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The Bible and America - Acts Part 47

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2020 11:00 am

The Bible and America - Acts Part 47

So What? / Lon Solomon

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We are in a verse by verse study of the book of acts, and we read chapter 19 a and in this chapter, which were going to cover today. There are some wonderful truth that applies to your life and my life.

As Christians, but there's also that same truth that has application to our nation and since this is July 4 weekend. I think that we should talk about our nation as well. Don't you yeah so this is what were going to do.

Are you guys ready here we go.

The title of the message today is the Bible and the America now little bit of background.

If you remember the apostle Paul in acts chapter 16, 17 and 18 are has been on his second or missionary journey. He has crossed will show you a map into Europe for the very first time with the gospel right into the heart and the soul of the Roman Empire and he has led thousands of people to Christ in Turkey and in Greece, an established church after church after church, but here at the end of acts chapter 18 Paul concludes his second missionary journey and he goes back to his home church in Antioch will show your map so you see where that is. Paul spent only about a year in Antioch, and then he left and went out on his third missionary journey and that's where acts chapter 19 Dick saw so here we go. Acts chapter 19 verse one and it came to pass, that, having passed through the interior meaning of the country of Turkey. Paul came up to Ephesus. Now let me show you a map so you see where he went from his hometown in Antioch to central Turkey to the Mediterranean coast and the city of Ephesus Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. We are not talking about Asia, China, Asia we are talking about the Roman province of Asia which, if you draw a line north to south through the middle of modern-day Turkey. It's the part on the left apart on the west that was the Roman province of Asia and Ephesus was the second most important city in the Roman Empire. Verse nine and Paul taught the disciples daily in the school of Taranto ceramics was a man who had some kind of educational facility there and Ephesus, and Paul borrowed it every day to disciple the disciples you your exam. What I'm saying okay verse 10 and this continued for two years. By the way, this was the longest stint that the apostle Paul ever had in a single place on all of his missionary journeys two years so that all who live in the Roman province of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus both Jewish people and the Gentiles. Let me show your map and these are the seven churches of the Revelation 5 Tyra Pergamum Philadelphia Smyrna they're all addressed in Revelation chapter 2 and three.

All of these churches were in the Roman province of Asia and yet the apostle Paul never actually went to any one of these places personally. You also see the city of Colossae up there to whom the letter of the Colossians was written, Paul says in that letter he had never actually been to Colossae personally so I have the world all these churches start will assist what the verse said it said everybody in the Roman province heard the word of God because of Paul's ministry in Ephesus. His ministry he used what I like to call the honeybee strategy you know how honeybees pick up pollen and a carrier from one place to the other, will the strategy Paul uses that people would be coming through this great commercial center of Ephesus, and they would get say he would lead him to Christ and they would pick up the pollen of the gospel and carry it back to five Tyra carry it back to Philadelphia carry them back to Colossae share cries and a church would start their you understand how Paul did it. And you know this is what we as McLean Bible church are out to do.

We live in the crossroads of the world here in Washington DC and what we hope to do is follow that same strategy with men and women coming to Washington coming to know Christ picking up the pollen of the gospel in Washington and taking it back to Africa back to Asia back to the Middle East. We are perfectly situated like Ephesus was for the honeybee strategy.

All right, let's move on. Verse 23 and about this time there arose a great disturbance about the way that is Christianity for silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver images of the goddess Diana was bringing in no little business to the craftsman in the town of Ephesus who did the same. Now the Temple of Diana will show your picture but we think it look like in those days was here in Ephesus and it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. You remember the seven wonders of the ancient world. Yeah, the pyramids come on, what are they the hanging Gardens of Babylon, the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the the of the Colossus of Rhodes than the statue of Zeus on Mount Olympus of the library at Alexandria. This should be review morning reviewing here. You guys know the yeah okay well this was one of now, may I show you what the Temple of Diana looks about this at some some tough day. This is what it looks like today. Yet one stinking column.

Okay, that's it, but in the time of the apostle Paul. It was a massively important religious center for the for the idol worshipers in the Roman Empire and they would come here and when they were in town made by souvenirs and we actually have dug up in 1956 we found one of these little silver souvenirs of the goddess Diana that the Bible talking about today, it's in the Austrian Vienna, Austria archaeological Museum, but we know the Bible is telling the truth because we found one of these little trinkets in the ground there at Ephesus so Demetrius saw the gospel as a threat. Demetrius saw Paul as a threat. If everybody comes the cries they stop worshiping idols which means they stop buying souvenirs.

Yeah. So he got a mob together and soon the whole city was in an uproar, and they seized the deists and Aristarchus Paul's traveling companions and they dragged them into the theater now. We found this theater in Ephesus will show your picture. It seats 25,000 people and this is the theater that they do mob dried deists and Aristarchus into and when Paul wanted to go and appear before the crowd to, help deists and Aristarchus's buddies, the disciples would millennium also.

Some of these say the next word with me.

ACR click okay. Now that you know how it's pronounced. Say it with me some of the ACR yeah who were the local rulers of the city of Ephesus who were friends of Paul sent to Paul pleading with him not to venture into the theater to get himself killed is what would happen and so after the uproar had seized. Paul called the disciples to him, embrace them and then departed for Macedonia where Philippi was.

Thessalonica was Maria was.

You remember those cities and this is a continuation of his third missionary journey. Now that's as far as were going to go in terms of the chapter, but we want. I want to take you back now to verse 31 for just a minute.

Here is what the verse said also. Some of the ACR who were friends of Paul pleaded with him not to go to the theater the appearance of this word ACR tier had been used for centuries by liberal critics of the Bible as a classic example of the historical unreliability of the book of acts, and by extension the historical unreliability of the entire Bible.

And here's the reason why this word ACR had never been found anywhere outside of the Bible in any Greek or Roman literature for 1805th the years after the Bible was written never appears and in every Greek and Roman document, the rulers of local places were either called pro consoles or tetrarch's and you know even the Bible says this look. Acts 1812 when Galileo was saying, what was the proconsul of Acadia and here's Luke chapter 3 verse one now in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar.

When Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of it to Rita and lysine is was tetrarch of Abilene you go, women will mean Abilene.

No, I mean Abilene see Abilene is in Texas Abilene is a kingdom that was in northern modern day Lebanon and Abilene is the correct pronunciation of that kingdom now. My recommendation is that you don't go to Texas and say Abilene Texas that's probably not a good idea in Texas but the correct pronunciation of this is not Abilene it is Abilene okay. Just so you don't go out of your going.

What an idiot he is not Abilene, that's Abilene. I'm not an idiot and I'm not from Texas okay praise the Lord now all right now in this whole picture right now enters Sir William Ramsey, let me tell you little bit about Sir William Ramsey, Sir William Ramsey was a professor of classical meaning Greek literature arts and archaeology in the late 1800s at the misfit box Florida okay. He'd been trained as a theological liberal he believed the New Testament was unreliable. He believed the book of acts was a myth and he believed the entire Bible was a fraudulent book. The problem is that some students who kept arguing with him and challenging his skeptical views of the Bible. The same students kept telling him that he needed to ask Jesus into his life is a at Oxford were these guys come from all his little factoid you should know these students came from a revival that Dwight L. Moody, the Great American evangelist held at Cambridge and Oxford in the years 1874 to 1876 where hundreds and hundreds of students at Cambridge and Oxford came to Christ that for these students came from.

Praise the Lord. Yeah, and they drove Dr. Ramsey crazy and so he decided that in order to shut them up once and for all he was going to go to Turkey himself he was going to go to Greece himself he was going to follow the book of acts exactly chapter by chapter city by city he was going to do archaeological work at every one of the cities in the book of acts, and he was qualified he had the goods and he was going to do this to prove how the book of acts was loaded with mistakes. Those these so these students would shut up and leave them alone so we took a year sabbatical, and that's exactly what he did would you like to know what he found in Ephesus. Yes, he discovered that because of the strategic importance of the city of Ephesus, the Roman Empire had allowed the Ephesians to retain the and ancient title given to their city rollers and you'll never guess what that title was take a guess ACR you got it.

That's exactly right. And the point is that only someone who would been in Ephesus in the first century like the Bible says Paul was would've ever known about ACR's to put it another way, somebody trying to forge a the book of acts. Centuries later, would never have gotten this right because remember in all of the Greek and Roman literature available. This word never appeared, they would never known it. So, in summary, the word ACR.

Instead of proving that the Bible is historically unreliable. It actually proves ACR's does that the Bible is received. Historically, re-liable to a fall. Praise the Lord and you know what everywhere.

Ramsey went to every city. He went to he found the very same thing. The result is after one year of carrying out listen to me now.

The most meticulous first-hand scholarly investigation of the book of acts ever conducted. Ramsey was so overwhelmed by the accuracy of the book of acts that number one he gave his life to Jesus.

Number two. He recanted every liberal view we have of the Bible and number three, he became one of the most outspoken and erudite defenders of the accuracy of the Bible in the late 19th and early 20th century. Praise Lord's true story true story. And you know the biggest piece of evidence to convince Ramsey. You know what it was. It was the book of acts, correct use of the titles from local rulers throughout the Roman Empire.

That's what really convincing, not just ACR's in acts 19 but in acts chapter 1213 the book of acts get Sergius Paulus says a title right calling him the proconsul of Cyrus in acts of Cyprus rather in acts chapter 28 the book of acts gets the chief official of the island of Malta right calling him the first man of the island in acts chapter 16 the book of acts gets the rulers of Philippi right calling them pray towards can I give you just one more in acts chapter 17 when Paul was in Thessalonica. The cheese magistrates in that city. The book of acts calls them pilots harks. Now listen to me. To this day I mean 2017.

The word politics are has never been found in any written Greek or Roman document anywhere ever. And, of course, as we choose is another great example of how the Bible was historically wrong and how the Bible was untrustworthy, but then in 1835. Archaeologists working in Thessalonica dug up a stone inscription and I'll put it up on the screen so you see this call, the barter DAR DER inscription because it was found by by the barter River in Macedonia and on this old Greek extra inscription you will never guess what the local rulers of Thessalonica are called take a guess pilots are yes and now we have found 65 total references. Almost all of them in Thessalonica and Apollo towards non-end up in literature all in stones that came out of the ground in archaeological work there and what we have learned is that pilots are was a unique title given to the local rulers of Thessalonica only it's never used anywhere else in the Roman empire, and again, only somebody who would been in Thessalonica in the first century like the Bible says Paul was could've possibly gotten this right you know there's a Sherlock Holmes short story where Holmes is invited to a meeting that some of his friends have organized with this captain of a ship who was trying to recruit money from them for a voyage.

The only problem was the captain was a fraud.

In the voyage was afraid he was trying to swindle them and at the end of his little speech, Holmes says ladies whatever this man wants from you. Don't give it to him.

He's a fraud and a liar and on the way home, his assistant and of course Watson asked Combs how in the world could you tell this man was a fraud just from his little speech and Sherlock Holmes says my dear Watson. No genuine semen would ever speak of this ship, tossing to the right and the left as this man did he would have said to the port on the starboard, nor would he have talked about the front and the back of the boat, but rather the bow and the stern. Holmes said the ride words in the right places. Always reveal the true end of quote and fraud friends. This is exactly what convinced Dr. Ramsey go awry words about all these local rulers in the right places. Now to conclude this section of the message which allow me to quote from Dr. Ramsey himself.

Here's what he said and I quote he said I found that the book of acts, could bear the most minute scrutiny.

One of acts most impressive claims to historicity meaning to historical accuracy is that it always gets the titles of local rulers right Ramsey went on to say every ruler in acts is found precisely where they are to be proconsul's and senatorial provinces, AZ arts in Ephesus pray towards him. Philippi pilots harks in Thessalonica. He concludes by saying the only reasonable conclusion is that the book of acts must have been written by and I witness all the events in John stowaway the Bible claims."

Praise the Lord and you know we love to say we say we love to say it's up on the screen. I think there is.

Let's say it together on the more they dig out of the ground the more the Bible proves to be right.

Praise God praise God now that the stars were going to go in our passage because were going to stop now were going to ask our most important question and this is 1/4 of July. So what you know what that means, don't you, that means it's got a have firecrackers behind. Yeah okay so are we ready are we ready there we go into a all baby. How sweet it is. Yeah you sorry lawn you know what I mean. I feel like I've been drinking from a fire hose but you know hey you want meet I'll choke you dear you want meet I'll choke you and and that's what we've done the day but listen you saline. I'm not 100% sure what all this means for me. Well, here's what it means for you.

I have somebody this past week asked me this question, morbid, but it nonetheless asked me this, they said lawn if you knew that you were going to die Monday morning meeting tomorrow. What's the single most important thing that you would want to tell your people at McLean Bible church on Sunday. Today and I answered I didn't have to think I knew exactly what I would say to you, I would say to you, here it is. Brothers and sisters believe a your 50.

That's what I would say to you believe your 50, the more they dig out of the ground the more the Bible proves to be right for 46 years I have believe this book and for 46 years I have believe the God who wrote this book and that God in this book have never let me down to the contrary is Bible in this book has kept me out of trouble for 46 years. Praise the Lord.

Most trouble anyway except when I get into would my wife, but most trouble, yet most trouble in lesson. This book won't let you down either finally had one thing to say to you before I went to meet Jesus. I would say brothers and sisters believe your Bible believe your Bible and listen to Darrell and anybody talk you out of believe in your Bible. Don't you let anyone I don't care what time of of scholarly achievements.

They have onto how many doctorates they have. I don't care if they got free doctorates you know what education proves in most cases is that that person is educated beyond their intelligence. That's all it proves folks listen to me. I've seen people with multiple doctorates stupid as a stone post. Listen all you gotta do to get a doctorate is be able to hang in there longer than anybody else that said trust me, I don't mean a thing. Don't you let anybody talk you out of believe in your Bible just because they've got credentials, and just because they have a silvery Tonga no use for it with your Bible and when the dust settles, I promise you in heaven. You will assign God. You do now. We said go that there's a truth here that applies to our nation right that we should talk about phenomena close with that by simply saying that I hope you understand as I do that all the problems we have in our nation today crime, drug addiction, racism, hatred. All of this. These are just symptoms, folks, we understand that right.

These this is not the core problem. The core problem in our country is that as a nation we have forgotten God as a nation we have forgotten God's Word, the Bible and how it tells us to live and how it tells us to treat each other and how it tells us to find meaning and purpose in our life in the Lord Jesus Christ not in money not in power, not insects, not in fame not in fortune not in achievement. That's not where meaning and purpose are found there found in living for the Lord Jesus Christ and we take in the Bible out of our public schools we take in the Bible out of our universities. We've taken it out of our courts. We've taken it out of our legislatures.

We've taken the Bible out of our workplaces.

We've taken the Bible out of our public squares.

We've taken the Bible out of our military and for goodness sake, with very few exceptions. We've even taken the Bible out of most of our churches assess the most judgmental thing I ever heard anybody say in my life. I make a deal go to a new town pick out 10 churches at random go to all of them sit there and you see how many times you hear somebody teach you the Bible, and I guarantee you'll be shocked and then we wonder why we got the problems we got. Listen to Deuteronomy chapter 8. Therefore, you shall keep the commands of the Lord your God, for the Lord your God is giving you a good land, has the Lord given us a good land here in America. Yes, he has, but beware that when you have eaten and built good houses and when you're silver and gold multiplies. Beware that then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commands and his statues, for it shall come to pass if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods power, fame and fortune money.

Whatever and serve them and worship them, I testify against you. Moses says that you will surely perish like the nations, the Lord makes the parish before you, so you shall perish because you refuse to listen to the voice of the Lord your God folks can you see American Deuteronomy chapter 8 disaster Kim and you know what that means. That means that the greatest way that we as Christians the greatest way that we as a church can help our nation is by standing firm for the Bible here in America and by declaring the truth of the Bible to America relentlessly and to teaching our children the Bible and our grandchildren. The Bible and our teenagers. The Bible and our young adults. The Bible and each other. The Bible and demanding that we believe it and that we obey it. That's the greatest service we can provide this nation and brothers and sisters. This is the sacred mission of every church in every culture and every society, but there is no culture that needs it more right now that America does a man every pastor who does this will be called blessed when he meets Jesus and every church family that does this will see the anointing of God on their church and the blessing of God on their church. God is not blessed this church because I've been here. Don't you dare think that God has blessed this church because, among other things, we have stood firm for the Bible for over 50 years and that's why God has blessed Mr. and you have my old you have the oath of our elders.

You have the old of our staff and women to make sure you got the old of the next senior pastor of this church that this will always be MacLean Bible church and the Bible will never be removed from this church, nor will we ever compromise it or disbelieve it, no, no, Jesus comes. I expect us to be standing here teaching the Bible as the eternal Word of God and the inerrant word of God, and I don't care for the holy church lab doing it were going to do it. That is my oath to you now yes praise Lord now let me say one thing in closing so Marty Artie thought you were closer.

Well I got was, but one more thing, listen here you know. I talked to all the time about us being a mighty church, mighty in prayer, mighty, and the word mighty in evangelism, mighty in discipleship, mighty in church planting. Listen to me folks do you understand I hope you believe the devil is real hope you believe that this is real being called Satan. You know, the greatest spoof that the devil is ever pulled on modern culture is convincing us.

He doesn't exist.

But he exists. The Bible declares he exists and listen to me. He hates this church. You understand that when we stand up and we sail to teach the Bible. Here, Satan doesn't go out pretty old, pretty good for them. No, he turns red didn't already I don't know but he turns red with anger and he hates this church with a diabolical hatred and he is out to destroy this church and every church like this church and to pull it down and to smash it and to turn it in the rubble and that's the reason why when I put those mighty's together. I put prayer first because, listen to me. We can't be a churches mighty in the word if were not a church. First, it's mighty can't happen because the only way that we can defend ourselves from the enemy is by the prayer of God's people in the name of Jesus, not in the name of MacLean Bible church, not in the name of Pastor so-and-so or anybody but in the name of that is our weapon. Resist the devil.

James chapter 4 using the name of Jesus and he will flee the disciples came back in Luke's gospel. They said even the demons are subject to us. Jesus in your name and that's the only way the demons are subject to us. And so a praying church that uses the great weapon of the name of Jesus occurred for praise for its pastor a church that prays for its elders. A church that prays for its staff.

A church that prays for its church family and surrounds that church with an impenetrable wall of in Jesus name. In Jesus name. That's the only kind of church that will ever get to being a church mighty in prayer because it's the only church that will have the protection from the enemy that it takes to get there. Are you with me are you with me so I want to call you, as a church family to be a church family or prayer. I want to call you to go and on our website and signing up to be a prayer warrior for your pastor for your elders for your church. I want to call you to come to the pre-service prayer meetings that we have at every campus and campus pastors. Please tell the people in your campus when were done where yours is ours is right out here in the prayer room before every service and to come in their half an hour early and get on your knees with God's people and pray for this church and pray against the devil for the needs of this church friends. I want to invite you in your personal prayer life to pray for this church and if you don't have a personal prayer life then start one and put this church as part of it were to be the church. God wants us to be 50 or hundred hundred and 50 years from now, because to be a praying people I call you to that is your pastor challenge you to that is your pastor, that is your duty and responsibility. We will leave and we will lead you right by the grace of God is your leaders but you have the responsibility to surround us in prayer that is your job you do your job will do our job and together will do Jesus's work here in Washington and the sermon (heavenly father, I want to pray that you would take what I said today is not only encourage our own hearts, to believe the Bible but that you, Lord Jesus would enable us here in our nation To be the kind of church that holds the Bible as the inerrant word of God, and know why matter what price we might pay. We never ever move off that position. Jesus use us to start a revival in this nation use other churches to start a revival in this nation but Lord, even if a revival in this nation is not your plan then let us Lord Jesus still be found holding up the Bible when Jesus comes back. So Lord strengthen us for that task.

Steel us against the enemy and make us a mighty church in prayer that we can be a mighty church and all these other ways for Christ and we pray this in pray for our nation.

In Jesus name I pray in God's people said a man

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