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Being Long Suffering with Non-Believers - Life of Paul Part 79

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 10, 2021 7:00 am

Being Long Suffering with Non-Believers - Life of Paul Part 79

So What? / Lon Solomon

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April 10, 2021 7:00 am

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Hey, glad to hear they welcome all you guys down and overflow to the broader Bible about opening it to acts chapter 21 and I will be coming there just a moment but you know they call it the worm capital of the world is actually Wisconsin main the worms that come from Wisconsin are shipped all over the country and fishermen actually pay up to a dollar a worm for these things. They are iridescent they average 12 to 15 inches wall that is one heck of a worm that is Hill the owner of Harbor Bay company in town said and I quote the got worms all the places but they are nowhere near the size of ours." These worms are as icky as they sound. They squirt red liquid action when you try to talk to him they Dr. poisonous fangs that protrude from there had to deliver a real bad be like staying in the way that you harvest these worms is that at low tide. Men go out men who are called worm diggers go out into the mudflaps around Wisconsin and standing in hip deep mud stinking brown mod that use homelike instruments in a they work their way through the mud until they find a worm and then they pull the worm out with their hands until they get it all the way out of the mud. One of the best worm diggers in Wisconsin is a fellow named dog small dogs father was a worm bigger. His grandfather was a worm digger and dog on a good day can make $180 in five hours, digging worms now at $0.12 a worm. That's what he gets paid. That's 1500 worms in five hours that he digs out and then he takes the rest of the day off. He plays golf and hangs out down at the diner with all the other worm diggers there in Wisconsin. The article that I was reading a National Geographic dog is quoted as saying, of course, there are $30 days to that's why I have a hard-working wife now when I read this article, the person who impressed me most of the whole story was the guys why this woman goes to work at work starts or all of them complained about doing worm and play golf you talk about a patient woman, ladies what you good is one patient woman will want to talk about patients today were to talk about long-suffering today, not so much when it comes to dealing with worm diggers like dog when it comes to dealing with people who haven't yet come to Jesus Christ and to look at an incident in the life of the apostle Paul. As we continue our study in his life today and then were to bring all about forward and say okay so like what differences that make to me.

So here we go little bit of background.

Remember, the apostle Paul here in acts 21 is on his third missionary journey. He's finishing it up if the spring of 57 A.D. and Paul is working his way to Jerusalem as an offering that the Gentile churches of Turkey and Greece and Macedonia have taken up and ascending to the poor believers in Jerusalem.

He's worked his way south down the coast of Turkey to the little town of Miletus and as we finished, acts chapter 20 Paul left Miletus here in acts 21 Luke begins by telling us all the places Paul stopped and when I can read all that now, Caesarea 65 miles from Jerusalem. And they did that on land, but I want to talk to you permitted about the city of Caesarea Caesarea was the second largest city in Israel at the time of the apostle Paul. It was a wonderful city that Herod the great, had built between the years of 22 and nine BC he had spared no expense in building the city because he dedicated the city to his mentor on Emperor Caesar Augustus, his patron and that's why he called it Caesarea or Caesarea. He had all kinds of things your palaces and temples sewer system hippodrome, even a wonderful theater in this town and there were about 100,000 people living in the city of Caesarea.

When Paul arrived there at this time. Now the other thing you need to know about Caesarea is that it was the Roman headquarters for the province of Judea, meaning that the Roman army was stationed here, not in Jerusalem that the Roman procurator lived here not in Jerusalem. Pontius Pilate lived in Caesarea. He did not live in Jerusalem. He said he along but but when Jesus was arrested. Pontius Pilate was right there and tell you right three times a year at the great festival of Passover was one of our Pontius Pilate would take the Army and go to Jerusalem just to make sure that with all these new pilgrims in town troubled and breakout, but he was only there for a week or so that he would write back to Caesarea. This was his hometown and as were going to see in the next couple chapters. This is where Paul's going to be held in jail for over two years before he sent the wrong this is Caesarea that while were on Pontius Pilate. I should mention to you that Pontius Pilate was used by critics of the Bible for many many years to indicate that the Bible was wrong, that it was historically inaccurate. People said you know what the Bible over and over talks about Pontius Pilate, but when we look at the archaeological record we don't find Pontius Pilate's name anywhere in the archaeological record will that was true up until 1963, 1963 digging right here right Caesarea archaeologist found a big old slab of stone and big is like we circled in red on this stone is the name in Latin Pontius Pilate, a twos Pontius Pilate right big of life on this stone and if you go with me in Israel. Sometime I'll take you to the Israeli Museum and you can actually see the stone you can actually touch it if the gardener looking and him and of course Pontius Pilate lived. Of course he was a real person just like the Bible says that we got his name carved in a piece of rock right from Caesarea, where his headquarters was and you know what we love to say around here. The more they dig out of the ground the more the Bible proves to be right and it did with Pontius Pilate.

What is Caesarea all arrived here. He stayed with Philip this is the same Philip who in acts chapter 6 was appointed one of the first deacons of the church. This is the same Philip would ask chapter 8 led the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ same guy and let's pick up the story.

Now verse 10 after we had been in Caesarea for some days.

Luke writes a prophet named Agnes came up from Jerusalem, he took Paul's belt tied his own hands and feet with it and said the Holy Spirit says that in this way, the Jews of Jerusalem will bind up all and hand them over to the Gentiles. And when we heard this we began begging Paul not to go all to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered. Why are you weeping and breaking my heart. I am ready not only to be found, but also to die in Jerusalem for the Lord Jesus and since Paul would not be dissuaded.

We gave up and said well the will of the Lord be done easily along why was Paul so hardheaded about this to me.

Why was he so stubborn and pigheaded whenever I was trying to talk them out of going Jerusalem. He was determined he was going well, the answer is found in acts 20 he said in acts chapter 20 and now compelled by the Holy Spirit. I am going to Jerusalem you see the apostle Paul was convinced that going to Jerusalem at this moment in time was God's will for his life and remember the apostle Paul had made an absolute surrender commitment of his life to God's will and that's what he says to these guys guys I made a commitment of my life to God's will, whatever my number one concern is not self-preservation. My number one concern is doing the will of God doing my duty being a faithful soldier of Christ at whatever cost because we don't really care. Want to know why the apostle Paul was a great servant of Christ that he was one of the reasons you're seeing right here. It was this kind of absolute surrender to God's will for his life and dating the man of God that he will will Paul acts 21 says actually did go to Jerusalem and we arrived in town. He met with the leaders of the Jewish church, you know, James and John and Peter in her body and he told of all the great things God was doing among the Gentiles through him and in Turkey and Greece and Macedonia and they were thrilled, but then James spoke up and said, will Paul that's all wonderful but you we got a problem in this town with you and he said this to see brother how many thousands of Jews have believed in Jesus here Jerusalem and all of them are zealous for the Old Testament law. They these Jewish believers and everybody else in Jerusalem. Paul they have been told that your teaching Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake the laws of Moses to stop circumcising their children and to turn away from all of our Jewish customs."

These were false reports. There is no evidence anywhere that Paul ever instructed Jewish believers to do this. However, this is what everybody in Jerusalem was being told this.

Whatever body in Jerusalem believe in you Mike that will launch a why was rumors like this such a problem. Well that Everett Harrison, in his commentary on the book of acts tells him he said and I quote these were false reports about Paul, but they made the task of the Jerusalem church in reaching Jewish people with the gospel very difficult since everyone knew that Paul was a Jewish believer. The point is this that this legend repudiation of the Old Testament law called and really repudiate the Old Testament law, but the fact everybody thought he did. This alleged repudiation was unbelievably offensive to the Jewish people of Jerusalem. They considered it downright treasonous. And what's more, they all knew that Paul was a believer in Jesus Christ.

So what they did and they lumped those two things together.

They said all I understand now become a follower of Jesus and become a traitor to your people.

I got it become a follower of Jesus, and you don't circumcising kids anymore, and you don't respect the Jewish law anymore and you don't respect our customs anymore. I understand. And so when you go out to talk to Jewish people about the coming of Christ and this is what they think folks it'll listen to you.

They go if that's what it means to be a do is believe what Paul's doing. Will Paul what even knowing it, but that's what they thought were not interested were not instant believe in Jesus were not become traitors to our people see the problem. You know I went to dream the paper this week about the criminal that the Israelis release from jail. He been in jail 18 years, mostly in solitary confinement.

His name was Mordecai Vanunu and he is one of the most reviled men in all of Israel.

One of the most hated man in all of Israel and let me tell you why. In 1986.

This man, he was a technician at the ultrasecret die mono nuclear plant in southern Israel in 1986.

This man released pictures that he had secretly taken inside the nuclear facility, and information about Israel's atomic weapons program that he again while working in the nuclear facility. He released them all to a British newspaper which published them on the front page of the news and suddenly all of Israel's nuclear secrets were out in the open for everybody to see the Israelis caught him. They tried him. They sentenced him to 18 years in jail.

Mostly, as I said in solitary confinement. He is considered the Benedict Arnold of Israel the worst trader you could possibly come up with that let me tell you what the catch is in the early 1980s before he ratted his country out Mordecai Vanunu, a Moroccan to publicly converted to Christianity and that wonderful, in fact, when he got out of jail this past week. The very first thing he did was go right to Jerusalem to an Anglican church where the rector greeted him with open arms and hugged him. He stood with the rector and said I would do it again. I did what's right and then he went in the celebrated community.

They'll think that's a problem for people tried to evangelize in Israel people goal. I understand convert to Christianity and become like Vanunu convert to Christianity and sell you people out.

All I understand. In fact I talked to our branch leader for Jews for Jesus and not in Israel. If I'm boasting this week and he said yeah he said you know this is certainly going to blow back on us quoting him. It certainly isn't a red letter day for us in Israel that this guy got let out of jail and would like the church. No, no, not a good day that folks do you understand that's exactly the situation that 2000 years ago the church in Israel place with Paul. Paul hadn't done with the Jewish people in Jerusalem thought he had done. He had been a traitor to their people. But that's what they thought and just the rumor of that made it reaching them so hard. Everybody see the so James stands up and says Paula got a great idea. I think we can fix this. Let me tell you my idea. James says here's what we want to do.

Paul dear. Therefore, men with those who made about take these men purify yourself with them and pay their expenses so they can shave their heads that every body will know that there's nothing to these rumors they've heard about you use a long walk in the world are they talking about people saving their head. What is going on there.

Will these four men that they're talking about, had taken a Nazirite vow. These four men Numbers chapter 6 had committed themselves to God and by this vow to a special time of devotion a special time of dedication to God. And when that time was up. What you did if you took a Nazirite that was you went to the temple. You presented yourself to the priest you paid a very special person to shave all your hair off his assigned your bow was over.

You brought multiple animal sacrifices with you that you gave to the priest who sacrificed them to God there at the temple.

There were a lot of expenses yet the file these animals at the patent got a straightahead.

There are a lot of expenses associated with completing a Nazirite balance old wood. James says is you know we want to do. Paul we want you to pay the expenses for these four men that was considered a pious deed in Israel to pay for someone's expenses was finishing about that was considered up a big good deed that was considered a huge mitzvah if you know that were to do that and then and James says if you do this every body then will know you're not against our laws do not against our custom.

There's nothing to these rumors 00 and oh by the way Paul James is can I remind you that since you been out in Gentile country. You just can't walk into the temple and pay these guys expenses because your ritually unclean.

You first have to purify yourself with seven days of special ceremony and then after you go through seven days of this stuff then you going to pay their expenses. That's what were asking you to do is a lot.

I don't know men sound like a big pain in the neck to me what it was a big pain in the neck, friends, it was very inconvenient to have to do all this and yet what it Paul do watch verse 26 the next day, Paul took the four men and began the purification process for himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice to the priests of the date when his days of purification would end and the sacrifices for these other four men would be made for each of them. In other words Paul did as inconvenient as it was called in with James asking he was willing to put himself out to try to help improve the opportunity to reach people for Christ there in Jerusalem. Now that's as far as we want to go in the passage for today because we want to stop and we want to ask a really important question you don't know our questions so with Zillman with vigor and with vitality I want to hear you guys do this when he got down an overflow tube. So here we go ready 123 yeah is a lot so say so you what difference does it make me I've never been to Jerusalem and I hate worms is not a thing you've talked about so far that makes any difference to me. Well, let's see if we can't make that different okay little folks. When you watch this when you when you read this passage. Does it strike you as interesting that the apostle Paul would do would James asking to do this it strike you as interesting that he would inconvenience and put himself out go through all of this. Dr. James says he should do strikes me as interesting. You know I frankly look at this and I say number one Paul Dineen do anything wrong by city inconvenience Opelika and number two think it was inconveniencing himself for these of the Jewish people in Jerusalem think what they've done to him.

They ran him out of town when he was a young believer.

They've followed them all over the world undercutting and dogging his ministry. They organize a plot to kill them when he was in Greece a few months before they spit on the ground when they hear his name mentioned and is working to see in the next couple of chapters here in the book of acts they're going to go to extraordinary lengths to try to kill Paul and wipe them off the face of the earth and these of the people these exasperating people are the people that James is asking Paul to put himself out for.

Meeting even though why would he be this patient and long-suffering with a group of people. This exasperating what you want to know the answer. Paul tells first Corinthians 9.

He said to the Jewish people here in acts chapter 21 is talking about. I became like a Jew. I went out of the temple and did the whole thing that I might win Jewish people to those under the law here in acts chapter 21 I was going to go down and pay their expenses and do all this, so I became like a person on the law, even though as a believer I myself am not under the law, that I might win those under the law. Why did Paul do what he did in acts chapter 21. Very simply, folks, because Paul cared more about winning people to Christ that he cared about his own convenience he cared more about winning people to Christ that he cared about his own ego, his own pride, his own wounded feelings his own exasperation and Paul understood that the only way we can win people to Christ is for us to be patient with them and for us to be forbearing with them and for us to be long-suffering with them.

No matter how exasperating they may be in return. That's the only way to reach people for Christ. You know when I came to Christ in the spring of 1971 I drew up a top 10 list I had anything to Gideon just to give out and it was your top 10 list of people you want to succumb to Christ. The number one on my top 10 list was my day. My dad's health was poor. He already had two heart attacks and that he was number one on my top 10 list and every time I got the chance I would sit down and try to talk to my dad about Jesus Christ.

Well, sometimes my dad would refuse what I was talking to me even acknowledge I was there when you look at the acted like it. I didn't exist. Sometimes we be sit there and you television the owner need turn the television also allow you can hear Jerry about the sometimes my dad argues that there talked about pricing. Get up, walk out the room like he was going to get a soda and never come back from sitting there in the room. He never returned on talking to myself and one Canadian that went on for seven years and I got so exasperated that many times I would pray and say Lord this is hopeless. This is useless. This man is not the slightest bit interested in a thing that I'm telling you all he does is abuse me and insult me and ridicule me and embarrass me. I mean really God this is going nowhere and you know every time I would pray that the Lord would say to me in a long, you gotta be patient with this. You gotta be long-suffering with this man. Don't you dare give up on this man. You just go back in there and you be patient with right I'll do my best will let me tell you the end of the story. My dad seven years into this had a heart attack is third. He was in the new VA hospital in Charlottesville. I drove down to see them. When I walked in his hospital room on a Friday night and he was sitting up in bed in the hospital and after about 30 seconds of pleasantries, he said to me, out of the blue he said logging on the new lot of thinking sit here in the hospital.

He said not begun to think that maybe everything you been telling me about Jesus Christ is right do not thought I was going to have a heart attack put me in the bed next to them in the room I was like oh my gosh I said that I didn't even think you would listen. You never act like you would listen. He said what I was listen and you know the next day, Saturday morning I had the opportunity to get down on my knees with my dad next to his bed there in the hospital with my arm around my dad shoulder. I had the privilege of praying is my dad is Jesus Christ in his life to be his personal savior. That four days later while he was still in the hospital in Charlottesville. My father had his fourth heart attack and three days after that he was with the Lord seven days to the day from the day my dad prayed and asked Jesus in his life. He was with the Lord. But you know I learned some really important from that seven year experience. I learned that if I would've have allowed my frustrations and my irritations in my exasperation with him if I would allow them to rule without my dad wouldn't be with the Lord today and you know the apostle Paul did learn that very same lesson he understood that it would have any chance to reach people who are believers in Jesus yet. We're going to have to be patient. Folks will have to be long-suffering with these boats were going have to be forbearing with them and you know what the apostle Paul didn't just do this for Jewish people. He did for everybody, look what he says in first Corinthians 9, he says, though I am free from all men. I make myself a slave to everyone so that I might win as many people as possible to Jesus Christ.

I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I might win some. The apostle Paul looked back and said you know what God was infinitely patient with me in the process of my coming to Christ and the people who tried to reach me. Paul says were unbelievably long-suffering with me and you know what I would become the Christ that they had in the bin. Now on the turn around and on the tree people very same way.

And Paul says to us imitate me, follow me as I follow the example of the Lord Jesus. He was patient with me on the patient with other people that you follow my example and friends may I sit here, here, your follower of Christ today, I guarantee you, you would not be a follower of Christ here today if God had not been unbelievably patient with you, and you would not be a follower of Christ here today unless the people who were trying to reach you and the people who were praying for you were unbelievably patient with you. I'll bet you Lottie you were exasperating people to reach for Christ some of your exasperating even after he came across a job that you will really exasperate before you came to Christ and the people were patient with you, they were very patient with me. Now it's our job to turn around and be patient with other people, you know, we got an email, a cannonball, actually. Our front-line pastor got this from a young man who goes to frontline and I want you to hear his story about how he was patient with an exasperating friend at work and how that all turned out. Here's a story hello candy rights I've been attending frontline for several months. I'm learning a lot about church ministry through frontline and McLean Bible Church.

Anyway, I'm writing to share this testimony with you. I considered my mischievous coworker John as a kind of uncle like friend who I used to argue and debate with about religion ever since he discovered I was a Christian.

It seemed to become his mission in life to disprove my beliefs in Christ.

On several occasions I can remember him picking fights with me over various matters of Christianity.

And I would get upset. I think he enjoyed seeing the all distressed. As a result of his torment, he would get me all worked up and upset and later he come back and tease me by saying were still all right right then you give me a smile and a pat on the back. I think he enjoyed seeing me all worked up, but I also think he was sincerely searching for the truth.

Even with all these arguments, debates, and fighting matches.

I still have a growing desire to show him the truth about the Savior. So I began to pray for his salvation will one day at frontline I heard that the church had bought over 10,000 movie tickets for the passion of Christ that would be shown in various theaters the ultimate attraction about this idea was that a pastor was going to give a brief message and lead in the salvation prayer after the movie was over I said to myself, this is perfect for John excitedly.

I went to the booth after the service and bought two tickets. John went to the show on Monday night February 23. Sadly, about a month later, John unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack while chasing his dogs out of the woods during the funeral service three days later John's niece went up to the stage to do a special song before she say she shared her firm belief that John is in heaven. She shared that John had told his mother that after seeing the movie. He accepted Christ as his Savior that evening in the movie theater. I confirmed this with his mother. After the service that 19 all five years of my work paid off through the grace of God without it without all that patience is young man showed in all that long-suffering. This man showed John would be in a different place today. Hope you got a John in your office, got a gal or guy in your office who is so exasperating that you just want to pull your hair out. Sometimes got somebody in your office who their mission is to talk you out of your faith. Their mission is everywhere you go in everything you do to try to discredit you as a follower of Christ and the more you talk about your faith and try to help people come to Christ, the more they oppose you. Somebody that is so irritating and so Hardeeville got some I like that your office got a John at your school friends of Dr. John in your neighborhood or maybe it's a relative who comes every Thanksgiving and from the moment they walk in Altamont. I walk out the house.

They got nothing but bad stuff to say about you and your faith got anybody like that you know well if you do I want to challenge you with the words of Winston Churchill. He went to the Harrow school in 1941 and he said this never give up.

He said, never give in, never, never, never, never give in. That's my challenge to you as long as there is breath in their body. Don't you dare give up on them. Don't you dare give it on the needle stuff I've learned over the years. The people who are often most vocal most obnoxious and most difficult are normally people that are under the most conviction and the other people who often end up coming of Christ.

Don't you dare give up on them. You stay with them. You be patient and your actions towards the menu before bearing in your attitude towards him and you be long-suffering in your prayer life for them) so I did that for you and not your job to do it for others, and I believe that when we are patient and long-suffering. When we return good for evil. We return blessing for curse. We return patients for exasperation to these people, you know what I believe that helps Jesus Christ reach these people so that's my challenge to you and I hope you'll take it seriously. By the way, if you're here, you never trusted Jesus in real and personal way is a great lesson to be learned from John story John one planning to have a heart attack chasing the dog folks he did and he was gone just like that you know what I don't know what tomorrow brings.

Neither the you but I know this is what the prophet Amos said, be prepared to meet your God. You know what if you're prepared is a matter what tomorrow brings. And if you're here and you've never accepted Christ are not prepared and we want to see you prepared so this would be a good moment were to bow our heads right now and pray this to be a good moment while other people pray for their friends who are believers is to be good moment for you to pray and asked Jesus in your life spring with our heads bowed in our eyes close.

I want to give you a moment if you're a follower of Christ to the date. Pray for the Johnson your work, your school, your neighborhood, your family, those people that popped up on the screen when I when I ask you who who do you think of this exasperating to reach for Christ. I want you to take a moment right now and hopefully pray that God would give you more patience, more long-suffering with them in the Lord would help usually reach them for Jesus Christ to pray for your friends, Lord Jesus.

Many of us today have pray for mom's and David's. Many of us in these quiet moments of pray for brothers and sisters grandparents, grandchildren, some of us have pray for professors school students that we go to school with some of us have prayed for neighbors door of the relatives. People who are just exasperating in our attempts to reach them for Christ. Father, my prayer is that you by the power of your spirit in our lives would help us to be patient and long-suffering with them just like this young man who wrote this email was with John for five years as long as there's breath and their bodies help us to show nothing but forbearance towards these folks at work at school wherever, and by returning good for evil and patience for exasperation and kindness for cynicism. Help us to be part of the process you use to bring these folks to a life-changing decision for Jesus Christ. Help us to imitate Paul as he imitated you being all things to all people. So by all means we can see some come to Christ or change our lives and change the way we relate to full because we were here today and we learn from the word of God and we pray this in Jesus name, amen

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