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December 11, 2020 7:00 am
Kayla think the Bible and open it together to acts chapter 18 were going to be continuing in our study of the life of a great man. The apostle Paul asked chapter 18 and as most of us know. Here, the United States of America went to war with Iraq is past Wednesday in USA Today and one of the articles there. One of the soldiers talked about his feelings, and I quote he said whether were going to get ambushed. Whether they're going to outnumber also will outnumber them, whether they are going to be really hostile or surrender. Whether they're going to use biological or chemical weapons on us. There's not a night goes by I haven't thought about this past week, Homeland security Sec. Tom Ridge raise the domestic saw the security thermometer to orange to high. He cited a highly reliable reports indicating that terrorists are planning attacks against Americans.
In light of our actions in Iraq and most disturbing, perhaps of all the Sec. Ridge said was his comment that I quote that there are many recent indications that Al Qaeda's planning includes the use of chemical, biological and radiological materials against Americans. Cato suddenly for us as Americans. The world just doesn't seem like a safe place much anymore doesn't. In fact, this past week on Tuesday Saddam Hussein's son said and I quote Americans must not think that there is a safe place for them, either inside or outside of Iraq and some recent polls show that more than three out of four Americans say that they feel less safe today than they did a year ago Ivanova couple who moved out of DC last week took their children and went into the country because they were so afraid of a terrorist event happening in DC that they just decided to move out of the city until further notice now friends. I know that everyone of us here is proud to be an American when it comes to this issue of our personal safety. We have to look at this issue not as being Americans, we have to look at this as being followers of Jesus Christ and so that's what I want to talk to you about today. What is the Lord say to us in the Bible about our personal safety as followers of Jesus Christ. We want to use Paul's life as a classroom and this is what were going to talk about. And if you're a little scared. If you're a little nervous and you're a little unsure, you feel a little unsafe and just let me say you came to the right place this morning because that's what were going to talk about now little background regarding the apostle Paul, the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey. We know that he is in Greece working his way south through Greece and let show your map he's been to Philippi.
He's been to Thessalonica.
He's been to Berea.
He's preached in each one of these locations are thousands of people to Christ started churches. He then went south to the city of Athens where he preached to the intellectual elite of the ancient Roman world now is in Corinth and we saw several weeks ago that in Corinth. He was going every Sabbath to the synagogue in town and sharing with the Jewish people.
There that Jesus was their Messiah. That's where we pick up the story and let's see how things went. Verse six says that the unbelieving Jewish community in Corinth opposed Paul and became abusive. Now the Greek words here literally mean to draw in battle array.
That's how the the unbelieving Jewish community protocol to do battle with Paul and what the Bible wants us to understand here is that the situation in Corinth between the apostle Paul and the unbelieving Jewish community was not a case of the let's agree to disagree without being disagreeable on the Bible wants us to understand that this was a powder keg about ready to go off in this town that this was a highly charged atmosphere in which the apostle Paul safety was in serious jeopardy. Now it into this tense and and dangerous situation that God comes in a vision to Paul and says, verse nine do not be afraid, Paul. Keep on speaking and do not be silent. God is Paul. I know things encounter tense and I know they're dangerous but here is my will for you.
Paul I want you to stay in town.
I want you to keep preaching and I want to keep trying to lead people to Christ what he called out Wally got a choice to make the on one side he's got the will of God is very clear on the other side.
He has his personal safety on the human level, so what's he going to do well. Verse 11 tells us. Paul stayed for a year and 1/2 in Corinth, teaching them the word of God now focuses followers of Jesus Christ here this morning. This is the point I want us to get this is it that the apostle Paul had a mindset about how he lived his life. It was a mindset in which his number one focus in life was not on his personal safety. It was a mindset where his number one focus in life was on being where God wanted him to be in doing what God wanted him to do to put it another way, the number one question that Paul always areas was not where are the threats to my safety so I can avoid them. Oh no, the number one question Paul always asked is where is the will of God so that I can walk units. The apostle Paul regarded external threats to his safety is trivial, so long as he was doing what God wanted him to do and he was being where God wanted him to be. And you know we talked about this again a little later in the book of acts in acts chapter 20 he was talking to the elders of the church of Ephesus, and he says this, he says, and now compelled by the Holy Spirit.
I am going to Jerusalem and I do not know what will happen to me there however. The only thing that matters to me is that I finished the race, and complete the mission that the Lord Jesus has given me that both the apostle Paul knew that the unbelieving Jewish community in Jerusalem despised to. He knew that when he showed up in town. They were not going to roll the red carpet out for you like to go to do with the Oscars is next week. He knew that when he got into hell. These people go to Trotter hurting. They were probably going to try to kill him. He knew that for him.
The apostle Paul.
The most unsafe place on the global was Jerusalem similarly knew that the wider world as he insisted on going there.
Well, very simple book with the verse says Paul says, and now compelled by the Holy Spirit. I'm going to Jerusalem. The reason that Paul was going to Jerusalem, pure and simple is because with all of his heart. He believed this was God's will for his life.
So let's summarize this was the apostle Paul's mindset that he had in every situation is mindset was as a follower of Jesus Christ my personal safety doesn't come from getting rid of of external dangers. My personal safety columns from being in the center of God's will for my life. Everybody understand that that was his mindset now that the stars were going in the passage today because we got a question asked. You have done this in two weeks so I know you are just Diane to do this right. So here we go. 123 right this a lot so I mean that the little thermometer you put up there was cute. I'm impressed you found out he went differently to think about life Willacy we can answer that question because I believe friends at the apostle Paul's mindset that we've just seen is the biblical mindset that God wants every follower of Christ in every age to have. I believe that is followers of Jesus Christ. God wants us to realize that our personal safety doesn't call from eliminating human dangers are personal safety doesn't come from avoiding human dangers rather personal safety is a gift that God gives every follower of Christ who is going where God wants them to go who is doing what God wants them to do. God wants us to understand that the safest place you and I can ever be as followers of Christ is right smack dab in the middle of the will of God for our life, regardless where that takes us and regardless what human dangers it might expose us to they know what's interesting is that when we look at all the great men and women of God and the Bible we find. They all had the exact same mindset as the apostle Paul. Let's take a couple of examples about Abraham. God appeared to Abraham and said, Genesis 12 one Abraham leave your country, leave your people leave your father's household and go to the land I will show you and then God said to them, if you do this I will bless you and make you into a great nation. I will make your name great. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, now you talk about an unsafe situation, God is asking Abraham to go out in the no man's land with no army, no money, no human protection of any kind friends at the number one issue in your life is personal safety and avoiding risk. There is no way you do this you say to God for God I'm sitting right here when my friends went my father's household. When my country you go make that offer to somebody else. God would Abraham do have a choice to make dignity. He had to choose between the will of God had the same choice.
The apostle Paul had in his own human safety, wouldn't he do verse four says so Abraham left just as the Lord told him to do. Abraham chose the will of God over his own human safety because he understood something he understood that trying to create our own human safety is a mirage.
Real safety is found in being in the center of the will of God and what happened will God kept his promise he made Abraham.
Not only did he protect them, but he made them one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the entire ancient near East and is that about Moses. Remember Moses living out the Sinai desert happily married son-in-law of a big time sheik out there. Everything was great. Is walking along one day and all of a sudden the boy starts talking to his boss says to him, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. I have seen the suffering of my people in Egypt and so Moses now you go. I am sending you back to Egypt to bring my people out Prince God remind you Moses had a price on his head back in Egypt. He could've been arrested and killed on site just for showing up again back in Egypt and now God is asking them to go back and stand in front of the ruler of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth at that time and save the Batman see all the slaves over here doing all the building project. You don't let them go because God says so, would you take that job assignment. Honestly, now what would you have said hey God, you did that was to somebody else I'm not leaving here. There are very happy where I have I'm safe where I am. Moses had the same choice to make.
Abraham did the will of God for his human safety, wouldn't he do Exodus 4 says and Moses took his wife and his sons and he headed back to Egypt. He embraced God's will.
He chose God's will, over his own human safety because he understood that the safest place he could be was in the will of God, and you know what happened right you saw the movie, you know what happened right now what about Rebecca. Rebecca was a young lady living her with her family and in what is today modern-day Iraq and suddenly the stranger shows up and says that he's been sent by her long-lost uncle Abraham she's never seen before in her life and that uncle Abe wanted woman to marry his son Isaac and so he wanted woman so we sent back to his hometown areas into certain back to find this good woman and the servant tells you is Rebecca that he asked God to lead into one specific woman, and he gave God a like a fleecy said God hears the sign I want I want the woman to walk up to the well and do this this and this and I'll know it's the right woman, and he says guess what Rebecca you are the only moment he walked up to the well and did this so it's God's will for you to come with me and Mary Isaac. The ladies would you go for that large hundreds of miles away. You know Abraham could be an old drunk and Isaac about body parts in the refrigerator. You don't know what you get yourself into here you little walk into this well. Rebecca had a choice to make tension.
Certainly, walking into that was not humanly safe, but that was God's will to what you do well. Genesis 24 Rebecca's brothers and mother said to her, and I think incredulously will you go with this man.
What are you not and she said yes. I will go. What would happen. Not only did Rebecca become one of the great women of the faith, but she became a great great great great great great grandmother of King David and the great literary great-grandmother of the Lord Jesus himself, and you know we could go on. We could talk about David going out to face Goliath Thorpe or Esther going in the face. The king uninvited debate for people we could talk about Daniel born in the lines that are his three friends going into the fiery furnace. We could talk about Gideon being willing to go out with only 300 men or Elijah being willing to face the profits of bail amount caramel every one of these folks made the same choice that Abraham made that Moses made the Paul made it Rebecca made. They chose God's will, over their personal human safety because they knew something because they realize something because they understood something they understood that as a follower of God, the safest place a human being can be is in the center of the will of God. What is all this mean for you and me today, what it means.
I believe friends is that as followers of Christ today are true safety has nothing to do with the level of a homeland security thermometer, not a thing to do with that at all this means is if you and I are living out God's will for our lives to the best of our ability to get to the best of our ability were going were God asked us to go in doing what God asked us to do. We are as safe as any human being can possibly been now whether that means. Maybe riding on the Metro to work or working at the Pentagon are working at the post office. If that's God's will for your life you're safest you can do.
Whether that means a you know of going to class or going to school or having lunch on the mall whether it be shopping for groceries during the day and carpooling your children after school.
Whether it means coming to a meeting at church are flying to a business meeting somewhere, even if it means crossing from Kuwait into Iraq with a rifle in your hand it doesn't matter doesn't make any difference. We are living out God's will for our life, whatever it may be, but the Bible tells us we are as safe as safe can be because we are surrounded by, and we are protected by the angelic forces of heaven. One more passage. One of my favorite second-team six women give you little bit of background, the king of Syria is at war with the king of Israel. What the king of Syria was doing as he would set up ambushes all around so that when the Israelite army came by counsel for the prophet Elisha, who was alive at the time God would reveal to Elisha were each one of these ambushes were he would inform the king of Israel and the king of Israel go around and it happened so many times that the king of Syria said now wait a minute, this can't possibly be a coincidence, we have a mole somewhere. So I got all of his advisors together is design. I want to know who is the mole and one of his advisors sitting there is no mold in here it's Elisha the prophet God keeps telling him where we put our ambushes and he gives warning the king of Israel, and so the kings of awareness, it's Elisha. Do that is adopted as a citizen does in a little town north of Jerusalem and so that night. The king of Syria that the whole Syrian army to surround this little town of Dothan were Elisha and his servant were that after we pick up the story.
Second Kings chapter 6, verse 15 with the servant of Elisha went outside.
The next morning the Syrian army had surrounded the city and he ran to Elijah and said how do you know we sent like that. Trust me. He said it just like that. And Elisha said to him, don't be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them and I'm sure his servant looked at him and said what have you been smoking those who are with Joe went off as you and me both Leroy to install them talking about and then Elisha prayed and said, Lord opened his eyes so that he can see, the Lord opened the serving size and he saw that the hills were full of horses and chariots of fire that heavenly forces of God all around Elisha and all around that Syrian army. Do you know friends as followers of Jesus, that the Bible tells us 160 times. Do not be afraid. Do not fear and now you know why because when we're walking with God.
The way Elisha was where surrounded by the forces that have been just like he was where protected by the forces of heaven, just like he was and notice even though Elisha's servant couldn't see those forces with his naked.
I those forces were still there and vote for you and I walk through our daily life. I doubt very seriously. Many of us can see those forces with our naked eye, but they're there for us.
God assures us just the way they were. Therefore Elisha now when we really begin to believe this when we really begin to adopt a mentality for ourselves the Paul and Abraham had Moses that Rebecca had all these other great men and women of God. You know what happens in radically changes the way we live in radically changes our daily behavior.
It means that we can go out into a situation that is chaotic and dangerous and we can still be completely at peace. We can be serene and relaxed because we know something that those who are with us greater than those who are with them. It means that we can stand firm. Even when everybody around us is faltering because we know that those were with us greater than those who are with them. It means that friends we can face any kind of danger and as long as we are confident that we are in God's will. Where God asked us to be doing what God asked us to do with the safest person owner. I'm sure many of you saw the movie gods and generals course you know one of the main characters in this movie was Thomas Stonewall Jackson Gen. for the Confederacy, not a couple things I should say here just as an FYI, you know, Thomas Jackson never owned a slave in his life.
As a matter fact living in Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to the Civil War. He actually had an enormous compassion for the people who were slaves. He started a Sunday school class for them that he funded with his own money he spent the morning riding his body picking up slaves from every plantation around Lexington bringing them to Sunday school.
He taught the class himself and spent the afternoon every Sunday taken them all back home when he was serving on active duty.
He actually would take money out of his weekly paycheck and send it home to Lexington to make sure the Sunday school was funded so we could keep going.
This man was fighting for Virginia. He was not fighting for slavery and he was a godly man a wonderful follower of Christ, and one time he was asked by a fellow officer, general how is it that you can keep so cool when there's a storm of shells and bullets coming after the way, there was today and here's what he said and I quote he said Capt. my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed an amazing comment. My religious convictions teaching to feel safe and I was in bed. He went on to say God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but rather, my concern is to always be ready to always be obedient to God no matter when death may overtake me. This is the way all men should live and in all men would be equally brace."
I as you know I take tours to Israel whenever I tell anybody out the secular world that I think the people of Israel and still doing it.
They always say, not what you know friends I know that there are certain dangers over there but I want you to know I pray about every one of these doors.
I seek God's will I seek God's direction, I canceled tours before when I didn't feel the liberty that God was give me the liberty to go but I gotta tell you what I feel confident that God is saying it's okay that this is the will of God.
I go and I take with me all the knots who prayed about this and believe it's God's will for them to go and I don't mean to imply you that I'm indifferent about my safety or the safety of the people with me we take every reasonable precaution, but I decided years ago as a follower of Jesus Christ. I was not going to let fear run my life. Why should I let fear run my life. If the Bible is truly defined in the will of God, and I got the chariots and horses of fire around me and greater as those who are with us and those were with them, then what am I afraid of, and why should I ever hesitate to do anything that God gives me liberty and asked me to do what am I afraid I decided fears can run my life. Jesus Christ run my life and you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus in real and personal way.
May I say to you that Jesus wants to liberate you from having your life run by fear.
Jesus wants to set you free from letting fear, control your life and you will but that freedom is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Think about those of you here in closing more followers of Christ, may I suggest to you that God doesn't want fear to run your life either. There's always something to be afraid of always, you can always find 55 reasons why it's unsafe and too risky to do something, but that is always the wrong question to ask the wrong question to ask. We should never ask what are the risk we should never ask one of the dangers until we have first as what is the will of God and if we know the will of God is to go into those dangers and end of those risks then friends as followers of Christ. We need to follow the example of the apostle Paul of Abraham and Moses and Rebecca and Esther and Daniel and David. We did go because you know what if we don't if we try in our own human effort to guard our own safety. It's a mirage. The most dangerous place you could ever be as a follower of Jesus Christ is outside of the will of God for your life. Now that being true, it seems to me that we got a wonderful opportunity in our world today. People in America today are scared people in America today are fearful people in this city are scared. I say let's go out and show this city that there is a living God running this world and that when we walk with this living God.
We walk in absolute safety.
I say let's go out and show the city that there's a better way to live a different way to live a way that has calm and serenity and peace attached to it no matter what's happening on the outside.
I say let's go out and create a platform in the city to tell people what makes us different. We can do that unless we've adopted the mindset of the apostle Paul.
I pray what we talked about here today will change line. I pray what we talked about you today will change your behavior in your choices friends.
We cannot let fear run our lives.
Jesus runs our lives. And if we were in obedience to him.
There's absolutely nothing to be afraid. It's pretty for Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about gosh, I mean right right were 11. Thanks for reminding us today.
The true safety is not about avoiding human danger. The true safety as followers of Christ is about embracing and making sure were in the center of the will of God, and that when we are there greater are those who with us than those were with them. Greater is he who lives within us, that he who lives in the world.
So God change our lives today. Take away that fear that it's easy to have creep in as we listen to news reports and we read the newspaper. We listen to other people talking. Lord help us take all that nonsense and to reestablish ourselves as men and women of God who understand that the horses in the chariots of fire, a real just like they were for Elisha and then we have nothing to fear change our lives because we were here today, Lord change the very way we live and we pray these things in Jesus name God's people said Amen