it reminds us of just what we believe and how robust how strong how detailed how it really is now we’re going to sing a song that articulates this idea Christ has died we are forgiven there is this promise of the forgiveness of sins that is encompassed in what Jesus did for us and then the next line is this Christ alive we are the risen when these guys are baptized what they are proclaiming in faith is this in that pause in that moment under the water that encompasses their whole life they are saying in faith one day this isn’t all there is one day death is followed by resurrection that’s their statement of faith and one that we as a bunch of people that are baptized get to sing together does your story have substance what story do you have that explains how the world works can you believe this story can you believe resurrection so I’m going to invite you to stand with me and you’re free to not say the apostles creed if you can’t get there but I’d love you to proclaim this with me so let’s stand and let’s recite

How to Share the Gospel | The Book of Acts (Part 10)2022-01-13T15:42:59-07:00

The Significance of Baptism | The Book of Acts (Part 9)

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The Significance of Baptism | The Book of Acts (Part 9)2021-11-08T10:02:32-07:00

Signs from God | The Book of Acts (Part 8)

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Signs from God | The Book of Acts (Part 8)2021-11-01T10:48:56-06:00

You Have Something to Offer | The Book of Acts (Part 7)

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You Have Something to Offer | The Book of Acts (Part 7)2021-10-25T10:05:14-06:00

Ananias and Sapphira | The Book of Acts (Part 6)

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Ananias and Sapphira | The Book of Acts (Part 6)2021-10-18T09:50:38-06:00

Power and the way of Jesus | The Book of Acts (Part 5)

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Power and the way of Jesus | The Book of Acts (Part 5)2021-10-11T09:41:33-06:00

Does the Spirit still heal? | The Book of Acts (Part 4)

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Does the Spirit still heal? | The Book of Acts (Part 4)2021-10-05T09:14:46-06:00

Unified in the Spirit | The Book of Acts (Part 3)

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Unified in the Spirit | The Book of Acts (Part 3)2021-09-27T09:46:16-06:00

What is Spirit? | The Book of Acts (Part 2)

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What is Spirit? | The Book of Acts (Part 2)2021-09-20T10:20:04-06:00
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