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Our True Source of Security - Acts Part 46

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2020 3:00 pm

Our True Source of Security - Acts Part 46

So What? / Lon Solomon

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March 11, 2020 3:00 pm

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Heavenly Father, I pray as we open the Word of God now that You would press it deeply into each one of our hearts. Lord, many of us came into here today struggling. Many of us came in here today down. Many of us came in here today with problems and issues in our life.

Many of us came in here today fearful and scared about what lies ahead. Whether it's our health or whether it's whatever it is, Lord. And I want to pray that You would take the Word of God now and that You would use it to bring hope and encouragement and fortitude and strength to our life. That we might go out, Lord Jesus, of this place saying, we did not just go to church today.

No, no. We sat under the living Christ. Who took His living Word and applied it to our hearts such that it changed the very way we're going to live this coming week and the rest of our life. Jesus, in Your name, in the name of Jesus, we pray against You, Satan. And we resist You as the Bible tells us to do at this place. And we claim God's promise that You will flee this campus. And Lord, we pray that You would grant the enemy no entry here today. That You would rebuke him.

That You would make this a no-fly zone for him over this campus. That God, only the Holy Spirit, will have the freedom to circulate here and to talk to our hearts. Deliver us from Satan's deceptions.

Deliver us from his distractions. Deliver us, Lord Jesus, from our sins. Forever hearing his voice, hear as we now listen to the Word of God. And give me an anointing to preach the Word with the power and the conviction with which it ought to be preached, with the purity with which it ought to be preached. And Lord, do all of this today for the glory of Christ here in this place. And we pray this in Jesus' name. And everybody said, Amen.

All right. Now, as a church family of verse-by-verse studies, you probably know of the book of Acts. And we are right now in Acts chapter 18.

And we're going to talk today. Paul is in Corinth. Let's show you a map so you see where Paul is, the dotted line, of course, down in southern Greece. And we're going to talk today about the vision that God gave to Paul while he was in Corinth, the vision in which God spoke to Paul there in Corinth because God used that vision to encourage and reassure the heart of the apostle Paul in a special way.

And I believe that God wants to use that very same information he shared with Paul to encourage and to fortify our hearts. So are you ready? We good? All right.

The title of my message is Our True Source of Security. A little bit of background before we dig in. The apostle Paul right now is on his second missionary journey. Let's show you a map again. And you'll see where Paul's been, all the way from southern Turkey up to Philippi and now down to Corinth. And he has taken the gospel into Europe on his second missionary journey for the very first time. Up until now, Acts chapter 16, the gospel has been limited to the eastern outside. The outskirts of the Roman Empire. We're talking Judea, Samaria, Damascus, even the modern day country of Turkey, Asia Minor. But now the apostle Paul takes the gospel and in obedience to God, presses it right into the heart and the soul of the Roman Empire. And in Acts 16, Acts 17 and Acts 18, Paul has been preaching Jesus. Throughout the country of Greece. Now the good news is that thousands upon thousands of people have come to Christ in Greece. The bad news is that everywhere Paul has gone preaching, they have persecuted him and run him out of town. And we're going to see that Corinth is not going to be any different. Here we go. The Bible says, and after these things that happened in Athens, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And you know where it is.

We showed you the map. Verse two. And he found a Jewish man named Aquila, having recently come. Aquila did, that is, from Italy with his wife, Priscilla, because Emperor Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. Now the famous Jewish historian Josephus actually confirms this expulsion of the Jews from Rome. And it's confirmed also by the Roman historian, Suetonius. And they tell us that this expulsion happened in the ninth year of the reign of Emperor Claudius, which corresponds to 50 AD.

50 AD is exactly when the apostle Paul arrived at Corinth and met up with Priscilla and Aquila. So once again, the Bible is proven to be chronologically and historically spot on. And it leads us to what we love to say. You know what we love to say. I'll say it first. We love to say the more they dig out of the ground, the more the Bible proves to be right. Now, I want you to say it with me. Here we go.

Come on now. The more they dig out of the ground, the more the Bible proves to be right. Praise the Lord, huh? Praise the Lord.

All right. Have confidence in your Bible, friend. Trust your Bible, friend. Scholars have been wrong for centuries on some of this stuff. And the Bible's been right the whole time.

Trust your Bible. Now, verse three. And because Paul was of the same trade as Priscilla and Aquila, he stayed with them and they were working together for by trade, they were tent makers.

Now, you say, wait a minute, wait a minute. I thought Paul was a rabbi before he came to Christ. He was. You say, well, I thought he said that he left home as a little kid and he went to Jerusalem and he spent his whole time, Acts chapter 22, he says this, sitting at the feet of Gamaliel, the great rabbi, like going to postgraduate school in Judaism.

He did. Then you say, well, how in the world did a man learn to make tents? Well, this is interesting because Gamaliel II, the great rabbi under which Paul sat, had a unique custom, and that is he made every one of his students, we know this from rabbinic writings, he made every one of his students learn a marketable trade so that if they ever needed it, they could earn money and provide for themselves. And that's why the apostle Paul became a tent maker.

He was forced to do it by his mentor, Rabbi Gamaliel. Cool. Yeah. All right.

Now let's go on. And Paul was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to persuade both Jews and Gentiles, that is to believe in Jesus. And I want you to notice here that Paul at the beginning was only preaching on Saturdays, the Sabbath. What was he doing every other day? He was making what?

Yeah, to support himself. And he even refers to this when he writes the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 11. He says to them, I preach the gospel to you without charge when I was present with you. When was that? Acts chapter 18. Right.

Right where we are. Hello. Hello. Yes. OK.

When I was present with you and was in need, I was a financial burden to no one. Why? Because he made tents and took care of his own financial needs. Right.

OK. So he was only free on Saturdays to go to the synagogue and preach. But when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, remember, Paul had left them in Berea. Let's show you a map way up north to work with the fledgling church there. But they joined him in Corinth when they got there.

Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jewish people that Jesus was the Messiah. We all see what happened here. Right.

Yeah. Paul, Paul's there working all by himself. And then Silas and Timothy show up and they go to work every day when they get there so that Paul is set free to preach the gospel every day. And, you know, I love this about the ball and Silas and Timothy.

Think about it now. I mean, Silas and Timothy, when they arrived, they could have said, well, now, wait a minute. We've been up in Berea. We've been working with the church there. We've been teaching the Bible there. We've been going out and sharing Christ on the streets there. I mean, Paul, we're not such bad preachers. You know, if you if we were that bad, you wouldn't have left us up there in charge of the church. How come we got to go to work so you can go out and preach? Why don't we each work two days a week and then we'll all go out two days a week and preach? How come we got to be the ones that work? Well, they could have said that, but they didn't.

You know why? Because Silas was a good preacher and Timothy was a good preacher, but Paul was a great preacher. And they had the humility. Do you see this?

And they had the teamwork. Do you see this? And they had the concern for the greatest welfare of the gospel.

Do you see this? That they said, we don't need just good preachers out there. We need the greatest preacher out there. So we will work six days a week so that the gospel has the greatest preacher it can have out there working in the streets of Corinth. Praise the Lord for these guys, Silas and Timothy.

You've got to love these guys. All right. But before long, things got ugly in Corinth.

Watch for six. But when the Jews resisted and blaspheme, Paul shook out his garments. You remember Matthew 10. Jesus said, if you go into a town and they won't receive you, shake the dust off your feet.

You remember that as a sign of disdain, as a sign of rejection. That's what Paul did. He shook the dust off of his garments and said to them, your blood be on your own heads.

I am clean. And from now on, I will go to the Gentiles. Then Paul left there, the synagogue, and went to the home of tedious justice, whose house was next door to the synagogue. And Paul set up a teaching center there for the gospel like Corinth Bible College, so to speak. And look where Paul set up Corinth Bible College. He set it up right next door to the synagogue. This is hysterical.

You don't think this is hysterical? I mean, think what this meant. It meant that every time a Jewish person went to synagogue, they saw Paul, whom they despised. And not only did they have to see Paul every day they went, but they had to hear him every day they went, teaching the word of God. There, Old Testament scriptures to a bunch of Gentiles and coming up with a conclusion that every Jew that was going to the synagogue abhorred, and that is that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. And do you think Paul set this Corinth Bible College up next door to the synagogue by accident? You think that?

You don't think there were other houses in town he could have picked? No, my good Gentile friends, no, no, no, no. This Jewish man did this to those guys in the synagogue knowing absolutely what he was doing. He was just rubbing it in just a little bit.

I think this is hysterical. No? Maybe you've got to be Jewish to get this. I don't know. But that's what we do to one another.

Yeah, I'm serious. You know, OK. Well, maybe we should move on before I get myself in trouble. So listen, listen, listen.

Instead of the tension between Paul and this Jewish community getting better because he had stopped going to the synagogue, it got worse because he set up right next door to the synagogue and eventually it boiled over into a mob action. Look at this. But while Galio was proconsul of Achaia, stop for a second. You all know where Achaia is?

Of course not. Nobody knows where Achaia is. Let me just show you a map. Achaia is the northern part of Greece where Athens is, and the Peloponnesus is the southern part of Greece where Sparta was. Everybody's heard of Athens and Sparta. You've all seen the 300. Yeah, the movie, right? OK.

Yes. So so Achaia is the northern part where Athens is. And it was that part of Greece that Galio was in charge of. And we know from Roman records that Galio was only there one year because he got sick and he had to leave and go home. We think from mosquito bites, but nobody's quite sure. And he was only there one year and it was the year 51 to 52 A.D. Now, when does the Bible say the apostle Paul was in Corinth?

51 to 52 A.D. The more they dig, the more the Bible proves to be right. Galio was here for one year and he was there when Paul was there, just like the Bible says. So they dragged him in front of Galio and Galio said to them, hey, look, fellas, this is all about your rules, your regulations, your customs, your rituals. I don't want anything to do with this.

You all deal with it yourself. But you can't punish Paul because he hadn't done anything wrong. So Galio wouldn't allow them to beat Paul up. Instead, if you read the Bible, you'll find they went outside and beat a bunch of other people up, including their own synagogue ruler. I mean, they were in the mood to beat somebody up.

So since they couldn't beat Paul up, they beat up other people. It was in this tense and explosive situation that God appeared to Paul in this vision. You say it was about time we get to the vision. All right, we're here now. And one night the Lord spoke in a vision to Paul and said, do not be afraid. But keep on speaking and do not keep silent, for I am with you and no one is going to attack you to harm you.

For I have many people in this city. Verse 11. So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them at the Corinth Bible College the word of God. And, folks, let me just say, as we end our passage for today, that this is the second longest stay that Paul ever had on any of his missionary journeys.

He stayed two years in Ephesus on his third journey. But second to that is this day for a year and a half in Corinth, discipling and teaching that church. OK, now that's as far as we want to go in the passage, because we want to stop now. We want to ask our most important question. And, you know, you know, we don't get the chance to do this in person together very often. Right.

So this has got to be really, really good. All right. All right. So are you ready? All right. Deep breath. Ready? Come on now.

One, two, three. Oh, baby. Oh, baby. How sweet it is.

That was awesome. All right. So you say, Lon, look, I mean, this is a great passage and I really appreciate all this, but I don't have anybody trying to kill me. I don't have anybody trying to beat me up.

I've never seen God in a vision. So what does any of this have to do with my life? Well, a lot. Listen, the some of us walked in here today afraid. You say afraid of what?

Well, I don't know. Afraid all kinds of things. Afraid of whether we're going to have a job next year. Afraid of how we're going to survive financially when we reach retirement or even before we get there. Afraid of health issues that we're struggling with. Afraid of what the future holds for us. Afraid of our boss. Afraid of lots of different things. Look, I mean, life has lots of reasons to be afraid. And Paul was afraid. David Platt said it well last week.

He said, why in the world would God appear to Paul and tell him don't be afraid if Paul wasn't afraid? Does that make sense to you? You know, like if I was skinny, which I'm not. You know, there would be no need for someone to come up to me and say you need to be skinny.

I already am skinny. Now, I have that need. So you don't need to do that.

My wife takes care of that. But you understand what I'm trying to say to you? You don't say to somebody, don't be afraid if they're not afraid.

Does that make sense? Paul was a wonderful, godly man, one of the greatest men of God to ever live, but he's still a human being. And he's still got the whole town trying to kill him. And God appears to him and says, Paul, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid.

And why not? What reason did God offer Paul? He said, he didn't say don't be afraid because people really aren't trying to kill you. No, they really were trying to kill him. Don't be afraid because they're not really trying to hurt you.

Yeah, they really were trying to hurt him. Listen, look what God said. God said, don't be afraid for I am with you. Folks, this is what God offered the apostle Paul to take away his fear. He offered him his personal presence.

Can we see that? And, you know, we look at some of the people in the Bible that God called to face the biggest obstacles, that God called to climb the toughest mountains, that God called to face the scariest moments. And what's interesting is that when they needed reassurance, when they needed courage, when they needed inner peace and fortitude, God offered them the very same thing.

He offered Paul his personal presence, the assurance of that. I mean, I think of Moses here. God calls Moses from the burning bush to go back and face Pharaoh and demand that the people of Israel be let go. And Moses was afraid of Yul Brynner.

We'll show you. You know what he looked like. There he is.

Yeah. He was afraid of this guy. And he said to God, I'm afraid of him.

I'm scared to death. And what did God say to Moses from the burning bush to assuage his fear? He said, and I quote Exodus three, certainly I will be with you. And how about how about Jacob? Remember Jacob, who stole his brother Esau's blessing and he stole his brother Esau's birthright.

You remember that? And then he fled for 20 years. He had he lived in exile and finally God appeared to him and said, I want you to go back and meet your brother Esau. And Jacob was terrified of what Esau was going to do to him when they met. And how did God help Jacob get over his fear?

He said to Jacob, Genesis 31, go and I will be with you. And how about the Israelites when they were called to invade the promised land and they were afraid of all the giants and all the walled cities and all the big armies? What did God say to them in order to calm their hearts? God said, Deuteronomy 31, do not worry or be afraid for the Lord your God is the one who is with you. And how about Joshua when he was about to lead the people into the promised land? God said to him, Joshua 1 6, be strong and courageous for just as I was with Moses, so I shall be with you, Joshua. And how about David finally thinking about the scariest enemy of all that we face and that is death, you know what he said.

He said, Psalm 23, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Why? Why, David?

Why? Say the next five words with me, for thou art with me. Yes, and folks, I want to say to you today that if you're a follower of Jesus, God offers you and he offers me this very same assurance that he offered Moses, that he offered Jacob, that he offered Joshua, that he offered Paul and that is I will be with you.

I am with you. Hebrews 13 5, Jesus said, I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. Jesus said, John 14 18, I will not leave you as orphans.

I will come to you. And finally, the Bible says, Isaiah 43, when you pass through the deep waters, say the next five words with me, I will be with you. When you walk through the fire, the flames will not hurt you, for I am the Lord and you are precious in my sight.

So do not fear, for I am with you. Never as children of God are we unprotected. Never as God's children are we exposed. Never as God's children are we vulnerable. Never as God's children are we unguarded. Never. And when we really get this, I mean, when we really allow this great truth to permeate our world view, something incredibly powerful happens inside of us, my Christian brother and sister.

Look, Hebrews 13 six, we already read the beginning for he himself has said, I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. Now watch, watch. So that we may. Next word.

Wait a minute. You can't say boldly like that. We may boldly.

What's wrong with you? So that we may what? Boldly.

Yeah. Say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear.

What can man do to me? Do you hear the confidence in that? Do you hear the security in that? Do you hear the peace of mind in that? Do you hear the fortitude in that? Do you hear the courage in that?

Do you hear it? I will not fear. The Lord is my helper.

What can man do to me? Now, folks, that's how Jesus wants us facing our fears. That's how Jesus wants us facing the world. The Lord is my helper.

I will not fear. Man can't do anything to me that Jesus hasn't allowed him to do and already flip-flopped into my good, Romans 8.28, if he allows it to happen. And that's what he told Paul. That's what he told Moses. That's what he told Joshua. That's what he told Jacob. That's what he told the Israelites. That's what he tells you and me. And he didn't lie to any of them. You know their stories, and he's not lying to you and me. Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. Now, you know, when I was a little boy, I don't know, five, six, seven years old, eight, I don't know. I had my own room at home, and my brother had his own room. And at night, when we would go to bed, my parents would close the door, and it was completely dark in my room. And I would lie there in bed, and I was terrified. Terrified. You know, I was terrified that something was going to come out of the closet, all green and hairy, and drag me into the closet, and I would never be seen again.

I really was. I had seen this Twilight Zone episode. I don't know if you've seen it. Now, wait a minute. Don't you remember this Twilight Zone episode where this little boy got dragged under his bed and went into a new reality, and they could get under the bed and talk to him, but he couldn't get back to where he was?

Don't you remember that? I had seen that, and I was terrified that some monster that looked like the one in Alien, you know, slobbering all over itself and whatever, was going to reach up and grab me in my bed and pull me under my bed and through the wall, and I would never be seen again. To this day, I'm telling you the truth, to this day, I sleep with my closet door open, and to this day, I do not let one single part of my body hang over the edge of the bed. Ask my wife, because when I was a child, I was afraid if my leg was hanging over the bed, boy, that's what he would grab, and I'd be gone. I'm serious.

I'm not kidding you. You say, Lon, I sure hope you got a good therapist, brother. No, I don't have a therapist. Don't tell me as a little child you didn't sometimes lie in bed terrified of the dark. And I would call to my father, who would usually be in the other room watching TV, reading a book, reading the paper, and I'll never forget. He would come in, and he would lay his sweet, strong hand on my head, and he would say to me, Son, don't be afraid. I'm here. I'm here. And he would leave the room, and I would lie in bed repeating those words to myself. Son, don't be afraid.

He's here. And that would take the terror of the night away so that I could fall asleep. Listen, there are some things in this world we really should be afraid of. God's not trying to tell us in the Bible that there aren't some things in the world we should be afraid of. God's just trying to tell us that he's bigger. Do you understand?

He's bigger. So that as we go through life and as we face difficulty, he wants us saying, repeating that mantra to ourselves, Son, daughter, don't be afraid. I'm here. Don't be afraid.

I'm here. And that's the source of true security in life. It's not money. It's not position. It's not power. It's Jesus being with you.

That's where security comes from. And Jesus said, Son, don't be afraid. Daughter, don't be afraid.

I'm here. Now, if you're here and you don't know Jesus, I'm afraid this truth isn't for you yet. Oh, you can have this truth. You can have Jesus there just like that with you, like my dad was. But you see, my dad only said that to members of the family. He didn't go across the street and say that to the neighbor's children. He didn't go down the road and say it to somebody else's children. That was just an assurance for his children.

You understand? Friends, Jesus doesn't say, I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you to anybody else's children but his own. And the only way to become a child of God is to become a believer in Jesus and put every trust you've got for heaven and eternal life and what Jesus did for you on the cross. So if you're here and you're trusting anything else other than Jesus to deal with your sin and get you to heaven, let me just say not only are you going to miss heaven, that's sad enough, but in this life, you don't have that promise from God.

You're facing these fears alone. What a terrible thing. How do you do it? I don't even know how you do it. But you can have it. You can have that assurance. All you have to do in a moment when we pray is say, Jesus, I give up every other remedy I've ever trusted to get me into heaven to pay for my sin, and I embrace you and what you did for me on the cross as my one and only hope of heaven and savior from sin. And, friend, everything we've talked about today, boom, is yours.

I hope you'll do that. Now, I want to close with the words of an old hymn. And, you know, may I just point out, old doesn't mean bad. Are we aware of that? Yeah, okay.

Those two words are not synonymous. This is a hymn. It's very unusual as a hymn because it's the only hymn I know that is constructed with God speaking to us. Most hymns are constructed with us speaking to God. What a powerful name it is. How much glory you're worth. How much I surrender to you, right, right? This hymn is constructed with God speaking to us. It's called How Firm a Foundation. And, you know, when my daughter Jill was born 25 years ago and began having terrible seizures and retardation and just, it was horrible.

I can't even describe to you how horrible those years were. It was this hymn that sustained us. It was the words of this hymn that we printed and put on the mirror in our bathroom. It was the words of this hymn that I printed and put on my computer screen up in the office because this hymn got us through. And if you're facing difficult times, maybe you don't have a disabled daughter.

Maybe you got something else that's difficult. I'd like to suggest you consider doing the same thing with the words of this hymn because God in this hymn takes what we've just studied and puts it into beautiful verse like I just don't know anything that's even close. So let me read you, follow along on the screen. Before we sing it, let me read you these verses and let them sink in, God speaking to you. How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in his excellent word. What more can he say than to you he hath said, to you who to Jesus for refuge have fled. In every condition, in sickness, in health, in poverty's veil or abounding in wealth, at home or abroad, on the land, on the sea, as thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee. O be not dismayed for I am thy God and I will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee and help thee and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand. When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. Last verse, the soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes that soul though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord. APPLAUSE
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-09 14:53:52 / 2023-06-09 15:06:45 / 13

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