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Going to Rome God's Way - Life of Paul Part 66

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

Going to Rome God's Way - Life of Paul Part 66

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hey I was glad to hear they welcome all you guys down and overflow wanted to take a Bible with you brought one open it to Romans chapter 15. The letter Paul wrote the church of Rome were to become in Romans 15 in the moment but you know was really a great player the year was 1980 April to be exact, and six months before November 1979 militants in Iran had overrun the American Embassy and taken 54 embassy workers hostage in Jimmy Carter was then our president okay authorize a daring plan.

Eight helicopters were to take off from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf hearing Delta force commandos. They were to land the rendezvous point right outside to Ron.

The commandos were to go in and grab the hostages bring them out to the rendezvous point where C-130 transports would be waiting for them and they would whisk away very hostages. It would be done covertly would be done quickly. It would be done with no loss of American lives and probably would've delivered the 1980 presidential election into the hands of Mr. Carter but things didn't go exactly the way he plan to what helicopters got into a sandstorm and never made it to the rendezvous point authority helicopters develop hydraulic problems and had to turn back to the carrier and the commander of the mission decided with only five helicopters. He didn't have enough troops to pull it all and so we decided they would simply quietly withdraw and come back another day, but is one of the helicopters was leaving to return in one of the transports was leaving they collided at the rendezvous point bursting into flames filling the desert with light killing eight Americans. The Iranians immediately split up all the hostages and move them to different locations all over the country making the rescue effort impossible and seven months later, Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 presidential election.

Not sure Mr. Carter must've had many in my where he lay in bed and wondered how in the world could such a great player that had been so carefully worked out with such attention to detail how in the world. It could have failed so dismally, but it reminds us of the words of the Scottish poet Robert Burns who said the best laid plans of mice and men go off a string. Now this is what we want to talk about today we want to talk about as followers of Jesus Christ. What it means to have a biblical worldview about making plans, and more importantly what it means to have a biblical worldview. When God decides to alter the plans that we had made for our life that sort of talk about growing out of an incident in the life of the apostle Paul background before we did. You remember, Paul is finishing up 2 1/2 years in Ephesus as part of his third missionary journey and Paul thanks to his direct ministry.

Paul has succeeded in saturating the entire northeastern Roman Empire, with the message of Jesus Christ. He says, Romans 15, verse 19. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyria, I have fully proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ that show your map.

Illyria comes up on the top left of our lonely lives. Jerusalem is down on the bottom right and everything you see in the redů Is the area that Paul had personally taken the message of Christ to an saturated with the message of Christ today. These would be the countries of Israel, Lebanon, serious vipers, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. That entire area. Paul had saturated for Jesus Christ and now he said of verse 23 now that my work in these regions is gone. I intend to go to Spain and I hope to see you in passing there in Rome and be helped on you by you on on my journey. Now remember Paul's view of himself is that he was a pioneering missionary.

The apostle Paul loved to go to places that nobody else had ever been with the message of Christ, and that show your map of the Roman Empire. Paul's day. Spain was the far Western extreme of the Roman Empire. Totally uncivilized totally on evangelized and Paul said that's perfect for me that's perfect for me so I'm going there and I'll stop by and see you guys in Rome. On the way now before Paul went to Spain. However, he was going to go to Jerusalem. Look at verse 25 he says now.

However, I am on my way to Jerusalem in order to serve the believers. There for the churches of Macedonia and Acadia have been pleased to collect an offering for the poor believers in Jerusalem. So after I have completed this task and made sure that they have received this gift I will go to Spain and visit you guys in Rome. On the way, remember we said last week that the believers who lived in Jerusalem at this time were mostly poor.

They were poor because the Jewish community in Jerusalem boycotted their businesses as a way of punishing them for their faith in Jesus as Messiah and Paul believe that the Gentile churches that he had started had a responsibility to help their Jewish brothers there in Jerusalem. He says, Romans 1527.

Indeed, these churches all went to their Jewish brothers. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jewish people.

Spiritual blessings, meaning the Messiah and the word of God, then today the Gentiles are obligated to share their material blessings with their Jewish brothers and other churches. Paul's are talking about here. Let's show your map are those churches up. He says in Macedonia. That's the orange section of your map the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea churches. He all started on his second missionary journey and then Octavia the blue section of your map. And that is the church of Corinth, primarily which he also started on his second missionary journey and so here was Paul's plan. He had a plan very carefully thought out for the next three, four, five, six, eight years of his life and it went like this.

Number one he says I'm gonna leave Ephesus and I'm going to go back to the churches that I started in Greece. Number two on the collect an offering from them for the poor believers of Jerusalem number three undertake this offering to Jerusalem and I'm going to personally deliver it to the church there. Number four.

Then I'm going to leave Jerusalem and I'm going to head off to go preach in Spain and number five on the way to Spain.

I'm to stop in Rome and visit with the church. That's their now this was a very well-thought-out plan. It was a very logically consistent plan. It was a very Christ honoring plan. The only problem with his plan is. It didn't happen.

And let me show you why the beginning of the plan work. Paul took up his offering he went to Jerusalem with it but you know we need to remember not everybody in Jerusalem was excited about seeing Paul about the fact most of the city of Jerusalem hated Paul because of his ministry among the Gentiles, while he was in town. The Jerusalem believers there suggested a strategy to Paul to try to soften. You know these negative feelings they said ask 21 countrymen have been informed Paul that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles, turn away from the Old Testament law, they will certainly hear that you've arrived in town, so here is what we suggest you do. We have four men among us were finishing their Nazirite now when you finish your Nazirite value shaved her head so this is what we want you to do going to the temple in Jerusalem and pay the expenses for them to shave their heads in this way, everyone in Jerusalem will know that there is no truth to these reports about you but that you yourself are living in obedience to the Old Testament law and so in an attempt to be conciliatory.

The apostle Paul said okay I'll do that. So we go down to the temple with these four guys and everything is going fine except that some Jewish people from grace.

You know from Thessalonica and Philippi where he's been preaching. Are there visiting the temple. They recognize Paul and they say this is the God.

As the one to start no travel around the world and is an enormous riot breaks out in the temple and aim to Paul and he would've been killed.

There is no doubt except the Roman army comes blowing into the temple and arrested and that's the only thing that kept Paul from getting killed by the smile know will talk more about that when we get to ask. 21 but the important point brought consideration today is to see here that this riot put into motion a chain of events that radically altered Paul's plant plans his plans for Spain's plans for Rome's plans for everything.

Let me show you what happened. Because of this via number one, Paul was arrested and taken the Roman army headquarters in Caesarea, about 30 miles north of modern-day Tel Aviv when he was taken there. Number two.

He was examined by the Roman Gov. Felix number three Felix refused to decide Paul's case one way or the other and so number four Paul was kept in prison in chains for two years in Caesarea. He just sat there when the pot when the got new governor came to replace Felix, a guy named Fessler showed up all the Jewish people said to Festus want to send Paul back to Jerusalem and let us try am there in Jerusalem, but secretly they plan to ambush Paul and kill him. On the way and Paul found out about it went all my gosh this is going from bad to worse here so he did what every Roman citizen have the right to do number six. He appealed his case directly to the Caesar directly to Emperor Nero in Rome every Roman citizen had that right. Paul used it at number seven and finally what this meant is bound in chains and under military guard they sent Paul off to Rome to stand trial before Caesar himself now. Along the way. He was shipwrecked he was bitten by a poisonous snake he was stranded on the island of Malta for three months and when he finally did arrive in Rome he got there chained up. He was under house arrest for more than two years, chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day every day for two years while he awaited his audience with the Caesar.

This is where the book of acts ends with Paul to chains in Rome and Spain just a pipe dream. And you talk about God radically changing your plans folks. I mean this is a radical change in the plans. Paul had and this is as far as we want to go in the passage today because we have a question it's time to areas y'all know are questioned. Ouch.

I know I brought it on you quickly, but your red I know you read and so here we go. 123 is a lawn. So what you know. I feel bad for the man you know and and the worst part of the whole stories get by next night while I agree with that strand me on maltose shipwrecked me, but don't get a poisonous snake anywhere near you know what I'm saying I hate snakes. Anyway that's got enough doing anything.

But anyway the point is the point is yes is that some to do with your life because most everyone of us have had as had happened to us what happened to the apostle Paul. Everyone of us has had plans for life very carefully mapped out and everyone of us at certain points has watched as God allowed those plans to be radically changed. Some of us, for example, plan to be married at this point in our life but were not single. Some of us have plan to live in a happy family. All of our days and then divorce struck home some of us plan to get that new job or that new promotion but we didn't get it.

Some of us plan to work at the same company.

Our entire career and then they downsize this and they threw us out of there. Some of us plan to travel and do things that later in our later years in life and then our health broker.

We plan to do some great things with our spouse. At this point in our life and the Lord took her or him some of us plan to be financially secure. By this point in our life within the NASDAQ went south, and here we are, you know, some of us plan to go to a certain college and they wrote us a nice little letter and said no thanks, we don't want you. Some of us plan to make a Baltimore cheerleading squad. We got caught some of us had great futures all planned out for our children. But let's be honest there really struggling today. Academically, emotionally, spiritually and in some of us here are like Brenda and me were God sent a child into our life with profound disabilities and were never going to see that child reach the dreams and the plans that we originally had for her folks that were not the issue here is not whether God sometimes alters our plans. He does and sometimes radically so the issue is how does God want us to respond to that. How does God want us to look at that is the worldview that God wants us to bring to that situation. And that's what I want to talk to you about today because the apostle Paul models of force is a verse in the Bible that says this proverb 69 the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps in with the Bible is telling us here is that, as followers of Jesus Christ. Even though we have maybe have mapped out our lives with great precision.

Just like Paul had done the Bible telling us that the actual path that God uses to get us where he wants us to go when he wants us to be there is often very different than the plan we mapped out originally for ourselves and yet the Bible says that even though God made me change. I plan he is still directing our steps all the way in spite of the unexpected turns making absolutely sure we get where we need to go when we need to go there in just the way we need to get there. This is the promise of God to us. Now let me just say if you're here today and you never trusted Jesus in a real and personal way and this is the one. One of the wonderful things you get when you when you come into a relationship with Christ.

You get eternal life. Yes, you give us a secure place in heaven. Yes, you get a relationship with the living God. Yes, one of the other things you get is against someone who God your steps through the maze of life in a way better than you could ever God your own way through life is confusing and how can anyone figure out all the twists and turns left to ourselves. The wonderful thing about walking with Jesus. As you will have to he's already got that all taken care of for you.

So if you're here and you've never given your life to Jesus and you're having trouble walking through the Meza life. I got great news for you. You can have someone do it for you to come to him now for those of us who are followers of Christ.

I want you to watch as Paul models this worldview for us and he says that when he finally arrives in Rome. He's three years later than he plan is in chains, which he didn't plan. He's in jail, which he didn't plan and Spain is not anywhere on the horizon when he finally gets there and he's going to spend two more years in jail. Here is what he writes to the Philippians he said. Philippians chapter 1. Now I want you to know brothers that what has happened to me the riot getting arrested Felix, leaving me in jail shipwrecked all thing. The whole ligula.

I want you to know what is happening to me has actually turned out for the greater progress of the kingdom of God is a lot how to work and he say that I mean how to work and being in jail and being shipwrecked and being bit by stupid snake turn out for the greater advancement of the kingdom of God went a minute because of the way God took his circumstances he got to share Jesus Christ with King Agrippa that never would've happened in acts chapter 26. Well according to Paul's plan he got to share Jesus Christ with two Roman governors of Palestine. Felix investment that never would've happened if you follow his original plan he got to share Jesus Christ with the whole island of Malta because after the snake. Many, many didn't have a whole island showed up to say what in the world are you and you got to share Christ with the whole island. He wasn't planning to go to Malta he's going to get the chance to go in and share Jesus Christ with the Emperor of Rome. There's an audience. He would never have gotten according to his original plan, and finally he says in Philippians 1 that he has had the opportunity to share Christ with the entire praetorian guard, praetorian guard was the elite bodyguard of Caesar himself. They were the ones who were guarding Paul and remember I said Paul spent two years chained to a Roman soldier in under house arrest, and the praetorian guard were the guys who did this to every eight hours, a new member the praetorian guard came in and spent eight hours chained to the apostle Paul, not your nonbeliever.

Can you imagine being chained to the apostle Paul for a hours, I guarantee you the whole praetorian guard heard about Jesus Christ and most of them came to Christ. Paul says in Philippians chapter 1 P1 that had that opportunity if it is gone the way he had originally planned. Paul looks back and what he says to the Philippians is hey guys, I ended up going to Rome, but I ended up going God's way. Not my way. And you know what. Looking back I can see the God's way was better than my way. The same thing happened at non-Johnson famous missionary 1811.

He left the United States yet very carefully worked out plan he was going to India to work in Calcutta with William Terry, the father of modern missions had all worked out. His wife and when they arrived in Calcutta there was a problem you see India was run by the British East India Company and they had had to let William Terry and because he was a British citizen, but they didn't want American missionaries in India and they refused to that little at non-Johnson in and suddenly there he was with his great plan, but one little work.

So here's what he did. He said God I'm convinced you call me somewhere in Southeast Asia to share Jesus Thompson to get ownership right around Southeast Asia and the first country that lets me off and lets me preach that's what I'm going in the first country to let him walk was Burma.

He spent 35 years as the first missionary and at that time the only missionary during those 35 years of the country Burma when he died in 1853 he established a little over 7000 Burmese people to Christ, he established 53 self-supporting churches. He had single-handedly translated the entire Bible into the Burmese language which is a copy of the Bible, they still used today. He met a man in Rangoon and letting the cries from the Karen tribal took the message back to the care and try and today there are 150 years later there are over 100,000 Terran tribes people who are believers in Jesus Christ with Christian schools and self-supporting churches to send missionaries to the rest of Southeast Asia hated God nobody was doing without non-Johnson. He sure did yell his plan took a little wiggle but the wiggle was all part of God's wiggle and plan and got in my worry was supposed to be and you see friends. This is the worldview of a true man or woman of God. Yes, they make plans, but they make their plans and they don't set the plans in concrete they set their plans and marshmallow because they understand something they believe something they believe Jeremiah 2911. 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 real men and women of God believe that God has a specific divine plan for their life and that every wiggle every turn, every twist, every unexpected thing that happens is all part of God getting us to his perfect plan for our life and these people also believe Isaiah 55 that God's ways are above our ways and God's thoughts are above our thoughts and that God's plans are about our plans and the God has a better way of getting us where we need to go when we need to go there than we could ever plan out for ourselves and they're okay with that.

They're at peace with that. So when God sends a curve in the road. It's all right because of his ways are higher than our trust friends. This is the kind of person God wants you. This is the, worldview, God wants you to have it your follower of Christ the person.

When God decides to direct your path a little differently than you would plan you don't resist it.

You don't resent it. You don't rebel against it.

Instead you submit to the loving and wise hand of your heavenly father is your confidence in your confidence that when the dust finally cleared you will be able to look back like the apostle Paul and say the things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the greater progress of the kingdom of God and they've also turned out for my best interest as well now. To do this, you got a lot of walk by faith. You can't do this any other way princesses walking by faith. Walking by faith means trusting God even when we don't understand what is due. Even we don't understand why the path and going the way we planned it out and this is what God calls us to do.

He says in the Bible were to walk by faith not by sight. You know, back to couple years ago Time magazine shows a man of the century of the 20th century.

I think I actually called the person of the century, but they chose a man and a man that they chose was Albert Einstein. And as soon as I saw that the issue of Time magazine. I remember saying to Brenda my wife this is a gross injustice because Albert Einstein I'm sure was a nice guy and everybody but but yet he's not the one that should oneness without a doubt, hands down. No contest. Winston Churchill should've one man of century because Winston Churchill. I'm sure you understand is the man who almost single-handedly preserve democracy and freedom in the entire Western world. If it hadn't been for Winston Churchill. Most of us in America. Very likely would be speaking a different language in that language than English today Winston Churchill. Let me tell you little bit about his career though he had a long and distinguished career, but he had a career with more twists and turns in it than anything you ever saw folks, you know, he began his service to the to England in 1895. Under Queen Victoria as a lieutenant in the British Army.

He ended his career in the 1950s as a member of Parliament under Queen Victoria's great great granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II. That's how long a career. He had but it took some time during World War I, Churchill served as the first Lord of the Admiralty, and as such he ordered the disastrous British attack on the Dardanelles, the either at Gallipoli. It was a disaster. It was a slaughter.

It was the worst defeat in the history of the British Army and as a result, he had to resign in disgrace and he told friends.

November 1915. I am finished I am finished. I am finished forever. Well he did bounce back a little bit and Dr. Wiley became Secretary of War under a new administration. Then he became Colonial Sec., in 1922 he was running for reelection as Colonial Sec., when he had an attack of appendicitis in the middle of the election. The other going to the hospital, have surgery, couldn't campaign so he lost the election and he said afterwards and I quote he said I found myself without an office without a seat without a party and without an appendix."

Gotta love it. Well, once again he was out back and then in 1924 he was offered a cabinet post under a new government but that party was voted out.

The next year and so for the next 10 or 12 years. Winston Churchill was out of public life. He was convinced his career was over, he was a house. Vinnie was washed up he went back to his country estate and did what he loved to do and that was paint landscape and so he spent his time painting and then as Hitler began to rise.

Winston Churchill was the lone voice as many of you remember in England saying don't appease this man.

Don't give him what he wants. This guy wants more trouble.

Nobody listened to him until finally, when Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began, King George VI call Winston Churchill, Winston Churchill was 66 years old and said to him I want you to come back and I want to be prime minister of England, replacing Neville Chamberlain and it was his grit and his personal determination. That's all friends that stopped Adolf Hitler in his tracks and turned the tide of World War II when he came back to be prime minister, something he'd always dreamed of doing, but never thought it would come this way. Here's what he said looking back on his life, he said and I quote. Looking back on all the twists and turns.

He said I felt as if I were walking with destiny and all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour, and for this trial know what was Winston Churchill really say what he was saying was that God's plan for his life had been perfect all along that that that God had done a better job of preparing Winston Churchill for the challenges in front of him and he could've ever done preparing himself to God had done a better job leading Winston's life than he could've ever done for himself and less impulsive Winston Churchill who was a nominal believer at best could see this and I'm here to say as active and devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We need to be able to see this to we need to be able to say you know what God does a better job leading my life and I can ever do. And so what if the twists in a way I did when and so what if it turns in away I didn't plan if I thought I was good enough and smart enough and new enough to plan my whole life I would need a Savior to let God take it where he needs to take. Remember the mind of man plans his way, right but the Lord directs his steps and folks you don't want it any other way. You don't want it any other way and let me just say in closing, I don't think anybody special to look back like Winston Churchill did and say oh man I can really see now how God did all this, anybody can do that. The real secret here is to be able to look forward when God sending you twists and turns that you didn't expect them that you don't understand that you can't fit together.

The real mark of a man or woman of God is being able to look forward and say I may not understand it and I may not know where it's going and I may not be able to figure it out but you know what I've seen how God always been perfect in the past and on the trust and to be perfect in the future. He's the same God in the future as he was in the past, not those of the people. God is looking for and those of the people God wants you. May God help you be the kind person spring with our heads out of our lives close. I like to give you just a moment if you needed to talk to God because I can't help but believe that there are a lot of us here today who have some things in our life right now that we just don't slide understand the make no sense to us.

And if your normal human being. You've probably resisted these things resented these things impugn God over these things accuse God let you down friends. I'm here to challenge you to draw on the example of the apostle Paul and Judson, and Churchill don't do that. Ask God to forgive you for that attitude and ask him to help you trust because he's directing yourselves and your willing to have peace about. So you take a moment if you need to and talk to the Lord Jesus you know were all just human, and when stuff happens that we were planning on or that it really breaks up the dreams and the plans we have for life. It's really hard in our first reaction is usually not a very good Lord forgive us for that. And granted, we could be the kind of man or woman of God who can look forward and walk by faith withhold the way Judson did more grant that we might be able to see the lens of faith trusting you. Even when we don't understand because we have your promise that you are directing ourselves for Jesus grant the matter what twist and turn comes were able to say that we trust you and that we know one day will be able to say that these things have worked out for my interest in the advancement of the kingdom of God. You knew what you were doing all the time so use the word of God to encourage our hearts today father and to change our whole worldview and we ask these things in Jesus name, amen

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