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Jesus as King - Life of Paul Part 42

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2020 8:00 am

Jesus as King - Life of Paul Part 42

So What? / Lon Solomon

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September 13, 2020 8:00 am

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You know, it's interesting that as followers of Jesus Christ, when we're asked to do certain things, when we're considering certain options like not keeping score in a marriage, like forgiving other people when they've hurt us, like loving other people unconditionally and not based on their performance, it's always good to ask ourselves the question, why?

I mean, why should I live like this? And the answer is very simple as followers of Christ. It's because Jesus, the King of our lives, told us to, and that's what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about the kingship of Jesus Christ over our lives. We're going to use an example out of the life of the Apostle Paul as a springboard into this discussion. So I wonder if you brought a Bible, if you would mind opening it with me to Acts Chapter 17. We're going to be continuing in our study of the life of the great man, the Apostle Paul.

Now, while you're turning, let me give you a little bit of background. The Apostle Paul is on his second missionary journey. He's with his team, Silas, Timothy and Dr. Luke. And let's show you a map. They have gone from northwestern Turkey of today across the Aegean Sea to the town of Philippi, and then after their ministry here, they followed the Ignatian Way, as you can see in yellow, 100 miles to the town of Thessalonica. Here in Thessalonica, for three Sabbaths, Paul spoke in the synagogue about Jesus the Messiah, and as a result, a lot of Jewish people and a lot of Gentiles gave their life to Christ. Now, that's where we pick up the story with Paul here in Thessalonica. So let's look together at verse 5. It says, But the Jews were jealous.

You say jealous of what? Well, they were jealous of all of these people who were believing Paul's message, who were giving their lives to Jesus. And so as a result, they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. And they rushed to Jason's house. Jason is a believer, a Jewish believer, who was putting Paul and Silas up. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But verse 6, when the mob did not find Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and some other believers out of their house and down in front of the city officials. Let's show you a picture here in Thessalonica.

This is the city square that's been excavated. Here's the bema or the platform where they would have dragged Jason and his buddies down and would have presented them there to the magistrates in this town of Thessalonica. Now, these magistrates had a unique name. They're called in the Bible polytarks. This word isn't used of the local magistrates in any other city that Paul went to, only in Thessalonica. And this word has formed the basis for centuries of critics calling the Bible inaccurate and wrong.

Let me tell you why. In all of the Greek literature that we have, we never find the word polytark ever used. In fact, that's true even to this day. There's not one mention of this word anywhere in Greek literature. And so the critics of the Bible said, you see there, Paul and his team were obviously never in Greece. The book of Acts is a total fabrication. It is historically unreliable.

And if it's historically unreliable, then ipso facto, it is spiritually unreliable. Well, not so fast, Sherlock, because in the last 50 years, we have found 64 uses, occurrences of this word polytark. You say, I thought you said to this day, it's not mentioned in any Greek literature.

It isn't. The 64 we found were in inscriptions that have all been dug out of the ground as part of archaeological digs in Greece. In fact, half of these have come from Thessalonica itself. And we know today without any shadow of a doubt that in Thessalonica, there were five local magistrates who ran the town.

And they were known by the unique title of polytarks. You say, well, Lon, so how come the word never appears in any Greek literature? Well, friends, I don't know. I mean, for that's a question you ought to ask Plato or Aristotle.

I don't know. But what I do know is that once again, the Bible has made fools out of the people who said it was wrong. Indeed, only someone who had been in Thessalonica in the first century, like the Bible says Paul was, only that person would have known that these local rulers were called by the unique name polytarks. There would have been no other way to ever figure it out from all of Greek literature. And you know what we love to say, the more they dig out of the ground, the more the Bible proves to be right.

All these centuries, the Bible has been right and scholarship has been wrong. Well, let's go on and see what happened. The polytarks are there.

Jason's there. And the crowd says these men, talking about Paul and Silas, who have caused trouble all over the world, literally who have turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ, now they have come here. What a wonderful compliment, huh?

I mean, they didn't intend this to be a compliment. But what a wonderful compliment to say that Paul and his buddies had turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ. Wouldn't it be great if we could do that in this town?

Wouldn't it be wonderful? What a compliment if you were at work and somebody said, where do you go to church? And you say, I go to McLean Bible Church. And if they all of a sudden went, McLean Bible Church, oh my God, y'all are the people who are turning this town upside down for Jesus Christ.

Wouldn't that be a wonderful compliment? Well, that's our goal. That's what we want to do. We want to follow in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and rock this city for Jesus Christ. Going on, verse 7, Jason, they go on to say, welcome these guys into his house. And they said this, they are all defying Caesar's decrees.

How? By saying that there is another king, one called Jesus. I'm sure you know that at the time of the Apostle Paul, the Roman Emperor was considered a god. If you valued your head, you acknowledged him as a god.

You worshiped him as a god. And so this accusation that Paul is preaching a different king, a different god than the Roman Emperor is a very serious accusation. The Palatarks have got to do something or else they'll be accused of complicity.

They'll be accused of being accomplices. And so verse 8, when they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. And then they, the Palatarks, made Jason and the other believers post a bond and then they let them go.

You say, well, what was involved in this bond? Well, they put up their houses, they put up their bank accounts, and they made an agreement that the Apostle Paul would stop preaching and causing turmoil in town and that he would leave Thessalonica. You say, Lon, I'm shocked that the Apostle Paul would ever agree to get run out of a town like this. Well, the truth is he didn't agree.

He wasn't there. He didn't make this deal. Jason made this deal for him. But you know, once Jason had made the deal, there wasn't a whole lot Paul could do. I mean, if Paul didn't comply, Jason's going to lose his house. All these other well-meaning believers are going to lose their homes and their bank accounts. And so reluctantly, very reluctantly, the Apostle Paul said, well, okay, verse 10.

And when night came, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea, a nearby city. And we're going to look and see what happens there in the weeks to come. But that's as far as we want to go in the passage for today. We've got a question to ask, a very important question to ask.

And everybody knows what it is. So you ready? Here we go. Now, one, two, three.

Right. You say, Lon, so what? Always wanted to know about politics. Lon, I'm glad I came today. You know, you just, I mean, my day is complete that I know all about politics. What difference does this make to my life in the 21st century?

Well, let's try to make that connect together. You know, folks in our world, there are always some people who just don't get it. You know what I'm talking about? Like the Jewish mother who was at the country club one day comparing sons with some of the other mothers in the country club. And so one of these other ladies, one of the first ladies said, she said, oh, she said, when it comes to sons, she said, I got the best son in the world. She said, you know what my son does? My son every week sends me a bouquet of flowers with a little note attached telling me what a wonderful mother I am. Well, a second mother spoke up and said, oh, she said, you know what my son does?

My son, every week, like clockwork, every Sunday, calls me on the telephone, no matter where he is, to tell me how much he loves me and he appreciates me as his mother. The Jewish mother spoke up and she goes, ah, she goes, what do you know? My son, she said, my son's much better than that. She said, you know what my son does?

She said, my son, he goes three times a week to see his therapist and all he ever talks about is me. There are some people who just don't get it. Now, when it comes to the people at Thessalonica, however, those were people who got it.

You say, what do you mean? Hey, friends, they got exactly what the apostle Paul was preaching. Look, it says in verse seven that they're preaching. There is another king than Caesar, a person named Jesus.

They got Paul's message loud and clear. Now, you know, we talk so much about Jesus being our Messiah and Jesus being our Savior that sometimes I'm afraid we gloss over the Bible's claim that he is also our king. Nathaniel said it. He said, Rabbi, you are the son of God. You are the king of Israel. In Matthew 27, Pilate asked Jesus, are you the king of the Jews?

And he said, yes, it is as you say. You say, well, Lon, if he's the king of the Jews, that doesn't have anything to do with me. I'm a gentile.

Wait a minute. Jesus said, Matthew chapter 28, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Folks, if you are a resident of either heaven or earth, and that pretty well covers all the options, if you're a resident of heaven or earth, whether you're a Jew or gentile or something in between, doesn't make a bit of difference. Jesus said all authority in those two locations has been given to him. He's king, not just to the Jewish people, friends.

He's king of the universe, of every life in the universe, which is why the Bible calls him Revelation 19, the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. Now, the fact that Jesus is the king of every life in the universe means that we can divide every person in the universe into one of three categories. If you're here today, you are in one of these three categories.

You have to be. And as we go through them, I hope you'll take a moment and say, all right, which of these categories am I in? And if you're not in the one that God wants you to be in, I hope you'll consider making a change. Category number one are the people in our world who have made no surrender to the kingship of Jesus at all. These are people who say, hey, we're going to live the way we want to live.

We're going to do what we want to do. There is no king going to tell us what the choices were to make and how we're going to live our everyday lives. Now, friends, if you're in this category, the Bible tells us this is a very dangerous place to be. Psalm 2, why are the nations in an uproar and why do the peoples devise a foolish plan, the Bible says.

And what is that foolish plan? Well, the kings of the earth take their stand against the Lord and against His Messiah. And they say, let us break their reign over us.

We're not interested in having them being king over us. He who sits in heaven laughs at them. He scoffs at their foolishness. And here's what he says. He says, I have installed my king in Israel.

I have given him the nations as his possession. Therefore, O kings, be wise. Be warned, you people of the earth, worship the Lord with reverence and kiss the Son, the Lord Jesus, lest He be angry with you and you perish in your way. You know the old saying that you're either on the train or you're on the tracks?

You know the old saying? Well, friends, if you've made Jesus Christ king of nothing in your life, then I'm here to announce to you you're on the tracks and the train is coming. And God is very serious about the fact that you need to get off the tracks and get on the train. If you've never made a commitment of your life to Jesus Christ, this is a dangerous position to be in.

And I hope today you'll give serious consideration to changing it. Well, there's a second category of people, and that is people who've made a partial surrender to the kingship of Jesus Christ. You say, Lon, how in the world does a person do something like that? Well, very simply, they accept Jesus as their personal Savior, but it stops right there. In other words, these are people who want Jesus to be king over their eternal destiny, but they don't want him to be king over their daily lifestyle, over their daily actions, over their daily choices. You may have heard it put this way, these are people in whose lives Jesus is a resident, but he is not the president. That's another way of putting it. And how does God feel about people in this situation?

Well, he tells us, Revelation chapter 3. I have this against you, Jesus says, that you are neither cold nor hot. You're in the middle. I wish you were one or the other, but you're lukewarm. And because you are lukewarm, I am ready to spit you out of my mouth, so be earnest and repent. Be earnest and change your mind.

Be earnest and make a U-turn in the way you're living. Now, these are very strong words from Jesus, but it shows us the level of intensity that God has about people being lukewarm in their walk with him. And if you're here today and you're in category number two, then our goal is to help you and God's goal is to get you into category number three, because the lives of the people he blesses and the lives of the people he honors and the lives of the people that he uses has always been and will always be the people in category three.

Now, what is category number three? Those are the people who have made a total surrender to the kingship of Jesus Christ over their lives. These are the people that God's looking for. And if you say, well, Lon, what does this really mean practically?

You know, put some handles on this for me. I'd love to do it by reminding you what Paul said about this in Romans chapter 12. He explains to us what this really means for our lives.

Here's what he says. He says, I urge you, brothers, to present your bodies to God as living sacrifices, for this is pleasing to God. Notice three things, if you would, about what Paul says here. Number one, God is asking us to present something to him.

The word literally means to yield something, to surrender something, to turn over control, relinquish control of something. Second of all, he tells us what this something is. He says it's our bodies. You know, I've been pastoring for 22 years and without a doubt when people come in my office and they've blown it, they disobeyed God, they've done something wrong that's gotten them in a mess. Without a doubt, the most common statement, the most common thing I hear people say to me in my office is, well, you know, Lon, I might be in trouble and I might have gotten it wrong, but I just want you to know my heart was in the right place. God knows my heart and my heart was in the right place.

Well, that's wonderful. But you know what? People out there in the world can't see what's in your heart. All they can do is see what you and I do with our bodies. And it's with our bodies that we are either going to honor Jesus Christ in the eyes of an onlooking world, or it's with our bodies that we're going to disgrace Jesus Christ in the eyes of an onlooking world. Friend, God is happy to have your heart, but He is not going to be satisfied till He gets your body too, which is why He says in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 20, therefore honor God with your body.

1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 4. Each of us should learn how to control our body in a way that is holy and honorable before God. You say, well, Lon, how much of my body does God want?

Well, that's the third thing I want you to notice about Romans 12. The Bible tells us that God wants enough of our bodies to make them living sacrifices. The imagery here is that of the Old Testament sacrificial system where a worshiper would bring a lamb in.

The priest would kill the lamb and utterly burn its whole body on the altar as a sacrifice to God. How much of this Old Testament animal did God ask for? Friend, He asked for all of it.

How much of our bodies is God asking for for us to become living sacrifices? Well, He's asking for all of it. Folks, God is not interested in a limited partnership with you. God wants a total takeover, but He doesn't do hostile takeovers. Remember, you've got to relinquish control. You've got to present yourself to Him. He's not going to take over if you don't want Him to.

But this is what He wants. Now, we refer to this as the lordship of Jesus Christ over a person's life. What it means practically to live under the lordship of Christ is it means that we make a deliberate decision to crown Jesus as the King over every area of our personal life. It means that we make a decision that every area of our life we are going to seek to bring into conformity to the way the Bible tells us we're supposed to live that area of our life. And it applies to our sex lives, our dating habits, our attitudes and the language that we use. It applies to our thought life, our business ethics and the jokes that we tell. It applies to what we watch on TV and what movies we order when we travel and check into hotels. It applies to the way that we treat our spouse, the way we treat our children, the way we talk about other people, the way we spend our money and the way we drive on the beltway.

Ouch! Right. When the Bible tells us to do something, friends, the lordship of Christ says that we do it. We don't always get it right. We don't always get it perfect. But if we're committed to the lordship of Christ, it means we're trying our best to get it right. And we're not satisfied when we don't get it right.

We come back and we try again to get it right. I love the best definition of the lordship of Christ I've ever heard. It was given by that great Southern Baptist preacher, Jimmy Draper. And he said this, the lordship of Christ means that we say to God, God, the answer is yes, now what was the question?

You fill in the question and no matter what you fill in, the answer is still yes, we're doing it your way. I got an email from a young man not long ago and he said, you know what? He said, I'm dating this girl and he said, it's really tough for me. He said, but if Jesus wants me to stay squeaky clean sexually till I get married, as hard as it is, then that's what I'm willing to do.

Now what you just heard is a young man who's made a total commitment to the kingship of Jesus Christ over his life. I had a lady in my office recently who was telling me about her husband being unfaithful to her. And she said, you know what though? He's come back, he's asked me to forgive him, and he's told me he wants to put our marriage back together. I said, what are you going to do? She said, well, I'm going to forgive him and I'm going to stay in the marriage and put it back together because that's what I know God wants me to do.

What you just heard is a lady who's made a commitment to the total lordship of Jesus Christ in her life. I was talking to a friend of my son, a high school student, and he said, you know what? You won't believe this. Every single kid in high school cheats on tests, they all cheat. And he said, but you know, I know God's not happy with my doing that. I'm determined I'm not going to cheat. And even if I get lower grades, I don't care. God will still get me where I need to go.

I'm not going to cheat. What you just heard is a student who's made a total commitment to the lordship of Jesus in his life. This is very practical. This is everyday stuff, friends.

If we're living under the lordship of Christ, there is nothing in our everyday lives that doesn't fall under the lordship of Jesus Christ. You know, for Father's Day this past year, my three boys went together and they bought me a golf club, a Nike driver. Yeah, real nice club. And I thought it was a wonderful gesture. I was deeply touched, but they made a mistake. They left one price tag down by the club, wrapped around the club, down by the head of the club, and I happened to look down there and see the price of this club.

I almost had a heart attack because I don't play well enough to have a whole set of clubs that cost that much money. I'm serious. You say, well, what in the world are you doing noticing price tags on a gift? Listen, friends, you know the way women notice shoes? That's the way Jewish people notice price tags.

I mean, it is genetic. That's all I can tell you. It just comes with the turf. And so I said, I said, fellas, I can't keep this club. I mean, I'll never hit the ball well with this club.

I'll be so worried how much it costs. So I took it back to the golf shop and argued with the manager for about a half an hour. He didn't want to take it back. I finally got him to agree to take it back. And he said, but you know, I can't credit you today. It's got to go through the home office.

I said, all right, fine. So about a month later, the check arrives. And I called my son, Jamie. He'd put it on his credit card, his visa. And I called him up and I said, hey, the check's here. I need to sign it over to you so you can pay for the visa bill.

He said, dad, I'm almost certain. He said, I checked my visa account. They credited that back right onto my visa account.

I said, no, it can't be. I got the check right here. I said, go double check it. He did, got back to me. And he said, yep, they credited it back on my visa account.

He said, I think what happened here is they gave us a double refund. Ooh, ooh, that's nice. And I started thinking, you know what? As bad as I play golf, I can use this check by golf balls. I'll never have to buy another golf ball in my whole life.

I'll be able to stop walking into the creeks looking for them and into the ponds looking for them because I'll be in golf balls for life. And the Lord, I was praying one day. And the Lord said to me, Lon, you can't keep that check.

You can't do that. And I said, God, nobody in their right mind would take this check back to those guys, especially after the hassle they gave me taking the club back. I tell you what, God, I'll make you a deal. You and me will split it. How's that? Yeah, I'll give half to McLean Bible Church and I'll give the five golf balls with the other half. Sounds like a great deal to me. Well, one morning I was praying and the Lord said, Hey, Lon, you know what?

There's only room for one king in this universe. It's me and it's not you. And I'm telling you, you take that check back. So reluctantly, I went over to the golf shop with the check and I found the manager and I said, do you remember me?

And he goes, oh yeah, you're the guy with the Nike driver. I said, yeah, that's me. I said, well, you know what?

I got to tell you something. You guys double credited me for the return. And so you credited to the visa and so I brought the check back to you. He said, what? I said, I brought the check back to you. He said, why did you do that? I said, well, to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't want to. To be perfectly honest with you, I knew I could keep it and cash it and you'd never find out about it. I said, but I'm a pastor of a church. I'm a follower of Jesus.

I know God's watching and in good conscience, I can't keep it. He said, all right. So he took the check back and he said, wow, I don't really know how to say thank you. And I said, well, you could give me some free golf balls. And he did.

He did. You can believe that he gave me a bunch of free golf balls. The point is, friends, that even the Lordship of Christ applies to golf balls.

It applies to everything. And if you're a follower of Jesus Christ here today, I'm here to tell you that if you want God to honor your life and you want God to bless your life and you want God to use your life, then the only people he does that with are living sacrifices. That's what Abraham was. That's what Moses was. That's what Ruth was. That's what Deborah was. That's what Paul was. And that's what you and I need to be if we want to see God use our lives.

And if you're here and you're not in that category, I'm here to challenge you to get in that category this morning and become the kind of person that God is excited to use and to bless. Now, let me just say one thing in closing, and that is I know for some of us here, this is a really hard thing. We've had domineering fathers and abusive mothers and controlling husbands who took advantage of the submission we gave them to hurt us and brutalize us and dehumanize us. And we swore we were never ever given up that much control of our life to anybody again.

I understand that. But let me just say to you, God is not like that, friends. Don't extrapolate those feelings onto God.

He's not a human being. He's not going to take your surrender and turn it into something that feeds His own ego. God doesn't do that. He's going to take your surrender and turn it into green pastures and still waters and restoring your soul. That's what He's going to do with that. He's going to use your surrender to bless, honor, and to benefit your life.

So yeah, I understand that with people and I'm not saying sometimes that's not a right thing to feel. I'm just saying don't put that on God. God is not like that. He'll never take advantage of your surrender and abuse that trust.

God will never do that. You can trust Him. You don't have to be afraid of Him. Well, if you're here today and you can walk out of here and say, Lon, I'm in category three, solid as can be, that's wonderful.

That's wonderful. But if you're not, I want to challenge you while we're right here this morning to make a decision to get into category three. So let's bow our heads together.

Let's close our eyes. And if you're here today and you're prepared to say, you know what, Lon, I'm not in category three, but I'm willing to be, then I want you to take a moment right where we sit and I want you to tell God that and make that decision right here today. Lord Jesus, thanks for reminding us today that the Lordship of Christ applies to golf balls. It applies to tests in high school. It applies to unfaithfulness in marriage and forgiveness. It applies to dating relationships.

It applies to everything. There is not one part of our life that the Lordship of Jesus Christ doesn't touch. And my prayer, Father, is that you would challenge us here, particularly those of us who are followers of Christ, that we can't live in Never Never Land, that we can't live in lukewarm land, that there's nothing there for us except lack of joy and lack of blessing. God, challenge us that if we're going to trust Christ, it's got to be 100% with every part of our being. And so, Lord, may there be many people who walk out of here today having said, I'm going to present myself to you as a living sacrifice beginning today. And, Lord, by the power of your spirit, help us, help us to live that out consistently in our lives each and every day. Thanks for your forgiveness when we miss it. But, Lord, help us be serious about trying to get it right. And we thank you and pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 13:48:59 / 2023-06-10 14:03:20 / 14

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