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Life of Paul Part 17 - The Wisdom of Elders

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
March 26, 2020 12:00 am

Life of Paul Part 17 - The Wisdom of Elders

So What? / Lon Solomon

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March 26, 2020 12:00 am

Life of Paul series.

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Good morning everybody.

There's great to have you here pilots in the Bible and open it together.

Acts chapter 14 were going to be continuing in our study of the life of the great man. The apostle Paul in acts chapter 14 will be coming there in just a minute as most of you know I was a hippie back in the 60s, my long hair and bellbottoms and love beads and the whole 9 yards and back in the 60s there was a mantra that most of us as hippies followed.

It was calling for the first time by Chicago's seven activists Abbie Hoffman and it went simply like this don't trust anybody over 30.

Some of us remember that now you know 30 years later. What we mean is that this was not just a passing fad that that we live in a world today that still has a clear and unmistakable bias toward Jews and towards young people, and I'm not here try to say that that's bad.

I'm just here to say that when we look in the Bible we find God presenting to us a different outlook on things a different perspective of balance to our cultural bias for everybody and everything young and indeed it exists. Just look at television.

Just look at advertising. Just look at marketing. But what does God really have to say will God talks in the Bible about a worldview that espouses the wisdom and the value of elders and this is what we want to talk about today because were going to see this very principal on display in our passage today from the life of the apostle Paul, we want to talk about that and then as always, we want to bring that into the 21st century and say well what difference does that make to you and to me. So here we go little bit of background.

Remember, the apostle Paul and Barnabas are out doing itinerant preaching. They are all in what we call the day Paul's first missionary journey. Paul left Antioch in Syria. He's gone over to Cyprus and then he's gone up the pergola he's gone to Antioch to I Cody him to Lysistrata and now he's gone to Derby now in Antioch. He got thrown out of town and I Cody him. He got thrown out of town in Lysistrata, he got virtually stoned to death and he's going to pergola now and is verse 21 here says he's let a lot of people to Christ okay will Paul is pretty much reached the zenith of his first missionary journey that is pretty much over and it's time now to go home to go back to Antioch in Syria and there's two ways to get there.

He can either started Derby where he already is. Simply go to Tarsus which was his hometown see his mom and his dad and then go on to Antioch. That's a fast way to get home and the other nice thing about going home like that is, you don't go back to all these towns were people would love to have another opportunity to Schwenk at Uganda right okay the other way to go home is to go back to each one of these towns to go started Derby go back to list or go back to I Cody and go back to Antioch back to pergola and then sailed for home.

Which way do you think the apostle Paul chose well of course he chose the hard way.

That's Paul but it wasn't just because it was hard that he decided to go this way let's read and see what happens.

Chapter 14 verse 21 middle of the verse it says and then leaving Derby. They return to Lysistrata I Cody him and Antioch mean all these towns were people wanted to get at him again, yell, why did he do it. Verse 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. You see, Paul understood that in every single one of these cities, there were young new followers of Christ, most of them he'd led to Christ himself. He felt a responsibility to these folks not to leave them floundering, but to go back and is verse 22 says, to strengthen them and to encourage them to remain true to the Lord. Paul went this way folks because he had the heart of a shepherd and a shepherd doesn't put his where welfare first, he puts the welfare of the sheep first and that's why Paul did what he did when he went back to the cities.

One of the things Paul did to help these young believers grow strong and stay strong in the Lord is.

He set up some system and one of the systems he set up was a system of ritual leadership in each of these churches look at verse 23, it says, and Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and with prayer and fasting. Paul and Barnabas committed those elders to the Lord in whom they, the elders had put their trust. The spiritual leadership system with the apostle Paul put in place in each of these churches was that he appointed elders for them and we want to stop for a moment and let's talk about this whole process and these elders that Paul appointed now. The Greek word elder the translated elder. Here is the Greek word press pewter we get our English word Presbyterian from this word press pewter Ross in Greek literally just simply means an old man and aged man and AARP member. This is over talking about here now. Paul chose these men and he gave them the spiritual leadership of each of these churches and in doing this, Paul and come up with this idea out of the blue mono. Paul knew the Bible and in the Bible in every age. This is how God has set up leadership Moses number 21 out of the wilderness with all these Israelites what he do God said to Moses, Moses, 270 elders to help you rule the people once they went into the promised land. God instructed Joshua want to go in Deuteronomy 21. I want you to set up elders to rule over every city in the promised land in the New Testament we find in every synagogue whether it Israel or out of Israel was governed by a group of elders and so right here the apostle Paul.

We see is simply following the biblical model of appointing New Testament church elders everywhere he went to rule over those churches that we need to realize that God's choice to put senior people in positions of spiritual leadership that that is a deliberate act of God, that is an intentional act of God and the reason God did.

This is because of God's worldview on older mature believers listen. Leviticus 19 verse 32 rise in the presence of the agent. Show respect for the elderly and thereby revere your God.

Proverbs 23 verse 22. Listen to your father and do not despise your mother when they are old.

My good is if you listen to it any time at all to be when they're all why because that's when I got of wisdom to help you. And the reason God tells us to respect and esteem. Older people with grown older and the Lord is because they have acquired wisdom over living all of those years and they can dispense that wisdom to us and keep us from making a lot of stupid mistakes. It will just listen.

They said ballon you you certainly understand that just because a person gets old doesn't automatically mean they get why well, you're right, absolutely.

I agree with you sometimes and people get old. All they get is crotchety salmon but but if we are growing older in connection with the Lord were walking with God. As we grow older in humility and with teachability it is certainly true that in most cases as we experience things and as we age God grants us wisdom when it comes to spiritual leadership in the church, God tells us in the Bible to identify people like this were wise and seasoned and godly to place in positions of spiritual oversight and authority and then to listen to them to follow their lead. To submit to their wisdom or else the results can be disastrous. You know, one of the greatest examples of this principle in action is found in the Old Testament is found in second Chronicles 10 you don't have to turn there, but let me tell you the story.

There was a King Solomon.

Of course, who expanded the borders of Israel to the largest they've ever been. And then he died. And any left the kingdom to his son.

A fellow named Ray about what will rebel and gets all Israel together for their first town meeting. He's a brand-new King and look what the people say to it.

They say verse 14. Your father put a heavy yoke on us. Were they talking about what you remember.

King Solomon was a wonderful builder.

He not only built the first Temple in Jerusalem to do chariot cities all throughout the kingdom. He built all kinds of stop and remember in Israel.

There was no slavery, so there wasn't this huge pool of slave laborers to build all this up how to get it built will he pressed three men in the service and made them go build all these things and that's what they're talking about the going hey I'm not is enough and they go on to say, lighten the heavy yoke that your father put on us and will serve you will rebel to give you three days to think about it some home and look what he did stinking whalebone consulted with the elders, which served his father Solomon and he asked them how would you advise me to answer these people the elders said, if you will be kind of to these people and if you will give them a favorable answer hey there, ready to serve you. King will follow you wherever you want to go that's what you should do.

Then Rehoboam the Bible says went on and consulted with the young man going grown up with him. The testosterone team as I like to call and look at the advice they give it they say to tell these people that my little finger is thicker than my father's voice. What in the world is that me well that's Bible talk for you ain't seen nothing yet is actually pretty funny if you got Bible talk, you'd be laughing now, as you say that's funny will and you okay but the point is he's trying to say hey you think my father was bad you thinking Solomon was bad. Friends you will you wait to you see me know which advised anything. Verse 13 then the king rejected the advice of the elders and he follow the advice of the young man. He answered the people harshly and as a result, the 10 northern tribes rebelled in place the new king over themselves. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to Rehoboam you still Rehoboam that he split this nation write down the key and the really tragic thing is that he didn't have to happen.

The tragic thing is that it will not happen if you just listen to the wisdom that these elders had they gave him the right advice both here McLean Bible Church, we are determined that were going to avoid the mistake that Rehoboam made which is why we are governed by a group of godly elders. These are men who not only met the qualifications that the Bible talks about in first Timothy three, but these are men who have demonstrated over years in this church family that they have wisdom that they have reasoning that they have godly insight that only comes with age and growing in their walk with God and I want you to know I meet with these men I listen to these men. I submit to the advice of these men. If you don't believe me you go, ask any of them and they'll tell you that's true because they ask the right questions and and they they season things in prayer and not a single one of them makes knee-jerk decisions. There is not a testosterone team member among them, and they're not young either. If you ever meet one of these people the hall you will see some young buck we don't. We love young box. But you know five friends.

There is a certain wisdom that comes with just live in and flying in the cockpit that you can't learn in the seminar. You can't learn from a book you don't get in college.

It just comes from living and that's why we have honored this principle to place the wisdom of elders prominently in the way we do leadership in this church and I gotta tell you something. A major part of the reason why this church is where it is today is because of these men. They keep the rest of us from doing dumb thing. They keep the rest of us from stepping in the quicksand. They keep the rest of us from making foolish mistakes. It would hurt and damage this church. If you ever see one of these guys in the hallway using a little gold badge on you walk up you shake their head hug Tessa and just say I don't even know you but thank you thank you for what you do because this church is less in my life and you're the reason that were doing as well as redoing friends in an interesting that the that the system for leadership that the apostle Paul set up 2000 years ago still works today. I mean the world is changed, but God's principles of stay the same, and any church that will lead the way. Paul did in the Bible and told us to do it will find that God will bless us just like he blessed the early church. That's how we do it here.

We respect the wisdom of elders. Now that comes to the end of our passage because we want to ask the most important question of the morning and the most important question of the morning.

Everybody knows it right so everybody readies rank of honor here go deep breath. You go through ready 123 wow that was really good was Ceylon. I mean it's wonderful that God tells us here to honor older people. I mean, the reason he tells that is probably because God, hold himself, you know so twice as well. I don't know but but you know that's not simply what this is about you say well you know that help me Monday morning but friends were not just talking about wisdom that comes with years that elders bring to the table and running the church were also saying here that God wants to give you in the wisdom that comes with years of walking with him, then we can bring to the table and running our family that we can bring to the table and running our businesses that we can bring to the table, running government agencies or military units or whatever the case may be.

God doesn't want us to find six or seven men who are have the wisdom of elders and the stop there. He wants every single one of us to begin process of growing into these, men and women, young Stan, he wants you to be at the point was somebody one day will look at you and go not there is a wise woman.

There's a wise man so I want to share with you today.

In closing, some of these lessons that I hope you will inculcate into your life lessons I learned in 53 years 1130 of them walking with the Lord lessons that have come with age that I hope will make you a wiser person. I learned most of these things the hard way friend. I don't want to learn the hard way like I did. Maybe by talking about a mental health care. They get here we go number one. What are some of these lessons of wisdom and age. Number one, I've learned people are the most important thing in the world you know when when Paul met with the elders of the church of Ephesus to the very last time.

Here's what he said to act, 20 verse 28.

He said keep watch over the flock over which the Lord has made you elders be shepherds of the church of God which he purchased with his own blood, that isn't it interesting, here's the apostle Paul giving final instructions to these leaders of the church of Ephesus in an interesting where his focus is you don't hear you mention nothing about budgets or buildings or programs or attendance figures or numbers of baptisms or denominations that were Paul's focus. He said take care of the sheep take care of the flock protect and guard these people these precious people that Jesus died for on the cross. That's where his focus is not want to know that when I was younger in my head but I gotta tell you, it is taken, the passing of years for me to get it in my heart and my spirit. I think I finally got but it took a long time for me to get it and I made a lot of mistakes and heard a lot of people along the way until I did get and that's why here McLean Bible church on number one core value is people matter to God, not buildings, not programs. People matter to God in a matter to us is how we try to do everything we do in this church putting people first, because that's wisdom, we live in a culture that doesn't do this friends. God wants you and me to go out there and represent a different set of values to this culture. People are first number two second lesson I learned in 53 years of living is that every hill is not worth dying on. Now let me read to you, Luke, chapter 4, all the people in the synagogue were furious and Jesus is the Naz with his hometown and they drove them out of town intended to throw him off the cliff that the town was built on. But Jesus walked right through them and went on his way on the lives of these are people rejecting Jesus there at Tronic Killian that they're throwing off his authority as the Messiah. Me, don't you think Jesus could've called out lightning from heaven, and will be gone, don't you think when they tried to throw him off this cliff that he could've called 10,000 angels. The common Schwenk yet he could.

Jesus didn't do that, you know why his attitude is how I can win this fight. If I wanted to put this in the your title and keep the hill go about my business you when you're young when you're macho you think every hill is a hill worked on.

I've been there. You don't nobody takes a hill from you to understand what I'm saying. I've been there. You know what I learn.

As I've gotten older. Yeah there are some hills were tidal but there's a whole lot less open than I used to say in smart people don't raise waste. Older resources try to hold on the heels of the matter.

Let the old habit. Who cares save your resources for the hills. It really matter and are just aren't as many as I used to think you'll be smarter if you learn to realize not every hills were dying on number three.

I've learned with God. Timing is everything. This was a really hard one for me to learn. I gotta tell you that Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse one there's a time for everything in a season for everything under heaven. A time to be born in time.a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time for this, and a time for that in one of the things I've had to learn as I've gotten older friends is that everything doesn't have to be done yesterday. I have learned Isaiah 55, nine, God's ways are not our ways. God's thoughts are not our thoughts and may I add God's timing is never our time and you know what I have been ahead of God.

So many times on the right idea but just about 10 steps ahead of the timing of God and made a mess out of so many crazy things. Smart people learn to live in neutral. You know what I mean by that.

The motors running you're ready to put it in first and rip the clutch but God says no no no. I'm working on some stuff you just sit there and you just be content to be in neutral and what I want you to pop the clutch. I'll call smart people learn that's okay. Smart people learn to be very comfortable just sit in neutral or month for year for two years. I'm not real good at this, but I had learned while the timing of God matures because with God when we say timing is everything. You know, a while back some good friends of Brendan and mine gave us a a death certificate to go eat at this really fancy French restaurant and I never been a restaurant French restaurant quite as fancy. So we went and we sat down in the French waiter came over and we took our order and then we waited we waited and waited and not the most patient person anyway, but but on top of that I have fasted all day, save all my calories for dinner and I was starving, and the food is not common is not common couple times. I gave the old evil eyeball. You know my waiter who just completely ignored me and finally when he came on the table.

Once I stopped and because my attitude was, like, you know what the holdup here and I stopped him and I said to him, something like wit. Where is the food I mean we've been here long time where the food he looked at me and he said sir he said we have a chef here if you want fast food go to McDonald's. Tell your friends, nobody can insult you like a Frenchman, but I really learned something I learned something that night, I learned that she or never in a hurry.

Chefs take it slow. Chefs let it simmer. Chefs have a timing for everything and you're not going to get it over time is right. McDonald timing anything me to slap it on the grill you want to quit their but you wanted right you go to where chef is, but you better be willing away because they simmer things friends Matt tell you that in running the universe. God is not a cook at McDonald's God is chefs which means he let things simmer, which means he has perfect timing when every little piece is followed in the place and you're not going to get God to move before then.

And if you and I try to move before then. Over going to do is gum up the works that had to learn this the hard way that smart people learn to wait on God's timing. Smart people learn to rest in God to stay in neutral to the timing of God is matured and when it has everything goes perfect. You maybe sit here today going man. I'm so frustrated I need this and I need that wine God doing this, now why that happened. Hey friends, neutral neutral get comfortable in neutral. God had forgotten about you, but he's a chef and you not going to rush him so you just live in neutral when it's time to pop the clutch will tell you. Believe me, and until then just get real comfortable sitting there with the motor paren just wait for further orders. I've had to learn number four I learned that in life. Some failure is a good thing.

Some failure is a good thing. Listen to what David said.

David said Psalm 119 verse 67 before I was afflicted, I want to stress but now I obey your word so he goes on to say in verse 71 he was for me to be afflicted so that I might learn the way that you want a really un-American statement you just heard it was good for me to be afflicted. I don't know an American who would ever make a statement like that because in our culture.

We don't think it's good to be afflicted.

We think as Americans of failure and loss and suffering is the worst thing that can ever happen and it's not part of what is due us as Americans. That is our culture folks.

We look in the Bible, we find a completely different Outlook we find the Bible telling us to some failure some law some setbacks from suffering is a good thing. You can can you say that watch. Jesus said whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted, and how do we get to the place that we become humble people. Let me tell you not through success. Success never humble anybody its failure and loss that brings us to the end of ourselves.

It's suffering and heartache that drives us to our knees, its failure that forces us to depend upon God its loss and setbacks that humbled our high opinion of ourselves and that's a little bit of logic here.

Follow me if God wants to bless every follower of Christ, and he does and if God blesses the humble and that's what Jesus just said and give failure is what causes us to become humble and that's true, then some failure in life is a good thing because it humbles us, so that God can bless us friends. There are some doorways to the blessing of God that you can only get to by calling on you, Bill. The doors only about 4 inches or 5 inches high. You can't walk through it. He got a call and on the other side is huge blessing from God.

But you gotta crawl on your belly through it and only thing to get you and me on our belly's failure. Trust me I know I've had to crawl through some of those doors. 91 crawl through Frank that in light: through when I got on the other side asked for. That was really good. I went through that door, but it was God get me on my belly to heartache the got me through the door was a Nike commercial couple years ago during the Olympics. Simple commercial and here was the tagline. It simply said this. You don't win silver, you lose gold. That's an incredible statement because whether we realize it or not. What we are hearing in this commercial is a defining value of modern American society. What this commercial is saying is you and when the silver metal you don't, you lost all metal no value in having the silver metal you can get the gold medal. You're a loser. Welcome to America and friends. We live in a culture like that and you know what happened culture. This is all failures bad there's no redeeming lessons to be found in failure loss at all in America and that is creep into the church to televangelist listener listen to Christian radio.

All sickness, all failure all setback all losses of the devil and completely out of the plan of God for your life. God would never want that for you. And so what we need to do is when it comes to prosperity we need to name it and claim it isn't outcast and outgoing stand is a book without their been written called God wants you well.

The premise of which is all sickness has nothing to do with God. Well, I'm sorry. I've been thinking about writing a book entitled, sometimes God wants you said not of the got cellblock copies but but that is a biblical perspective. Yes, sometimes God want you sick sometimes God want you to fail. Sometimes God wants her to be setback and loss and trouble in your life in my life. Why, because there are some places God can't take us to one or belly. And that's biblical. That's right. And none of us want to hear that friend. That's what the Bible teaches, and maybe you're here today and you're going to some really hard times in your life and your sandwich will I need occupy the thing I've done wrong if you know where God is punishing me.

I mean is got forgotten about me is godforsaken. He does God not listen to me anymore the Bible a hoax is the sole Christianity thing not real pay. Time I'm here to tell you, you may be in your suffering right smack dab in the middle of the will of God right smack where you were God wants you to buy into an American view of Christianity buy into a biblical view of Christianity and friend suffering as part of some failure in life is good thing I've learned some of the best places God ever taken me took me by the path of failure is a lot how the world can anybody in their right mind. Look at failure like this well because a number five number five is the secret. And here's what it is I've learned that the followers of Jesus Christ. Romans 828 always comes true. What is Romans 828 say all things work together for good to those who love Godů Saying all things are good. Getting wrong what God is saying is he will take the good the bad and ugly still take the things you do understand and the things you don't understand will take the things that make sense to you and the things that don't make any sense and by the time he's through with them getting some time trusting in every single one of those things is going to come out for your blessing in your benefit.

I tell you friends in 30 years. Walking with Jesus. I have learned this always, always, always is the case, but I'll be honest and tell you that sometimes I really doubted God on this.

I've had things come in my life I've said Lord in my wildest I could not see in my wild imagination. How you could ever turn this into anything good will mean for me of something I'm not God in the good is wonderful and God took everyone anything that I couldn't see what he was going to do with them. And today I shake my head affirmatively about everyone I mingle you know what God I had to eat my words. You were right. I was wrong. Look what you did with these friend. If you got something in your life that you're looking at is a follower of Christ, and you're going there was no way under the sun God ever turn this into any good. I got news for you. You're not God is good and God says he's going to turn it into something good is going to do it in a way that you're not smart enough to figure out what you figured out asking you to figure it out all you want to do is trust and he's got it figured out.

Trusting. I've never seen this fail in 30 years. Walking with God I've never seen a sale and will fail for you either and that's why failure is not a problem.

That's why loss is not a problem.

That's why setbacks on problem.

Why should they be is God going to take a ball and turn them into good anyway. What is the problem. I've learned this essay that you're here and you've never trusted Jesus is real and personal Savior that this promise comes along with trusting Christ that this promise was made every American in this promise wasn't given by God. Every human being alive is its Presley for followers of Jesus Christ. And when you give your life to Christ. Guess what, you get this promise is part of the package is wonderful. I mean, you talk about a golden parachute when God promises you. He's going to see to it that every single thing that enters your life turns out for good golden parachute to get the one at work is puny compared to this one is the best golden parachute and you get it when you give your life to Jesus and I sure hope you do that why the world would anybody walk away from a promise like this operational in their life. Something will it summarize were done. God wants us to respect the wisdom of elders, but God more than that wants you and need to acquire the wisdom of elders in our lives to become true men and women of seasoned wisdom and faith in what are some of the lessons God wants us to learn number one people are the most important thing in the world. Number two that every hills not worth diagonal's okay to leave the hill to go around it. Number three that with God's timing is everything. Get comfortable living in neutral. It's okay.

Number four that some failure in life is a good thing and we don't have to worry about failure because number five Romans 828 always comes true for followers of Jesus Christ, not about this was helpful you iPhone preaching a final joint benefit at all from and I hope you did. But if we would follow these five simple little principles. Can you imagine how we change our life. We live in a world where people are not number one. We live in a world of people want to dial every hill we live in a world where it went where people don't think failure is a good thing. We live in a world where people despair when things go wrong in their life because they don't have any hope that these things are going to turn around in the good we live in a world where everybody is in a hurry. Nobody is willing to wait on anything friends and we go out living. These five principles we go out as representatives not of an American worldview, but a biblical worldview.

Let's go out and live like good Christians following a biblical worldview. Not just good Americans following an American spray for Jesus, thank you so much for talking to us about write down where we live. Because yes, true every single thing we talked about today. Our American culture has back in God. My prayer is that you would help us be better followers of Christ in our worldview and worry more about what you tell us in the Bible than what our culture tells help us go out and represent to our culture.

A worldview that reflects the heart the attitude and the reality of God in an accurate way. Thank you for the elders you given us in this church Lord, may we respect and honor them their gift from you. The Lord help everyone of us aspire to grow and be such people in our own lives, men and women that others would look to in the years ahead and say wow what a person of wisdom. I need to listen for make that our goal that we try to live up to and work in our lives to make it a reality. We pray in Jesus name, amen

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