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December 17, 2020 7:00 am
Take the survey standing prayer showing where Jesus saw but we just going about truly true that you went to the cross and you thought about all above all.
So as a result of that, what else can we do but surrender all that we are all that we have all that will ever be to you because Lord everything we have in ours because of you anyway and so made this song really represent the reality of our heart, they would be able to sing it authentically that we surrender all Lord, may you accept that surrender this morning as part of our worship to you that we, to the best of our ability give everything we are and will ever be to Jesus as our Lord and our Savior would take a moment and remember our military troops around the world this morning. We pray that you would watch over and protect them. We thank you for the swift completion of hostilities in Iraq, but we know it's still dangerous. There and dangerous other places around the world for our military personnel and so we ask you in a very special way to be near and dear and close to every one of these men and women with put their lives on the line to defend our freedom in God, we ask you to bring them home safely to their families and to enable us to see a very quick establishing of government there in the Middle East so that we can bring our troops back or thank you for the casualties being so life. We do however pray for the families of those who lost loved ones that you would comfort them in the knowledge of knowing that not only was the service of their loved one. Much appreciated by we the American people. The Lord also was appreciated by you, Lord, that we commit our time together in the word of God to you this morning.
Use the Scripture to challenge our heart really teach us about how to live in a way that brings the power of God to bear on our lives on the world around us and we ask this in Jesus name, amen. Have a seat William, so glad to see you guys hear a particular Bible. Let's open it together to our acts chapter 18 and over to be continuing in our study the life of a great man of the apostle Paul hi you guys down and overflow. We love you guys down there. Thanks for being here this morning. You know it's spring here in Washington, and you know what that means, of course, that means cherry blossoms and florescent outdoor cafés in yardwork and pollen allergies but it also means something else.
It also means that the DC housing market kicks into high gear once again. You tried to buy a house here in Washington lately. You know how wild and crazy things have gotten with multiple contracts and automatic escalation clauses in houses selling for thousands of dollars more than the asking price back. There was an article in the Washington Post that talked about some of the schemes. Some of the strategies that people are using to try to get sellers to take their offer running the number one issue in Washington. I would it comes to buying a house is not how much do I offer now. I get the seller to want to sell me is that only the people how I get the sellers hard to turn to me how I find favor in the sellers heart and of some of these strategies include the post said that some people are attacking their personal resumes to their contracts. Other people this is true all the people offering stock to the sellers to go along with their cash offer for the home. Hope it's not.com start some people are offering to waive inspections and even paper previous damaged by termites and others so the seller doesn't have to. And my favorite one.
One lady said her real estate agent to the contract meeting with the family photo a personal note and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Pretty clever thing. So anyways they live are we talking about this well because this is kinda what were going to talk about today is to talk about buying houses. No talk about turning people's hearts towards us were going to talk about God's willingness to give us favorite other people's eyes and turn their heart towards an incredible power that we have in God's willingness to do that really use an incident from the life of the apostle Paul is our classroom so let's look together here or not they see little bit of background. Remember, the apostle Paul is on his second missionary journey but show your map Paul is Passover from the northwest off the part of Turkey, the city of Truax Avenue across the Aegean Sea to the town of Philippi in northern Greece.
These priesthood Philippi, Thessalonica, Rio. Then he went south of the city of Athens where he preached to the intellectual elite of the Roman Empire and now of course he's at Corinth which is where we pick up the story in the Bible says that Paul spent 18 months. The city of Corinth preaching and teaching the word of God. One other thing we should remind ourselves of. And that is that early in his rot in his time here in Corinth, Paul had a falling out of major proportions with the Jewish community in this town you remember they essentially ejected him from the synagogue.
He went next door to the house of the Gentiles city is justice and stayed there 18 months essentially setting up a Corinth Bible college, but don't forget the Jewish community in this town continue to harbor a seething hatred, a visceral hostility towards the apostle Paul working to see that in our passage for today first 12 let's look it says in verse 12 Bob Calio was proconsul of Acadia proconsul, meaning he was the Roman governor and his word Acadia. Let me show your tale was the Roman province of Acadia. It's everything you see in lieu here on the map. If the southern part of Greece that included both Athens and Corinth.
This was the Roman province of Acadia and Calio was the governor of this province and noticed he set up and Corinth's headquarters because at the time of the apostle Paul Corinth was the key and influential city in this province, not Athens. That's why he was here so the Bible says he did that and print this is another place where we can use historical records to corroborate the accuracy of the Bible because Calio was a very well-known figure in Roman history. His father was a man named Seneca. The elder a very famous Roman oratory, his brother was a fellow named Seneca the younger, who was a politician, a philosopher and a tutor all future Emperor Nero.
We've all heard of Emperor Nero this man's brother Calio's brother with his tutor. We know from Roman records and Calio became the governor of Acadia in July 1951 A.D. we also know from Roman records that he got sick while he was here and Corinth and he only stayed a couple of years he left to go travel to try to improve his health so he was only proconsul here and Corinth, from the years of 51 to 53 A.D. that was interesting. That is exactly when the Bible says Paul was in town and so the fact the Bible says that Galileo was here in all of this happened while Calio was proconsul fits perfectly with the Bible timetable. Once again we have historical records confirming that the Bible's chronology is exactly accurate.
What a godly Calio do well, it says when Calio was proconsul of Acadia. The Jewish people. Verse 12 in Corinth made a united attack on Paul and they brought him into court.
When the Bible says they brought even the court literally what this says in Greek is they brought him to the beam on the beam was a platform, a stone platform that was in the middle of many ancient cities on this platform. They have public affairs, public speaking city events, but one of the most important things they did on the Viva is that they held court. They had their legal proceedings were held on top of these, the most and this is where they draw the apostle Paul is interesting when archaeologists on earth.
The city of Corinth.
They found this being that the Bible talks about exactly the way the Bible says a lot of email it so your picture, here's a picture of the beam there you see it the platform with people around it in the distance right in the middle of the ancient city that show you a little closer picture here is the beam were Paul was dragged on the top of this were Calio was sitting to try this case, and we even have a picture of a of a very famous international personality standing next to the bebop will show you that and there we go. So anyway, I'm just teasing out, have some fun with you but anyway on the point of all this is that when they when they dug up Corinth. They found the beam that the Bible speaks of exactly the way the Bible said and you know what we love to say here, the more they dig out of the ground before the Bible proves to be right back. Stop for a moment say if you're here today. You've never trusted Jesus is real and personal Savior. You know, one of the reasons that people hesitate to do this is because they they're not sure that the Bible is really accurate. They doubt whether the Bible is really trustworthy and and they're not sure they want to place the entire weight of their life and what the Bible says about eternity (I'm here to tell you that no book has been scrutinizing the last 200 years more than the Bible have been scrutinized historically, it's been scrutinized archaeologically is been scrutinized in terms of transmission of the text and after 200 years of the most intense scrutiny. The Bible has emerged probably more trustworthy of people's minds and it went into hundred years ago. Listen, you have nothing to fear.
Entrusting the Bible is a hot as a trustworthy document. Historically, archaeologically transmission elite or spiritually. That's why Jesus said the person who builds their life on the Bible is like a person who builds her house on the rock and the wind blowing the rains come down in the storms raise, but the house stands firm because it's built on the rock and that is the word of God, the more they dig out the ground more Bible proves to be right you can trust, and I hope you will let's go on what happened.
Verse 13 the charge they made against all these distinguished Bob is that this man is persuading people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.
Now the law that they're speaking about here was Roman law you see in the Roman world of Paul. Certain religions have been granted the status of approved other religions were disapproved. If you were an approved religion in Judaism was one of these approve religions. You were allowed to preach openly proselytize the converse you were a disapproved religion. It was against the law for you to speak in public about that religion.
Now, as I said up to this point the Roman authorities not only granted Judaism the right to be an approved religion but they also regarded Christianity as merely a new brand of Judaism as merely an isotope of Judaism. You can understand why they felt that way. I mean this Christianity started in Jerusalem it got. It was the carried on the missionary work primarily by Jewish believers is it operated in and around the synagogue so you can understand how the Romans felt this way with these Jewish activists were doing here and Corinth. They were asking Calio to make a legally binding decision that declared Christianity a disapproved religion not a part of Judaism and therefore of religion that would not have been allowed to speak.
Paul would've had to be quiet or he could have been thrown into jail you understand what they were asked about it with me okay so here we got it. Now we have the proconsul Calio sitting up on top of the vehicle ready to hold court. We got the Jewish mob.
They are ready to rip the head off the apostle Paul and we got all ready to be Perry Mason in his own defense confronted Calio near the scene is now just before we go on this question using Paul was praying as all this was going on. I do you think Paul was talking to God standing there, get ready to defend himself.
I do, when you think Paul was praying with you if you were standing there, what would you be praying at a moment like that. Well I think I said what I think Paul was praying to be what I was afraid if I were there I would be praying Lord, I need you to please give me favor this man's eyes. I need you to turn Calio's heart towards me and towards the work of Jesus Christ.
I need you to cause this man Calio to be sympathetic to my cause and the cause of Christ and to rule in my favorite that's what I need. Lord, you gotta turn this man's heart towards me. That's what I be praying that you would to what happened. The Bible says verse 14, just as Paul was about to speak Paul into word yet Calio said that the Jewish people. If you Jewish people were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you but since this involves questions about words and names in your own law settled that matter, you sell. All I will not be in charge of such things, and so we had the mop ejected from off-topic bebop from the court.
It is amazing or what the apostle Paul gets exonerated of all charges and he never even had to open his mouth that was at work when you talk about God turning Calio's heart, his direction always smokes verse 17 then the mom all turned on softly is the synagogue ruler and beating him up in front of the bebop Calio showed no concern whatsoever for the synagogue ruler, of course, was the leader of the Jewish community. The peacoat of the Jewish community. He obviously is the one who would orchestrated the small and when Calio rejected him across the crowd because I go I guess were here to be somebody absorbing a lot and so they did. It is amazing the apostle Paul walked away without a scratch and the guy will organize this whole thing companies. He got why coming of God have a sense of humor or what we dots see this is biblical humor. That's why you don't get but this is hysterical. What happened here.
I whatever okay so that's the end of our passage now but but it causes us to want to ask a question that I know you know the question so their body ready to go. 123 right is a long, so what's that okay whatever, whatever, but what did you admit to me in my life. 21st century will I think it's a big difference. Let me see if I can help you with that. You know I got a blue care card with a prayer request on the back. One of the many that I got this week and by the way, you know, when you write prayer requests on the back of this we really pray for these things. We split them up among our staff every week and we pray for everyone of you to write one of these if you want some you want us to pray about writing on here given to us. We pray for these things will I got this one this week. I think it's a lady said nothing on the front it says please pray for my son who was a recovering drug addict and will soon be facing a judge to request that he my son can attend teen challenge to seek God's help in his recovery. He has many God-given talents to share and what this basically was. It was a request she goes on to write some more, but it was a request from this lady asking for prayer that God would cause discharge to show mercy and compassion towards her son asking that God would turn this judges heart towards her son's request and friends. You know, in all of our lives. There are times when we find ourselves in situations just like this young man on this care card just like the apostle Paul in court times where we need favor in a person's life times when we need the heart of somebody in authority to turn towards and grant us grace and grandson's understanding situations where we need somebody in authority to feel kindly disposed towards us, even though made a monument might not even understand why the feeling that way I could be a boss who could be a teacher at school.
It could be a college professor or coach or charges in the case of this young man maybe it might be a potential client and we need that contract. Maybe it might be a college admissions committee or even a police officer now as followers of Jesus Christ. When we find ourselves in that kind of situation God has some great news in the Bible.
He wants to share with Proverbs 21.
Look what he says. He says the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord and the Lord directs the king's heart were ever God wants here friends. The Bible tells us that God has the supernatural power to turn people's heart in any direction God wants them to go. God can cause people to want to show was great. God can cause people to want to grandma's favor. Even though the people doing the granting have no idea why they feel that way or no idea why they're leaning in that direction. It doesn't matter because God is turning their heart and the Bible tells us that God's power in this arena is on limited. It doesn't matter how powerful person. Or you could be dictating yourself.
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how influential a person may be God can turn their hearts as followers of Christ is a very important truth for us to know as we move through life means when we're in a spot like Paul was in court means that we are when we're in a spot like this young man is on this blue card. I read you when we desperately need somebody to show his favor. We desperately need somebody to show us grace. What this means is that as followers of Jesus Christ we have a secret weapon in the secret weapon is not our own human salesmanship is not our own human charm is not our own human charisma that secret weapon is God's supernatural ability to turn people's hearts, and we ask God to do this in prayer and then we rely on God and not our own charisma, charm and salesmanship is amazing what we see happening is one of the great examples of this in the Bible is a fellow named Nehemiah the mechanical background. Israel fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Babylonians rip the city down further walls of the city tour the temple down deported most of the population and essentially Jerusalem was a ghost town for the next 150 years hundred and 50 years later. Nehemiah was alive and the Bible tells us that he was the cup bearer. He was the official assistance to the king of Persia king Artaxerxes of Persia, and this was his official role and then the events of Nehemiah 1 unwraps a living stones nearby one I was in the capital of Susa Nehemiah right when a fellow Israelites came from Jerusalem and told me that Jerusalem was in bad condition that Jerusalem at this time was under the control of the Persian Empire. He said it's walls are broken down and states burned with fire and its people in disgrace and distress. And when I heard these things, I sat down and wept and then I prayed to the God of heaven and you know what Nehemiah pray, let me summarize it is prayer. He asked God to please let him go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. That was a journey of some 800 miles across no man's land full of banditos at all, the bad guys, but he said that's what I want God any finishes his prayer by saying this. Remember to do this he needed permission from the king he worked for the king aright because of this prayer and says Nehemiah 1 verse 11 oh Lord, let your ear be attentive to my prayer and God when I go asking for permission to do this, do you mean success look at this by granting me favor by granting me favor in the presence of the king. What is Nehemiah asking God to do here friends. He's asking God to turn the heart of the king of Persia towards he's asking God to grant him favor in the eyes of the king of Persia.
He's asking God to give him success by softening the heart of the king of Persia, before he Nehemiah ever opens his mouth so the teaching would be inclined to letting go do this to see what you see when he's depending on depending on his own Charisma and Salesmanship. He Said God You Need to Turn the King's Heart so You Won't Let Me Do This, but What Happened Nehemiah Chapter 2 so I Told the King That the City of My Father's Lies in Ruins and the King Said to Me, What Is It You Want.
Nehemiah Said, I Pray That I Got Here We Go, and I Answer the King Please Send Me to Jerusalem so I Can Rebuild and Oh by the Way, King. I Also Need a Letter to the Local Governor There Telling Them That I Have Your Okay to Rebuild the City and King Also Need a Military Detachment to Go with Me and Keep You Safe. Call Crossing Hundred Miles No Man's Land and Then Stay There and Sound Protectors Were Working on the Wall and King. I Also Want to Ask You If You Would Please Pay for the Entire Thing Out Of Your Own Money. 20 You Talk about Chutzpah. Yeah, It Was Not That I Was a Little More Than I Thought He Was Good Asking Will May Have Been More Than Him I Thought He Was Going to Ask What He Was on a Roll. What Happened Nehemiah Chapter 2 Verse Eight, and Because the Gracious Hand of My God Was upon Me.
The King Granted All of My Requests. The King Paid for This and All the Point Here Friends. If It Nehemiah Strategy for Success in Going to Get This Request to His Done This Strategy for How He Was Going to Get It Done Was Not Based on His Own Charm, His Own Ingenuity Result, Salesmanship. His Plan Was Based on God's Supernatural Ability to Turn That King's Heart Towards Him and You See What Nehemiah Did Nehemiah Didn't Bring God behind Even after All of His Own Efforts and Worn out. He Said Okay. Got Your Turn of Nehemiah. Put God You Understand What I'm Saying Is That God You Run the Ball All I'm Going to Do Is Follow You As It Will on You Know God Bless You for Your Son You're Working so Hard Preaching.
We Love You for That. But You Know What. The Bible for Something Not Working Real Life and Real Life. This Is Not Happen. This Is Only Bible Characters of the Stuff Happens for All Know Know Know Know Know I Believe That This Strategy Did Nehemiah Use Print Steelwork Today If Were Willing to Use It till the Year Was 1971.
The Vietnam War Was Raging. I Was a Senior in College and I Went There I Had My Military Physical and past It and I Was Declared Eligible for the Draft and Put in the Meantime, in the Spring of 1971 I Came to Know Christ As My Personal Savior. I Gave My Life to Jesus and Right after I Got Out Of School. I Moved up Here to Northern Virginia and I Began to Grow in My Christian Life I Began Believing with All My Heart That God Was Calling Me to Full-Time Christian Ministry That God Wanted Me to Go into Full-Time Christian Work and Preached Jesus Christ, but I Needed Training I Needed to Go to Seminary.
I Know What I Was Doing I Didn't Have Any Background. All This and the Problem Was That the Draft Board Was Getting Talk to Me and Telling Me That It Was Time for Me to Start My Service and so I Have a Little Bit of a Problem but I Wanted to Go Train for the Ministry and so I Called up the Draft Board down in Alexandria, Virginia Hi I Said I Would like to Know If I Could Get My Draft Status Change to 4G.
There Was a Special Deferment for Divinity Students to Go to Seminary and You Would Defer to You Got Out Of Seminary and I Thought I Might Get My Draft Status Change like to Go to Seminary and They Said Son You've Already Passed a Physical and Don't Know Your Use Know That's Impossible. You Think It's Draft Status Change and I Said Well Okay Well so There's Gotta Be Somebody in the Pentagon. I Can Call Give Me the Name of Some General I Call up so She Said What a Nice Together.
Gotta Be Some Generally Run This Thing Giving His Name so She Gave Me the Name of Some Gen. and I She Said Good Luck and I'll Never Forget It. I Was I Was Living Right Here in Arlington, Virginia, and I Never Forget. I Sat at the Death, and I Bowed My Head and I Said Not God I Need You to Give Me Favor This Man's Eyes. I Believe All My Heart. You Want Me Going in the Ministry. I Believe All My Heart.
You Want Me Going to Seminary to Train and I Need Him to Change My Draft Status so I Can Go to Seminary I Can Do God's Will for My Life and I Need a Matter to Meeting Those Wise Doing It. God, You Need to Change His Generals Are a Myth. And so Then I Dolled Them up and I Got Them on the Phone about the General So-And-So My Name Is Lon Solomon and I Need You to Change My Draft Status, and Here's Why and I Gave It My Whole Personal Testimony I'm Uniting Given Executive Summary Friends. I Gave Him the Whole Medela. I Told Him about the Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, I Told Him about the Party and I Thought about My Girlfriend I Got Pregnant Enforcement Have an Abortion. What a Rotten Guy I Was and How Jesus Christ to Come into My Life A Few Months before and Changed My Life Tenant Called Me to Preach and I Knew We'd Call Me the Phrase and I Needed to Go Train to Do That and I Said Sir I Need You to Change My Status so I Can Go Do This, I Went on for like 1012 Minutes without Coming to Prayer and When I Finished the Phone Was Completely Silent. And Then He Said, Son, Is That That Is the Dog on the Story I Ever Heard in My Life. He Said Frankly I Don't Even Know What to Say He Said, so I Need to Think about This Call Me Back This Week Is That Okay I Called Them Back This Week. No Live. The First Words Out Of His Mouth Were Son. I Don't Even Know Why I'm Doing This but He Said I Figure Nobody Could Make up a Story like That, He Said, so I'm Going to Change Address Data Company Give You That Deferment You Go to Seminary Son Will Talk to You Again When You Get out and He Said All I Can Tell You Will Never Forget It at the End of the Call, We Can Say All I Only Said That He Was. He Sits on. All I Can Tell You Will Be the Best Preacher You Can Possibly Not Name Change My Draft Status Test 2 Story Ct. by the time I got in seminary 1975 ready to go sir, but the war was over and they didn't need me anymore and and so that's that's how it happened and you say Woodlawn in 1971 nobody would get near draft status change how in the world you explain this a very simple explanation to handle the heart of the general is in the hand of the Lord and the Lord turns the general heart wherever he wanted to go and you know I'm convinced that his followers of Jesus Christ. This is probably the most underutilized weapon in our whole spiritual arsenal. You know, we go out and we need favoring somebody God when we need somebody to do something to advance God's will or God's kingdom in our life. You know what we knew Artie said it we go ahead with all of our human salesmanship human charisma human charm human ingenuity and what all that failed. We pulled God out we go.
I got your turn know what the Bible said that already. What Nehemiah did.
Nehemiah said God you go first.
You go change some hearts.
You can turn people towards me and I'm the rely on you and your power, God, so I don't even hardly have to do anything only bold enough to open Nehemiah barely had to say anything and we don't use this weapon the way we should a lot of us don't even know we have this weapon and we have it.
We don't use it. Telling you we will see God do unbelievable things for us. It will just give him the chance to go first and not last. It will give him the chance to change hearts before we try to go in and even make our requests.
God not only says he's able to do this. Since he's willing to do this if you and I followers of Jesus will just give them a chance to wear you today were you need somebody to show you favor you were coming out of the end of the spring semester.
You may have a car, a high school teacher that I'm the man you need some favor seriously in that class. I want God to turn our teachers heart toward your maybe you're applying to college and you're not in yet the one you want to be in your on the waiting list and you need some academic committee to grant you favor one not ask God to give you favor in their heart. Maybe you're going for some contract and you desperately need that client to give it to you in this other people going after it. God determined that client heart toward you and want to give you the contract or whatever you understand what I'm saying here. Both this truth works and its practical will use.
May God help us do so. I'm telling you see God just official stand back and go will that amazing God is willing to do it.
Just in the chance spring for Jesus. Thanks for talking to us today about real down to earth stuff right where we live teaching us that your power is available to us today just like it was the Nehemiah just like it was in Paul's day that we have that same power available today. Help us use that power floor were sitting in the building that the results of that power. We saw you change the hearts of the whole Board of Supervisors. From there is no way in the world you get this through to attend the nothing as the vote in our favor, God. You do this it will give you the chance. So Lord, whether it's with a college teacher or a high school teacher, whether it's with the client, whether it's with the judge were boss who ever more teachers to let you go first and will follow you. Change our lives and change the way we live here because of the spiritual truths we learned today and we pray this in Jesus name, amen