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March 3, 2022 12:00 am
One of the greatest criticisms of Christianity unbelievers have is a legitimate one: the Church is so divided.
Same way church in every generation can get caught up in debatable interpretation things of God may lead you to apply your life in the Bible is really perfectly clear on that what you're doing isn't sitting here in fact making some kind of stand or statement or conviction or preference in that area when I take that to try to bring into the body bring it to other believers in the Bible is clear as we liken this is what we've always believe in, so we take sides and we shot Bible teaching. In fact there are so many opinions calling out to us and so much teaching available to us that it's hard to know what to listen to and what to ignore. If you found that to be true.
I wonder have you ever found yourself accepting something that you were told that later on proved to be untrue or have you ever made a really big deal out of something that really wasn't important. Stephen Dave he wants to help you with all of this today. This is wisdom for the heart Stevens going to unpack all of this and more in a lesson called learning the art of refusal.
I have heard it said before and and in its true buzzards and eagles are similar yet to the same time very different both birds they both soar high on the wind. Both have sharp vision and powerful wings. What makes them different is the way they view life below, but they focus on. I can overthink it to a very large degree. Whenever a Christian is interested in whatever a Christian focuses on or chooses not to focus upon determines the very real way, the kind of life they live there something we need to develop studying together in this session, it is the spiritual art of refusal knowing what to say no to you and knowing what to say yes I can remember as a kid. Every so often going out to eat, and we typically went to this cafeteria when I was a boy in back then there was one price takes care of everything and every time I went I had the same problem. I wanted all wanted everything to the front of the line.
The pasta salad look really good. I'll take some of that little close Jell-O salad, tangerine, and it looked really good and I took that and then you get the bread the banana bread looks good and so did the seller going to get to the main course in the lasagna looks good but officially good to and then those cut potatoes soaking in butter and I thought well you I don't have a vegetable yet so that'll that'll take care of that and then you get to desserts and how do you decide between chocolate cake and banana pudding. You don't that's exactly right. Thank you sir, but I had a guy come in after first Artie said there's no GED on the end of that Nana put case to get it right so I fed two more chances to get it together right I go to my table and invariably I did read it with a stomachache I would need half the food that I had chosen I think. I think learning the art.
As you grow up of saying yes I need that and I really don't need that discerning between good and evil. But even developing between developing the choices between what is good and something that is better. There is maturity in that, just as the individual Christian learns to pick and choose his physical food. He's gotta learn to pick and choose spiritual influences that will impact his life if he ever hopes to be healthy.
Why, they're just some things you have to learn how to ignore. That's exactly what the apostle Paul is going to reinforce as he nears the end of this letter to Titus is a spell out for things to avoid for things to make sure you don't put them on your tray all invite them into your life, you can end up with a stomachache or worse. Therefore distractions to refuse. Let's get a running start. Back in chapter 3 and verse eight we studied our last session together and then will get to verse nine today. Look at verse eight. This is a trustworthy statement and concerning these things. These doctrines he's developed. I want you to speak with confidence so that those who believe that God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men or for mankind in general verse nine but avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the law for these things are unprofitable and worthless notice he doesn't say they are on popular. They were very popular as we'll see in a moment. They are just unprofitable worthless it will do any good in your life. Leave them alone. Don't put them on your tray and take them into your life. Good for you and will help you the first of these four distractions. Paul is referring to is take a closer look at our study. Avoid. He says avoid them. That verb means to literally turn your face away turn your back on.
Don't look at putting these by avoid, and by the way to the present tense which means this is a once for all of refusal. I've said noted that in an and I'm never good at say no again, though it is constant. It is often it is repeated in your life repeatedly turn your face away while everybody else is loading it up, turn away, turn away from one of the first of the four are these foolish controversies talking about what the first word gives us a hand.
It is not a good thing because he uses the Greek word mar's, which gives us our word moron or moronic to get involved in this year you're gonna play the role of a moron. You're going to be moronic foolish.
Don't do it and then he gets to the word controversy. This refers to searching or and and or or investigating things that have no merit.
They have no basis.
They have no substantive meaning there merely speculations that occupy the mind they seem appealing. They seem interesting we ought I maybe give them a little attention don't do that.
There are controversies without substance and are going to get you into heated debates and arguments, so avoid them that Nepal was already worn Titus about avoiding Jewish fable in chapter 1. Same idea in his mind. Here, there, there controversy all, they're not really substantiated by the word.
There they are, what we would say are gray areas perhaps, or or or doubtful issues.
God spirit may lead you to feel firmly in one, but the word of God is not going to be applied in that way to somebody else. Make sure you don't get pulled into heated debates and controversies over these things and he specifically refers to those things which have very little merit fables to avoid their unprofitable their fruitless you could render the useful member just the summer. When I like going to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in upper New York, the home of one of life or I would speak for a week. I thought this is going to be beautiful to get up in the mountains live in, and they had a heat wave. They set records for heat for that week and I took them through the book of Ruth.
There in one session the campgrounds without any air conditioning and talked about Jewish culture and and how that set the scene for what would transpire in the book of Ruth and adamant about the me and say very familiar with books on Jewish legends and culture rabbinical interpretations. I said no. He said what if there's an excellent has been translated in English and it just sort of compiles all these Jewish myths and legends and I thought that might be useful in so I ordered a book to large book nearly a thousand pages translated into English, and it covers centuries of rabbinical tradition and the legend and myth.
So when I was in chapter 1, I wasn't there yet and now in chapter 3. This comes up again and so I pulled it down for my study at home and began to read through what they may have dealt with in these earlier centuries since I know we were studying Noah and the flood.
I thought you not to go and see what they had to say about Noah.
The legends and some of these myths are relative to Noah and and that the are no and that that flooded. I ended up reading more legends and more interpretations and more controversial things than you could ever imagine. I certainly have time to read you would like your one okay right now just for you. Here we go. I actually summarize a few of them.
Here's one knowing his family.
The legend is barely survived because with me and arraign people surrounded the ark and are trying to the ark over so God sent Lyons to scatter them and they surrounded the ark until the ark floated up in a way fascinating idea, thought another legend claims that even though it was dark inside the ark that Noah had brought with him a pearl of great price and there's something about about that in therein, and that Pearl gave all lights so that for the year they were in the art.
Noah and his family were able to see another rabbinical legend says that when the rain began to fall in the floodwaters rise one large sea creature didn't want to perish in, nor did want to get lost in, so no hot item to the artist and he swam alongside the ark and made frozen, the water is wide is the sea. Another rabbi taught, that is, the floodwaters swelled the King of Boston Deuteronomy has a vague reference to get living that he must've survived and what happened was he sat on the wrongs of the latter on the side of the ark and he begged Noah, promising him that if he would let them survive that he and his sons would be slaves of Noah and his family for life, and so no, I drilled a hole in the ark and fed the king every day by handing out food to the king's son. Another legend claims that every raindrop that fell on earth God first brought it to a boil in the underworld before he carried it out and then dumped it on mankind. This is great devotional reading unit this'll spice up the Bible. No question about it. One more rabbinical legend claims that when Noah set out the dog. She flew to the gates of the garden of Eden, and God opened the gates send the bird went in and took a fresh lease from the tree there from the garden of Eden is all interesting stuff.
And no wonder Paul would reinforce these predominantly Jewish congregations on the island of Crete to put those things away their unprofitable they would just bring up argument you can imagine. Titus who would be preaching and teaching from the Old Testament.
From the writings of eyewitness accounts as God is progressively giving his revelation and you can imagine everybody gathering okay. Regards study know the origin I know that's not what happened.
Now this is what happened. Now this is what I think happened. This rabbi said this this interpretation believe this, and when I got a meeting out of that just would keep the congregation embroiled in debates, unprofitable debate and controversy the same way the church in every generation can get caught up in debatable interpretation, the questionable things things of God may lead you to apply to your life.
The Bible is really perfectly clear on that what you're doing isn't sitting here in fact making some kind of stand or statement or conviction or preference in that area to take that if you try not to bring into the body bring it to other believers in the Bible isn't as clear as we like it or maybe it's clearly against that idea no matter what we've always believe in so we take sides and we take shots in the church suffers.
Paul delivered the same morning to Timothy when he wrote don't pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to us to mere speculation rather than furthering the plan of God which is by faith in the world looks at the church of the church can appear moronic. Not because it's standing for truth is, that certainly would seem foolish to an unbelieving world, the things the Bible barely nods that are mentioned some deeper truth or meaning is brought out doesn't accomplish the mission of the church by means of the gospel. Paul also wrote further to Timothy is exhibiting 223 but refuse foolish and ignorant speculations knowing that they produce quarrels, take a look of the fruit of it producing quarrels.
The Bible isn't clear on something. Don't bring it out into an argument. Don't take it to your table. The enemy is more than happy in a church fight to stay neutral and just provide both sides with ammunition as they fire away which is also why Polaroid do everything in your power, diligent, or something to pursue the unity of the spirit, the bond of peace in our greenhouse class that I mentioned our classroom coming potential new members need is nevermore. And in more exciting to see developing their front arises. People from all over gather for this 12 weeks of study and typically what I do the very beginning of even through it and have her assembly hasn't so I'll tell you little bit what will be doing will go around the room. I get about 82 adults. I think in this particular class and then I'll ask them you know tell us where you're from and will just go all over the map denominationally. Spiritual backgrounds are different doctrinal beliefs are given a different arena talk about what we believe and why it's important a lot of other thing you fall by the wayside. We have in this particular class. I just thought about it as I was studying this text we have former Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Evangelical free Church Bible church nondenominational independent Baptist free will Baptist Southern Baptists really confused Baptist. We give all in there together they're coming directly from their former church I go around nighttime razor hand want to get your particular denomination or missionary alliance in United Methodist and we have anybody from the assembly to God as he can raise both hands. If you'd like to have a little fun and I come from all over summer coming from small churches and they are intimidated new here. Make sure you say hello to people around you. They may be so new and intimidated some are coming from churches so large that it makes our church feel small.
Some are used to their pastor, preaching on topics in and issues of the day. Others are used to their their their their pastor, preaching through a book of the Bible for years at a time. That's common out there.
You'd be surprised. Some are from churches that sang mostly hymns with an organo- piano and some are from churches is a mostly courses with with abandon.
Some of them some of them want more music.
Some of them want longer sermon. Give me that part but if I asked somebody probably tell him some people are coming from churches with a lot of liturgy everything just plan as a calendar. They follow others are coming from. Churches were just kinda free-flowing and you never quite know what happened with people in the class born in the South, people move you from the north from the West from east we have in this class, Caucasian, African, Asian, Hispanic in a mixture of a lot of others. Some come from a place where they heard the gospel every time they showed up. Some are hearing it for the first time. I just met this past week with one gentleman, a young police officer who amateur how I got started, but he began podcasting are sermons while on duty he'd listen to them and one day he pulled over and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.
He and his wife are now Cummings all brand-new. We get older. Believers in and in young brand-new believers. We got singles with married couples. We have parents with children and parents without children or couples without children.
Some parents are homeschooling Somerset unit is a public school in some are sending their kids to Christian school that I'm able to tell my wife and I did all three home school public school Christian school.
I can say with all authority, none of them work perfectly all add more perfectly the myriad of varieties represented in one new members class in your thinking how in the world are we ever going to get along. Maybe you're wondering if we would believers on the island of Crete get along your descendents of Gentile pirates and historic Jewish converts. Some of them are poor.
Some of them are wealthy. Some of them aren't educated. Paul will mention one of the end of the letter that an attorney highly educated summary of the people who grew up under the influence of the scenes. I mean they were so liturgical bad ceremony upon ceremony they would need a meal when a ceremonial cleansing, they would come together and eat meals together wearing special clothing ceremonially, and in that person gets converted times the faith stands in the assembly next to a Gentile.
That doesn't bathe. Right you have people coming in with all kinds of religious traditions, and some coming from idolatrous background. Everybody came into the faith and into that assembly by means of the cross where their sins were washed away but opinions tend to stick. Funny how that happens. Paul effectively tells Titus, you need to remind them that there are opinions and I may have the lineage of rabbinical traditions, but the word is and to really make that clear. They may have dearly held beliefs that may not be wrong, but are not to be communicated as the model tell them what to leave at the buffet line and not take with them to the table to run profitable, they are worthless through their spiritual fruit.
Even if you win the argument, it will not advance the gospel without a clear text of Scripture, the interpretation can take on an authority of whoever is dispensing rabbis of old with her volumes of opinions and speculations taught as doctrine and you end up with a no and his family being protected by liens and feeding a king out of compassion with some huge monstrous animal in tow and getting an olive leaf from the garden of Eden at the end of the day.
Not that advances the gospel shared recently with my penis class my growing opinion that we ought to be wearing white clothing. We were told in Revelation or future wardrobe is going to be triumphant robes of white clean linen indicative of victory in battle. In light of that coming day.
I mean why not. We ought even now begin to wear white in anticipation of our final victory with Christ as we eventually come.
Revelation 19 says, with Christ wearing white on the stallions of white. So let's start wearing white clothing course they smile anything re-pulling my leg and I laugh and say, of course, I could be serious to read a quote to them from one church leader together following the second century and he was serious as he preached and taught a quote for sake colored clothing for sake colored clothing remove everything in your wardrobe that is not white. He goes on, though no longer sleep on a soft pillow or take warm baths.
If you are sincere about following Christ, especially the newer believers of though yeah I'm sincere. Tell me if you are sincere about following Christ never shave your beard for the shave is an attempt to improve on the work of him who created us, can't help but laugh and read the quote because I grew up in a circle of churches that believe that if you didn't shave sending any facial hair was tantamount to rebellion if you were really sincere about following Christ.
You shaved on the F's. Here's a guy preaching in the second century that if you did shave you were sitting in.
Guess what the Bible says about either side of that argument. Nothing in less you twist Scripture come up with your own interpretation. This in any generation. There plenty of customers that are really unfruitful.
I would imagine you know whether or not global warming is make-believe for drilling offshore.
It is a good idea to gun control is a bad thing under control is waste of money if you should only be eating organic foods to prove you're really taking care of God's vessel with the ought to be driving electric car show that you really showing good sense taking care of God's planet feeding your cats and your dogs expensive food that contains vegetables because your dog needs to eat vegetables like you do. Your dog needs to eat that That's what you there is some controversy for you will hear about that let 'er rip. I mean let's hash out your views on a thousand things. Parenting styles and worship styles, personal convictions or preferences. An array of opinions and traditions and secondary issues that in an assembly can quickly elevate to becoming equal to doctrine Jesus face that he told the Pharisees are teaching the traditions of men as doctrine. You're taking all your speculations and all your opinions in your painting into the level of this is God's truth is fruitless for her to pastor or express an opinion, but he presented it like biblical doctrine. Actually, there's nothing wrong with sharing our opinions but we need to discern between what is man's opinion and what is God's truth working to explore this more.
But we need to stop here were just about out of time and will resume this lesson. Next time. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi. You can learn more about us. If you visit our website which is wisdom online.org. Once you go there, you'll be able to access the complete archive of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry he's been pastoring and teaching for over 35 years and all of those sermons are posted online. We also post each day's broadcast. So if you ever miss one of these lessons, you can go to our website and keep caught up with our daily Bible teaching ministry. The archive of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge and you can access it email@example.com.
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