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March 2, 2020 5:00 pm
Good morning everybody is wonderful to have you here.
Hey we want to take a Bible. Let's open it together to acts chapter. Thanks. Acts chapter 13, the fifth book in the New Testament Matthew Mark Luke John acts chapter 13 acts 13 and will be continuing in our study of the life of the great man. The apostle Paul.
Now everybody here and and pray for my voice. I got Ruben hayfever I got more phlegm in my throat demoting the Mississippian sale and financing all pray for me. But anyway you member the lady who sued McDonald's over the couple coffee that okay well I got a new one for you. This is true, happened in Knoxville, Tennessee.
This lady went to McDonald's and she ordered a regular cheeseburger and she was eating the regular cheeseburger out of the back of the cheeseburger, the little green pickle came out of the back and fell on her chin and was so hot gave her 2nd° burn on her chin so she sued McDonald's. This is true saying and I quote that the pickle was defective and unreasonably dangerous and she $110,000.
Now her husband saying that because of her injuries. He lost the consortium and ran romantic services of his wife also sued McDonald's and he won $15,000 is now really tell you true say what's the lesson here lesson is eat more often at McDonald's and pray for anything that you can get your hands on no no no that Acropolis and the lesson is the lesson is that we as Americans are unbelievable opportunist on the we see opportunity where nobody else in the world would see an opportunity. Nathan wanted anything wrong with that. Well, no, I don't think so me is one of the things that is made us as a country. One of the most innovative nations in the history of the world. However, there is a downside to it and as Americans were followers of Jesus Christ. There's a downside that we have to face, namely, that because of this opportunistic nature that we as Americans have acting comes easy to us doing comes easy to us waiting does not, and yet waiting on the Lord and waiting on the Lord's timing is a very important spiritual discipline that the Bible tells us about. So this is what we want to talk about today we want to talk about waiting on God's timing because it lays at the heart of the passage that we are going to look at from the life of the apostle Paul solicited together little bit of review. Remember that in the city of Antioch which is in present-day northern Lebanon southern Turkey. There were Jewish believers and Gentile believers that mixed together and made up his first multiethnic church. Well, there was a fellow named Agnes a prophet asked Chapter 11 who came there and predicted a famine which we know from secular sources actually happen between the years of 46 and 48 A.D. the believers living there, and Antioch took up an offering and a sentence offering to the Christians in Jerusalem the Jewish Christians there because they were poor. The reason they were poor is because of an organized boycott that was being carried on their against any Jewish person that would believe in Jesus, we saw that last time and so they sentence offering to Jerusalem in the hands of Barnabas their senior pastor and Paul their associate pastor. That's what we've been so let's pick up here in chapter 13. But look at chapter 12 the very last verse it says when Barnabas and Paul had finished their mission mission for the mission of taking this offering to Jerusalem. They were turned back to Antioch from Jerusalem will of course they did.
This was their duty station for God back here in Antioch and they brought with them a young man named John who was also called Mark that this young man John Mark is going to figure very prominently in the events of the next couple chapters will talk about it in in the days to come. But this is where they picking up right here on their return from Jerusalem first one of chapter 13 and in the church in Antioch. There were prophets and teachers verified that are listed.
Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene McMillion, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch and Paul now this was a listing of the Bible gives us this was the pastoral team. The pastoral ministry team here at the church in Antioch and I want to stop for a second and have us go through this pastoral staff team and look at each one of these people make sure we understand who they are, first, of course, was Barnabas we've already met Barnabas he was a Jewish man raised on the island of Cyprus who came to Christ. Soon after the resurrection. He moved to Jerusalem and rub shoulders with Peter and James and Matthew and John and all the apostles and then when the church of Antioch started today, Peter and all of them dispatched Barnabas here to be the senior pastor responsible for the spiritual well-being of this church second in the list is a fellow named Simeon also called Niger not Simeon is a Jewish name. So this a Jewish man but Niger. His nickname comes from a Latin word that literally means lack no doubt referring to the color of his skin and so here we have a Jewish man from somewhere in Africa could become a follower of Jesus Christ. Some commentators want to identify this guy with assignment of Cyrene, the fellow that was in Jerusalem and was forced to carry the cross of Jesus partway. Is it possible this is the same person possible. We can't be sure what we do know for sure is that this man was Jewish, that he was African and that he was a believer in Jesus Christ.
The third person we have is a fellow named Lucius of Cyrene.
Now Lucius is a Roman name. So this man was a Gentile, for sure, any came from Cyrene which is in northern Africa, present-day Libya, and I think there's a reference in the Bible. The tips us off as to exactly how this guy got related to the church in Antioch look Chapter 11 of acts, verse 20 it says some men from Cyprus and Cyrene.
That's where Lucius was wrong. Went to Antioch that's a church were talking about and began to share Jesus Christ with Gentiles as well as with Jews there. Unless I miss my guess Lucius was one of these original missionaries who went to Antioch from Cyrene began sharing with the Jews and the Gentiles. There, and as such was one of the founding members was one of the charter members of this church here in Antioch. Some people want to identify him with Luke, the guy who wrote the gospel in the book of acts is it possible yeah not sure, but certainly this guy Lucius was one of the charter members of this church. One of the missionaries responsible for this church being in existence, then the fourth guy with a fellow named Minasian in the Bible, knows that this fellow had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch. Now Herod the tetrarch is really Herod antipasti. He was the youngest son of Herod the great, his father.
The great was the guy who killed all the babies in Bethlehem remember that Matthew chapter 2 he died. His father did and for obesity and they split his father, Herod the great empire of an Herod on supplies. Here, the tetrarch got all of Galilee. You know were Jesus did his public ministry, and he got most of what is today Lebanon and. This was here the tetrarch.
Herod was the guy who beheaded John the Baptist.
Herod was the guy that Jesus calls that old fox. Luke chapter 13 Herod was the guy that Pontius Pilate sent Jesus to an Herod was the one who took office closed with the purple robe warning had his soldiers made fun of him and then sending back the pilot same God. Herod was the guy who killed James made in the first martyr acceptance will and imprison Peter.
All of this. This guy did hear the tetrarch dominating in the Bible says was brought up with him literally was a sooner" in Greek. The foster brother, a soulmate with this guy Herod you say what the world is that mean well here's what it needs.
Back in these days if you were Prince. If you are royalty you if you needed a friend or you needed a playmate. You just didn't go out in the street and play stickball with all the kids I mean I just didn't happen. Even today, you know, if you meet on any of the royal family from Britain. You are not allowed to extend your hand to shake their hand.
First, they have to stick their hand out first and you are definitely not allowed to touch any of them. This is royalty. There is a line of demarcation between war royalty and the rest of the world. And so if you were Prince where is your playmate from where did you get a child from so what they did in these days as they went out and they would actually bring in young man who would become a soon truffles who would become a foster brother to the princes in the court they would go to school with the Prince they would eat with the Prince they would play games with the print they would study with the Prince they became the prince's best friend. They became they in the Prince Herod and Minasian were like a Jonathan and David like the Lone Ranger and Tonto like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo life like Romeo and Mercutio you know Shakespeare human rights, and so this is when they Minasian grew up in the palace virtually being a prince himself right along with Herod the tetrarch. The fellows think about it if he had stuck with Herod in Herod's rise to power today. He probably would've been as we read this on national security advisor or a Secretary of State or ambassador to who knows what, but instead this guy Minasian came to Christ and made a decision to walk away from everything Herod might be willing to give them and go to this little town of Antioch and serve God, that's who this guy was now here, here, and you've never trusted Jesus as your personal savior. It might seem cockeyed for you to you to have some guy walk away from this kind of power in this kind of prestige in this kind of political might to go serve God and run a church somewhere.
This guy could've been like second-in-command and that whole tetrarch. He but you know what friends when Jesus Christ comes in the life and when he transforms her life from the inside out. Suddenly all the trinkets of this world. Just don't make a lot of difference anymore.
The only thing that makes any difference is finding out what God wants you to do and doing it with all your heart, that's what happened. Minasian Jesus changes life and if you're here and your attitude is Ayotte delaying anybody that could change my life that much. Will wait a minute don't don't don't say that so quickly when I give Jesus Christ a chance in your life and letting show you what he can do and you may find you just may change your whole value system like he did this fellow vanadium Minasian walked away from all of this to go serve this church in Antioch, and finally, of course, we have Paul X, Rabbi X Pharisee X persecutor of Christians and one of the most highly educated men in the entire Roman Empire. This then is the leadership team of the Church of Antioch three Jews to Gentiles a black man, a North African Cypriot and to Jerusalem Heights and X. Rabbi and X Prince and three commoners.
And yet, here are all these men working together as a team because their bond in Jesus Christ was stronger than all of these differences. The tribe separated one of the reasons the church in Antioch was the incredible church that it was was because of the leaders that he had remember speed of the leaders speed of team in this church had a incredible leadership team that God put together there you just learned about now. Let's go on verse two well while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and Paul for the work to which I called so after they fasted and prayed.
They placed their hands on them and sent them off and the two of them, Barnabas and Saul went on their way. Sent on their way by the Holy Spirit went down to the port of Solutia and sailed from there to Cyprus here and here. These people are these five leaders are going about their business faithfully serving the Lord there faithfully serving the people. And suddenly God asks for two of them, Barnabas and Paul to be released and go on what we call the day the first missionary journey and and notice now would you that God asks for 40% of their pastoral staff to be released and not just any 40% without a doubt, the two best leaders they had is who God asked for them to let go of to go on the first missionary journey and I think it's is an awful lot about this church that they were willing to turn loose of the two best leaders they had, and let them go be used by God to reach people for Jesus Christ. No post one of our core values.
Here McLean Bible church is that our church must have an evangelistic impact on our community that we cannot be McLean Bible country club that we have got to have an outward focus and be willing to pay whatever price God asks us to pay to make an impact on this city for Jesus Christ. Now what encourages my heart is that in espousing this core value. All were really doing is copying the church of Antioch here was a church that was so outwardly focused. Here was a church that was so committed to reaching people for Christ.
They were willing to turn loose of the two best leaders they had to go do that and so and saying that we have to be willing to do whatever cost to reach this community for Jesus Christ.
All were doing is copying the godly example of this wonderful church and so here Barnabas and Paul. They had offer Cyprus and folks, the history of the entire world is about to change that will come back and pick up here next time we need to stop here because we have a strategic question that it's time for us to ask and everybody knows our strategic questions whereby they can eat breath ready ready. 123 thank you. You're right. So what is a lawn I will see what this has to do with my life.
And frankly, you told me more about those five guys than I ever wanted to know so what difference it is made to me at all. Well let's see we can bring around your life today. Okay Springs. One of the things I want us to appreciate is that this thing we call the first missionary journey on which Paul and Barnabas are now embarking. This marks the real beginning of any kind of deliberate and intentional effort to take the message of Jesus to the Gentiles. This is the beginning and yet this idea of taking the message of the Gentiles is not a new idea not at all way back 15 years before this.
When Jesus rose from the dead. He gave the great commission.
What he say Matthew 2819 is a goal and share the message of Jesus Christ with all the world now that includes Gentile acts chapter 1 verse eight. 40 days later, just before Jesus was going back to heaven. He said you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth that includes Gentile and you know what, not just that but the apostle Paul knew that he had been called to this very mission uniquely the day he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. One of the things Jesus said to him was this, he said, I am sending you to the Gentiles. Paul to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, from Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins. Paul knew from the first day he was a follower of Christ.
This was his mission back three years later when he visits Jerusalem for the first time he has a dream and in this dream God to see him leave Jerusalem, for I'm gonna send you far away to the Gentiles, and on his most recent visit to Jerusalem just a couple weeks before this.
When he took the money up there. Listen to what happened. Galatians chapter 2 Peter Paul writing Peter and the apostles saw that I had been entrusted with sharing the message with the Gentiles, just as they had been entrusted with sharing it with the Jewish people. They realize that Paul had been called to be the apostle to the Gentiles, so they gave me the right hand of fellowship and agreed that I should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jewish people. Now here in acts chapter 13. It has been for teen years since Jesus pronounced the great commission is been over 10 years since Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and was informed that his special mission was going to the Gentiles. My question is why did Paul wait 10 years ago due to me. Paul was a man of action.
Paul was a man of vigorous of participation. Paul was not a procrastinator and yet he let 10 years go by before ever setting out on a deliberate and intentional plan to go reach Gentiles. Why is the answer. The answer is that Paul had learned something very important. He learned the value of not just acting for God. Waiting on God. He had learned my friends that we wait on God's timing.
We wait on God's perfect moment we wait on God to get all the dominoes exactly in line then you push the first one and they all fall over effortlessly.
He learned and so it wasn't that Paul didn't know what his job was. It wasn't that he didn't know what his mission was. It wasn't that he didn't understand what God had informed do we had the job right. He was waiting for the timing to be right.
It took 10 years but here in acts 13. The timing is right, and suddenly Paul has right job and right time and now he acts you know the Bible is full of people who acted when they have right job wrong time and then it was a disaster. Every single time memo Moses Moses that I know I'm supposed to leave the children of Israel out. And so we went out 40 years ahead of the real Exodus to try to pull this off. You member that killed that Egyptian right job, wrong time train wreck and then when the Israelites member them that in going to the land that day with Joshua and Caleb like it was supposed to. The next morning read about in the Bible.
They woke up anything Moses we made a big mistake were ready to go now Moses in fellows. I'm sorry the timing is wrong, you missed the timing. This is not the right time is a no no. God given us this land we are going Moses and will not go with you. You want to go try and it went and trotted and they got shellacked right job wrong time. Reference Sansone man.
He wanted a wife some kind of band we wait on God's timing. No, he went out and got Delilah and I want to take him for that woman. I only there was ever God's timing for that one. Only there was a circumstance in the world were God, would've been like for that woman.
But he would've got the right woman.
If he would've waited anyway.
No, do you have a train wreck. Oh yes, and our friend Jacob who knew that God was going to favor him above his brother Esau.
He knew that. But did he wait for God to do it no he when I'm trying to do it himself and ended up creating a mess out of the thing. You see my friends in every case, when we have the right job and wrong time.
We have disaster. Paul knew this and that's why say Nancy and that's why he was in no hurry. And that's why he for 10 years, resisted the fleshly impulse to go charge out and do this himself.
He knew what his mission was to God. I know when the time is right you will tell me in here in acts 13 the time is right. Friends over and over in the Bible God calls you and me to practice this very same spiritual discipline. Paul practice of waiting on the Lord.
Psalm 27 verse 14 wait on the Lord. The Bible says be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord and the reason God says this is because it takes a lot more strength to weight than it does to affect is much harder to wait than it is to act next-door. Psalm 130 verse five, my soul waits on the Lord. David Wright, and in his promises.
I put my hope folks were waiting on the Lord were not addressed were not hopeless with focus on the promises of God. Knowing God's will to do what he said just not now, and we wait so Isaiah 40 verse 31, those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. So Isaiah 30 blessed all all people who are willing to wait on the Lord know what is it mean wait on God's timing was it mean wait on the Lord.
It means that we resist the urge that we all have, to rush ahead in fleshly impulsiveness and in fleshly impetuous nest and get the job done ourselves. It means that we saturate things in prayer waiting for the timing to be right that we pray about things for weeks and months and years. Even sometimes saturating and pickling them in prayer and it means that we become comfortable living with the engine running, but the transmission in neutral to God says put it in gear and we get comfortable with the idea of just sitting in neutral until God's timing is obvious to us and everybody else around us know whether you realize it or not you actually sitting in this morning in a living example of waiting on God's timing.
Back in 1995 we could knew it are the building. We knew we were outgrowing the building that was no secret so we put together a little team to go out look for land and we said, here's what we want. We want at least 25 acres and we wanted no farther away than 4 miles from our existing building, so here's your there's your mission will find what that team look for over year. We couldn't find anything that works, and so finally the end of the year we said there is nothing less to disband the team and people said was want to move the Loudoun County to lock the land out there and we said very simple because our name is not Loudoun County Bible church is McLean Bible church and God called us to McLean and so we said were to disband the team. No more sense when let's not waste time looking wait on God, pray about it. Wait on God and I people say to you, how long you plan away since it real simple.
I plan away until God shows us what to do and if I go to my grave wait in the next pastoral wait on God until God shows us what to do but I know God's got a piece of property for us.
Don't tell me what God can't do.
I'm not interested will wait because we want God's best way we waited to years. Nothing happened.
And finally, one of the people who'd been on this little team was at a party one night and overheard somebody talking about the fact that there was a rumor that the National wildlife Federation. My be interested in selling their property and the rest as they say, is history. Every time you walk in this building. I want you to remember your walking into a piece of property. We waited on God. Two years together and I'm so glad we did everything else we looked at would've been anywhere near what God is given us here and friend that you are waiting on God in some area of your life. I'm here to tell you, you will never be sorry you waited, whatever God's got to give you if you wait for it, it'll be better than anything you could ever do for yourself, you say well I got one more question. That's good because I only have time for one more answer.
Disable what you question my question is why does God do this I mean I don't understand it. It seems like this is cruel.
It seems like this is unkind 91 and God just do it only knows what we need to do. Let's get on with it. That's a very American question, give it a very biblical answer. The reasons why God asked us to wait our three number one because when we are forced to wait on God number one. It gives God time to purify our motives for serving first Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31. Whatever we do, the Bible says do all the glory of God and I got a confession to make. So many times when I first get an idea in my head what the Lord wants me to do.
A lot of times I'm right, but there's too much along Solomon in it. At that point is way too much a median and by taking the time and making me wait what I have learned is that that's how God works me out.
And Jesus is to this whole thing now that your there's a lot of things in your life you set off to do for God and at the beginning there was way too much of you when you are mold your credit your glory and you know what when God makes us wait friends accusing the time to purify our motives so we do it we can do it for God's glory, not our glory.
That takes time. Number two God asked us to wait many times because when we are forced away.
It protects us from doing things in the energy, the flesh, all these people that we just mention Moses the Israelite Samson Jacob. They all had God's will correct in but they tried to pull it off in their own human power their own human wisdom their own human strength, and as we saw it was a train wreck. Every single time and it when were willing to wait on God's timing, my dear friends when were willing to take the time to saturate the things in prayer. The issues in prayer.
It gives God a chance to humble us. It gives God a chance to work in our lives. So when we are ready to do it were to do it now in the power of God's not in our own energy. I mean think about Moses he went out to lead that first Exodus. Sure he could pull it off. Sure he could do it right, you know, 40 years later at the burning bush is a very different Moses there five different times.
He says to God. God, I can't. I can't.
I can't not me get somebody else got it okay. Moses now you read because now that you think you Ted you going to go into this trust in me and my strength not you and now you're ready and friend that takes time in our lives to get us number three and finally, not only does God use the time to purify our motives and to get us to the place were willing to do things in the power of the Spirit and not our own flesh. The third and finally we are forced to wait on God. It allows God to give us his very best to see what you mean by that will friends many times we have a sense of God's plan and we are ready to go. We need to understand we may be ready to go, but God's got all the dominoes he's gotta get ready to make this thing work and so maybe your motive is Christ centered, and maybe you're willing to do it in the energy of the spirit. Okay, that's wonderful, but you're not the only part of this equation. Maybe God needs time to get all the rest of this ready so he says to you. Okay, keep that motor running, but in neutral while I get all the rest of this ready and when I get everything else ready I'll come back and get you and by rushing it by putting the thing in first and popping the clutch like so many of us like to do what we end up doing friends as we end up short-circuiting what God wants to do through us. He's got something so wonderful worked out for us about us not being willing to wait. We short-circuit that whole thing that I want to tell you some. I'm sure glad we waited for this property.
Just think how different life would be if we do take in something less. I'm sure glad I waited for my wife. I have some other opportunities but I waited for her and I got a winner. I'm sure glad the two of us waited for our home. We have some other opportunities to and 1/2 years. We look for the home. We finally were in but I'm sure glad I waited Halifax only times I go. Oh God, thank I didn't do this other thing that we waited for you friends with people who wait on God. Get the very best hullabaloo polling that says he knows he loves. He catered nothing this truth can dim God gives the very best to go to leave the choice to him was a true dog and a follower of Jesus Christ. Now 30 years and I want to say. Somehow learn the hard way is what I learned with God climbing is everything. Timing is everything, and friends. If you're here and you're right in the middle of having to wait on God in some area of your life.
If you're having a wait on God at the office there some that ought to be coming your way and is not coming your way and God say and just wait. If you want a sports team you're riding the bench and you say it all to be out there start God say and just wait and see if you're in a relationship work you been praying for someone to come to Christ and you say say God, why are they coming to Christ to God's is just way if you're in a situation where you really know God has something want you to do when you're ready do it God just to say no, no, not just hold on a second swing when you're waiting for an automobile or by the right job the right place to live or godly marriage partner got phenomenal just I'm here to encourage you today God and forgot about you because I try to be mean or cruel to you.
God wants it.
So when he pulls the string you can do this, Christ centered, God wants one so when he pulls the string you do it in the energy of the spirit and don't have a disaster and God's get everything in line friends to do things wonderfully for you that you couldn't do for yourself. Be content to be in neutral. Being in neutral with God's wonderful place to be because it means God is at work and you don't have to work the content to be there to listen very American.
We don't like to swim instant everything we have instant oatmeal with instant coffee with instant cream of wheat will use the payphone because it takes too long. Got cell phones. Everybody's in a hurry is a very un-American value is a very un-American message.
This is a very biblical message and if your wives you will be more of a biblical Christian and less of an American when it comes to waiting on God. Remember what Paul did. He knew God's will for 10 years. He waited and when God's timing was right. All Paul did go change the world you wait to and you'll never be sorry spring for Jesus. Thanks for talking to us today about write down where everyone of us lives in you know, the pace of life that our culture sets for us. Were not good at waiting in my prayer Lord, is that you would encourage us today with the spiritual discipline of waiting make us more concerned about being good followers of Christ.
The good Americans help us Lord to learn the wisdom of waiting on God help us get comfortable with the notion of being in neutral when we have an omnipotent all-powerful God.
It works for us and for those of us here were waiting now and were,, shuffling on the seat a little uncomfortable, a little impatient. Use what we shared today.
Lord calm us down and remind it if we will wait we will see God's very best so give us the strength to do that Lord and uplift our lives today. Give us hope.
As we trust you and wait on you and I pray this in Jesus name, amen