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Living as a Godly Example - Life of Paul Part 45

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 9:00 pm

Living as a Godly Example - Life of Paul Part 45

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Thanks for being here, you brought a Bible of love for you to open it to a first Colonial chapter 2 were becoming their just a minute were to be continuing at all so delightful.

All the great man of God first Thessalonians chapter 2, but as many of you know I just returned from leading a tour to Greece to Italy and to Turkey.

That was focused on the book of Revelation we had a great time. Thanks for the many do pray for us.

But you know we did have one little wrinkle Saturday, the day before we were ready to come back one of our ladies had her passport stolen while she was at the Sistine Chapel and so she went and called the US embassy on her own about trying to get a replacement passport and the guy she finally got on the telephone, said well you know on the weekend we don't do replacement passport. He said just when you go to the airport tomorrow. Have the airline call me at this number, I'll certify you lost your passport and though they'll let you on the airplane to go back to America, what, when she got back to the hotel that night and told me about this. I thought you know this just sounds a little nutty to me. Maybe she didn't get this quite right so I said can I have a number like you will call the guy myself out so she said sure so I went and called them up, got them on the phone and I said hey listen I'm here leading up to work and I got this lady on my tour, lost her passport. She said she called you and you told her that the embassy does not issue replacement passport on the weekend. Is that right. He said that's right I said I don't know I sound a little nutty to me. He said no to know if it was Monday we could do it but we don't do it on the weekend I said was she also said that she goes to the airport and just tell them to call you with this number, you'll get on the airplane.

Is that right. He said that's right to. I said all right I said well that's wonderful that a civil what am I going to do with his lady when I get her to New York. How my going to get her into the United States is wonderful. I get out Italy, to get her into the United States with no passport. He said, so don't worry about it.

We do this all the time. It will be a problem is that all she has to do is give them theirs or Social Security number and the I through. I said well forgive me I'm just a little skeptical and I said let me just tell you this if I get to New York and then let this lady through I've got your number. I'm calling you from New York company – so we talked a few minutes more and I was getting ready to hang up and he said hey just before you hang up.

Can I ask a question as it was your he said are you from Washington DC. I said yeah I said how did you know that these are you Lon Solomon I said well yeah I go and not a sermon, just a thought. So I said really he said oh yeah, I thought I was in Washington per year between assignments and I listen to you on the radio and all the times that I know that voice anywhere. He said, and oh by the way law. He said everything is going to be fine. You're not going to need to call me from New York, please. Not good. Well, what about body in Rome Italy would know who you are and and would be evaluating your behavior is a follower of Christ. I figure they got of your million one, but it happened and as I walked away from that phone a little sheepishly. I must admit I got to thinking to myself, you know that's really true everywhere we go people are watching us as followers of Jesus Christ there passing judgment on our behavior and our our words and their extending that judgment not just to us but to the Christ did we say we represent. Now that being true and this is what we want to talk about today.

The two questions we want to answer today is at why is it so important that were sensitive to Vista being godly examples the people around us. And number two what you going to cost us to be the kind of godly example that won't discredit the name of Jesus Christ, or hinder people call me to him. That's over to talk about today really use an incident right out of the life of the apostle Paul.

So let me give you little bit of background. Remember, the apostle Paul is on his second missionary journey along with Luke Timothy and Silas Wachovia map they crossed over from this Northwestern city in Turkey in modern-day Turkey called Truax as gone across the Aegean Sea to the town of Philippi here in Philippi.

Paul spent a number of weeks so Sharon cries.

He built a small church there. He left Luke and Timothy their split his team while he and Silas continued on down the nation way the Roman road to the town of Thessalonica here in Thessalonica spoke Paul as we saw spent six months preaching, but the unbelieving Jewish community here in town developed an enormous hatred for Paul and they finally succeeded in getting a mob together, and running them out of town and he and Silas then went 45 miles further to the cell to the little town of Berea.

That's where we left off in acts chapter 17. But, you know, one of the wonderful things about studying the Bible is this principle that we call comparing Scripture with Scripture. What we mean by this is taking two different parts or more of the Bible that actually happened historically at the same time, it may be separated on the pages of the Bible, but historically that happened at the same time, and comparing them and studying them together so that we get a fuller understanding of the events that were looking at that we have a wonderful opportunity to do this when it comes to Paul's six-month stay in Thessalonica because several months after he was run out of Thessalonica. He wrote a letter back to this church. We know it as the book of first Thessalonians, and in this letter to see today. The apostle Paul talks about some details of that happen there in town that are not mentioned in the book of acts is these details that are going to provide the basis for us to eat deal with the issue we brought up today. People watching us. So let's look together.

First Thessalonians 2, Paul writes and says he says, verse two, even though we had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, and friends as we know because we been studying this for Paul was beaten with rods and thrown in jail unjustly in Philippi, even though that happen.

Paul says with God's help we dared to share the message of Jesus Christ with you despite strong opposition. Paul's letter makes it clear that from the very beginning of his ministry in Thessalonica. There was strong opposition against him that he was under the constant gaze the constant scrutiny of his enemies there and if they kept accusing them of things and one of the things they accused him of. He talks about right here now in this letter he goes on to say for the appeal that we may does not spring from error or from impure motives nor are we trying to trick you. So one of the things is enemies accused him up was having impure motives and trying to trick the Thessalonians.

He goes on to say, you know, we never used flattery nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed what they were accusing him of having impure motives about with this issue of money that he was really there.

Just trying to get their money. He was really there just read was his real motive. Paul says in verse nine. Finally surely remember brothers are toilet our labor, how we work night and day so as not to be a financial burden to anyone. While we preach the message of God to you friends the issue one of the key issues. Paul was being criticized on in town was the issue of money. What is enemies were saying is that Paul's just a religious huckster. Paul's just a shyster. Paul's just using the message of Jesus Christ to cover up his real motive, which is green.

He's not here to care for the sheep. He's here to please the sheep that you know this phenomenon that that does followers of Christ.

People love to find fault with even the smallest inconsistency they see in our life. In fact, here there wasn't even an inconsistency in Paul's life and they were trying to find one, even when one wasn't there. This phenomenon that when we become followers of Christ, and we announce that that suddenly people begin holding us to a higher standard than they would ever hold a non-follower of Christ to friends and they would ever hold themselves to this is just the way this way it's always been.

It was this way. In Paul's day, and it just, comes with the territory. Now, those of us who are in full-time Christian work we learn about this phenomenon very early in our career. I have a friend, a married couple your were friends of ours and the lady a few weeks ago was saying to me. She said you know she said your wife Brenda and I went shopping one day at Nordstrom's is that some fun together. Just a few days later I met another lady in Nordstrom's.

I just began talking another lady from our church and just started talking to her about the fact that I'd been there shopping with your wife Brenda a few days before.

She said this lady got this incredibly judgmental look on her face and said lawns wife shops at Nordstrom in my lady friend said you no one. It was not till that moment that I really understood what you guys in the ministry have to put up with C was okay for this lady to shop at Nordstrom it was even okay with this lady that I was shopping at Nordstrom she's a but it was not okay with this lady that the pastor's wife shop at Nordstrom that friends is living in a fishbowl is not just confined to those of us were five or full-time servants of Christ. Hey once you go public for Jesus Christ in your school in your workplace environment in your neighborhood with your family and your relatives. I'm telling you, you start to live in a fishbowl to your view or your coworker start watching you. Your schoolmates start watching you, your relatives start watching you, your neighbor start watching you. Your roommate start watching you to see if what comes out of your life is authentic Christian living in their opinion, and if it isn't, not only do they judge you but friends are going to judge the Jesus Christ that you say you represent this just comes with her friends. This is the way it is now salon is a terrible burden to admit. The Bears followers of Christ. I think the opposite is true. I think that's the wrong way to look at it. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to see friends to have somebody watching our lives and paying attention to our lives to that level. If we make use of that is a wonderful opportunity is an opportunity to shut the mouths of people who are looking to cynically criticize Jesus Christ. And if an opportunity to build a spiritual platform to people that encourages them to consider the claims of Christ else is. We truly live a godly example in front of people. Listen to what Peter said Peter said, dear friends, I urge you to live such good lives among the pagans that even though they want to accuse you of wrongdoing, they will see your good deeds and be forced to glorify God for this is the will of God, that by doing right.

We may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

They know the apostle Paul understood this principle. So he set out to turn his enemies accusations into a spiritual platform.

He set out to turn their accusations into an opportunity for Jesus Christ and I want you to see how we did it. He realized that the only way to combat these accusations that were being leveled against being a religious huckster in a shyster and and Amanda was out for their money.

The only way to do this was to live in this area of money in the such and above reproach manner that when people made these accusations any thinking person would go will that's nonsense. So, look what he did all six months when he was in Thessalonica. He's going to tell us right now in this letter, Paul earned his own living.

Paul work for his own money and he never took one penny from the Thessalonians at all what he says.

First Thessalonians 29. We work night and day. Paul says so as not to be a financial burden to anyone in second Thessalonians. The second letter he wrote to his church.

He says in chapter 3, we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we work night and day laboring and toileting so that we would not be a burden to any of you friends. The Bible tells us. The apostle Paul made tents for six months when he lived in Thessalonica.

That's what he did all day long and then all the nights in the weekends he preached Jesus Christ. The point is, during his entire six month stay in Thessalonica. He never asked for and he never accepted one sin time from these Thessalonian believers and by doing this you see what Paul did the apostle Paul did exactly what Peter told us to do.

He reduced her nonsense.

These accusations of his enemy. He put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Think about it. How can a man who refuses to accept one sin time in six months. How can you be a shyster or at least let's put it this way if he has a shyster. He is the dollar size through the evolution of to spend six months there and not make one single dive off these people does they were called it. Now let's stop here and ask our most important question you don't know what that is ready. One person's ready. Are you ready okay here we go. 123 I say Launcelot, you say, that's great. I'm glad Paul did this I respect him. I really admire him.

What difference does it make to me all friends listen. There is an incredible spiritual challenge in the acts of what actions of the apostle Paul that still is for our lives today. Let me show you where it is. Paul says I can go Thessalonians 3. He says we did this, that is, we supported ourselves not because we don't have the right to be supported by you.

Stop her second did Paul have the right to be supported financially by these Thessalonian believers that he was there ministering the word of God to delete yes he did.

Paul said I had that right. It was a God-given right, but Paul said it's not that we didn't have the right, that's not why we work to support ourselves. We did it in order to offer ourselves as a model that you might follow our example you say would cut Paul what are you talking about a modeling example, an example do you mean will let him explain because he also did the very same thing in Corinth were for a year and 1/2 you work for a living and didn't take time to look what he says to the Corinthians 1st Corinthians 9. He says that we as apostles not have the right to accept food and drink from you. Of course we have that right, who serves as a soldier at his own expense, who tend the flock and doesn't drink of its own members. Melt, or even the Old Testament law teaches this falls is when it says you shall not muzzle an ox while it spreading out the grain. You understand what that means means you got the socks walking around treading grain. You don't put a muzzle on the poor animal you leave the animal free to eat some of the fruit of its flavor.

Eat some of the corn it spreading out okay. Paul says that he is God concerned about oxen that why he wrote that in the Bible of course not. He wrote that from our say rather deal Paul.

Paul goes on to say, if we have so the original things among you, if we been there ministering for Jesus Christ among you to we not have the right to read material support from you.

Answer absolutely no watch becomes the example Paul wants us to copy. Nevertheless, Paul says nevertheless I did not use this rhyme when I was with you why Paul did you have the right why did you use it because he says I wanted nothing to hinder the message of Christ. I wanted nothing to hinder the message of Christ friends. Paul billed his huge apologetic here about how he had the right to accept material support from people when he was there ministering and then he says, but to defend the reputation of Christ to defend the reputation of Christ's ministry to keep from hindering people in their coming to Christ. I gave all that right. I walked away from it and I work myself to provide my own living rather than do anything to impugn Christ or hinder people coming to him that the example Paul wants us to follow along while you making such a big point out of this walk anyone because we live in a society here in America. That is, rights crazy.

We live in a society here in America teaches us to live the exact opposite of this. We have so many rights in this country. The people are obsessed about on the we have civil rights, abortion rights, we have consumer rights, employee rights, we have Miranda rights in the Bill of Rights in this country and people tell us everywhere we go assert your rights defend your rights. Don't ever voluntarily give up the rides. We know what when I go to the Bible and I see how God wants me to live.

That's not what I see the Bible tell them he is a follower of Christ, I see the Bible telling me follow my example and what's your example Paul that I did not use my rights because I wanted nothing to hinder the message of Jesus Christ. The bottom line is friends. If we really want to see God use our lives if we really want to see God use us to make a difference in other people for Christ it's gonna cost of something is going to always cost us some rights some rights that were entitled as followers of Christ to exercise that belong to us. If we want to exercise him, but by exercising them, we will give people raw material to criticize Jesus Christ by exercising them, we will give people raw material to point in our lives and say you see what he or she is doing. This isn't a real Christian. You don't want any part of that and so Paul says guess what anywhere you go. Any society herein.

They're going to be those issues in a truly mature follower of Christ in real servant of God says you know what if it's going to get in the way of people coming to Christ.

I'll give up the right now. That's Paul's example and what Paul said, follow my example know where some areas practically in our world today with this is true. Well, it's certainly true. His parents you know I was watching the new Woody Allen movie on the Plano called Hollywood ending. I don't recommend it.

I saw the cook version, but I watched it on the airplane in this movie. Woody Allen is estranged from his son back.

The last time they met his son pushing down steps and he goes in the movie to see us on and he says to his son. I think we need to kinda have a reproach long. We need to we need to fix our relationship and the funds is on the wrong with our relationship.

Woody Allen's as we talk about the last time we were together. You pushed me down the steps. Son said that he said I'm sorry daddy said I was on drugs. I was on LSD and PC. I would responsible for my actions and Woody Allen sat down and said son. He said where did you ever learn to use drugs like that and the son said that I learn by watching you take all those tranquilizers when I was again Woody Allen just sent. Nothing to say and you know years ago I had a very wise man say to me long to be very careful as a parent, what liberties you exercise because, be assured your children are going to take every liberty they see you exercise and able to take it one step four will be very careful friends. That's why for the last 28 years as parents earned a lot of the best of my knowledge of never served or even opened a bottle of wine in our house. That's why for the last 28 years. We never served a beer allowed a beer at a beer in the refrigerator in our house.

That's why as parents we don't get HBO. We don't get Cinemax we don't get Showtime and I disabled all the pay-per-view movies in my home, you can order them. That's why his parents. We have the family computer sitting upstairs in the kitchen so everybody knows where everybody go to understand what I'm saying now why Brendan I done this because we understand his parents were going to be the kind of godly example our children desperately need in this world it's going to cost all celebrities but you know what that's all right we accept that price and were happy to pay that price if it means. The result is we can raise some men walk with Christ. And this isn't just to his parents. It's true everywhere. You and I go as followers of Christ because people are watching and people are waiting and people looking to find the slightest inconsistency in our life that they can point to and discredit Christ and keep people from coming to an workplace in our schools in our families in our neighborhood. If were going to really keep keep people from doing that. It's going to cost us some liberty not been a senior pastor of McLean Bible Church. The 22 years now and I hear is a senior pastor McLean Bible church.

You may not realize this but did you realize as a senior pastor of this church.

I do not have the authority to sign a check and for 22 years of never signed the check in this church you realize that if you went out and bought a five dollar Canada coffee and bought it in here and Svetlana just bought coffee for the church. Could you go in the petty cash and reimburse me five dollars friends. I can do it.

I've no authority to access cash in this church of any kind and never have that for 22 years. Do you realize here's a senior pastor of this church.

I've never seen the giving records of anybody in 22 years and I don't have the authority to start seeing those giving records now generalizes a senior pastor of this church. I cannot unilaterally fire anybody just because I decide I want to as the senior pastor of this church, I cannot meet with a lady in my office alone. My assistant has always got to be in my office with me. Do you realize that he has a senior pastor of this church. I can't ride alone in my car with any female member of my staff or any other lady other than my wife, just the two of us, nor can I meet a lady somewhere for lunch just the two of us are not allowed to do that generalizes the senior pastor I'm not allowed to drive a Mercedes or Jaguar Porsche or BMW and you realize here in the Washington area enlarges the senior pastor of this church. I cannot sit at a bar, smoke a cigar, have a beer simple martini or go 10 rounds with José Cuervo understand what I'm saying anywhere in this area is a holy smokes long. How in the world and you let the board of elders take all those rights away from you. I didn't. All of these restrictions are my idea for me and mine car sale is that why would you do something like that when you approve or something no I'm not through friends been in Washington over 30 years.

I know this town and I realized that these are the very kinds of issues that the people in this town would just love to use to raise questions about my integrity.

These are the issues they would love to use to undermine the credibility of McLean Bible church. These are the issues they would love to use the point in my life and hinder people from coming to Christ and I'm determined I'm not going to give them raw material, nor is any member of my staff here here today and you've never trusted Christ as your real and personal Savior. Let me say to you that we consider the issues you were not displaying a religious game here. This is not just some kind of all of religious con were running here. The stakes are high, it's your eternal destiny your soul that were talking about here in a relationship with Christ and friends. We consider your soul important enough that we are willing to forgo liberties that we can. We have the right to exercise willing to let him go, rather than let anything get in the way of your consideration for Jesus Christ that we consider your soul and your relationship with Christ that important. Should you should you and you know what I'm telling you the same is true for you, my friends, these there are people in your family. There are people in your workplace. There are people in your school there people in your neighborhood who were just looking to discredit you were just waiting to throw something off that they can point your life and say see them, do you see what they're doing, why in the world today be a Christian and I'm here to tell you that the only way you and I can stop will never change the fact that people are determine to find those things in our lives. So friends the only other way we can stop it is by being willing to walk away from liberties like Paul did. That will give them raw material.

Let me close by saying this. Our goal here McLean Bible church is to turn you into a true servant of God. Our goal here McLean Bible church is to turn you into a spiritually mature follower of Christ, and folks, one of the marks of a true servant of God over true about mature follower of Christ. One of the marks of that person is that they're willing to give up any rights they're willing to forgo any liberty, if the exercise of that liberty will number one damage the cause of Christ or number to get in the way of people giving their life to him. This is how the apostle Paul lived and what did he say follow my example friends. I'm here to call you and call myself in a not being content just to, tiptoe to the tulips in this world, but to be a servant of Christ to make a difference in our world to affect the lives of others to Christ and it's going to cost us something to be effective in doing you know what I didn't come to Christ to drink beer.

I didn't come to Christ to play cards. I didn't give my life to Jesus so I could sit in the bar and have a cigar I didn't give my life to Christ, so I could drive a BMW. I gave my life to Jesus so I could reach other people to make a difference in the world if I can do some of these other things but that was doesn't make any difference now. That's how Paul looked at the world and friends. That's how God wants you to look at the that people souls are worth more than any liberty you and I might have.

This is maturity. This is seasoning. This is how a servant of God looks at the world. This is what we want you to be my God help you be that was what Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about will live and write down here every day because as you know father we have to decide day by day.

What rights were going to exercise and what rights were not as followers of Christ speak to us deeply today. Lord, about the example of the apostle Paul, thank you for this godly man, and may we walk in his example, may we be willing to give up rights to give up liberties walk away from anything. Rather than impugn the name of Christ will keep people from coming to him. God change our behavior change are very worldview because we were here today and we learned from the word of God make us mature followers of Christ, and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen

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