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Life of Paul Part 32 - Keeping the Right Authority in Life

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2020 7:00 am

Life of Paul Part 32 - Keeping the Right Authority in Life

So What? / Lon Solomon

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One morning every body is wonderful to see you guys here have taken a copy of the Bible. Let's opening it together and were to be continuing in our study of the life of the great man of God.

The apostle Paul, have you been watching much television lately you know that one of the most familiar faces recently on television has been the face of this lady.

That's right, it's Ms. Cleo you bad in this. Cleo offers to read the Turow cards and tell you your future inner Caribbean accident, she says, call me call me now for your free reading and yet Susan Grant, the director of a national fraud information Center said and I quote people call or think they're getting a free reading to sample the service they end up being hit with charges they couldn't see. Even with their own crystal ball not currently Ms. Cleo is under indictment and eight dates for everything ranging from deceptive advertising to fraud, but according to the best government estimates Ms. Cleo and her hotline have earned somewhere around $400 million believe that in the amazing things people keep calling this lady now. The point of all of this is that there is a lot of money to be made in the fortune-telling market and this isn't just true today in the 21st century. This was to 2000 years ago when the days of the apostle Paul Morgan a look at how the apostle Paul interrupted some of this money flow back there in Philippi and as a result how he created quite a mess for himself back there and then were to try to bring all that forward and talk about what difference it makes in our lives today member the apostle Paul and the end of his team were traveling around bleeding what we call today. The second missionary journey. They worked their way through modern-day Turkey across the Aegean Sea and now there in northern Greece here in Europe at the city of Philippi inherent Philippi.

There was a young lady who was demonized to begin following the apostle Paul. And finally, he turned to the demon and he said in the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her, and at that moment the Bible says the demon left Teresa while that's right. I mean here. You got this young lady was now in her right mind she's restored she's healed. I mean everybody in Philippi must've been that must've been some real well, not exactly tell you why, because verse 16 tells us that she earned a lot of money for her owners by fortune-telling this young girl was the Ms. Cleo of Philippi, and when the demon suddenly was cast out of her hotline went off there.

You know what I'm saying and so these guys are pretty upset about that and so that's where we want to pick up the story.

Verse 19 when the owners of the slave girls realize that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and they dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. Now this whole section of acts chapter 16 is full of information, where modern archaeology has confirmed the historical accuracy of the Bible to begin with Luke here in this verse mentions the marketplace.

Literally, the beam on Greek where the girls owners drag the apostle Paul and Silas that will beam up. It was a raised platform where judges would sit to hear cases in hand down judicial sentences and we today in archaeology have on earth the actual beam in ancient Philippi or the Bible says that these men dragged the apostle Paul and isn't it interesting. We dug up the city of Philippi.

We found that there exactly the way the Bible says that it was in Paul's day. Let's go on. Also use a more verse 20 says they brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates now here we have another confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Bible.

Luke tells us here that the apostle Paul was brought before Philippi magistrates tomorrow. We know from history that a Greek city would normally be ruled by a single official. He was called a strata DOS meaning a ruler or general.

This practice went all the way back to the early Greek city states were everybody by democratic vote would elect a strata DOS to lean over the city. One of the guys like this.

You might remember the name Pericles of Athens was one of the strata joy. One of these rulers but here the Bible tells us that in Philippi there was more than one magistrate more than one local meal or two to be exact, and for many many years. Skyler said what you see there that's just another example of where the Bible just got it wrong. It's just historically inaccurate friends, now we know today that for all those centuries that the scholars had been impugning the Bible. The truth is, the Bible had it right and all the so-called scholars had a role in let me explain to you why we know that verse 12 of this chapter tells us that Philippi was a Roman colony and I want to go and give you little bit of the history of the city of Philippi, so you understand why Luke was exactly right in saying there were two magistrates over this colony. The city of Philippi began in 350 BC was established by Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the great, but Philippi's claim to fame rather didn't come for couple centuries and he came as a result of two military battles that were fought there in 42 BC, Augustus, who became the future Emperor of Rome and Mark Anthony. That was the boyfriend of Cleopatra remember him get their forces defeated the forces of caches and Brutus.

Philippi Brutus was the guy was stabbed Julius Caesar you know to bring to MMI to Latin body member that you to Brutus and on and this was Brenda Brutus who was responsible for killing Julius Caesar. That was a big fight that was right there and Augustus defeated them along with Mark Anthony, 10 years later in 31 BC, Augustus defeated the forces of just Mark Anthony here at Philippi again establishing himself as the undisputed Emperor of Rome, and ending 12 years of civil war. Now Augustus as the new Emperor love this city of Philippi. I mean he'd gone to for two years to understand what I'm saying and he wanted to honor this city, so he declared it a Roman colony Roman colony was like a little piece of Rome sitting on foreign soil and a Roman colony number one had a representative that sat in the Roman Senate in Rome. It had a contingent of the Roman army that was stationed there to defend it. It had roads. Roman roads built connecting it with the rest of the Empire member. We talked about the ignition way a couple weeks ago that connected Philippi with Rome herself while the rest of the cities of the Roman Empire had dirt roads but if you were colony.

You got a Roman road built to connect you with the rest of the Empire. Also Roman colony had the right of Libertas, meaning that it had autonomous local government that use Roman law and Roman administrative practice. It had the right of the immuno toss, meaning that this people lived in this colony were immune from taxes and tribute that everybody else in the Roman Empire had to pay it at the right of use, atomic, meaning that all the legal decisions that were made in a Roman colony had the same weight throughout the empire as if they'd been made in Rome herself and finally it had the right of stability, toss, meaning that all the citizens of Philippi immediately became Roman citizens when it was pronounced a Roman colony, which in these days was huge. It was a big deal, is working to see in the next couple weeks and you say why discount figured everybody in the Roman Empire was a Roman citizen will not true chemo sobbing. Not true, and the rights and privileges that went along with being a Roman citizen were enormous. There were very few Roman citizens compared to everybody in the Roman Empire. William Ramsey in his book the cities of St. Paul says and I quote a Roman colony was a detached fragment of Rome itself separated from Rome by distance but populated by Roman citizens who were extended equal standing and identical privileges in the eyes of Roman law as the inhabitants of Rome itself is one other fact about Roman colonies. It's very important, they were governed by preachers or is it translated here in verse 20 magistrates who were appointed annually by the Emperor himself, and guess how many preachers or magistrates. Every Roman colony had they didn't have one. The way every other Greek city had they had to guess how many to that's exactly right.

Every Roman colony was ruled by two magistrates appointed by the Emperor himself.

Isn't it interesting that the Bible here in telling us that Philippi had two magistrates got it right. And all these people living criticizing the Bible for all these years.

Got it wrong. Luke was right there were two craters here because this was a Roman colony not be here today and you never trusted Jesus Christ as your real and personal Savior listen to me for a second because this is really important. We just been talking about to you many times people are willing to make that decision to trust Christ because they have doubts about whether the Bible is really true whether it's really credible. Whether it's really trustworthy and what I'm here to tell you is, they found that the mother exactly where the Bible says was going to be that Philippi had to rulers just way the Bible says they had more we dig out of the ground the more the Bible proves to be right friends. Not only is the Bible right when it comes to being laws and traders. It's also right when it comes to what it says about Jesus Christ and about how to get eternal life. You don't have a thing to worry about. The Bible has withstood the test of everything that's ever been dug out of the ground. It is proof trustworthy and reliable. Even in the face of scholars who were sure was wrong. They ended up being wrong.

You have nothing to worry about. If your concern is that the Bible is not trustworthy. I'm here to tell you, you can lay that concern the rest and trust what Jesus tells you in the Bible about eternal life.

It's true, and smart people pay attention to it. I hope you will. Well it's going verse 20 said, and they said to the magistrates they brought Paul and Silas in and he said to the magistrates. These men are Jews soccer second why the world with a start like that honey, why in the world with these magistrates even care whether Paul and Silas were Jews.

What differences that make to them all here. We got another connection of the Bible, with historically accurate data. Let me tell you why they started that way with their comment in 50 A.D. this is where we are 50 the end of 50 A.D. that's when Paul and Silas are in in Philippi earlier that very same year. We know from Roman records that the Emperor of Rome. His name was Claudius expelled all the Jews out of the city of Rome's room out of the city of Rome. Now if you're Roman official and you know the Emperor don't like Jewish people and install them all out of the city and if your magistrate in Philippi and you have to depend on the Emperor to reappoint you every single year wouldn't make sense for you to start off if you go to make an accusation by saying, these men are Jews and you know you have those people attention run in that city on behalf of Emperor Claudius. And that's exactly why they started that way these men are Jews, and let's go back to the verse they are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating cost rooms that are unlawful for us Romans to accept or to practice what were these customs that were unlawful for Romans to accept and practice the Paul and Silas were doing well in these days the official religion of the Roman Empire was Emperor worship a local city could keep whatever local gods they had so long as beyond those local gods.

They recognize the supremacy of the Emperor as the God of the Roman Empire and the God of the world and the accusation against Paul and Silas, is that they were coming to down preaching a different God as being the supreme God of the world not Emperor Claudius but the true and living God of the universe gives him a charge will verse 22 and the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas had the magistrates ordered them.

Paul and Silas to be stripped and to be beaten, and after they had been severely flogged. They Paul and Silas were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully now in second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 25.

Paul says three times I have been eaten with rods and certainly this was one of the times he was talking about right here in Philippi. These rods that Paul and Silas were beaten with were specially designed by the Romans, and they were designed with clause in them so that when you got hit with them. They literally rip and tour the flesh right off your boat.

In fact this punishment was so cool and so horrible that a Roman citizen. Roman law said no Roman citizen was allowed to be beaten with these rods, no matter what crime you had committed what he said wait a minute I thought the apostle Paul was a Roman citizen.

He was in. The problem is these magistrates didn't stop long enough to ask and find out which means they are indeed not so young Sam. What I'm saying and I were to see a little bit later as we move through this passage.

This is going to play huge in how this whole thing ends up working out but anyway they beat Paul and Silas, and so bleeding he can't even imagine what their backs must look like they got thrown into jail and after stopping relief. Paul in jail for a week to we come back next week and we pick up because we want to stop now and ask the most important question you all know what that question is so here we go nice allowed 123 right for Launcelot Tim and I feel bad for Paul.

That's awfully beat him like that and I appreciate all that history, I feel like I'm back in high school on God bless you.

God bless you for that. But differences this make in my life. Well it see if we can make that connection for you. Did you notice how interesting it is the charges that these owners of the girl brought against the apostle Paul and Silas, what was their charge that they brought a sensibly what was the charge what they said. Verse 21. These men are advocating customs that are unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice and we know of course the custom was that these men were teaching Emperor worship. Here's my question was that really the issue today bring an issue and they say we got a theological issue with these guys. We got a religious issue with these guys was that really the issue.

No, no, of course not. We know what the real issue was is in verse 19 when the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone.

The real issue here had nothing to do with theology. It had nothing to do would religion the issue here was that the apostle Paul had heard these guys in the pocketbook.

That was the issue there issue was financial not theological but they went and they found a theological covering to put over the real issue.

Does anybody see that and folks, let's just be honest if the apostle Paul to come to town and had never affected these guys pocketbooks. Do you think that you have the slightest care. The slightest bit what the apostle Paul's preaching.

They could care less what he was preaching. They didn't have any theological issues really with him. And conversely, if the apostle Paul to come to town preaching some that would help them make more money. They have been out on the street handed out tracts within these peoples issue was financial, not theological.

Now it's important that we all understand that these guys decided first with their lifestyle was they want to make money and then they went down a theology that fitted in a just so happen to be Emperor worship at that moment in time they didn't decide on the theology first and then establish their lifestyle based on it. They did it the other way around will understand that that's the key to understanding this passage or to put it another way, these guys decided first how they wanted to live the habits they wanted to practice the money they wanted to make and then they went and found a theology that justified.

Now I understand how these guys live because you know when I was in college before I met Jesus Christ. I live just like they did.

I didn't want any absolute standards of right and wrong in my life. So I went and found relativism animated my theology. I did want some God telling me what to do and what I could and couldn't do it bossing me around, and in my world so I went and found evolution and I made it my theology.

I didn't want anybody put restrictions on my pleasures so I went and found hedonism that I made in my reality of MTV is been around then going to club hedonism for spring break. I would now.

In fact I wanted to roll all this together and be Hare Krishna because I thought way, put all of this theology, together with the problem being a Hare Krishna is you.

You gotta live in these communities that they haven't actually came up here to Washington and for three or four days lived in one of these communities, but the food was terrible. It was terrible thing that always butter in the food and I hate butter meant to be Hare Krishna, started at the bottom Hare Krishna besides I can't dance and I look terrible in a ponytail. So I said no and not to be Hare Krishna but I went out first and establish what I wanted to do.

I did have some theology running my life and that I may lifestyle decisions based on that, I decided how I wanted to live. And then I went looking for theologies that would allow me to justify my once I live just like these guys is a long course you do. You want a follower of Jesus Christ. We would expect to live any other way. I wish it were that simple friends.

I wish it were. I've been a pastor 22 years and you know what I found. I found that there are scads of people who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ to go to church and attend Bible studies and they go to small groups and yet in various areas of their life they live in exactly the way I did in college.

They live exactly the way these guys lived in Philippi, so I'm not sure I really understand what you're talking about will let me see if I can help. We all know the Bible teaches sexual purity outside of marriage that before were married while were married that were to be sexually pure and yet I'm running all kinds of followers of Christ who decided they want to have sex with her boyfriend want to have sex with her girlfriend. They want to live together before they get married and I've had people say to me, but you don't understand. We love each other, you know the Bible says. First Corinthians 13 these three things indoor faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.

God says in the Bible.

The greatest thing there isn't love is more important than anything even the rules in the Bible about sexual relation we know the Bible teaches. Second of all, thought that the Bible teaches heterosexual behavior, but I wrote in the followers of Christ who decided they want to pursue homosexual behavior who said to me well you know Jonathan and David in the Bible. I mean they were lovers. You know that in the apostle Paul.

The reason he didn't get married is because he was gay. You know that and lawn judge not lest ye be judged. We all know the Bible calls us to conduct our affairs in life with integrity and honesty in decency and yet I've met men and women in business who done things that are cruel and wrong and unethical and dishonest and they said well you know business is business.

As you know, and the Bible says that a person has the responsibility to provide for their family.

And that's all I was doing good if I hadn't done it to them first date of done it to me. We all know the Bible teaches that we as followers of Christ are to marry other people more devoted followers of Christ and those of the only folks were to marry and I can't tell you how many people I've had in my office guys and girls who are engaged to somebody that is not a follower of Christ. And when I asked him about it.

They go well you know Jesus said, go out the world and reach every body and how my going to reach him or her final marry him.

I want to marry him and reach a minute, please missionary marriage wouldn't have friends would tell you something when I see people live in like this when they're not living any different than I live in college that I live in any different than these guys won't his girl were living in Philippi. These are people who are making decisions first about the kind of life they want to live the choices they want to make the behavior they want to pursue and then are going to God's word and twisting the word of God to fit in and justify the lifestyle choices that they've already decided they're going to make well I'm here to tell you that's backwards. That is not the way God designed us as followers of Christ to live with what he says to Joshua.

Joshua chapter 1 God says be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. For me, do not turn away from it to the left or to the right.

Don't take the word of God and twisted around so it fits the way you want to live. Instead, be careful that you do everything written in it, and what God is telling us as followers of Jesus Christ here is that we are to live our lives every little facet in detail of our lives, in conformity with the written word of God. We are not to decide first how we want to live the way we want to do it and then go to the word of God and make it conform to what we decided we instead go to the word of God and find out what it teaches about life and then we conform our behavior, our lifestyle and our choices to get. This is why David said Psalm 119 verse 59.

I have considered my ways and I have turned my steps to your statutes. What is David saying here he saying, Lord, have looked at my ways all looked at my lifestyle. I looked at my steps and I decided that I'm going to take them and conform them to what your statutes tell me I'm not going to do it the other way around, and I personally believe that to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. This is the single greatest adjustment that you and I have to make. We got to make the adjustment of deciding that we are no longer the authority for what we do in life. What we want is no longer the authority what we like is no longer the authority what we feel comfortable with is no longer the authority the authority for our life has changed as a follower of Jesus Christ, and it has become the written word of God. And when what we want to do differs from what the written word of God says we change what we want to do and make it conform to the word of God. We don't do it all the way around it all, a federal commercial used to be on television for Hebrew national hotdogs. Now maybe it's my background. I don't know but I love this commercial.

You know comes on he got the big picture of Uncle Sam and he says the government says we can add nonlethal fillers. We don't.

The government says that we can add meat byproducts. We don't.

The government says that we can put this chemical in that chemical in we can. We sure are. And we answer to a higher authority. I love this commercial and what I'm here to tell you today. What I'm really trying to say is that as followers of Jesus Christ. You and I are Hebrew national hotdogs. We are, we answer to a higher authority than what we feel like doing what we want to do it. What seems comfortable because that's not our authority. We answer to the authority of the written word of God. What it says comes first, and then we conform our behavior to it, but summarize what we seen today, we see that one of the distinguishing marks of the true disciple of Jesus is that we keep the right authority in life we don't have the authority life that these guys in Philippi had and we don't have the authority life that I had as a college student, which is ourselves the authority that we have is the written word of God and we remember that we are Hebrew national hotdogs that we are subject to this authority.

It's a higher authority than us. That's why Psalm 119 says your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. God didn't say when you and I want to do is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path of the word of God. That's why Proverbs 35 says do not lean on our own understanding as to how you doing on this.

I mean, my question to you and me is, are we really maintaining the right authority in our life is a lot how what I know, I mean being gimme some contest. Well, I'll give you a quick litmus test.

Here's how you can know what the real authority in your life is when faced with any choice in life when faced with any situation in life is only one of two questions you and I will ask first and try to decide what to do. We will either ask the question what do I feel like doing that will be the first thing we ask and then will answer it and go know it that'll be one way of approaching it or the other question that will ask is, what does God tell me to do in the Bible and and will find that out and will go do that and you can tell here's a little litmus test you can tell what the real authority in your life is by simply asking and answering the question, which one of these two questions do I ask myself first and you know what you're authority life. It focus on here to call you and me to a different, lifestyle. I'm here to call you and me as followers of Christ to different way of living.

I'm here to call us to a different worldview than the people around you every single day. I'm here to call us to a lifestyle and a worldview that is based on the authority of the written word of God. And when it differs from what our behavior is we change our behavior.

We change our behavior. That's how God wants you and me to live. That's how real disciples with and if that's not how you live in that I got a real simple piece of advice for you.

Change the spring were Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about real life. You know these choices that were talking about for choices that we have to make every day multiple times Lord my prayer is that you would speak deeply to us and remind us today that you've given us a plan you've given us a patter as to how to approach these kind of choices in life. The pattern is that we keep the right authority the authority the word of God and we conform our behavior to it. The Lord of any of us here need course correction if any of us here need to make some changes. My prayer is that you would give us the courage to ask for your help and together with you as our partner to make the changes we need to make so that the word of God really is the authority in every part of our lives or change the way we live. Change the very way we approach life because we were here today and we interacted with the word of God and we pray these things in Jesus name God's people said amen

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