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God Will Give Me Justice - Life of Paul Part 51

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2020 9:00 am

God Will Give Me Justice - Life of Paul Part 51

So What? / Lon Solomon

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God will give me justice. Well, you know, we hear a lot of talk in our world today about justice, but I don't know about you, when I look around, I don't see a whole lot of justice being worked out in our world today at WorldCom, at Enron, at Tyco, at Imclone. We see executives walk away with huge fortunes, leaving faithful employees and trusting investors holding the bag.

And of course, on a much smaller scale, you and I see people every day who seemingly get away with everything from cheating in school to lying to customers to padding their expense accounts. And it's really easy, you know, if we're not careful for us to end up like young Dante's here in our clip from the Count of Monte Cristo, we begin confident that God sees everything, that God is going to give justice, true justice to everyone. And before long, we begin losing all hope and we begin wondering if there even is a God that's watching everything and seeing everything. And this is what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about justice.

Does it exist? Will we ever see it? How does God figure into all of this? And the reason we're going to talk about this is because this is the theme with which the Apostle Paul ends his sermon on Mars Hill. You know, we've been working through that sermon that Paul preached in Athens to the intellectual elite, not just of Athens, but of the whole Roman Empire. So far we've seen him talk about the creation of the universe. We've seen him talk about the creation of life on this planet, including human life.

And I don't have time to review all that we've seen, but you can get tapes and CDs of those in our bookstore. But today we want to move on and finish his sermon and we're going to find that as he finishes, this is the element that Paul talks about, the element of justice. We want to see what he says and then of course we want to always answer the question, well, what difference does that make to you and to me? So let's do that together. Verse 29, Acts chapter 17. If you brought a Bible, open with me to Acts chapter 17 and we're going to be continuing. We're in the middle of this sermon and here's what Paul says, verse 29. Therefore, he says, since we are God's offspring, we should not think that God is like gold or silver or stone, images, idols made by man's design and skill. In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. If you remember, we told you that the city of Athens was overflowing with idols and all kinds of religious activity.

In fact, the Roman poet Livy, if you remember, said there are more gods in Athens than there are people. Now, what Paul tells these people who are consumed with religious activity is that God is not at all impressed, but that what God wants from them is for them to repent and to repent literally simply means to change your mind. God wanted these people in Athens to change their mind. You say to change their mind about what? Well, to change their mind about how they were planning to get eternal life, about how they were planning to get right with God and to stop relying on their own human effort and their own religious activity and instead change their mind and begin relying on the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to pay for their wrongdoing.

Now friends, the same is true today. There's all kinds of religious activity in our world. Much of it is sincere religious activity. God is no more impressed with that than he was the sincere religious activity in Athens 1900 years ago.

He says to the people of our world today the same thing he said to these people in Athens. I want you to change your mind. Change your mind about how you're planning to get to heaven and get eternal life.

It's not going to be as a result of human works. It's not going to work as the result of religious activity. Instead, we need for you to rely on the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. Now, if you're here today and you've never done that, what does God want from you? He wants you to change your mind. He wants you to stop relying on yourself and your own activity and rely instead on what Jesus did for you.

Hope you'll think about that. But Paul goes on from there and says this. He says for God has a set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man that he has appointed, meaning of course the Lord Jesus Christ. Now Jesus himself spoke of this, of this delegation of authority for the judging of the human race that God had given him. He says John chapter 5 verse 22, God the Father judges no one, but he has entrusted all judgment to me the Son. Jesus said in John 5 27, God the Father has given me the authority to execute justice and judgment.

Peter said Acts chapter 10. God ordered us to tell people that Jesus is the one whom he has appointed as judge of the living and the dead. And Paul goes on in verse 31 here on Mars Hill and says and God has given proof of this to all men. Proof that Jesus really is who he said. Proof that Jesus really is going to judge the human race and where did that proof come from?

Well it came by raising this man Jesus from the dead. Now as soon as these intellectuals heard about the resurrection, the sermon was over. I mean you get the clear impression Paul had more to say here. He doesn't get to say it that the whole meeting dissolves into chaos at the mention of the resurrection. And you know a lot of commentators have gotten so caught up in the meeting falling apart in chaos that they skip over the full impact of what Paul just said in this verse.

Let's go back and look at it. Paul says two very important things. Number one, he tells us that God has chosen a very special person to judge the human race. We're not going to be judged by some computer. We're not going to be judged by the matrix. But there's a person who knows all things, sees all things, understands all things that's going to do this judging. Nothing is going to get by him.

No one is going to trick him. He's going to be the ultimate Judge Judy, if you understand what I'm saying, that's going to judge the human race. And number two, that this person, the Lord Jesus, will judge the world with justice. Hey there's our word, with justice. Friends there may not be much true justice in our world today, but Paul tells us here that there is coming a day when there will be true justice, when everything people have ever done, every word, every action, every deed, every motive is going to be held up and judged with true justice.

And you know the presiding judge, the Lord Jesus said that himself. Listen to what he said, Luke chapter 12, he said, for there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed. There is nothing hidden that will not be known.

What people have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what they've whispered in secret shall be shouted from the rooftops. You know all those people out there that you know that are convinced they got away with it? You know all those people out there who are sure they pulled the wool over everybody's eyes and there's never going to be any accounting at all for what they did?

You know all those people? Well guess what friends, they're wrong. Nobody's getting away with anything. Jesus said the things they whispered in the little tiny secret corners of your office building, everybody's going to hear about it. It's going to get shouted from the rooftop. All the little plans and innuendos and schemes that they worked out in the dark, Jesus said don't worry about it, it's all coming into the light.

Nobody is getting away with anything. And you say well Lon, how can I be sure this is really going to happen? I mean what assurance do I have there's going to be this kind of justice carried out? Well the answer friend is found in the character of God, who God is. The Bible tells us that God is both a righteous and a just God.

We find both of these elements together in Daniel's prayer, Daniel chapter 4 verse 37. He says all the Lord does is righteous and all His ways are just. Now what does it mean first of all to say that God is righteous? Well it means that God always does what is ethically right, what is morally pure, and what is utterly virtuous, that God can do no other thing, God is not capable of doing anything else, He is a righteous being. But beyond that the Bible says God is just. And what that means is not only does God personally do what is righteous Himself, but God also cares deeply about His creation operating righteously. Because God is just, it means that God cares about how tree people treat people. Because God is just, that means that God cares about the wrongs that people have done to you and that they have done to me.

Because God is just, that means God is committed to repaying every act of injustice with appropriate payback, that when the time is right, when it's the perfect time in the wisdom of God, in the perfect way God knows how, absolute justice is going to be administered to every human being because God is a just God. He's going to see to it. He has to see to it. You say well Lon, just out of curiosity, where in the Bible does God make that promise? I mean if I wanted to actually see a promise that says that in the Bible, where is it? Well I'm happy to tell you that you'll find it in Galatians chapter 6 among other places. Look what God says there. He says, do not be deceived. Nobody makes a fool out of God for whatever a person sows, that is exactly what they will reap.

God tells us here that He has set up an inescapable law when it comes to human behavior and human conduct and here's that law, whatever a person sows, that is exactly what they're going to reap. You know when my children were younger my wife Brenda bugged me and bugged me and bugged me about planting a garden, about going up in the front, out in the front yard and digging up a piece of it and planting a garden and I kept saying I don't understand what is the big deal, I didn't really want to do it, about planting a garden and she said well I want our boys to know where tomatoes come from. Well friends you know I grew up Jewish and I knew exactly where tomatoes come from, they come from the supermarket.

I knew where they came from. See you know we didn't get anywhere near a garden unless it was for a catered party, you understand what I'm saying and I'm like plant a garden, I don't know anything about planting a garden. She said well I'm going to teach you and so we learned together how to plant a garden and I learned this amazing law.

It was a profound law. I learned whatever you sow that's exactly what comes up out of the ground. If you put green beans in the ground, friends you don't get broccoli, you don't get eggplants, you don't get brussels sprouts thank God, you get green beans.

If you plant rutabagas you get rutabagas. I mean that is a law of nature, a law of gardens but you know what this is not just God's law of gardens, this is God's law of human behavior as well. God is promising us whatever a person sows that is exactly what they're going to reap and God says here nobody is ever going to beat this law because even though it looks like some people may have beaten it, even though it seems like some people have gotten off scot free, friends if people were able to beat this law of God they'd make a fool out of God and what did God say in this verse?

Nobody makes a fool out of God, it ain't never going to happen, nobody's ever beaten this law. So let's summarize what have we learned so far. We've learned that because God is righteous he cares about his world operating righteously.

We've learned that because God is just he's committed to repaying every act of unrighteousness and finally because God is God nobody is going to escape his law of sowing and reaping what goes around is going to come around, the chickens are going to come home to roost or as the apostle Paul put it God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice, God is going to see to it personally and what Dante's carved on the wall God will give me justice. That is true, that is true. Now that's as far as we want to go in our passage because we have a very important question we want to ask here and everybody knows our question don't we? Yeah alright are we ready?

Okay good, alright ready here we go 1, 2, 3. So what? Alright you say law and so what? Say this is very interesting what you said but I've never been in prison in France, I've never even been to France, I mean what difference does this make to me? Well I think it makes a lot of difference to you friends because I believe every one of us here can relate to this idea of justice, every one of us here has had people in our lives who have hurt us, betrayed us, mistreated us, abused us, victimized us by some kind of unrighteous action, some of us have been deserted by a father or abused by a parent, some of us have been betrayed by a relative or been sold out by a co-worker, we've had a member of the opposite sex use us, we've been stabbed in the back by a friend, we've been cheated in a business relationship by a business partner, hey that stuff happens and you know when it does, there's a part of us that cries out that things ought to be made right, that there ought to be justice worked out in this situation and sometimes we're tempted to actually go out in our own human energy and try to help justice come about. Now does God have anything to say to us about how He wants us to handle those feelings in light of His promise that He is going to judge the world in justice, that He is going to make things right? As followers of Christ, should we react any different to these feelings than the rest of the world?

The answer is yes and that's what I want to talk about but before I do let's make sure that we understand exactly what I'm saying. Friends I am not talking here about criminal activity, I'm not talking about people doing things that our legal system provides a punishment for, hey I think if somebody does something criminal they ought to be prosecuted, we're not talking about that, we're talking about a whole host of other things that people do to people where you can't sue them, where there's no law against it, where you can't take them to court and put them in jail but the stuff they do is still wrong, it's still unrighteous, it's still slimy, it's still nasty, it's still hurtful, those are the kind of things we're talking about. Alright, now what do we do as followers of Christ in those situations because we've all had these things happen to us. Well, Romans chapter 12 gives us the answer, here's what it says, verse 17, do not repay anyone evil for evil. Verse 19, do not take revenge my friends but leave room for God's justice for it is written in the Bible, it is mine to avenge, I will repay says the Lord. Friends as followers of Jesus Christ when we're mistreated, God asks us to display a completely different response than the rest of our society does, God says to us here, take the high road. Verse 21, don't be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. God says when these things happen to you, don't lower yourself, don't cheapen yourself, don't go down and mud wrestle with these people in a human attempt to make the score right to even the score, don't do that.

You say why not? Well because the Bible says you don't have to, you don't have to. What did verse 19 say? God says I will repay, I'll take care of it, I've seen what happened to you, I know what they did to you, I'm a just God, you can count on me, I'm going to avenge every wrong, I'm going to pay back every misdeed, I'm going to settle every account that needs to be settled and I'm going to do a much better job than you'll ever do, just trust me and stay out of it. To put it simply, as followers of Christ, God is asking us to take all the hurt that's ever been done to us and all the hurt that's still going to ever be done to us and to turn it over to Him emotionally, to give it to Him emotionally, to let it go emotionally, to believe God when He tells us He's seen what happened, to believe God when He tells us He's going to make sure everybody get what they deserve and friends, it may not happen as fast as you want it to happen and it may not happen in the way exactly that you want it to happen but we have God's personal assurance that it will happen in God's time and in God's way so rather than letting ourselves become consumed with anger and bitterness and malice and revenge, God says hey, just entrust it to me, okay?

Take the high road and just give it to me, I'll take care of it. Now you know it's interesting to me this is exactly what the Lord Jesus did when He was here on earth. Listen to what 1 Peter says and this is when Jesus of course was hanging on the cross, 1 Peter 2.23 it says and I quote, when they hurled insults at Him, He didn't retaliate.

When He suffered, He ordered no threats. I mean Jesus never said hey, when I get off this cross, I'm telling you, you better be out of town when I get off this cross. Usually Jesus never said that and you know why?

Here's why but rather He kept on entrusting all these things people were doing to Him to God because He knew that God judges justly. That He could count on God to deal with this, He didn't have to deal with it and friends that's all God's asking you and me to do is to do the exact same thing that the Lord Jesus Himself did. You know when I first came to McLean Bible Church almost 23 years ago now, I had an elderly man, a godly man who said can I take you out to lunch and I said sure. So we went out to lunch and we were sitting there eating and he said to me, Lon, he said you know as a pastor, you're going to be mistreated, you're going to be abused, you're going to be hurt. He said that just comes with the territory, Lon. He said but I'm going to give you the most important and valuable piece of advice anybody could ever give a pastor and I thought wow, wow.

I was a young pastor, I'd never been a pastor before in my life. I'm sitting on the front of my booth in Roy Rogers right ready for this most profound thing to come my way and so he says here it is and I'm ready and he says Lon, be a tunnel not a wall. I'm like what? Be a tunnel not a wall he said.

I said that's your profound piece of advice? He said yeah. I said I don't even understand what it means.

He said well let me explain it to you. He said you know what a wall is like don't you? When stuff hits a wall, what happens?

Well it stops right there. It just drops down right at the foot of that wall. It just lays right at the foot of that wall and he says Lon, when it comes to the hurt and the pain and the wrong things people are going to do to you, don't be a wall because that stuff if you all will lay at the foot of you, it will rot, it will putrify, it will stink and it will ruin your life and probably run you out of the ministry.

You can't be a wall. He said you got to be a tunnel. He said what's a tunnel do? A tunnel lets stuff go right on through. A tunnel lets stuff go right on to God.

It doesn't sit there at the base of the tunnel and rot and putrify and stink. It just keeps right on going. He said Lon, I want to set you free from the tyranny of what people do to you. You got to be free of that and the way to be free is you got to be a tunnel and not a wall.

Now I have to tell you something, 23 years has taught me he gave me the most profound piece of advice anybody could have ever given me. I mean all that stuff he said was going to happen to me has and worse and the only reason I've made it friends is because I've learned by the grace of God to be a tunnel, not a wall. I let that stuff just go right on through and say Lord Jesus you see what's going on here. I'm not going down and dealing with this. I'm not going to try to even the score.

I'm not going to mud wrestle with anybody. God with your help I'm just going to take the high road. You deal with this. You see what's happening here.

When you're ready you deal with this and that's how I've lasted 23 years. Friends you know what? God wants you to do the same thing. God wants to free you from the tyranny of what people do to you, of how people treat you and the only way to be free is to be a tunnel, not a wall. Walls aren't free.

Walls are prisoners of what people do to them and the stuff rots and stinks and putrefies there and it ruins their spiritual life and it turns into emotional gangrene. God says uh-uh be a tunnel. Just let that stuff come on to me. I don't need your help God says. I don't want your help in settling these accounts God says and frankly I'm going to handle it all by myself just fine. You're just going to mess it up. Stay out of it.

I'll deal with it. Be a tunnel. Friends there's a lot of us here today who are walls. There's a lot of us here today that stuff people have done to us is still sitting at the foot of that wall and it's stinking up a storm. I'm here to tell you that you're still a prisoner of what people did to you. God wants to set you free and He will if today you'll say God from now on and with all that junk I'm going to be a tunnel. It's coming to you. You deal with this stuff.

I'm not going to touch it because I don't have to. You're just God and you're going to see to it justice is done. Let's pray together shall we? If you're here today and you've been a wall in some area of your life with hurt that's been done to you I want to give you just a moment to do some business with God today. To say to God, God on those areas and really from now on I want to be a tunnel. You take this stuff.

I'm not going to deal with it. So if you need to do that why don't you take a moment right now and you talk to God. Lord Jesus you know that we're wired as human beings to be walls.

We're wired in such a way that when people do hurtful things to us there's a part of us that wants to hold onto it, chew on it, ruminate on it, roll it over and over till it rots and it putrifies in our spirit. God my prayer is that you would teach us today about a different way of living, a way of freedom to become tunnels not walls because we have a just God who said I will repay. Give it to me.

I'll take care of it. God free us today from the tyranny of what people do to us. Teach us to be tunnels and not walls that the true joy of the spirit can be evidenced in our life. Change the way we live because we were here today. And I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-10 18:06:44 / 2023-06-10 18:16:39 / 10

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