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Gentiles! Gentiles!

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2020 8:00 am

Gentiles! Gentiles!

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 22, 2020 8:00 am

Everybody wants their church to grow. But what if your church suddenly started attracting ... well ... the wrong class of people? Undesirables. Outcasts. Rejects. Thats what was happening in the early church as the gospel spread beyond its Jewish roots to the much-despised Gentiles. And some of the Jews were ready to start a riot.

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Everyone wants their church to grow but what if your church suddenly started attracting well the wrong class of people. Undesirables outcasts rejects that's what was happening in the early church as the gospel spread beyond its Jewish roots to the much despised Gentiles and some of the Jews were ready to start a riot welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically as Paul arrives in Jerusalem. He gets a warm welcome from the believers.

But when he starts preaching in the temple. He ends up beaten by a Jewish mob in arrested by Roman troops. Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce last Sunday when we began our study of acts 21.

I raised the question was Paul wall going to Jerusalem on this last trip I tried to present my view of that and what I thought was a guarded hand at least somewhat balanced way. But I probably didn't adequately indicate that there are at least two sides to that picture certainly Holy Spirit warned Paul on several occasions and in a variety of ways about going and I referred to that use that as evidence that he was wrong persisting in his own way. Well, when God was indicating something different. I referred in trying to establish that to a verse in the 20th chapter when Paul said that the Holy Spirit warned him in every city but prison and hardships are facing him. Someone pointed out afterward that the first part of that verse also says, and now compelled by the spirit. I'm going to Jerusalem admit that makes the sentence ambiguous.

One might argue that the first reference compelled by the spirit lacking. The word holy before. It merely speaks of an inner compulsion, and that when Paul mentions the Holy Spirit explicitly. It's in the terms Hubble warning the other hand, someone might very well say that a warning is not a command to desist Holy Spirit could very well be warning Paul that hardships and prism faced him and yet at the same time not be forbidding them to go though I acknowledge that what I was saying there is perhaps ambiguous when I do want to say, however, is that what Paul was prepared to do once he got to Jerusalem was certainly not ambiguous. He may have been right in going up to the city but once he got there on the Jerusalem church in the form of its leaders undoubtedly led by James. As mentioned explicitly in verse 18 when these leaders. James said now look we have a group of men here who have prepared themselves to go through all of the Jewish rights of purification and at the end of that offer sacrifice for their sins and the temple area. Why don't you just join them and by that means demonstrate to this large Jewish population that you are not opposed to the laws and traditions of our fathers. That suggestion was made in Paul agreed to do it. He was most certainly wrong it was wrong for a number of reasons. First place. The idea purification itself is wrong, you don't find anything in the New Testament about any right of purification for the Christian what you find in the New Testament because we are sinners is a command to confess our sin is quite a different thing. Confess our sin to God and we plead the blood of Jesus Christ, which has been shed for us and we asked for forgiveness. We have the promise in Scripture we do that God is faithful and just to forgive and he will restore us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To say that his confession and that's quite a different thing than the right of purification.

The reason why Christians are not given rights of purification. Is it in the absolute sense we have that provided already through the work of Christ to go to the priest go through some system of purification is in itself a repudiation of the completed work of the Savior, but in addition addition this particular right of purification also involved the matter of the sacrifice.

It's referred to verse 26 as an offering. That's not what we mean by offering we say let's receive an offering, we mean give your money offer like that. This is an animal that was brought by the worshiper handed to the priest one, confess sin over the head of the animal and the animal was killed as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the worship was inconceivable. Paul, who talked the finality of the work of Jesus Christ would do that. And yet it would seem that he was prepared to go that link because of his concern for his people.

We might plead I'm sure we should play that he did it with good motives or concern for his people. He didn't want a schism in the church between those who were Jewish and were Christians and those were Gentiles and were Christians and he saw that coming in. Edina did come, he certainly did it with right motives. One of the hold the church together. He wanted to show his love for Israel, but right motives. Notwithstanding, it did not make it right. What Paul should have been doing is what he had told the Galatians to do when they were faced with a similar but much less serious problem legalizes from Jerusalem and come to the churches in Galatia and they had said the Christians in those churches. You can't be saved unless you keep the law of Israel and is a symbol of action must be circumcised, Paul said in writing that the Galatians that you're circumcised with that in mind somehow that's contributing to your salvation that your say by coming under the legal dispensation of the Old Testament.

If you are circumcised. With that in mind, Christ profits you nothing. Those are Paul's own words when he made his application as he did in the fifth chapter of that letter.

Verse one. He said stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. And yet here was Paul becoming entangled what I pointed out is that God was sovereign over the details of our lives did not allow Paul to do it.

Sometimes you and I act that way, we perhaps with good motives quite often with bad motives are on the verge of betraying the gospel by our actions and God simply slams the door.

He will not let us do it, because the gospel matters to God whenever that particular moment in our lives. It doesn't matter a great deal to us that we pick up the story at that point and we find that Paul was arrested as a result of this attempt of the mob in Jerusalem that had been killed. Verse 27 says that this began because some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple age of courses Roman province of Asia. We call Western Turkey and its capital city was emphasis.

If you think back over what we have already been told in the book of actual recall that Paul spent a long time in Ephesus at a two-year ministry in Ephesus. He taught every day in Ephesus a long long time from 10 in the morning before the afternoon is one of the notes and one of the manuscript margin says there's no reason to think that is wrong and that as a result of that two-year extensive teaching the gospel spread throughout the entire province were not told these Jews from Ephesus. It only says they were from the province of Asia but we do notice the problem that they mentioned in the context of this arrest involved a man named trophy must who was from Ephesus and the vision so it's likely that they were from Ephesus because they were from Ephesus. They had been exposed to Paul's teaching and knew very well where this apostle to the Gentiles, stood see Paul had come to Jerusalem and beset by this particular attempt at compromise was himself willing to assume again. Contrary to his own teaching. The law of Israel ceremonial law of Israel.

Even at the point of denying the finished work of Christ. But listen the Jews from Ephesus of the province of Asia.

No matter teach. They knew what he believed. I said, quite rightly, I don't care whether he is going through that kind of a ceremony or not. We know perfectly well that Paul is teaching the Gentiles can be saved, apart from law of Moses. They were right now they were wrong about trophy mess. The idea got abroad because trophy Mr. Gentile was in the city, and Paul had gone into the temple area were only Jews could go that somehow we brought trophy muscle wall makes clear that that was not the case. Although was very concerned at this point to demonstrate his adherence to the laws of Judaism was certainly not going to violate the sacred temple precincts by bringing in a Gentile, so we end on that. But these Jews were certainly right in saying that Paul taught what he did teach I gave it their own twist. Of course I said that he is stirring up everyone against our law and our people and Paul was not doing that he had great respect for the law of Israel, but he certainly was teaching that the Gentiles could be saved.

Apart from it and this is what upsets them as were going to see well they stirred up the crowd and the crowd fell upon Paul while he was in the temple area.

They dragged him out of this inner area were only Jews could go out in the courtyard of the Gentiles, they fell upon them with force and they would certainly have killed him in a very short time, one for the fact that the Roman garrison was stationed there in the fortress of Antonio bordering on the temple precincts and that as soon as RIF started someone simply said the commander.

There is trouble down below and he talked to groups of soldiers, each under a century in the minimum of 200 soldiers had them pour out some of the fortress down into the courtyard of the Gentiles making their way forcibly to Paul and they rescued him from law. Now the commander was a very wise man. He handled this very well going to see in a moment what his name was because we know that also, and when he got Paul into his custody was keeping him from being murdered. Try to find out from the crowd what it is that in the role stirred up shouting one thing and another heard this year that sometimes he couldn't even understand what they were saying that I wasn't making any sense of that he said I had to take Paul inside and interrogated him. So he started to take Paul away with the soldiers mothballed after away with them away with them. They were shouting the same words they used Jesus Christ at the time of the crucifixion. I didn't mean take him away. They mean away from them from the earth. They wanted him dead soldiers had to forcibly protect them as they began to lead them in the fortress for an interrogation is ever going to see what this man's name was in the moment and I do that now because it has bearing upon the story you turn the 23rd chapter to verse 26 by the letter that he wrote and it begins with his name. His name is Claudius Lucius is important because although Claudius is a Latin name Lucius is a Greek name. What this indicates for us is that this Roman commander this very able man was actually of Greek background CS was his family name and he had adopted the name Claudius, no doubt because of the Emperor Claudius using his name for his own. I say that is significant at least is a detail because as the soldiers were leaving Paul up into the barracks. He asked the commander in very educated Greek, may I say something to you. We know it was in Greek New Testament courses written in Greek, but everything is in Greek, even when their speaking Aramaic. It's a great we don't know what that reason, but we know it wasn't great because the commander immediately said the Paulding Spring Creek and just mean you know my language what he meant you really speak good good drink. Are you really a Greek because Paul had been raised speaking Greek to say he spoke well and was an educated man on this planet was a Greek understood that recognizing hearings dealing with a man for some education and some very surprised them because one of them going through his mind is that this must be that Egyptian a number of years ago, to proclaim himself the Messiah taken a bunch of people out in the wilderness, actually about as far as the Mount of olives there had said that the God of the Jews whom he was serving was going to destroy the walls of Jerusalem and then he was going to leave these 4000 Jews and they were going to drive out the Romans and so on.

Instead of that, the Romans attacked them killed some Egyptian fled and followers. Scattered is quite understandable that this Egyptian came back some of those that were involved were duped by him might have fallen upon them as they had the case of Paul lets what he was thinking that must be this Egyptian came back.

But Egyptians don't speak fluent attic Greek and here this man was because I was very impressed you say and when Paul then asked as he did, would it be possible for me to speak to the crowd.

This Roman commander who under other circumstances. Probably would've said no said instead. Well, all right. Must be a mistake here, and if you're speaking to them will help to resolve this difficulty, then go ahead. So Paul stood up to speak and he gave this magnificent defense uses the word defense in Greek.

It's the word apologia from which we get our word apology means a defense gives this magnificent speech in defense of his background and his actions that we find in the first part of chapter 22. It's interesting that this account of Paul's conversion is found as many times as it is in Scripture. We saw when we looked at the ninth chapter of the historical account of Paul's conversion that is found three times in acts found in the ninth chapter where you have it presented historically, not in Paul's words but in Luke's words divided here in the 22nd chapter where Paul gives this address. The Jews of Jerusalem. It is a Hebrew version of it spoken in Aramaic with Jewish overtones going to say why that was important divided 1/3 time. In acts chapter 26 merits before Festus, Felix the Roman kings and all their gives it with the Roman slant but it's the same story that you find it twice more in Paul's letters, you find it in Philippians the third chapter is what I call their theological version of his conversion. Finally, though much briefer you find in the first chapter of first Timothy, where it is hortatory or exemplary. Paul says to Timothy what happened to him in order that Timothy might be encouraged to bear a similar witness in his life. So obviously this is something of great importance, as Paul gives it here. It has three parts is very easy to see what they are.

Paul speaks first of all of his past is past in Judaism emphasizes that because what is trying to do in this speech is called the crowd there all upset because they think that he is done something wrong in opening the gospel to the Gentiles.

He wants to stress with them. How very Jewish. He is everything that happened to them happens with in terms well understood by a Jewish congregation. Then there's a second part of begins in verse six. That's the economist conversion itself have the past and have his conversion and then finally beginning with verse 17 have an account of his commission. When Paul begins to speak of his past. We need to remember that when Paul spoke of his past in Judaism Park from the single thing that he persecuted Christians. Paul always spoke of that pastor, something about which he had no need whatsoever to be ashamed. Contrary spoke of it favorably said you know of anybody as something about which she could most certainly I do because I was born a Jew and I was raised to know the law and I tried to keep it and I was a Pharisee and moreover I was zealous those of the things he talks about in Philippians, we find exactly the same things here must be the way Paul was used to telling about his conversion. He was a pureblood and juice of 90 spell that out different ways Hebrew, the Hebrews tribe of Benjamin. So, for the same thing your mother Jew and a Pharisee and as a Pharisee I was taught. The law says here, I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers. He mentions here that he was trained under Gamaliel because everybody in Jerusalem who Gamaliel was, but it's the same thing stocking about his training on his birth I was training all that was Jewish. You say, and furthermore he says I was a zealous Jew and he always produces zeal by saying he persecuted the church mentions that in Philippians and mentions it here in the 22nd chapter as well. Aside from the fact that it is mistaken zeal he was killing people. Paul was not ashamed of his Jewish background. That's because God had been working the Jewish people. God given the law all the advantages that you find spiritual advantages in history before the coming of Jesus Christ were wrapped up in Judaism.

Paul is not afraid to acknowledge that there is a great story to know, that involves the English Prime Minister politician Disraeli Disraeli was a Jew and once in the Houses of Parliament. He was chided for his Jewishness. One of the English Lord Sir politicians in the house said to Israeli you sir are a Jew and a minute is slander on Disraeli and Disraeli rose to his feet and drew himself up to his full height is not very great. He was a rather short man and he replied something like this. Yes sir, that is true. I am a Jew and I remind you sir that half of Christendom worships a Jew and the other half worships a Jewish moreover he said I remind you sir that when your ancestors were gathering acorns to eat in a German forest by ancestors were giving law and religion to the world and he was absolutely right in his rebuff. Now Paul was party to that that is the way thoughts. Yet, in spite of the fact that he had this great heritage by the fact that Paul was trained in the law. The law which God had given for our benefit restrain evil and to direct us to the Messiah. Paul was woefully off-base because he was doing as a Jew the same thing. The Gentiles do with their own kinds of non-Christian religions. He was trying to establish a righteousness of his own because he was a sinner was no true righteousness and he was rejecting the salvation that God provided so he gives that background and then he talks about is his conversion, when Jesus appeared to him on the way to Damascus. Paul had all wrapped up in what he was doing his zeal, the tradition of his fathers had blinded him to the truth when Jesus Christ appeared to him, he suddenly understood it was like God it stopped him absolutely Schwartz thought before this that he was doing the work of God and suddenly Jesus appeared with the glory of God. The understood that in persecuting the Christians. He was actually persecuting Jesus of Nazareth and opposing what God was doing in the world know it's remarkable to think at it from a merely human point of view that the apostle Paul was converted in all or Littleton in his great study of the conversion of the apostle Paul approached as lawyer with all the various options.

He said if I can reduce it, just briefly, what is argument comes down to.

Paul had nothing to gain by his conversion, and secondly, Paul had everything to lose by his conversion, nothing to gain what point was there to become identified with this despised sect of the Nazarene, he was a man of some wealth as a matter of education was a man of position. His future was ahead of him in Judaism is a Pharisee. What possible gain was there for him to be converted and begin to follow after Jesus, this rabbi from Nazareth. Not only was it nothing to gain by his conversion and everything to lose because we made that switch. Why all of his friends would turn against me would be an outcast. More than that his life would be in danger, he would be hounded from waste the place he would be persecuted and we know that that is exactly what happened. Certainly Paul understood it, so I was a converted nothing to gain by it had everything to lose by it. But, humanly speaking, explains his conversion answer is nothing, humanly speaking reason Paul was converted is because the Lord Jesus Christ. The real or Jesus Christ the Lord of glory was not a myth on the figments of the imagination of the early Christians. This real Jesus appeared to him on the road when he saw that Paul, the realist was stopped dead in his tracks and said to Jesus, Lord, what will you have me do that of course brings us to the third part of his testimony. When asked that question. Jesus told him what he was to do the thing that he was to do was to take the gospel to the Gentiles. That's where the speech stops, but not because Paul himself would've stopped at their stops at that point because when Paul mentioned the word Gentiles. Those who had been listening up to this point and who had been relatively quiet but were certainly growing in their ill ease as his speech unfolded. Now first in the loudest possible objections to what Paul was saying about Gentiles is not all, of the congregation with one voice rose up against in the same way they rose up against Jesus Christ was in any opportunity of carrying on the address of that point commander simply ordered the soldiers to the human side and they prepared an interrogation. I suppose the commander didn't understand what he was saying he must've been standing there listening to Paul very impressed with this man is just to warn in the Greek city with Roman citizenship as he was to learn in a few moments, Paul's great presence in front of a hostile crowd sufficient that when he began to speak in Aramaic crowd quieted down, but what she must not of been able to understand it very well and suddenly in the midst of this addresses Paul is going on and on every thing seems to be going quite well. So everybody bursts out screaming what's happening as he said, wasn't done so, you just hold inside must begin to interrogate and find out what it said what he said was Gentiles, Gentiles said it yourself. Why set them even knew everything could stress how Jewish he was then borne agility had been raised to Jillian been educated in jail study under Gamaliel very distinguished rabbi and even gone about his job as a Pharisee trying to exterminate the Christians and what he tells of his conversion. He does not. In Jewish terms points out that Ananias was a devout Jew living in Damascus and he came in with Ananias talk to me and doesn't Jewish terms, the God of our fathers is chosen you to see the righteous run with a Gentile start with a juice talked Alden everything he could bridge the gap when he mentioned the word Gentiles. I reacted violently and would've killed them if they could.

Why is that while it's not because the Jews did not believe that the Gentiles could be saved by good and the Jews went about to try and save the Lord Jesus Christ said that on one occasion he said you go about all of the world trying to secure proselyte to scour heaven and earth to try and save Gentile so I did that, when, why did they object the words answer is that they were not objecting to Gentiles being saved. They were objecting to is Gentiles being saved without the law of Moses without circumcision of the temple worship without the sacrifices without first of all, becoming Jews say to yourself, all well what prejudice that is how prejudice they must've been well yes yes but you say that's not just a Jewish prejudice that is the prejudice of the human heart because all they were saying was in order to get to heaven, you first have to do something and you have to do it our way.

What the gospel says is that you don't have to do anything because God saves people his way and is through Christ that your Gentile. You can come as a Gentile. Through Christ and Christ alone and if you're a Jew you can come as a Jew, but it's through Christ and Christ alone for England was an Englishman through Christ and Christ alone. If you're from Japan. You got was a Japanese but it's through Christ and Christ love why why do we come this way because somehow it's a better way, humanly speaking, not at all because Jesus Christ is the son of God, and God sent Jesus Christ to be the Savior.

This is God's way. That's why we talk about the gospel and I were talking about a religious opinion of the world wants to make it that talk about the gospel he says your opinion is him once talk to a woman on an airplane. I must've talked 45 minutes conversation around around was that exactly the same thing. Everything I said.

She said that your opinion and I replied, it is true, it is my opinion but that's not the point. The point is, is a true and then I explained what was true and she said that your opinion. I said, the point is not whether is my opinion that that is my opinion, the point is, is a true say that is the issue did God send Jesus to be the Savior of all that he did. Paul met him on the road to Damascus that turned his life around all down through the history of the church from those days, there have been countless thousands upon thousands of men and women who have been convinced by God himself that that is exactly what is happening.

God sent Jesus Christ to be Savior of your heart rebels against that while you're doing exactly what the Jews did you have your own terms for each essay have to become a Jew first, though you may say that if you are Jewish. You're saying you do something first have to do it my way have to do good works have to do this yet and that no wonder if that's what you're thinking you hated gospel that is a simple and as humbling men and women as this one may be simple and maybe humbling, but that's the gospel is God's gospel as a waiver to be saved.

May God give you the grace to see it and embrace it because there is one name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved and that is the name of Jesus spray her father do bless the study to our hearts we come with different understanding.

Certainly we come with different backgrounds, but we don't come on the basis of what Jesus has done for us. We all come in the same way in one sense we come trusting what we could do all that we ask that you would disabuse in a who hold to that idea that error. Granted, instead of trusting themselves posts in securing an adequate foundation, they might see that it is possible for them because of your grace to trust in Jesus them to do that for his sake and your glory.

You are listening to the Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 port. You can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians.

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