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September 3, 2020 7:00 am
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Well glad to hear and if he brought a Bible today. We want you to open it to acts chapter 16, you know, I heard on the news this week that that this past summer 2002 was the third hottest summer on record in Washington DC and I thought you know maybe this global warming thing on me. Maybe there's something to it at every body when you hear about talk about global warming. It's so bad it is so awful but I got to thinking you know what, there are some upsides to global warming and so I have a top 10 list for you today.
And these are the upsides of global warming.
Okay, ready, they have to come to get in this little bit RA Rigo number 10 number 10 ready to go sir.
So in Phoenix will they get better. That's why that's number 10 number nine. Mexican sombreros are suddenly hip again number eight number eight Winter Olympics cancel curling my number seven Winter Olympics cancel everything.
Number six, the lost city of Atlantis is replaced by the lost city of Baltimore number five, number five, outside of global warming coconuts in Chicago. Number four. Go, increased humidity makes learning pointless ally, number three yeah number three outside of global warming is year-round. Baseball season number two, number two outside of global warming. The Green Bay Packers renamed the Lambeau Field Orange bowl and number one, outside of global warming is that Frosty the Snowman retires and takes that annoying song with him.
Yeah all right those are my talk.
Now the point of all that is that sometimes there is an upside to what looks like a bad situation and that's not true.
Sometimes for those of us were followers of Jesus Christ. This is true all the time because we have a promise from God our promise from God says.
Romans 828 that God causes all things, all things to work together for good to those who love it and so today were going to talk about the subject were look at the apostle Paul to see how this works out. As the truth of his life to bring it forward and were going to talk about how it applies to your life and my life today to talk about the fact that God never weighs an experience, but that rather even the most painful and puzzling circumstances that come into our life that they're all part of God's perfect plan and what we need to do is just trusted.
So here we go. Acts chapter 16 on its digital background. Remember, the apostle Paul is on the second missionary journey but show you where he was he's gone to Northwestern Turkey of today to the city of Truax as and then he's crossed the Aegean Sea to the country of Greece to the northern Greek town of Philippi here in Philippi. He's been thrown into jail. He's been beaten with Ron that ripped the very flesh right off his back, and God sends an earthquake at midnight. The chains follow-up every body. The door swing open to jailer is totally traumatized and he runs in and Paul leads him and his whole family to faith in Christ. They go out in the jailer and his family get baptized like 4 o'clock in the morning and then verse 34 says that after all of this, the jailer brought them Paul and Silas back to his house and set a meal before them, and he the jailer was filled with joy because he'd come to believe in God. He and his whole household. After we stopped last week. So let's pick up the story.
Verse 35 and when it was daylight the magistrates there in Philippi sent their officers to the jailer with the order release these men well verse 36 jailer told Paul, the magistrates of order that you and Silas clearly so you're free to leave now. Go in peace, but Paul said to these officers that it can't be said. I listen the magistrates had us beaten publicly without a trial. Even though we are Roman citizens and then they thought was in prison and now they want us to leave secretly know way. Paul says you tell them to come down here.
Personally and escort us out of prison. Well, the officers reported back to the magistrates would call it said when the magistrates heard the Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They were afraid don't stop here for a minute and asked the question why did finding out the Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. Why did that scare these magistrates the way to do well in order to understand the answer that we got understand a little bit about Roman citizenship in the time of the apostle Paul.
At the time of the apostle Paul, the Roman empire had millions of subjects. But just because you were a subject of the Roman Empire did not mean you were a citizen of Rome.
As a matter-of-fact Roman citizenship was a privilege that was a jealously guarded commodity and if you weren't born in Italy. There were very few people born outside of Italy that ever became Roman citizens not in the providence of God. The apostle Paul was one of them and he said will I don't understand what is the big deal about being a Roman citizen with a big deal is that you had enormous rights and enormous privileges for the other people in the Empire didn't have you say oh yeah like what will like number one, a Roman citizen was entitled to a formal trial before any kind of punishment could be inflicted upon you. Now my question.
Paul and Silas given a public trial, no they didn't even have their Miranda rights read to them before they threw him in jail. Number two second privilege is that even if a Roman citizen was convicted of a crime. That person could not be punished in a way that publicly humiliated and yet, what do they do Paul will verse 22 says, the magistrates ordered Paul and Silas to be stripped and beaten in the marketplace in front of that whole crown. They were publicly humiliated number three.
And finally, a right of a Roman citizen is that unless regardless of his crime, a Roman citizen was never allowed to be beaten with those brutal rods that we talked about those Lichter arrived, the ones that have a clause that ripped the flesh off the boat and you want to date me, Paul and Silas with welded meeting with those rocks. There were very severe penalties for anyone, even a Roman official who violated the rights of a Roman citizen and these magistrates knew they were in big trouble. Acts chapter 22.
Let me show you what happens here. Paul was in Jerusalem a few years later and it says in verse 23 as they the Jewish people in the street were shouting and throwing off their clothes and flinging dust in the air, the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks he the commander directed Roman officer that Paul be flogged, beaten and question in order to find out why the people were shouting at them like this well is a stretch Paul out the flogging Paul said to the Roman centurion. The officer standing there.
Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty. Well, when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander. He said what are you doing do you know this man is a Roman citizen. The commander hurried to Paul and said, tell me, are you a Roman citizen. Paul said yes I am the commander said will, I had to pay a big price to get my citizenship. Paul said well I was born a Roman citizen and then those who were about the questioning withdrew immediately in the commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul a Roman citizen into chains, not friends. These magistrates in Philippi had done a lot more than put Paul into chains and stripping publicly they had beaten publicly. They had humiliated him publicly and imprisoned him without any kind of trial at all.
Verse 39 so the magistrates came to appease Paul and Silas literally to apologize to Paul and Silas and they escorted them from the prison, imploring them baking them. Please leave the city now on the right of a Roman citizen number four that a Roman citizen could not be forcibly expelled from any city in the Roman Empire unless he was convicted of a crime and so rather than ordering Paul and Silas to leave here.
These guys are reduced to going Paul. Pretty please would you please get out of jail got a sense of humor or what they don't get it because it's possible humor, but this is funny this is funny what happened here. Well, verse 40 Paul and Silas.
After they left the prison.
Went to Lydia's house. Remember Lydia, the first lady here in Philippi, to give her life to Christ in Europe and all. After meeting with the brothers there and encouraging them then they left town.
Paul and Silas are going to head on to Thessalonica were to pick the story up next week, but just before we ask the most important question. Let's look at this issue and that is why didn't Paul tell these magistrates. He was a Roman citizen before the meeting.
Why did he tell them before they threw him in jail. Will the answer is, he probably try the answer is out there and that uproar in the riot that was going on in the street when a beating.
Paul was probably trying to tell these guys. He was a Roman citizen that were less than they were interested and there was too much noise but you know it's interesting how God in his very special providence to use this for the benefit of the church in Philippi. Think about it now. If you're a magistrate in Philippi and you know that the apostle Paul can come back to town, file formal charges against you anytime you want and get you thrown in jail for abusing his rights as a citizen if you're magistrate are you going to let anybody mess with his friends in town or you will let anybody mess with the church he started in town. I don't think so I think I'll use this to put a hedge of protection around that church were the magistrate said hey don't anybody mess with those people. We have our reasons, we don't need to tell you but you keep your hands off of the church. Now, that's the end of our passage, but it leads us to the most important question and we all know what that is. So here we go ready 123 right to want so what I'm really happy to hear this. I think this is the yada yada yada. What differences make to me.
Well I want to try to make that connect for you. You know I want us to go back to the comment that the apostle Paul made to that Roman officer member asked 22.
The Roman officer said hey I had to pay a price in order to buy my Roman citizenship and met with the apostle Paul said the apostle Paul said yeah but I was born a Roman citizen I got to thinking about that this week.
How did this nice little Jewish boy named Paul raised in a city that really wasn't all that important city in the Roman Empire, Tarsus.
How in the world did this guy get born with something as precious a commodity as Roman citizenship which we know we've already learned was not given out very often how in the world did he end up being born a Roman citizen with the question intrigued me this week and so I decided to go find the answer and in finding the answer also discovered an incredibly encouraging spiritual truth that I want to share with.
First of all, how did Paul become born a Roman citizen what you guys and you guys here. Remember Brutus member Brutus say I member him.
He was a guy used to beat up pop I'll talk know that Luke so know that Joe, this is believed to us tell us with a Roman aristocrat who knifed and killed Julius Caesar in 44 BC and Brutus.
As a matter of fact in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, Brutus was the person to whom Julius Caesar spoke his last word you member what they were at to brew today. I am impressed.
My Latin teacher, Ms. Vincent, you would've made her day if she were here today. I am impressed that means you to Brutus after Brutus stabbed him, but Brutus figure significantly and how the apostle Paul ended up as a Roman citizen, you say really to the apostle Paul and Brutus know each other know the apostle Paul wasn't going be born for another 50 years and 44 BC, but let me tell you how the connection work right after the death of Julius Caesar, Brutus and another Roman aristocrat name catches entered into a civil war for control of Rome. The Roman Empire, with Caesar sawn a fellow named Augustine, Caesar, and while they were gathering their army to do battle in 43 BC. The next year Brutus and catches came to the town of Tarsus took over the town, commandeered the town and made it into their military headquarters and let's show you where Tarsus is. So you get an idea. Here's Jerusalem down here, here is the underbelly of Turkey the Mediterranean. Three. And here is Tarsus. As you can see Tarsus is not a very significant city militarily is not on the middle of some crossroads is not a port city of Mina Justin in the middle of nowhere, but they came here Brutus and catches didn't made it their military headquarters where the battle was fought.
The next year 42 BC actually was thought you'll never guess where in Philippi I told W that months ago but doesn't surprise me you don't remember but anyway it was fought in Philippi and Augustus Caesar one decal Brutus killed catches. But the important point for our discussion is that the town of Tarsus had remained loyal to Augustus Caesar. Even though it had been commandeered and taken over by the forces of Brutus and catches to Augustus Caesar in appreciation for the loyalty the town and showed him declared after his victory that every citizen of Tarsus automatically was being rewarded with Roman citizenship. Now the apostle Paul wasn't alive, but his parents were and they were living in the city of Tarsus as citizens of Tarsus and so by edict of Augustus Caesar.
They all of a sudden became Roman citizen is able women. This was a Gentile city right right and they were Jewish people right right what was it normal for Gentile city to make Jewish people, citizens know, as a matter fact that hardly ever happens is able to now in a world of Paul's parents become citizens of Tarsus so they could become Roman citizens.
Very good question.
So I went back and try to figure that out let me say what I found hundred and 40 years earlier. There was the kingdom that we both Tarsus and Jerusalem was the kingdom of Syria ruled by fellow in 171 BC named Antiochus. Antiochus decided that he wanted to make Tarsus's garrison city.
One of his military cities. But to do that he had to swell the population to what he did his he went all through his kingdom and began taking people ripping them out from wherever they live and forcibly moving them to Tarsus to swell the population of the city now for reasons unknown.
He decided King Antiochus did that he wanted some Jewish people in the city so since he control Jerusalem he went to Jerusalem and he had a soldiers walk around and just say you you you you you you and you get to stop removing you to Tarsus several hundred miles away and the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents were part of that movement. They got moved Tarsus against their will and want to go. They got forcibly moved but you know what King Antiochus did as a way of softening the blow for all of these people that he was moving.
He granted every single one of them full citizenship, including the Jewish people in Tarsus you get what happened now all of a sudden the hundred and 71 BC. The apostle Paul great-great-grandparents get ripped out of Jerusalem taken a Tarsus patina.
Antiochus is his way of softening the blow.
I'll make you citizen of Tarsus, then in 40 or about actually about 35 BC, Caesar Augustus says will now all you citizens of Tarsus including Paul's parents, to make you citizens of Rome and then the apostle Paul was born. And guess what he was born a Roman citizen, not as her body sleep, but you guys follow all of them are now so we ran the professor at Oxford University and writer of the book the cities of St. Paul said this and I quote is indeed probable that there were already some Jews in Tarsus before King Antiochus but Antiochus greatly increase their numbers by bringing in many more Jewish families and bestowing upon them all the right of Tarsus citizenship thoughts from 171 BC on words there was in Tarsus, a significant body of Jewish citizens, we must regard St. Paul as having sprung from one of these families which got tarsier and citizenship in 171 BC nascent lawn. Where is this great encouraging spiritual lesson here because for the life of us. We don't see I don't know what you thought. All visible where you get some great lesson out of this will simple. How do you think the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents felt when all of a sudden King Antiochus said guess what functional removing. How do you think they felt when they were ripped away from their friends, their family, their homes, their job, their beloved city of Jerusalem and carted off hundreds of miles to the Gentile city of Tarsus where they knew nobody or nothing.
How do you think they felt. Do you think they were devastated. I do do you think that they wonder why the world God would let this happen to them. I do you think they ever turn to God that God why would you do this to us. I do, but friends here's what I want to see it uprooting these people and moving them to Tarsus. Can we see that God knew exactly what he was doing all the time they friends.
God looked down the corridors of time hundred and 75 years and said you know what you don't know it yet, but hundred and 75 years from now you could have a great-great-grandson's names will be Paul and I'm using as my missionary to reach the entire Roman Empire. As a matter of fact I'm going to use him as my instrument to change all of Western civilization now. To do this he needs to be a Roman citizen and it getting to be a Roman citizen I got to get his parents to be Parthian citizens and to get them to be Dorothy and citizen got to move you and Terry go now. Do you think God explained all that to them. No, you think they had any clue what was going on. No. Did God know what he was doing the whole time. Yeah God knew what he was doing. They died and didn't have any clue what God was up to the God knew what he was doing, did he waste this experience of moving them not on your life functional. Every Tuesday I take appointments in my office and the without a doubt the most commonly asked question over the last 22 years in my office is this question. I don't know what you think it would be. But here's the question why in the world would God do this to me, why is God letting this happen to me and my answer is I don't know if it will honor my me to come to you for counseling. Well I don't know and I tell them Fred. How my supposed to know what God is doing you I got stuff in my life.
I don't even understand what God is doing to me. Posing over God's doing to you.
But let me tell you what I do say to these people. What I do say to them is let me tell you where I am on the things in my life. I don't understand.
I believe there is a living God who has a plan for my life and that even the most puzzling things that happen, even the most painful things that happen are all part of God working out his plan for my life and it doesn't matter whether I understand or not. Jeremiah 2911. I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.
Is it but I don't know well so lots.
What difference does that make you don't need to know as long as the Almighty God of the universe knows and that's the most important. I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good, not for evil to give you a future and a hope. And I tell these people in my office number tell you today friends. God makes homes for that matter with you, and I understand God doesn't waste experiences. He didn't waste this experience in the apostle Paul, great-great-grandparents, and he's not going to waste and experience in your life.
God knows what he's doing and we need to trust.
If you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus is real and personal Savior, may I say to you that one of the wonderful things that come we trust Christ is not just a place in heaven. And not just eternal life and you do get those things but another wonderful thing that comes is that we get Almighty God of the universe suddenly as the one that's running and planning our lives we get the assurance that were not the victims of random circumstances or random tragedies, but that there is a sovereign God running the program of our lives and we can relax as long as he knows the plan he has for us and he's working it out, whereupon friends there is a peace that comes into our lives. There is a joy and a tranquility that comes in the life when you know God is running your life that you can get any other way if you're here and you don't know Christ.
We want you to have that piece it all comes as part of the package deal.
When you trust Christ, I hope you'll do the squeal year was 1873 Chicago would burn to the ground. It was a man living in Chicago decided that this would be a good moment for he and his family to go on a little vacation and so he decided to go to England so he and his wife and their children went to New York in the book passage on a steamer going to England, but at the last minute some business affairs came up and he said to his wife. You want to be detained for couple of days. What I want you to do is I want to go ahead with the girls. He had four daughters and I want to get on the boat go to England and I'll meet you in a couple of days.
Only a couple days on she's okay. So she got on the ship and as they sailed across the North Atlantic. One night they were rammed by another vessel and their ship sank in less than an hour. His wife survived all four of his daughters drowned in the North Atlantic.
His wife was taken England and she cabled back to into words. Save the below the man's name was Horatio G.
Spafford, Mr. Spafford immediately got on board a ship and headed off to meet his wife in England.
He told the captain is in the captain when we get to the spot longitude and latitude without accident happened.
You call me I don't care with its daytime nighttime I want to know when we get there.
It was 2 AM and the knock came on his door. The steward said to him, Mr. Spafford, the captain want you to know when 10 minutes will be at your spot.
He went up on deck and as the ship sailed over the watery graves of his daughters. He reached inside of his pocket, he found he had no envelope in their pencil, and so in the dim light on the ballot.
That ship at 2 AM.
He began writing down some more. As they came to if he was up there praying and talking to God. He started writing words and here's what he began to write when peace like a river attendance my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot Lord you have taught me to say it is well is well with my soul. That envelope went on to become the great him that we sang earlier and I want to show you a picture that envelope still exist today. It's in the American colony Hotel in Jerusalem on display. This is the actual envelope on which Horatio G. Spafford in 1873 wrote down those words, but you know when things were as bad as they were going to get by with my wife and me and my little girl Jill we be up in the middle of the night should be having seizures would be waiting for the rescue squad would be on our way to the hospital. We be going in the pediatric ICU. You know the song, the got me through. I went home to myself. Lord, whatever my lot. You've taught me to say it is well with my soul. I can't tell you how many funerals I've done in 22 years, but I can tell you without a doubt the most commonly song song that brings hope and encouragement to families at that moment in these services as it is well with my soul Lisa Beamer in her book said that the one song she wanted song at Todd Beamer's memorial service. It is well with my soul and that when she stepped off onto the ground in Pennsylvania for the very first time to visit the crash site that the only way she could hold it together was by homing the words to herself. It is well with my soul. Folks, this all has brought more comfort and hope and encouragement to the lives of followers of Christ and possibly any other him that's ever been written, but do you understand it never would've been written. If it hadn't been for what we call a tragedy in the life of this man, Horatio G. Spafford, now to God ways that experience in the life of Mr. Spafford know we didn't. He knew that song was inside this man but God also knew what it was going to take to get that song out of that man to bless millions of people in the century to have to follow and I'm sure there was many day when Horatio G Spafford turn to God and said why why God why would you do this, why would you take my girls why would you allow this to happen to us but can't we see now that Mr. Spafford it is girls together in heaven with his him still bringing hope to millions of people around the world every single day. Can't we see the God knew what he was doing all the time friends listen to message of it is well with my soul and the message of Paul's Roman citizenship because I'm sure his great-grandparents many times that why are you doing this the message of both is the same that God never waste and experience God knows what he's doing. So we need to trust him and you may be here today with things going on in your life that you don't understand water happening things going on in your life when you say God why why why and you know what friends God's answer is always the same. I know the plans I have for you since you plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope not. Can you just trust me and my goal today is to try to convince all of us to rise above the level of our motion to rise above the level of our feeling to rise to a different level low level say where we like Horatio G. Spafford can say whatever my lots. Lord you have taught me to say you've taught me to walk by faith and say it is well is well with muscle. May God help us to for Jesus. Thanks for reminding us today that we are not in this thing called life by ourselves that you're here with us walking hand-in-hand with us and that you are the sovereign God of the universe, who has a plan for our lives. That's bigger and grander than we could ever imagine for so many times things happen. We don't understand the puzzles they heard us. But my prayer is that you would use the example of Paul citizenship and his great-great-grandparents. The example of Horatio G.
Spafford to remind us today that that it will just trust you. You work all these things out for your perfect plan for our welfare.
The welfare of people around us in the advancement of the kingdom of God. So we just need to trust you know more. There a lot of people here today were hurting a lot of people here today were followers of Christ and yet their stuff happening in our lives seem to make no sense at all. My prayer that you would lift us today above those questions that you would lift us today above those feelings and above the pain and bring us to the Lord, the level where we can say by faith, whatever my lot Lord you taught me to say it is well with my soul, give us that peace that passes all understanding, will the comes when we walk by faith we pray these things in Jesus name, amen