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April 16, 2021 7:00 am
Bible today. I hope you'll open it with me to ask chapter 22 will become either limited by the way, with our children up you don't get. We have a wonderful children's concert coming up on Friday night here at eight and Saturday at one with our children's the creative arts club all emissions free. Hope you like to be a part of that. You simply come and Adobe hey accepted 22 were going to be continuing in our study of the life of a great man. The apostle Paul and I will be coming there just a moment but first let me say that one of the greatest tragedies that I've ever been a part of was the death of my wife's youngest sisters. Her name was Sandy in 1985 from cancer at the time she was 27 years old, married, had a one-year-old little boy and she died of a very aggressive form of cancer that took her life in 13 months. And you know during those 13 months I remember having several conversations with my father-in-law on one of them.
I'll never forget he said to me, you know, long after you grow up and you raise your children and you get into high school and you get them through college and are still walking with Christ and they marry somebody walking with Christ and you get married and launched in there making it on their own.
He said you know you can't have the idea that at that point, you're going to be able to sit back back and relaxing. This kind of enjoy your life. Your old age. He said, but this is been the hardest year of my life. And then he said something to me that made an indelible impression upon me. He said and I quote what I've learned is that God never lets us get so old that we don't have to trust him for something to talk about this today were to talk about walking by faith to talk about trusting God. Even though we don't understand why he's letting certain things happen in our lives.
And if you got some things going on in your life today that you don't understand why they're happening over and and they don't seem to make any sense to you, then let me say that I believe you come to the right place this morning because that's what were going to talk about really use an incident right out of the life of the apostle Paul is our classroom so let's begin here and ask chapter 22. But before we start a little bit of background so were altogether remember here in acts 22 that the apostle Paul is in Jerusalem.
He's finished his third missionary journey. It's the summer of 57 A.D. and Paul was at the temple worshiping when a bunch of Jewish people from the city of Ephesus who were in town recognized him. They had tried to kill him when he was in Ephesus may fail, and now they saw another opportunity to get them by accusing Paul of bringing a Gentile into the temple courts. Well, when they did this. A riot broke out. The mob grabbed Paul and began beating him to death, and the only thing that saved his life was the Roman army commander of Jerusalem showing up with a bunch of soldiers. They grabbed Paul put them in chains and led him away from the mall. As a matter of fact, so they came from the Antonio fortress.
I'll show you where that is here with the Temple Mount in the upper right-hand corner of the slide. You see the Antonio fortress. This is where the Roman army garrison was headquartered in Jerusalem, they could see everything happening on the Temple Mount.
They came out here to rescue Paul and they carried them back into this fortress as they were taking him up the steps and into the fortress.
Paul asked the Army commander if he could speak to them all. Chapter 21 verse 40 and having received the Tribune's permission. Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crown when they when there was a great harsh.
He then spoke to them in Hebrew, and as we saw two weeks ago. In the beginning of acts 22 Paul talk to them first about his Jewish credentials. Then about his conversion experience and finally about his calling to the Gentiles will as soon as he said the Gentiles. Verse 22 of this chapter.
The crowd listened to Paul Tilley said this then they raise their voices and shouted rid the earth of him. He's not fit to live.
And since the crowd was shouting and throwing their cloaks and flinging dust into the air. The Tribune ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress for his own protection. Now that's where we been so let's pick up and see what happens next.
Verse 24 chapter 22. The Tribune directed the Paul then be flogged in question in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this is a long would he mean understand why me, all you do is listen to Paul speech you need understand why no, no friends, remember, Paul spoke to the crowd in Hebrew. This is a Roman military officer heat out and understand Hebrew peanut have a clue what Paul said to the crowd. The only thing he knows is whatever Paul said it made a matter no wet hand. That's all he knows, but he's in charge of Jerusalem. He needs to know what's going on. And so, assuming the Paula some, common criminal. He did what you will what was standard operating procedure for the Romans. In those days they assume you wouldn't get the truth out of somebody unless you interrogated them and beat them up. And so he routinely gave the order and so will just take him and flog him and question him and find out what's going on now, the flogging whip that the apostle Paul was about to have used on him is the very same flogging with that if you saw the movie the passion you saw used on the Lord Jesus with the rawhide strips and the little pieces of bone and metal in the end, this is what they were about to use on the apostle Paul in Latin, it was called a flagella we get our English word flagellate from this word FF Bruce writing in his commentary on the book of acts said and I quote the flagellum was a fearful instrument of torture. If a man did not actually die under it which often happen.
He would usually be crippled for life. Paul had been beaten with rods on three occasions and five times he been sentenced to the Jewish whip, but neither of these penalties had the murderous quality of the flagellum. So Paul was about to get it. Verse 25 and as they were stretching Paul out to flog him. Paul said to the centurial who was a junior Roman officer there is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty of anything when the centurion heard this, he immediately went to the Tribune and said what are you doing this man is a Roman citizen and you completely lost her mind and the Tribune hurried to Paul and said, tell me, are you a Roman citizen. Yes I am.
Paul answered the Tribune said while I acquired my citizenship with a large sum of money. Paul said that I was actually born a Roman citizen.
Well folks, when they found this out that Paul was a Roman citizen everything suddenly change verse 29. Therefore, those were about to flog him immediately let go him. Paul became like a hot potato man. Nobody wanted to touch you now and the Tribune was also afraid when he realized that he had put Paul a Roman citizen in chains and almost flogged him.
You might ask why. Why were these people so afraid of me. What was the big deal about treating a Roman citizen like that.
What we need to understand some things about Roman citizenship in the days of the apostle Paul. Folks, even though in the days of Paul.
There were millions of subjects under the control of the Roman Empire.
We need to understand that just because you became a subject of Rome. You did not become a citizen of Rome.
Roman citizenship was a privilege that was jealously guarded as a result, there were very few people born outside of Italy who ever became Roman citizens. But it just so happened the apostle Paul was one of his eye was all okay so what was the big deal about being a Roman citizen well Roman citizens have rights they had privileges that were only given to them that the rest of the people in the Empire didn't have.
There were three him to tell you about that applied in the situation. Number one, a Roman citizen by right was entitled to a formal trial before any form of punishment would be inflicted upon him now.
Did the Tribune give Paul that, trial no we didn't. He just grabbed them to him in chains and dragged him into the Antonio fortress. He didn't even read him his Miranda rights folks before he rested. Second of all AAA, a Roman citizen even if he was convicted of a trauma crime couldn't be punished in any way that would cause him public humiliation and yet what in the Tribune. Don did slap all in chains down on the Temple Mount in front of everybody. And like a common thief dragged him around in a bunch of chains he violated this right. And third, and finally, regardless of his crime, a Roman citizen was never allowed ever to be tied up and flog. And that's exactly what the Tribune had ordered Don they had already tied Paul up and they were already about the flogging, when suddenly they stop. We need to understand that there were severe penalties that were in place for violating the rights of a Roman citizen because of what he had done this Roman commander could've been stripped of his command. He could've been drummed out of the Army for good. In fact, he could've been thrown in jail and flog himself for what he had done to the apostle Paul what the Tribune had done was serious and he knew it and is working to see in the next couple of chapters the Tribune. From this point on, made it his goal to become Paul's best friend is that what I'm saying because he knew if Paul decided to press charges.
He was in big trouble now. That's as far as we want to go right now in the passage because we want to stop and ask our most important question I want to hear all you guys were down and overflow nice allowed ready. Here we go.
123 – so what is a lot so I do know I me what you shared up to this point is been marginally interesting. But honestly, what differences in any of this make to my life when I walk out of my house on a Monday morning.
Well, let's see if we can answer that question. I want to go back to what Paul said to this Roman military officer. Remember, the officer said. I bought my citizenship for a great deal of money. What Paul say. Paul said he said but I was born a Roman citizen. Now I don't know about you, but it occurred to me how did this nice Jewish boy name.
The apostle Paul. How in the world did he end up being born a Roman citizen. So I went and did some work on it to try to figure out how in the world that happen. It all started 200 years before. Acts 22 back in 171 BC. Let me tell you how we ended up becoming a citizen in the hundred and 71 BC a guy named Antiochus was king over an empire that included all of modern-day Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel, and he decided that he was going to make the sleepy little town of Tarsus will show your map to see where it is. He was going to make that sleepy little town into want to his military garrison cities in southern Asia minor. He decided to do this. He wanted to swell the population of this town and so what he did for reasons that we don't know why he moved hundreds of Jewish families out of the city of Jerusalem forcibly, against their will, that this included the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents and move them all and resettle them in the city of Tarsus to soften the blow as a concession to them. He granted them automatic citizenship in this town of Tarsus, you say okay so now I understand how Paul's ancestors became citizens of Tarsus that still doesn't explain how the apostle Paul got born a Roman citizen. Okay, well, listen, does everybody here will know who Brutus was. So yeah yeah I know who Brutus is. He's the guy who used to beat up Popeye in the cartoon. No no no no no no, that is blue so Joe used to do that we are talking about group taught Brutus was a Roman aristocrat going 44 BC murdered Julius Caesar because he didn't want them to become Emperor immediately after that a civil war broke out between Brutus and his forces and the forces of Julius Caesar's nephew Augustus Caesar well. Brutus took his troops and came to Tarsus and took over the city.
He sees the city and made it into his headquarters, but what you need to know is that the people of the city of Tarsus remained loyal to Augustus Caesar.
Caesar one became Emperor and after he defeated Brutus Augustus Caesar to thank the people of Tarsus for their loyalty. He immediately granted every citizen in Tarsus in 40 BC automatic Roman citizenship folks. The apostle Paul was not alive and 40 BC, but his grandparents were.
They were citizens of Tarsus already because of what King Antiochus had done and now because of what Augustus did, they automatically became Roman citizen so that when Paul was born some 50 years later he was what born a Roman citizen not got a question for you. How do you think the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents felt in 171 BC when the soldiers and Antiochus came in a Jerusalem grabbed him by the nape of an epic neck and said I guess what you're moving to grandma you stop were taking you to some Gentile town 100 miles from your 200 miles from here. How do you think they fell being ripped away from their family, their loved ones, their homes, their jobs, the city they loved everything they were familiar with and they're going to be carried off now to to a city where they don't know anybody to a Gentile city you think they were confused.
I do you think they were devastated. I do you think they ever look to God and God and said God what in the world are you doing to me. I do. I think they said all of those things, but can we see and here's the critical point that I don't want you to miss. Can't we see that in uprooting Paul's great-great-grandparents and taking them to Tarsus that God knew exactly what he was doing all the time God was looking down the corridors of time, 200 years down the corridors of time and seeing their great-great-grandson named Paul. God knew Paul was going to be the greatest missionary to the Roman Empire, ever.
He knew that in order not to be killed in Jerusalem, flogged to death and not be able to complete his mission. He needed to be a Roman citizen and God had everything orchestrated to make sure Paul got born a Roman citizen friends. God was so far ahead of the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents. It wasn't even funny.
He knew what he was doing every Tuesday for the last 24 years since I've been pastor here, but I'm not out of town. I try to take appointments on Tuesday afternoons in my office and you know I've had people come in and over those years asked all kinds of different questions about all kinds of different things, but without a doubt the most commonly asked question that I get on a Tuesday. Is this and that is lawn why would God let this happen to me.
Why would God let this happen to me I don't understand I don't get it. It makes no sense and friends. The reason people asked that question in my office is because even in our modern world today. Lots of things happen in our lives that they make no more sense to us then getting ripped up and moved to Tarsus made sense to the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents. Things happen to us at work.
Things happen in our families, things happen at school, we run into tragedies and losses and defeats, we run into financial problems and health problems and I'm single and I wish I were married, problems in we can figure out what God's doing, but but every week in my office on Tuesdays. I assure people and I'm here to assure you today of one critical truth and that is God makes no mistakes. He did make in us that mistake with the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents. He knew what he was doing all the time and friends. He is not made a mistake with you. I love the verse of Scripture. Jeremiah 2911 for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope and what God is promising us in this verse, my friends, is that whatever he's allowing to happen to you. It's all part of his divinely scripted plan for your life.
God has already worked it out for his glory. Your benefit doesn't matter what you can understand doesn't matter whether you can figure it out because God made you a promising God can't lie and focus. He did make a mistake with the apostle Paul's great-great-grandparents is not making a mistake with you what we have to be careful about is anger when we have to be careful about his bitterness and and letting those things take root in our life because were confused, instead, God challenges us to walk by faith to trust him and believe he knows what he's doing. Whether we can figure it out. At this moment in time whether we can you know the year was 1873 in Chicago had burned to the ground and it was a man living in Chicago at the time his name was Horatio G. Spafford and Mr. Spafford had a wife and four daughters, and he decided that this would be a good chance to take them on a vacation, and so he booked passage on a ship from New York going to England and was going to spend a few weeks in England, but when he got to New York. There were some business items that actually came up and so he got delayed and he said his wife and he sent his four daughters on ahead to England and he said I'll join you.
Give me a couple of days and so they settle while they sailed across the North Atlantic and as they were going in the middle of the night. One night they were rammed accidentally by another vessel and their ship was sunk only 28 people survive. Mr. Spafford's wife was one of them. All four of his daughters died. They drowned in the North Atlantic when she was rescued Mr. Spafford in taking the English cable back to her husband in New York to words she said save the below while Mr. Spafford immediately went got on the ship and and and and save those for sale to England and meter it was following the same path is as the ship's wife to bid on any said to the captain is a captain.
I don't care what time of day or night. It is when we get to the spot where that accident happened. We get when we get to the longitude and latitude were my four daughters drown you find me and I want to know it was 2 o'clock in the morning. One night in the not came on his door and the steward said Mr. Spafford, the captain want you to know that in 15 minutes will be at your spot well. Mr. Spafford got his coat on and went up on deck and there under the dim lights of the ship as they sailed over the watery grave of his four daughters. He found it in his pocket. He had an old envelope from one of the hotels. He did state that had a pencil and so he took out this envelope and he took out the pencil and he began to write down his feeling at that moment, he wrote, when peace like a river attendance by way, when sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot Lord you have taught me to say it is well it is well with my soul was Horatio G Spafford really say he was saying you know what standing here on the deck of the ship out of understand why God did what he did. It makes no sense to me why God would take my four daughters, but I'm not going to be angry and I'm not going to be bitter under the trust God to God knows what he's doing and that's when he wrote that effectively show you a picture of that original envelope to Jerusalem the day the American colony Hotel. If you ever go with me I'll take and show it to you. And that's the envelope on which the hymn was written. You know when my daughter is you know who has severe mental retardation in for a long time. We weren't sure whether she's going to live or die.
When she would be in the hospital and I would go in and rock her there in the hospital. This was the most precious him. I knew I would home as I would sit there rocking her. It is well it is well with my soul.
I don't funerals for 24 years without a doubt the most commonly song him for comfort at the funerals of Christian is. It is well with my soul. When Lisa Beamer she says in her book, went to visit the crash site in Pennsylvania of United flight 93 were her husband Todd.she said.
I walked around the crash site homing is well with my soul. And even though all of America was watching the funeral. I insisted the song be played at my husband's funeral. This him has probably brought more comfort and more hope to more followers of Christ in the Navy. Any other him it's ever been written, but it would never have been written if it had not been for the tragedy that happened to Horatio G.
Spafford end of the fact that he decided to trust God to the tragedy. Now today, can't we see that with him and his girl safely in heaven and with this him still encouraging the hearts of thousands of people every day. Can't we see God knew what he was doing the whole time friends. The message of the hymn is well with my soul and the message of Paul's Roman citizenship is the same and that is trust God. He knows what is to now sitting here today. Let me say in closing, do you understand everything that God is allowing in your life. I bet you do that you don't friends. I don't understand everything God's allowing in my life. Do I understand why a beautiful 27-year-old girl who was a sincere follower of Christ.
Why God would allow her to die of cancer. No, I don't but I believe God knows what he's doing to understand why I've got a severely mentally retarded little girl. No, I don't but I believe God knows what he's doing. Do I understand why. Several weeks ago I was driving on the interstate doing 70 like a body else and I was the one the got the ticket for. And honestly I don't think it's fair to be honest, but I believe God knows what he's doing God's order that I do know I believe that both lots of things happen in our life that we don't believe we we don't understand rather why God's doing of any human beings you know we want to see everything we want understand everything we want to know how it all fits together and we say God show me all that and I'll trust you and God says sorry you got it backwards. You trust me and I'll show you how it all fits together and this is why the apostle Paul said, we walk by faith, not by sight. If we could see everything and understand everything we be walking by sight.
Goddesses are never going allow you to do that. I'm always no matter how old you get remember what my father-in-law said I'm gonna make you trust me for some because that's the way I want you walking like little children who simply hold her father's hand and believe that he knows what's best dear here today and you've got some situations like that in your life. Or maybe your little angry or maybe your little bitter and maybe a real confused. I'm going to give you a moment in just a second to trade that confusion that bitterness and that anger in for childlike trust in Jesus Christ because that's where God wants us to be folks if we can say it is well with my soul. No matter what happens in our life than we can face anything with Jesus Christ.
But let me say as we get ready to bow ahead and do that if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus in a real and personal way friends. One of the great things that happen when you come in your relationship with Christ is you get the assurance that God now has a plan mapped out for your life and he's gonna work it out. All you gotta do was follow. Hey, it's great to know that that you don't have to figure out your way through this world. God's going to do that for you. So if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus in a real and personal way while those of us who have bow our heads to talk to God about our issues. I want to challenge you to bow your head and asked Jesus Christ to become part whatever you need to talk to God about what's our heads into it now or Jesus you know that were just human and we want to know everything we want understand everything we want to see how it all fits. We want to walk by sight and when were not able to do that.
It's really easy for us to get angry with you. Really easy for us to become bitter and accuse you of letting us down. Lord would resume and that way and I pray that you forgive us for that and that is a result of the word of God to our hearts today that you would teach us a different way to live.
That you would teach us to walk by faith, that you would teach us to be like little children holding the hand of our heavenly father and simply saying my father knows where were going, I don't need. I just need to file solar change the way we live because we were here today change the way we react to the circumstances of life as we were here today and take the anger and the bitterness out of our hearts and replace it with the sweet peace of God that comes from saying it is well with my soul because God has a plan for my life and I can trust or thanks for talking to us today change our lives because we were here.
I pray in Jesus name God's people said Amen