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December 8, 2020 8:00 am
Welcome good to have you morning pay on the Bible and open it to acts chapter 18 to be continuing in our study of the life of a great man. The apostle Paul and where we hope you open a Bible and follow along. Now I know many of you here know who Sandra Bullock is a course in 1994 she starred with candle reads in the hit movie speed but since then she's been in Ms. congeniality murder by the numbers 28 days. The net hope Mozart's two weeks notice the secrets of the Yaya sisterhood which I did not yet have no desire to see but anyway.
Currently, she makes a minimum of $12 million a movie and you think wow you know a woman like this you have homes in New York and LA in Texas and all over everywhere. What would a woman like this ever worry about a meeting you at this kind of money and possessions you be worry free right. Well, not exactly. She said and I quote I always leave the house, questioning every single move I made the down to the choice of payouts and the timing of every step. It is a thick stick cycle. I look at the day and half of it was lost in worry, friends, worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity. This is become the new American disease impact Newsweek magazine reports that even in the best of times over 19 million Americans suffer from some sort of fear related disorder and as we all know this is not the best of time. We got the home security insecurity meter which goes you know from green to blue dog what yellow to orange to red and I don't think that baby in your life, mine is ever going down the green again when you think the Newsweek magazine noted that they said the recent barrage of bad news, nukes in North Korea snipers in Maryland and imminent war a bad economy and the threat of domestic terror. All of this has left people in this privilege nation feeling unusually vulnerable and anxious. Psychotherapists are working overtime. Now today we want to look at a man in the Bible who knew what it was like to have some insecurity in his life. We bought a look at a guy in the Bible who knew what it was like to have a little bit of anxiety in his life.
His name was the apostle Paul and what were going to see is that God gave the apostle Paul, a strategy he gave him a secret as to how to have peace and serenity in his heart in the middle of the most chaotic circumstances going on around them and the good news is that that strategy that God gave the apostle Paul still works 20 centuries later, for those of us here who are followers of Jesus Christ to relook up all their work to bring all that forward and talk about you and me in the 21st century with our little home security meter that they're running here and how we can be secured about a what color that thing goes on, so I put together little bit of background. Remember, the apostle Paul is preaching throughout Greece as part of this second missionary journey. Let's show you a map and you symbol on how the gone well, good news, bad news. Okay the good news is that Paul is been to the city of Philippi's been to the city of Thessalonica is been the food to the city of Berea, and in these cities where he's preached.
He's level literally thousands of people to Jesus Christ, started churches and every one of these.
He then went to Athens where he preached of the intellectual elite of the entire Roman world. So in that sense. Good news is that with the bad for the bad news is that everyone of the city Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea. He was run out of town by mom. He ran into intense persecution and every one of these cities he's been beaten up in prison falsely abused. He's been in constant danger of death, and you know folks here in Corinth, things have not gone a whole lot better. Remember we saw a couple weeks ago that he began preaching Jesus as Messiah in the synagogue here in town, but we saw last week that before long, things got really ugly. Verse six says that the unbelieving Jewish people in Corinth oppose Paul and became physically abusive to what it Paul do this at all. I do Jewish people.
Your blog on your own head. I'm done with you guys now and he went and set up a teaching center for Gentile in the home of a man named tedious justice. Amanda was a Gentile would come to faith in Christ any established kind a like Corinth Bible college in this guy's home and that, where we been down so let's pick up. That's where we are and let's see what happens next. Verse nine. One night the Bible says the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision (this wasn't the first time the Godhead ever appeared to Paul in the vision. If you remember in acts chapter 16 when Paul and his team were marooned up in Northwest Turkey of Croats and they didn't know where to go and they didn't know what to do, God used a vision to get Paul to understand God wanted in the crossover degrees and preach Jesus in great now. This is also not going to be the last time that God appears to Paul in the vision in acts chapter 23 when Paul is in jail in Jerusalem. God is going to appear to him in a vision and reassure him that everything's okay that this is all just part of God's plan to take him to Rome and in acts chapter 27 when Paul is out of the boat in the middle of the Mediterranean, all in a horrible storm God is going to use a vision to reassure Paul that Paul and all the sailors are going to be delivered and God actually gives him tell him what he wants to do in order to be saved in this vision but the point I want you to get is that every time God appears to Paul in a vision. There's a crisis going on they go along with the crisis going on here in court for the crisis is that the apostle Paul is sitting on the top of a powder keg here in the city remember tedious justice for Gentile, we told you that he went set up a teaching center in South with a Bible tells the in this chapter. Actually in verse seven that tedious justice is home was right next door to the Pentagon to what that meant was that every time a Jewish person came synagogue, they saw the apostle Paul, the man whom they despise not only did they see him, but they also heard him preaching their scriptures the Old Testament to a bunch of Gentile and coming up with a conclusion that they, the Jewish people of Florida. The conclusion of course that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and so you see friends instead of the tension between Paul and the Jewish community in town getting better now that he's not going to the synagogue and preaching anymore. The truth is the tension actually got worse. So much so that this tension is going to boil over into another mob here in this town is working to see in the next couple we going to be a mob action in this town against the apostle Paul. Now it's while Paul was right in the middle of this intense and explosive situation that God appears to him and with in a vision and brings him a strategy for Comus brings him a strategy for peace bring them a strategy for serenity in the middle of the storm and let's see what it was.
Verse nine God said to him, Paul. Do not be afraid.
Keep on speaking and do not be silent.
For all I am with you and no one is going to attack you and harm you, for I have many people in this city you know what I was a little kid.
There was a show on television I watch every morning. It was called romper room knows anybody here old enough and willing to admit they watched romper room while LeMay now do you remember Ms. Connie. Here's Ms. Connie. This is love.
The dude don't you love the new and the and and there she had two friends who came on every day with her. She had Mr. Duby and Mr. don't be and they would go through their little thing every day she would say no.
Mr. Duby says Duby time Mr. Dooley said to be obedient to your parents. Mr. don't be said don't be mean Mr. don't be says don't be selfish with you toward know it's amazing how bad I turned out considering all of the Mr. Duby Adobe everything but anyway it's a lot what in the world.
There is no way you can make a connection between Mr. Duby and Mr. don't be in the Bible where yeah I can watch there we go because you say when God appears to Paul in this vision, in a sense what he gives Paul in this vision is three. Mr. don't be watch this Paul number one, don't be afraid because I am with you. He says to them.
Second of all Paul, don't be silent.
Why because Paul there are many people that are yet going to come to Christ in this city.
Well, that as a result of your preaching you better read by huge harvest in the city and 30 says to him, Paul Dall B. Discourage because I'm going to protect you from all harm God commands the apostle Paul to continuing his ministry in the city to do it with no fear, no reluctance, no doubt. And so, look what Paul did.
Verse 11 so Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and 1/2, teaching the word of God. Paul, as a result of this vision settled down to Windex and extended ministry in this town of 18 months.
This represents the second longest ministry stop that Paul is ever going to make in his missionary career.
The only place you going to stay longer is he is going to say two years in the city of Ephesus on his third missionary journey, but other than that this is the longest he ever stayed anywhere and he stayed here teaching the word of God in obedience to the vision that he, God, and when was Paul here he was here from the Paul of 51 A.D. through the spring of 53 A.D. now that the farther you want to go in our passage because it's time to ask a question and nobody knows what I requested is worded actually let Mr. Duby help with. So you're ready 123 right and the youth a lawn. This is wonderful.
You know, I mean Mr. Duby. Mr. don't be romper room with Connie where you been, what difference does it make anybody lie. Well, let's make that connect for you because you know earlier we said friends that Americans are struggling with fear and anxiety and feelings of insecurity in a way that someone unprecedented for us and and people have all kinds of ways of coping with this insecurity. For example, I got so here couple with you when I was in Greece on one of my chores a year or so ago I ran into the bus driver was sitting up there the whole time we were there twirling these little beads like the and in fact I watched and he could actually stick his fingers in between them and flip him from finger to finger to finger to finger and back. I was amazed I've never been able to figure out how to do this but I said to him, what are the he said these are worry beads Dr. there. Worry beads. He said yeah I could weld what you when you do that to the make your problems it'll get laughed and he said no.
He said what he gives you something to with your hand. Is it okay well it is a little addicting. You know, I mean on the visa, give, but that's one way then there's the way Ms. Doro Edelstein of Queens New York cope with anxiety here in America.
I saw her story on the news when Tom Ridge raise the terror warning to orange a couple weeks ago without O'Steen decided to use a free plane ticket that she had. She went to Las Vegas got a room in the MGM Grand and she's been playing craft roulette slot machines ever since I when they interviewed her on television. Here's what you said you said I know I can't stay here forever, but I was in Manhattan on 911 and it was the worst day of my lot whenever they say they're going to be another attack.
I remember that date. This time it sounded real and I figured the terrorist are less likely to attack Las Vegas, the New York so here I am.
Well, there you go to probably right about that. So they go down a more serious note in coping with stress.
This Dr. Joyce Brothers, I saw her on television and she was asked by an interviewer. How can people cope with anxiety. How can people feel more secure and Dr. brothers, noted psychologist gave three answers number one she said go to a happy place. Okay number two per second suggestion was, get angry at something you can fix okay and number three meditate on something green just to look out the window and the green trees in your green grass and meditate without a problem. Dr. brothers is a here in Washington right now.
They nothing green inside no number three at work in Washington with totally theory of and this was it. This was her strategy for feeling more secure friend enough of the psychobabble nonsense enough of this pop psychology nonsense.
What we need for security in our world. The date we need to go to Las Vegas and gambled. We need about worry beads do we need to go to a happy place in our mind what God say about all this.
That's what we want to know. Well let me tell you what he says.
Luke chapter 12 verse 22 Jesus said therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life even tells us why. Who of you by worrying Jesus said can add a single hour to his life. Since you cannot do this. Very little thing. Why do you worry about the rest, and less than if worrying cause people to live longer. Felix Unger would be 200 years old and so would every Jewish mother that ever lived, they'd all be 200 years old while they're not there not. And the reason is that why Jesus said worry doesn't change anything. Never have never will.
It's like a Corrie 10 boom said wonderful lady with all you know the hiding place of her story.
She says worry doesn't empty tomorrow of its problems.
All it does is empty today of its strength and she's absolutely right, they say okay long wait a minute I hear what Jesus saying your patina worrying is a it's natural. I mean it's human.
This is, I believe that our wired so if God tells us not to worry. What does God say to us what does God offer to us what truth is God gearbox that will help us to be able to obey and not worry what strategies is busy give us to have serenity and security instead of worry in our life will friend, let me say that God gives God. God says to us, God offers to us the very same thing that he offered to the apostle Paul and what he offered to the apostle Paul. Here's what he said.
He said Paul do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Don't be afraid to rhyme with you.
You see, true security lifeboats doesn't come from money material things, talent, education, family power doesn't come from making $12 million per movie real security in life columns from Jesus's problem that he is with us that every moment of every day of every month of every year of our life. We are not alone.
We are not unguarded. We are not unprotected.
We are not in this by ourselves, but the living risen Christ. The living risen Messiah of the universe is walking hand-in-hand with to every problem every trial every difficulty every success, every failure that is, he and us together. Now that security and you know when you look in the Bible at the men and women in the Bible whom God has to face the biggest obstacle to God.*Deface the scariest enemies. These were people who had had good reason to worry.
These were people who had good reason to have anxiety when they needed reassurance when they needed courage when they needed peace and serenity is an interesting what God offered every single one of them. He offered every one of them the same truth. The offer Paul watch Moses at the burning bush, God says CMA. Moses, I want to going back to Egypt.
I want you going back to Pharaoh.
I want you to demand he let the people of Israel go. And Moses said will God.
This is kind of a big job that you need to do here. I mean how I got to pull this off and I'm a little scared. And you know you will render the mean guy and what could happen to me and you know what God said to them from the burning bush. He said Moses Exodus 312 to give them assurance to give them confidence Moses he said certainly. I will be with you today.
When Jacob when God called Jacob to return home after 20 years of exile and he was a little bit scared about facing his brother Esau, from whom he had stolen Esau's blessing.
If you remember that he was worried about what Esau might do to him what did God say to Jacob to reassure him.
He said, Genesis 31, three, go and I will be with you Jacob. When the Israelites when God called him to invade the promised land and they were all worried about the huge armies there in the walled cities.
There, what did God say to them through Moses to give confidence and to call their hearts.
Deuteronomy 31 Moses said do not worry or be afraid, for the Lord your God is the one who is with you and when Joshua got the command to take over Israel and lead them across the Jordan in the promised land. And he was a little bit worried whether he could do this, what in God say to bring security and and call him to Joshua. He said Joshua one verse six be strong and courageous board just as I was with Moses, so I am going to be with you Joshua and I love what David finally said about facing the scariest enemy of all that you remember what he said. Psalm 23.
Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.
Why for you are with dear friends God solution for worry God's remedy for fear God antidote for insecurity has always been the same and that antidote is God's promise that I will be with you.
And if you're here today in your follower of Jesus Christ print this promise belongs to you.
Jesus has made you and me, the very same problem. Hebrews chapter 13 verse five Jesus said I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. Jesus said, John 1418 I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you and we sang that wonderful song, how firm a foundation earlier in our service. Part of that hymn is lifted from Isaiah 43 were God says when you pass through the deep waters I will be with you when you walk through the fire. The flames will not hurt you. I am the Lord, and you are precious in my sight, so do not fear, for I am with you that when we as followers of Jesus Christ. We focus on this truth. When we focus on this promise from God. We focus on intently when we focus on it deliberately. When we allow it to dominate our worldview. When we allow it to permeate our perspective on life. Something happens in our soul. There is a confident there is a piece there is a serenity. There is a a security that comes into our heart that this world system cannot copy out okay.
How much money you got in fact listen to the writer of Hebrews.
He said after quoting Jesus. I will never leave you or forsake you.
The next thing he says is therefore in light of that promise. Therefore, he says, we may say with confidence the Lord is my helper, I am not going to worry what can man do to me.
Jesus walks with me every single day of Jesus is with me every single second of he's right there beside me holding me protecting me being there for me. What am I afraid of what am I worried about.
I don't care where that neither goes orange, yellow, green, red pay at the change. Jesus be with me. I have that promise, regardless of what color it is not here today and you've never trusted Jesus in a real and personal way.
Let me say to you that that that there is a piece available in a relationship with Jesus Christ that you can't find anywhere in this world friends. It's a piece. The Bible says that passes all understanding and Jesus referred to this when he said in John 14 verse 27 peace I give you. He said my peace I give you. It's a peace that the world cannot do. The world cannot duplicate imprint if you're here and you've never trusted Christ in a real and personal way. I'm here to invite you to enter into a whole new dimension of living a new dimension of living where anxiety and stress and fear and insecurity do not have to rule your life. But that kind of living is only available in a relationship with Jesus Christ and I hope you will think about that. There is peace that passes understanding available only Jesus can give, they save a lot of vitamins, follower of Christ, he or may not have already. Walking with Jesus, but I got to be honest with you, like you would be honesty and you know sometimes in my life. It just doesn't feel like Jesus is with me sometimes in my life. I look around and I see how circumstances work out and it doesn't make sense to me that they would work out that way if Jesus had really been there with me. So how can I really be sure this I mean how can I really know that God is telling me the truth when all my senses, sometimes don't seem to confirm it. Well, that's a great question. Great question.
Let me answer by telling your story, I thought all three of my boys how to ride two wheel bicycles and what I would do without promise about that.
Okay now you start riding instructor Evelyn phenomena run right behind you and if you start the toddle and you start to wobble, you start to tip over. I'm to catch you before you fall and hurt yourself now without a doubt, the heart is one of my three sons.
I had to write a two wheel with my oldest son David, let me tell you why because Jamie would stop cattle about to battle any turnaround look see if I was there when he turned around looking turn the wheel the bike would go over and so I put them on the bike and I think more about him behind the driver back to felt certain we would durable the bike would go if we go about 4 feet of the time like this up the street and finally I said to him, Jamie. You cannot ride a bicycle. Looking behind you can't ride like that.
You gotta look forward any seven daddy if I look forward how can I be sure you're really there behind in case I fall.
That's a good question and I could Jamie. Here's how you can be sure because I promised, I promise to be behind you, and I never lied to you so that I would never lie to you.
You don't need to see me Jamie you can trust me, you don't need to see me. You can trust that friends.
The Bible says Titus chapter 1 verse two that we have a God who cannot lie, that doesn't mean we have a God, the Bible doesn't say that we have a God who will not live.
We have a God who cannot lie. It is a violation of his very character and if he ever lied one time. He would cease to be the God of the universe. Now this God who cannot live what he say to you and me. I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you when you walk through the deep waters, I will be with you.
So do not fear. That's what this God for brand will need to see them. We don't need to file them. We don't need our senses to validate this. If the God who cannot live said it we can trust we can trust we can trust him that he's there holding you and me in his everlasting arms. We can trust them that he's there guiding you and me with his everlasting plan we can trust the ladies there protecting you and me with his everlasting power. We can trust him that he's there shielding you and me under his everlasting wings. We can trust him that he's there nurturing you and me with his everlasting love. He made you and me a promise.
We don't need to see him don't need to file them. We can trust and this is where real security comes from friends knowing that whatever we face and what ever we go that we have the living God of the universe right there beside us doing all these things for you so you know lawn. God bless you son.
You know if they're just preaching your heart out son. God bless you. But you know what it's a lot harder out in real life to live with that. It is the preacher coming out in real life. This is tough to do. Sometimes when when everything is falling apart everything else like it's flying apart at the seams and you're asking me to believe God here with me. This is not always easy to do. Hey, I know believe me I know I have an 11-year-old little girl with severe disabilities. I can't tell you how many times over the last 11 years I've been standing in an emergency room with her whole or riding in the back of an ambulance with her or sleeping in a reclining chair in a hospital room with her while Brenda goes home to get a nice rest and then we switch off the next night. I can't tell you how many times friends that the question is popped in my mind. God, are you really here with me. You really here with my wife and my daughter go. That sure doesn't feel like it lots sit in his chair and his hospital ride in this ambulance at your unfeeling and you know what God always said back to me friend the same thing he always whispered back in my year. Hey lawn, I can't lie to you if I tell you I'm here I'm here now you know what you need to trust you need to believe me, I told you I'd never abandon you I told you I would never leave you as an orphan trust. You don't need to see me, you will need to feel me just trust the brand that's really the only choice we got within a trust God were not that here's the good news. The good news is even we doubt God he still there with us just like you.
Problem that's good news. But when we doubt him, we lose all the joy in our Christian experience. We lose all the spiritual vitality in our Christian experience.
We dishonor God in ways that we gotta go back later and apologize to them for dishonoring him like that.
Doubting God doesn't change his promise one bit. It just ruins our experience going through. You know, I asked God in those days for God to give me the strength trust even though I didn't feel even though I didn't sense that he was really there and he did a lot of good days and bad days, but he did and he did that for brand that you know now 11 years later, looking back on those times I can see God was there on a second.
I can see exactly how he was there even lie to me. He did exactly what he said I couldn't see it then and I'm so glad I decided by state I was going trust because I don't have a thing to apologize for now the God, and there really was some goodness and some joy in the experience. Even through the hard times because I just thought I was going trust God enough friends. Many of you here about tough things in your life, you may not have a daughter with disability you got things in your life with an feel like God is there, you can sense God is there, things don't look like they're working out as though God ought to be there so you got a choice to make. Just like I do, given a believe God. Are you going to delve, I'm here to tell you what you believe him or not he still going to be there for you. That's good news, but you'll have a much finer experience.
If you decide to believe God.
Remember, the Bible says we don't walk the site we don't walk by feeling we don't walk by our senses, our feelings, our senses and our site will betray us from we walk by faith believing what God tells us God will never betray us and that's how we walk the Bible says they God help you do that it's pretty poor Jesus.
There are many of us here today and you know this course struggling to really believe that you're with us were struggling because it doesn't feel like you're with us were struggling because their senses can't validate that you're with and they're going through difficult and in hard times where it doesn't seem like things are working out in a way that they all work out if you were really there for Jesus by prayer is that you were in my mind every one of us here today that you cannot lie.
And if you say you will never leave us or forsake us. If you say we will not be orphan. If you say fear not, I am with you than that is truth in my prayer is that you would help us to embrace that truth by faith, or that you might give us the strength we need to believe you even when we can't validate with our senses and they we may be able as a result of this to walk through even the most difficult and insecure time with peace and serenity because our faith is strong and centered in the promises of God or take people who came in here today worrying, feeling insecure treading feeling alone as followers of Jesus, help him to walk out with hope and peace and encouragement in their heart because of the word of God change our lives because we were here, Lord, lift our spirits keep our focus on you, the living God.
We pray this in Jesus name God's people said Amen