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Reaching the Resistant

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2021 12:00 am

Reaching the Resistant

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 22, 2021 12:00 am

How do you reach unbelieving family friends when they each have different perspectives and responses? First, discern where they are coming from before you proceed to share with them where they need to go.

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A generation ago on DA Carson was speaking in a conference with the privilege of hearing of his death because he he said.

A generation ago. The truth moments of the gospel was offensive in this generation the exclusive of the gospel is offensive in Paul's day, the inclusiveness of the gospel was offensive that you and a Gentile could be included as equal partners. If you ever tried to tell someone, the truth to be with resistance or even worse with hostility. How do you reach unbelieving family members or friends when they have different perspectives and responses and how do you respond when those you're trying to reach resist today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen David continues through this vintage wisdom series from the book of acts. This message is called reaching resist open your Bible to acts 21 as we get started I sort of the lean back in my chair and began to think of the different categories of people and let me suggest a few to you and you can add to the list, but I thought of those people that I've attempted a witness to like it categorizes skeptical and disillusioned with the first category is of the people of been burned by some earlier commitment to the church or maybe even a cult. They may even have a testimony of some decision.

They may have made it a rally or a meeting in life never really changed and they never seem to turn the corner. Another more disillusioned than ever about what happened to them.

There are another category of people. There is another category we could call the used and the uncertain. These are the spiritual wanderers that you may know, they go from one experiment to the next are always searching for connection. They are the spiritual pilgrims was on an airplane in and pulled an article from the another their gift to give to anybody you want some US Airways magazine that was an article entitled sacred sites and talk about pilgrimages that people make around the world millions of people every year like the journey to Soto. They journey from all parts of Haiti. The article wrote to this little town where they immerse themselves under a waterfall that is supposedly possessed by water deities at a picture of them dancing and singing and laughing and having a what does this incredible that in spiritual experience under the waterfall represented the aquatic deity or Guadalupe.

They were hundreds of thousands of people travel annually to see the image of Mary which admin supposedly miraculously burned into the cloak of an Indian peasant. After she visited in 1531 people flock during claim to be healed all sorts of things work that artisan in the another placers 14 or so of these.

I'm just pulling a few is a sacred trail along the Ganges River where millions of Hindus annually who believe that if they convey that these five sacred crossings that they will be they will be sped along their way toward the paradise. They also believe that their cremated ashes are one day scattered on the sacred river of the souls will be hastened to paradise. Searching but more confused perhaps than ever and certainly in our hearts knowing they have arrived. The satisfaction of the answer and there is another category that we could call angry and turned off. These are the people that as soon as you mention religion.

They have their message already, but usually going to be something about the church is filled with hypocrites and all they want is what they can get out of me, and so on and so forth and they don't want to hear what you have to say unless they want to talk about it compensate themselves. Another group could be called the apathetic and nonchalant and there are a little confused at why you would ever want to spend more than an hour to a year in church Christmas and Easter would satisfy this category of people are, they can't quite figure out why you want open your Bible and read it regularly. They think that maybe a little too carried away that this is become more than a guideline that this is actually what you call a manual for your life and they don't quite catch that there is another category we could call the resistance and unyielding. For some reason you're not sure what it is, but they dig in their heels and they never seem to go over that invisible line of resistance and accept what they may even admit to you is truth in your frustrated as you as you hope for something to say some illustrative thing that gets them to move and you can then there are finally what I think we could call the intellectual and proud, and these are the people that would tell you that you know that's what you need and that's the prop that you need a correction easily on let's great for you and go ahead but I my life is figured out and and I don't need to do that kind of the week stuff and these are also by the way, the kind of people will argue typically with you that every way is the right way that if you find the truth of religion, you'll discover that it is all embracing that everybody's right. Ultimately, everybody's going to Paradise or heaven or the lawn or whatever they want to call I was on the plane. The some time ago and hidden. We are traveling from New Delhi to Hyderabad and David Williams was on. He'd been given the aisle seat and I had got the luck of the draw was given the window seat and right in the middle of the poor guy from Canada was scrunched in between us and we had about I don't know about an hour and 1/2 David Essien about an hour and half light. I think in so this guy wouldn't go anywhere and so David really starts praying and we started talking and this and this fella had just returned from a sacred journey of his own to the Lotus Temple, and he was a Canadian executives and he was so excited about having been to worship at this Lotus Temple, which is one of the signature temples of the Baha'i faith, which he was a member of the Baha'i faith basically means that everything's okay and we can all we can all somehow be right, even though we we disagree and so we went back and forth and there was this verse in this quote. In this illustration everything I can possibly think of, and he would always come back with the dead and say that Jesus didn't really mean what he said when he said I am the way the truth and light. No one comes to the bottom of my man, I'd as my head that will let this is hard to come up with anything else there, but then we look at other verses and you know it didn't really say that you can't add or take away from his book of Proverbs area. Be condemned that this is what it really meant a minute set it in. And Jesus really wasn't the site even though it's it was said of him that he wasn't on on and and I was.

I knew our flight was, it would been at this for about an hour and and I been able to find any change at all anywhere in the skies armor and what's more, he just smiled at me all the time as I'm becoming very frustrated and I'm not smiling on not having an though at any rate it it I finally just saw this newspaper that was in the flap in front of them and it occurred to me as I could read the bold headline that this may be something in and the bold headline said woman killed in auto accident. I pulled the newspaper at a nice, stuck it under his nose. As it look at what what is that saying, he said woman killed in auto accident. Is it in that amazing this woman was killed playing and he looked at me and that's when his leg started shaking like a kid waiting for the recess bell rang. I knew he wanted out.

You couldn't get anything out of those words other than she was killed in an auto accident not broke her leg.

Not she is going 10 is not. She bought a car, nothing ends up invited. I remember, and still he just just then, you know, smiled and shook his leg and and that was kind of the end and I was so frustrated that I hadn't had something to say that I felt ill-equipped and unprepared and maybe maybe you have felt that way as well, as you've wanted something better and there are certainly things we can learn were offering things by the way here, a catalyst program to help you learn but you tried everything you know to do is you deal with that angry and turned off relatives as you deal with that at apathetic spouse as you try to administer to that coworker or that neighbor or that roommate who experiments with everything but the truth.

If you can roll all of these categories up into one audience, you would have the audience in acts chapter 22 and I want us to take encouragement and insight from this is Paul begins to give his testimony to this audience, you remember, if you're with us last words they, in our study. Back in chapter 21 they begin to beat him.

They said that he had brought a Gentile within the inner sanctuary lid is beyond the court of the Gentiles and wasn't true.

But it inflamed the crowd and they begin to beat call and the soldiers rushed down to rescue Paul.

The soldiers were stationed in Fort Antonio which was built on a precipice overlooking the temple grounds and they were always watching the Jews because especially during these festival seasons things could break out and they were possible for the governor and to even beyond the Emperor to quell any writing so they rushed down in chapter 21 verse around 32 you notice they immediately rescue Paul and then it may be surprising to discover that they change him enough. Why would they chain and they don't know what happened. They don't know what what he did. They just he's being beaten and they rescue, but then they chain them and we don't know the answer until we get to verse 37 which is where we left off.

So let's pick our study of their were going to actually go through the entire next chapter. I know you'd rather me preach five sermons out of this chapter to stay in acts as long as we can, but is like a lady came to me as much as it is a great mix that is telling me and my other church where we cover the whole chapter and one time I said well are you said and she said no. I thought is great, so that any marina cover one whole chapter here is we deal with the narrative of Paul with that encouragement will keep going. Verse 37, as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks he said to the commander, may I say something to you and he to commanders and you know Greek. Greek was the lettered language of the culture. An educated man, then you are not the Egyptian, who sometime in the start of a revolt and led the 4000 men of the assassins out into the wilderness.

All this is why Paul was chained by this Roman a general, the Jews thought he was a heretic around his body was one of the 10 most wanted man on their list.

At this particular time and Egyptian terrorist who is leading a gang of men known as the assassin assassin is the word comes from the Latin word Sica or dagger these menus to carry the dagger read hidden in their cloak and they were going to the marketplace and they would pick out their target. The one they would assassinate as he would probably be a Jew that was collaborating with the Romans or maybe even a Roman leader and they would mingle with the crowd and dab this individual and then mixed back in the crowd, or maybe even become part of the mourners. These were a dreaded group of of men who were known as simply the assassin and this this soldier.

This leader thinks that he has caught the Egyptian but Paul instead. In verse 39 so I am a Jew of Tarsus since Alysia, a citizen of no insignificant city and I beg you allow me to speak to the people and when he had given him permission. Paul standing on the stairs motion to the people of this and when there was a great harsh he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect as I was Paul doing here is proving that he is no intellectual slouch that he can speak fluently in two languages know he's beginning his testimony and he will accomplish several things that I want to provide for you in principle form several things that provide for us. A good example of what it means to be a testimony to those who are angry or apathetic or turned off or searching or confused or all of those categories we just mention the first thing he did was this Paul spoke in a language that they understood and respected.

In other words he spoke to them in their mother tongue. The Hebrew dialect. More than likely the Jewish aromatic and you notice the effect it had on this lynching mob verse two of chapter 22 when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect became even more quiet. This is something he did literally, but it had a profound effect on them and I think we could make some allegorical application of if you forgive me of that and that is simply this, when we speak to people about the gospel speak in a language they understand. Depending on their age or background what you know of them use terminology.

They understand speak to them in something that they would respect and appreciate the second thing that Paul did here just in these first few words was disarmed their anger by showing respect I want to go to verse one of chapter 22. The very first words that this beaten bleeding apostle spoke were these words brother and and father's brethren and father's how that who you think you are.

You just tried to kill me. I am bleeding and broken. You don't know the truth then may my blood be upon your head and your forefathers good like that. You know when I would want to say I think why Paul is living out. Proverbs 15 one. A gentle answer turns away what wrath for the moment they are hushed and he gives us what we could call her next principle he recognized the gospel could only be offered and never forced you notice again verse one brethren and father's here my defense, I now offer to you the word defense comes from the original word apology at the gives us our word apology or better yet, he gives us our formal English categorical term for the theological apologetic or the theological defense of the gospel. We talk about providing apologetic for the gospel you're not apologizing. You are simply giving a defense based upon what is happened in your own personal life, so Paul is saying if if you will allow me I would like to give you my formal defense of the truth of the gospel of Christ now had this crowd began to scream and shout and and and say further away with him what would've happened to his apologetic he would not of offered it right and I think that's a good principle to learn as you attempt to witness to those you give the gospel to those who want to listen.

One more principle before we go further, he ignored their accusation, a focus on the issue at hand.

Their accusation was that he brought a Gentile into the temple within the inner part reserved only for Jews.

He ignored that and focused and on the issue. Hanan S that was the gospel that lets you sort of slip in here and listen and will read through it and make a few comments to begin.

Verse three. I am a Jew born in Tarsus of Celestia, but brought up in the city educated under Gamaliel strictly according to the law of our fathers.

You notice how he clearly establishes his back on in accordance with the law they assumed.

Also, he didn't care about the law always is something amazing. I was zealous for God, just as you all are today could imagine giving a kind of response you're beating your bleeding and you attribute to them. Your potential murderers. The best possible of motives. He identified with their zealous hearts knowing they thought they were doing the right thing, even though they were doing a terrible thing but to give them the best of motives.

Now Paul continues and and and in fact identifies with her hatred verse four and I persecuted this way to the death. That is not responsible for Christians dying binding and putting both men and women into prisons is also the high priest and all the counsel of the elders can testify from them. I also received letters of the brethren's and started offer Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. It's interesting he says listen I know what you're doing and why. And I can identify with how you are personally feeling with your zealous hearts for God and I want you to know that I used to do exactly the same thing when it taxable gracious beginning in this matter has been beaten.

He is hearts is bleeding and he comes out with this.

It is amazing how verse six came about that. I was on my way approaching Damascus, about an antenna time. A very bright light suddenly flies from heaven all around me. I fell to the ground, heard a voice saying to be Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me and I answer, who art thou, Lord, and he said to me, I am Jesus the Nazarene can imagine the shock and Paul's life into the listener's ear, the Lord of glory uses that human term that had been run to the gutter Jesus of Nazareth. Nothing good comes out of Nazareth, I am Jesus the Nazarene, and those verse nine who were with me, but held alike to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the one was speaking to me and I said what shall I do, Lord critical understanding our taxes again. The word Lord now to Jesus the Nazarene can change his title. He kept it and now attributed it to this God man and those who have rightly come to understand this God man is that he Jesus Christ is indeed Lord can only come out with that next question. Lord only to do with my life. Once you acknowledge who he is. You can do nothing other than that which shall I do, Lord and the Lord said to me, arising going to Damascus and there you will be told of all that is been appointed for you to do since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who are with me and came in to Damascus in a certain Ananias Amanda was devout. Notice this again by the standard of the laws. Now he attributes a Christian to having respect for the law and well spoken of by all the Jews to live there came to me in standing near me said brother Saul, receive your site and at that time I looked up at him and he said the God of our fathers, all now the Old Testament fathers are brought into this, the God of our fathers is appointed you to know is willing to see the righteous one, the one he just seen was the righteous one, a messianic title and to hear an utterance from his mouth, and you will be witnesses for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now, why do you delay arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name but incredible conversion experience we call the Damascus Road. Now here's a verse by the way that we just read at the end that my trouble units used as a proof text by the Church of Christ and other denominations that believe baptism saves, or at least that salvation cannot occur without baptism. I'll touch on it just quickly here since I dealt with it thoroughly. In our discussion next to you may want to go back in and get involved in that study, but commenting, at least in relation to this verse. The confusion is simply created by the English language. The controlling participle.

In this verse is the verb calling you could underline or circle the word calling or calling on his name.

The antecedent in the Greek text to this participle is the phrase wash away your sins not be baptized.

They are two separate birds. In other words, it is the calling on his name that washes away your sin, hang with me is the calling upon his holy name that cleanses us from every sin you could literally be true to the Greek language to translate this verse by simply reversing the verb so that they all emanate from this controlling verb.

That's what you've allowed me to spend time doing this week so we review the translation. Having called Aris tends having called upon the Lord, and your sins. Aris tends having been washed away arise and be baptized.

Number 17 and it came about when I returned to Jerusalem and I was praying the temple that I fell into a trance and I saw him saying to me, make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly because they will not accept your testimony about me and I said Lord they themselves understand than one synagogue after another iced imprisoned and beat those who believed in the and when the blood of thy witness Stephen was being shed. I also was standing by approving and watching out for the close of those were sliding in and he said they may go for.

I will send you far away to the Gentiles.

Now notice verse 22 and they listen to him. Up to this statement and then they raise their voices and said oh well it was such a foul from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live. Everything sounded interesting until he suggested that a Gentile could be equal with them as an inheritor of the gospel of Christ. A generation ago on DA Carson was speaking in a conference and we have the privilege of hearing the staff guys. He said a generation ago. The truthfulness of the gospel was offensive in this generation the exclusiveness of the gospel is offensive in Paul's day, the inclusiveness of the gospel was offensive that a Jew and a Gentile could be included as equal partners of the faith and that's where they begin to respond. Look at verse 23. Can you imagine thousands of people responding and as they were crying out of throwing off their cloaks and tossing Dustin. Did he care. The commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging, so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against them.

You know what's going on this. This soldier knows Greek and I know Aramaic is an apologist that all he knows his point is that something everybody starts going dirt in the air and ripping off their clothes and shouting away with this man. Well, something's going on here working on beat this man further and find out just exactly what he's done to offend all these good people. So he prepares to beat him. And while verse 25. They stretch them out with thongs. Paul said to the centurion was standing by.

Is it lawful for you to scourging man. It was a Roman and un-condemned and when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander told him, saying, what are you about to do for this man is a Roman and the commander came and said and tell me are you a Roman and he said yes and the commander answered well. I acquired the citizenship of a large sum of money.

We know that the Emperor Claudius and his wife met Selena came up with any ideas going to the coffers and that is the offered citizen ship to the store at the money and pay this exorbitant bride really to have the rights of Roman citizenship. So this soldier saying we you know what I saved up enough money. I was able to buy it. Paul says, "I want to denies born a citizen as my father was a Roman nun was talking to Diggs his heels and he is taking Stoney's and beatings that many survive the scourging and he's willing to give his life for the Lord, but he knows now is not the time he wants to give it so he flashes his ID card and says, by the way, you're messing with a Roman well buoy the change come off the shackles and they start apologizing and polishing is choosing and everything else that verse 29.

Therefore, those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him in the commander who was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman because he had put him in chains, that is his apologetic before this crowd and will stop there and move through all of the different defenses he will make before these audiences. Two things before we close two reminders for us before we stop number one the responsibility to share the gospel desires whether they respond with anger or their apathetic or you don't seem like you're clever enough for they box you in the responsibility to share the gospel of Christ is ours. For those who are angry. By the way, and upset him turned off the solutions I think one of the best things you could do is let them see the gospel in you as an off then take truth from God.

That is, change your life, but eventually they have to hearing but remember. Secondly, the responsibility to save the unbeliever is God's. I hope the truth of this message has encouraged today. You're responsible to share the gospel but only God is responsible for saving unbelievers. Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the heart Stephen Davies series from the book of acts is from our vintage wisdom archives.

The book of acts is an extremely important and practical book.

If you'd like to dive deeper into acts. We have a resource to help you Stevens written a Bible study through acts. It's a resource you can use if you teach or lead a class or group Bible study and it's also perfect for personal study as you dive deeper into God's word for yourself. Stevens teaching through acts is a three-part series. This current series is the third and final part, but we have a Bible study for all three. You can get any or all of them in our online store. When you navigate to our website wisdom you'll see a link for our store.

We can also help you over the phone. Give us a call at 86 648 Bible. That's 866-482-4253. Thanks again for joining us. I hope you'll be with us for our next Bible lesson as we continue through acts right here on wisdom

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