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November 23, 2020 7:00 am
Taking a Bible. Let's open it together to the book of acts chapter 18 were going to continue in our study of the life of the great man.
The apostle Paul asked chapter 18 and I want to show your picture to start with.
This is me and my good friend Dan McKinnon and Lisa wanted know you were such a long will I am so you just didn't know it. I'm sorry but anyway this was taken out the high Sierra's out of you like it every year when I go out there. Then I go riding, motocross up in the Sierras in one year. Want to tell you to story one year. We were up there riding together, and though we were riding on this 1 Lane Dirt Rd. The town ran along the side of a mountain on the right-hand side of the road was the wall of the mountain and on the left-hand side of the road was a cliff that dropped several hundred feet down the side of the mountain we were riding along and I was right about 20 yards behind him and it was one of these incredibly curving roads where you could only see about maybe 50 yards in front of you the most people to grow To the disappearing around the curve and so as we were riding along down through this road. Suddenly I saw Dan begin the frantically waved his arm right as he disappeared around the curb in front of me. What exactly sure what the world is going on, but I figured, well, just to be safe. Maybe a pullover like on the side and so I just kinda stopped and pulled over right against the wall of the mountain and all of a sudden around this current comes this 18 wheeler logging truck full of Longstreth throwing DOS like an Oklahoma tornado and went right by me. I barely stayed alive result on the side of the road to find a been out in the middle of the road, which is where I was when he started waving his hand may not of been bogged on the front of the bumper. This truck is what I would've been out of been a daughter for sure.
And later on I said to myself while I sit is really good thing that you wave your hand like that he's done the same for Fred and I so appreciate that but but you know the point of all this is when you see danger up ahead. I mean, it's kinda your duty, your responsibility to warn the people who were in its path. I mean when you agree with that.
Well that's kinda what we want to talk about tonight and so I want us to look at the life of Paul. In order to talk about the subject. But first, it's kind of see the passage that that grows out of little bit of background. Remember, the apostle Paul had left Athens and has gone 53 miles southwest to the town of Corinth and remember we said last week that the town of Corinth was located on a 3 1/2 mile wide gift this Christmas was kind of like the Panama Canal for the ancient world ships rather than sailing around the South agrees and out into the Mediterranean Sea were there ships would be exposed to the gales and the storms in the Mediterranean.
They would either sail in from the east in the Aegean Sea, or they would sailing from the west on the Ionians be both of these very calm in land. See, and then they would transfer their cargo across this gift must, and that is how most of the commerce in the trade in the eastern Mediterranean moved at the time of the apostle Paul, now Corinth because it sat right on this isthmus became a stopping point for all of this trade all this converse. Corinth became a city of enormous wealth that of an enormous influence, and Corinth.
We estimate had 200,000 people living there at the time of the apostle Paul making it one of the true megacities of the Roman Empire will. This is where the apostle Paul went and when he got here in the fall of 51 A.D. the fall of 51 A.D. you remember last week we saw.
He met up with two people in a Priscilla Tukwila. They were a husband-and-wife team to Jewish believers would come from Rome and were living in corn and all three of them discovered they were tentmakers so they went into business together Monday to Friday. The apostle Paul work for a living on the weekends. He preached Jesus in verse four here says that every Sabbath Paul reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Gentiles as was his custom. The apostle Paul started his preaching ministry in Corinth, where he started his preaching ministry in every city and that is at the Jewish synagogue in that town. Now that's what we saw last week. This week we want to pick up and let's see what happens next verse by and when Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. Remember, Paul had left Silas and Timothy here in Berea and Thessalonica left them here to look after the young believers left behind when the apostle Paul got run out of town and so now they come down to Corinth from Berea and Thessalonica.
They make their way down and they finally joined up with the apostle Paul down here in Corinth. Remember there's still one member of the team missing, and that's Dr. Luke. Remember Dr. Luke is still appear in Philippi taking care of the church later and went Timothy and Silas show up.
They show up with some really good news. The good news they show up with is that the believers in Thessalonica and the believers in Berea were going on for the Lord.
The apostle Paul was worried that with all the persecution that was going on in these towns within being run out of town by mom. He was worried that these young believers.
There were going to well that they were going to spiritually collapse, but went Timothy and Silas show up. They tell them know they're not collapsing that they're doing fine.
Paul actually refers to.
This reflects upon this in a letter that he wrote to the church of Thessalonica from Corinth and we call it today. First Thessalonians, he wrote it right about this time that look what he said.
He said first Thessalonians 3 when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted for the fate and it turned out that way.
As you well know, I was worried. Paul said that you would be unsettled by such treatment, so I sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in your faith. When did he do that will right before he got run out of town from Berea and came to Athens. Then he goes on to say, Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought good news about your faith. Therefore, in all my distress and persecution. I am encouraged. Since I hear that you are standing firm in the Lord. This piece of good news that Timothy and Silas brought like a spiritual shot in the arm for the apostle Paul just lifted his spirits, but you don't Timothy and Silas also brought something else when they arrived, and that is they also brought an offering money from the church at Philippi to gift to the ministry of the apostle Paul. Paul refers to that in a letter he later writes to the church at Corinth, he refers back to this and here's what he says in second Corinthians 11. He says I robbed other churches by receiving support from there, in order to serve you in Corinth for when I was with you and needed something I was not a financial burden to you. I did ask you guys for a penny for when Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia where Philippi is days supplied what I needed.
Not one of the wonderful benefits of this offering. Arriving with Silas and Timothy, is that for a while. The apostle Paul did need work for a while. Do you have enough money to meet his needs.
And that's why this verse is that now he could devote himself exclusively to preaching because he didn't have to work Monday to Friday anymore and so that's what Paul did.
Instead of just being at the synagogue. Now on the weekends. The apostle Paul went there every day. He was there for morning prayer meeting. He was there for evening prayer meeting. He was there for midweek Bible study. Whenever anybody came to the synagogue. Definitely fail, they found Paul explaining and trying to tell them about Jesus. He became a permanent fix. Synagogue. How did that go well, let's look verse six but when the Jews oppose Paul and became abusive. He stuck out his close in protest and said to them, your blog be on your own hands.
I am clear of my responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles. Now the word here translated, oppose, they oppose Paul is a military word, it means to set yourself up in battle array and what the Bible is telling us here is that this unbelieving Jewish community in Corinth that they set themselves up in battle array against the message of Jesus Christ that they oppose the message of Jesus Christ of Paul was bringing in the same way that you depose an invading army and that they were nice about it either, but that they became abusive. The Bible said as it got really ugly.
Is that what exactly happened. I don't know but it got ugly. And finally, Paul said all right that's it that's it. I was willing to talk to you. I was willing to be patient with you, I was willing to do anything to get abusive about the whole thing. Now the Bible says he shall call his close against him. Is that what in the world is that well remember what Jesus said in Luke chapter 9 when he sent the disciples out to preach. He said if the people in the town do not welcome you shake the dust off your feet as a testimony of judgment against them and this is exactly what the apostle Paul did hear this is a biblical motive that these Jewish people would've understood perfectly well.
It was an act of judgment. It was an act of rejection. It was an act of repudiation Paul today fellows I got everything I know how to reach you guys talk talk with you reason with you study the Old Testament with you been patient with you, but not only have you rejected the message of Jesus Christ. But now you become hostile and now you've got nasty so just like Pilate I'm washing my hands. Are you guys and from now on I'm going to the Gentiles here in town verse seven. Then Paul left the synagogue and went next-door to the house of tedious justice. A worshiper of God. The Bible calls tedious justice, a worshiper of God.
He was a Gentile.
He was a Roman would been attracted to the worship of the true God and had started attending synagogue. This is the standard word, the Bible uses for Gentile, who'd been attracted to the synagogue.
Obviously he had come to faith in Christ as a result of the apostle Paul's preaching and now he offers his health to Paul to be used as kind of a teaching center there in Corinth, sorta like Corinth Bible College. You know what I'm saying, was GoToMeeting his house and look where his house was located. It was located right next door to the synagogue that is got have a sense of humor or what is that unbelievable and the Bible tells us verse 11 that the apostle Paul spent 18 months tearing Corinth at the house of tedious justice teaching the word of God. Verse eight, and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized. The Bible tells us to. Paul led scads of people to Christ. Here in Corinth and the Bible even tells us about one of the most amazing people he led the Christ, the beginning of verse eight Christmas synagogue boiler and his entire household believed in the Lord that what was a synagogue ruler was the synagogue really was the person who ran all the affairs of the synagogue. This was the man who supervised all the Sabbath services. This was the man in the Jewish community there in town who was supposed to have the deepest knowledge of the Bible was supposed to have the greatest zeal for the Jewish faith.
He was the big monster in town.
If you understand what I'm saying in the Jewish community and this guy comes Christ and it was only one elbow in the Corinthian synagogue. So when he comes to cries they have to go out and pick a new synagogue leader because he was the synagogue leader.
This guy gives his life to Jesus along with his whole family to understand how huge this was having this would be like if we what I set out to reach every player in the NBA and the very first player we reach was Michael Jordan and say what I'm saying. That's kinda what this is like you don't seem to be impressed with that I'm telling you that would be a big deal and that's what this was like well anyway to pick up again and see what happens next because it gets worse, forgets better here in this town. But before we ask our most important question for tonight.
I don't want you to please notice Paul's comment that he made to these Jewish people. Here's what he said member. He said your blood be on your own kids remember him saying that this is biblical terminology for judgment coming upon a person for something that person decided to do or decided not to do that brought judgment consequences on them and the apostle Paul says to these Jewish people.
You know what you guys decided to ignore the message of Jesus Christ.
By doing so you put yourselves directly in the path of the judgment of God, not friends. This is the consistent teaching of the word of God that if a person rejects Jesus Christ.
They put themselves on a collision course with the judgment of God.
Listen to what Jesus said in John chapter 3 verse 36 whoever believes in Jesus Christ, has eternal life, but whoever rejects Jesus Christ will not see eternal life but God's judgment abides rests on that person that you're here tonight and you've never trusted Christ to the real and personal way. I want to listen very carefully. Paul's words here remind us that we should not believe the popular notion going around these days that there are lots of ways to get eternal life and the Jesus Christ is just one of that is not true that is not what the Bible says that all the Bible is crystal clear that the only way to get eternal life is through a relationship with Jesus Christ reject him and the Bible makes it clear that if you do your on a collision course with the judgment of God from that's what Paul was saying to these Jewish people and the same is true today with your Jewish wedding Gentile to make a difference now.
I'm writing you never trusted Christ in real and personal way. I'm here to tell you that we have Christianity 101.
It's a wonderfully safe environment where you can get your questions answered about what that really means and, in fact, go sign up for the lobby were to start a couple weeks but folks trust me, if you make a decision against Jesus Christ. Remember what Paul said here.
This collision course with the judgment of God. This coming that's what the Bible teaches.
Please don't believe it teaches anything else and I hope you'll take out the heart.
Well, that's as far as recording the passage tonight because it's time to ask a question. You know, our question writer body ready. Are you ready on here we go ready 123 try to lawn. So what you know.
Connie interested in you know I'm visiting that link to my life. Well, let's talk about that because you know as followers of Jesus Christ. What Paul said to those Jewish people when he said to them, your blood be on your own head when he told those unbelieving Jewish people that there is an incredibly important lesson for you and I and those same words, what is really saying here is, if you guys perish. If you guys miss eternal life now after all of my attempts to reach you. Paul saying that it's your own doing it your own responsibility. Befriends the spiritual truth that's embedded in these words of Paul is think about it now. What Paul is also saying is that when we first met when I first met you.
The apostle Paul meeting. These Jewish people before I told you about Jesus Christ before I warned you about rejecting Jesus Christ. The responsibility for your eternal destiny. I shared a piece of that.
In other words Paul saying here part of the responsibility for their eternal destiny was on their shoulders. Clearly, but before Paul spoke up and told them the truth part of their eternal destiny's responsibility was on his shoulders. However, now that he had spoken out now that he had warned him now that he had done everything he could think up to reach him. Now Paul was absolved of any and all spiritual responsibility that belong to him. It was 100% on their shoulders. Now they salon you really sure the Bible teaches that community really short, Paul's actually saying that he felt part of the spiritual responsibility for their eternal destiny before he spoke up before he warned him about what was out there if they rejected Christ absolutely no friends. One of the most haunting passages in the Bible to me is found in the book of Ezekiel chapter 33. Let me read you. It says this the watchmen on the wall sees danger coming. This is God speaking any blows the trumpet to warn the people and that if anyone hears the trumpet and does nothing and loses his life that person's blood will be on his own. In other words, it's that person's own responsibility. However, if the watchman sees danger coming, but does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and if the people perish. I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood not get through person listen to what he said was EQ is that Ezekiel I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel and what I say to unbelievers that they will perish, and you don't warn them. I will hold you accountable for their blood but you do warn them, and they choose not to change they will still perish, but you will have exonerated yourself you before you free of responsibilities. EQ nevertheless I have totally misunderstood this passage in Ezekiel and I don't think I have what God is telling us as followers of Jesus Christ dear who know the truth about Jesus, who know the truth about eternity and eternal life. God is telling us that we have a spiritual responsibility to be sharing that true to people around us everywhere we go. This does not mean listen carefully that we rudely and crudely beat people up with the bar.
What it does mean is that when the Holy Spirit opens an opportunity for us to talk to people about eternity. We take that opportunity. We grant that opportunity, partly because we care about people and we want to have eternal life.
That's true, but partly because we realize that sharing Jesus Christ is a spiritual responsibility that we have from God, for which God is going to hold you and me accountable. Every time I talk about this from the pulpit. I get cards and I got letters enter all negative so you can send me a negative card or letter went first and see if I cover what you going to say so you don't have to waste your time people write me and they say lawn. How dare you how dare you try to motivate people to share their faith based on guilt, obligation or duty and the fear of reprisal from God. How dare you do that well folks, all I can tell you I'm trying to be as true to the Bible as I possibly can.
The way I read it. Listen, think, if we were under no spiritual responsibility to share Jesus if we had no spiritual liability if there was no spiritual onus on us, then why in the world would God have said what he said was EQ Avalon that's in the Old Testament, it doesn't count. Well actually that's not true. But even if you feel that way and let me ask you this.
Why would the apostle Paul have said to these unbelieving Jews in Corinth. I am now clear of my responsibility but responsibility. Was he talking about friends and he was clear. If not his responsibility to speak up and tell them about the truth of Jesus Christ and about what's going to happen to them if they reject the truth about Jesus Christ and you know later on he repeats the same line of thinking.
He says in acts chapter 2020. Standing in front of the leaders of the church of Ephesus.
He says Paul does. I have declared to both Jews and Gentiles that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, I declare to you today. Paul said that I am innocent of the blood of all men. Why, because I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you the entire truth of God is a lot I gotta say some Odyssey.
This is the most ridiculous line of reasoning I have ever heard in my life will wait minute, wait a minute you think so friends what about them attending the meal not logging road if my friend Dan McKinnon had seen that truck coming and had never waved his arm toward me and I truck what hit me until me. Do you think he would've borne any responsibility at all for the fact that I got hit by the truck and killed that even morning is different, really, how is it different friends as followers of Jesus Christ we know that a logging truck that the Bible called hell is headed towards every human being on the face of this earth every relatively have every neighbor we have every friend at school. We have every friend at work.
We have ended God gives us the opportunity to warn them if God opens the door for us to tell them there's a long truck coming out of to get off on the side of the road and we fail to take that opportunity. How is it that we don't bear some spiritual responsibility if they end up perishing. How would that be when you summarize, if we know Jesus Christ friends were like a watchman on the wall. We know what's out there and eternity for people who don't know Jesus Christ and we are under solemn obligation.
I believe from God to warn people to blow the trumpet if we do blow the trumpet and people ignores just one God says it's not your responsibility anymore. You warned him so you can do.
But if the Holy Spirit opens an opportunity for us to share the message of Christ with somebody and we don't speak up, and those people perish. I believe there is an accountability that God is going to require from you and for me and frankly I think it's an accountability he should require from you and for me not want you to know that this accountability is something I sealed in a very real way every day. Is that what you want, but that is your pastor will know know being a pastor is actually nothing to do with this. I feel this responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with being a pastor. I feel this accountability with every person I meet professionally. I feel this accountability with every delivery person that shows up to my front door. I feel that accountability with every neighbor on my street every relative that I have cashiers at the market waiters at restaurants. I mean, I'm always saying God, you know, I know there's a train coming and I know this person may very well be standing on the tracks and they don't even realize it. Or if you open up an opportunity to share Christ with them. I'm willing to step through it and more give me the courage to me the courage and help me take those opportunities you send my way. You know when I first came to the Washington area two-story.
I was working for the good news mission was the jail and prison ministry, with headquarters in Arlington and on.
When I was working there one day I'll never forget it. They sent me over the bank to make a deposit for the mission and so I walked over to the bank and the two blocks away and I have a deposit slip in the checks you know and so I got to the teller.
She opens it up and she looks at the deposit slip and she says she says the good news mission. She says so tell me what the good news. Well, how are you like that for an open no idea. I totally throats. I totally throats I just stood there, when, I did know nothing came out of my mouth.
I sheepishly said something silly or stupid took the deposit slip walked out the door and started walking back to the mission and I was about a block away from the bank when the Holy Spirit said to me hey Lana want to tell you something. You know that lady back there in the bank.
If that lady ends up missing eternal life. I'm going to remind you about this to I'm going to remind you about that question she asked and you know it bothered me so much I couldn't shake that didn't bother me so much.
You know what I did is that you went got a stiff drink. No, no, I didn't go get a stiff drink.
You know what I did. I turned around and walked back to the bank I got back in that teller's line had no business line and when I got back up to the front. I said to her due member that question you asked me what's the good news. She said that the due member I was here a few minutes ago was a thing for the good news mission and you said to me. So what's the good notes she said yeah so I came back to tell you what the good news.
She said okay and I stood there and told her about Jesus Christ and about would Jesus Christ want to do in her life but that it was a hard yeah I would've been a lot easier to do it the first time embarrassing for her to say you have a deposit on the nothing. I just came back to Wexford and myself. But you know what I don't know that lady ever asked Jesus in your heart but I know one thing if she misses heaven, I'm not going to have to stand before God and give an account of the day, friends, listen to Scott ask us to rudely show Jesus Christ down people's throats. No. Does God ask us to faithfully share Jesus Christ in every situation where he opens an opportunity like you did for me absolutely in fact God says he's going to hold us accountable for doing that and I don't know that you, but that scares me something else.
It does, it motivates me to do the right thing.
It motivates me when God gives me an opportunity to open my mouth. I remember that lady I don't want to ever have to go back and repeat it. I'd rather do it the first time and so this is a motivational thing in my life to say God, here's an opportunity given to hold me accountable, to take this opportunity help me and you save a lot of this is really true that one or more followers of Christ share their faith. I got three quick reasons and then were done number one because a lot of the followers of Christ are not convinced that it's necessary to share their faith. What I mean by that is, they believe there's other ways for people to get eternal life, and so why should I share my faith of his other ways for people to get to heaven.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Bible doesn't know anything about any other way for somebody to get eternal life other than Jesus Christ.
And if you have any doubt I've got something that can help you with reason number one. I got to chase or you get the CD to listen to one as part 44 of this series, the people really need Jesus and the other one as part 30 is being a worshiper of God good enough to go right on the bookstore and I'll take you to the Bible and talk to you about. Is there another way you get eternal life. The answer is no second reason why people don't often share their faith as number two because they don't feel they know how to share their faith well I got good news for you to. It's called Christianity. 301 you walk right out in the lobby and sign up for. It's all about training you how in a right sensitive and appropriate way to share your faith, and in six weeks will train you how to do it. Go out there and sign up because you don't know how was no excuse for not sharing your faith with this training available the third and final reason why people don't often share their faith is simply because there should because their shame to share their faith now on this one.
I can fix this one for you this between you and the Lord himself. I can remind you what Jesus said blue got chapter 9 verse 26.
He said if anyone is ashamed of me. I will be ashamed of him when I come in my glory, not about 100% sure exactly what that means, whatever it means. I don't want to be on the receiving end of me just say that I don't want to be on the receiving end of that verse and friends. I've got a tape that will help you get some from our series on Romans. It's called I am ready to preach the gospel from Romans chapter 1 that'll help you with some of these thoughts go out to the bookstore and get it one way or the other. I want to leave you with the Lord's words as we close to. These are his words for you and for me he says and I quote I have made you insert your name wants all I've made you long a watchman for people when I say to unbelievers that they will perish, and you don't warn them. I will hold you long accountable for their blood, at least in part, but if you do warn them, and they choose not to change they will still perish, but you will have exonerated yourself frenzies of serious words and they should change the way we live. They should change the way we live, and I hope they will for you spring let's take a moment with our heads bowed in her eyes close, showing that if you need to do business with God. This would be a good moment to do if you need to tell God that you're to be more willing to share your faith if one of these three reasons is something you need to remedy the media need to tell God to take steps to do that with but you need to talk to God about the subject. You need to maybe begin a new pattern in your life. Want to take a moment and you talk to it right now for Jesus on let's all be honest with you here tonight is not a one of us sitting here is a follower of Christ who hasn't had an opportunity at some point handed to us to share our faith where we did in most cases. Lord, let's be honest, it's because we were just a little shame little embarrassed. We felt a little uncomfortable didn't know quite how Lord everyone of us.
Here's been guilty of that, for we ask you to forgive us for that. You've never been ashamed of us and you got reason to be ashamed of us. We have no reason to be ashamed for Jesus, encourage us to not by reminding us of the accountability that is ours. The people that we pass everyday Lord are not asking us to ram and jam ourselves into their lives. What you are asking us when you open it often to be by your spirit to be willing to open our mouths and warn people talk to people love to God make us very sensitive to this accountability. I pray and may it motivate us to do the right thing, change our lives because we were here tonight. Make us missionaries every day I pray and I ask this in Jesus name, amen