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The Message

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 19, 2024 12:00 am

The Message

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 19, 2024 12:00 am

In this episode, we dive into the contemporary challenge facing the church today: the call to replace traditional preaching with more modern, less confrontational methods. Despite the growing trend of "McChurch" services, where fast-paced, light-hearted, and non-confrontational elements are prioritized, we reaffirm the timeless importance of preaching God's Word.

We'll explore how scripture mandates the preaching of doctrine and truth, referencing key biblical passages where Jesus, Paul, and other apostles emphasized the necessity of preaching. We discuss the cultural shift away from preaching and its implications, drawing from 2 Timothy 4:2-4, where Paul warns Timothy to remain steadfast in his preaching role despite the inevitable turn of people towards myths and ear-tickling teachings.

Join us as we journey through the book of Acts, particularly Acts 13, where we witness the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. We unpack Paul's powerful sermon in Pisidian Antioch, highlighting the two key aspects of his message: the history of Israel and the proclamation of Jesus as the promised Savior. We also reflect on the significance of forgiveness and freedom in Christ, as presented by Paul, and the immediate impact of his preaching on both the Gentile believers and the opposing Jews.

This episode challenges us to hold firm to the biblical model of preaching, ensuring that the transformative power of God's Word continues to be proclaimed with boldness and conviction. We emphasize the need for the church to uphold and honor preaching as a vital method for spiritual growth and truth dissemination.

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Part of the Gospel is the truth that Jesus Christ is your substitute.

Here's Steven Davey with this important reminder. Christ's name is written at the top of the volume of all your sins. Christ became, as it were, the criminal, and you became, as it were, the innocent party. Peter wrote, he bore in his body all our sin on the tree so that we being dead to sin could live under righteousness.

This is what he did. He took our vileness and he gave us his virtue. He imputed to himself our perversion and he imputed to us his purity. The message of the Gospel is, without a doubt, the most important message that any human being could ever receive. Without hearing, understanding, and responding to the Gospel, a person is doomed.

As Christians, we're the ones who possess that truth and have the responsibility to share it. The Apostle Paul did that regularly, and we're going to look at one of those messages today. As we do, it's an opportunity for you to rehearse the Gospel for yourself and renew your commitment to share it.

This is wisdom for the heart, and here's Steven with a lesson called, The Message. When Jesus Christ began his ministry, Matthew 4 tells us that he began to preach, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. By the time you get to the second Gospel and its end conclusion, he is telling the Apostles to go out and preach the Gospel to the entire world, as it were. In 1 Timothy chapter 2, Paul says, For this I was appointed a preacher and a teacher of the Gentiles of faith and truth. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 already told us ahead of time, the preaching of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jew. It is foolishness to the Gentile.

He already told us what the Poles would say. It would cause some to stumble it would cause others to mock. I want you to take your Bibles and turn to 2 Timothy chapter 4 and see an interesting passage of Scripture as to why we would consider preaching to be a timeless method of the Church in declaring the Gospel. 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 2. We are warned here in this passage in effect when preaching is replaced with something less declarative, less authoritative, what will happen is Paul solemnly charges his young son, pastor, son in the faith. He says to him these interesting words, Preach the Word. In other words, open the Bible and preach the Bible.

Be ready in season and out of season. That is a military term that literally means, Timothy, stay at your post. Even when some stumble and others mock. Preach the Word.

Stay there. Now, Timothy, what does preaching mean? Well, he gives several words.

You could underline them in your text. The first word is reprove. That word, according to Trench and Kittel and other Greek scholars, is used in the ancient Greek days as they explain to prove with demonstrative evidence, as it were, the truth of Scripture that will bring the hearer, if not to a point of confession, at least to a point of conviction of sin. So it's a strong word. The next word is strong as well.

Not only reprove, but rebuke. That's a word that refers to censor, strict, abrupt censoring of sin. In fact, it's the same word that Jesus Christ used as he rebuked the demonized in his day.

The next word is an interesting word. It's the word to exhort with patience and instruction. The word exhort, parkeleo, is the same word that gives us the title of the Holy Spirit in his ministry, the pyrrhic lead. It means to come alongside and to urge and to encourage and to admonish with all patience and instruction. So in effect, the preacher's role is to complement the work of the Holy Spirit. They do, in effect, the same ministry. What happens to a generation that lacks the ministry of preaching? Look at verse 3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.

Literally, they will not put up with it. And that happens in every generation, within every generation. But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside, here's the tragedy of it all, to myths.

If there is a passage, ladies and gentlemen, that so describes our McChurch-driven generation, it's this one. Life on other planets, that's a myth. Spaceships waiting to take you there, it's a myth. The belief that you can channel the truth of the spirit world through mediums, that is a myth. That somehow you have within you the spark of divinity and you have the answers within. That's a myth. Newsweek magazine this past week, I was thumbing through it and was struck by an advertisement in bold white letters against the backdrop of, looks like the rainforest, that says, inside each of us is an inner child yearning to reconnect with nature.

That's a myth. If anything, the heart of man yearns to reconnect, as it were, with a God that he has offended. And what is the solution to this myth, these myriads of myths? It is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. And I say all of this because it's interesting as we study Acts, and I want you to go back to the book of Acts, that we find in here by the inspired writer, Luke, several sermons, sermonic forms of declaration, confrontive, declarative, dogmatic, absolute statements of the Gospel.

We find several that he records word for word. In Acts chapter 2, we study the first sermon of Peter given to us, for the most part, word for word. In Acts chapter 7, we read the first and last sermon of Stephen given in his full form. And now we find ourselves, as we study through this book of action, confronted with the first sermon of the Apostle Paul, and we will discover that it is indeed a declaration of Gospel truth. In fact, in Acts 13, you find several firsts.

I've given them in your notes if you have them available. We have the first missionary journey. This is Paul and Barnabas and Mark, and they're traveling in and around cities in the Roman province of Galatia. It will be to the churches that are established in these cities during his first missionary journey and he will then later write back an epistle known as the Epistle to the who? Galatians to these believers.

We also have the first missionary defection. You find in chapter 13 the little phrase in verse 13, and John left them and returned to Jerusalem. This is the beginning, by the way, of a conflict that will erupt later in Acts chapter 15, and I want to reserve most of my comments on John Mark until then, but at least let me mention for now that many believe he left because he was upset with Paul becoming the leader of this missionary band rather than his uncle, Barnabas, who had been the leader. In fact, you could sort of notice a rather subtle change in the way that names are placed in Scripture, which are often significant. Throughout this relationship in Acts chapter 11, you read the names Barnabas and Saul. In chapter 12, you read Barnabas and Saul. In chapter 13 verse 2, Barnabas and Saul. And now you get to verse 13 and you read Paul and his companions, and that's how you'll read it from there on out. It's obvious that Paul has emerged as the leader and John Mark, perhaps the young, immature nephew of his uncle Barnabas, didn't like it.

Maybe he didn't like Paul, and he left. But Barnabas and the one who will lead this team, Paul, continue pressing forward. Now I want us to read what begins or becomes the setting of the first missionary sermon.

Look at verse 14 in Acts chapter 13. But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch. This is a different Antioch than the one we've studied. This is Pisidian Antioch. And on the Sabbath day, they went into the synagogue and sat down.

Now this is interesting. You notice that Paul doesn't barge into the synagogue here with his gospel guns blazing. He doesn't walk in and say, hey, everybody, this synagogue is a relic of the past.

Let me introduce to you the future. He didn't do that. He walks in, he and Barnabas, probably near the back, take a seat, and wait for God to open the doors of ministry.

Doesn't take long. Verse 15 says, after the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent to them saying, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it. Maybe somebody slipped the synagogue leader a note that said, we have with us some Jews from Jerusalem.

It wasn't uncommon for visiting Jews to stand and give a word. And maybe somebody in the back had talked to Paul, found out that he was a graduate of the seminary under the great renowned teacher Gamaliel. He had a lot of things to say.

So I think we ought to let him come up and say anything. So can you imagine Paul and Barnabas as they hear the word, somebody says to them, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation, and I couldn't help it as I read that to laugh, if you have any word of exhortation, oh, boy, do I ever. Make no mistake here, Paul hasn't gone into this synagogue on the Sabbath hoping for an invitation home for dinner. He isn't going in hoping somebody will give him an opportunity to discuss the raging debate between the two factions of Pharisaism, between the Hillel and the Shammai belief systems.

He has no interest in that. What Paul wants to do is get up and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. And now he has this opportunity. Remember now, before we get into the sermon, that Paul doesn't have the New Testament in his hand as he preaches. It hadn't been written yet.

He doesn't have one book of it yet. So he gets up, and he will expound from the Old Testament scriptures to these Jewish hearers and Gentile proselytes, Christ the Messiah. Now, I've divided his sermon, which is really fascinating to study as a preacher, very convicting, as it were.

This man was quite the preacher. I've divided it into two points. I did my best to find a third point in here, and I couldn't find it.

So just two points. The history of Israel as a nation is the first one. Look at verse 16. And Paul stood up and motioning with his hand, he said, Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.

The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt. And with an uplifted arm, he led them out from it. And for a period of about 40 years, he put up with them in the wilderness.

Now, stop. This sermon has so many lines in it, and we'll never get through it, and I'm basically going to read it, but let me just interrupt them periodically. What a great phrase you ought to underline in your Bible. God put up with them in the wilderness.

What a challenging statement. The Israelites, as you know, did nothing but complain, complain, complain, complain. But because God was a God of his covenant and faithful to his own word, he did not cast them off. But this verse provides a rather alarming perspective from heaven's point of view. God's putting up with them for 40 years.

And I couldn't help but think of me. And I want to ask you, from the perspective of heaven, could God be saying, as it were, oh, my goodness, I'm having to put up with that man or that woman. When I get to heaven, I don't want him to say, that man over there, I put up with him for 40 years. I want him to be able to say, I partnered with him. As Paul says, we co-labor with this triune God. Wouldn't you like that to be said of you? Well, how are we living today that would change him from saying, I'm putting up with him or her to I am partnering with him or her?

Well, let's go on. Verse 19, when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he distributed their land as an inheritance, all of which took about 450 years. And after these things, he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. And then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for 40 years. And after he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, concerning whom he also testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, and who will do all my will.

There's another great phrase, by the way, just circle the word all, who will do all my will. Now, so far, Paul has been singing a well-known song, and they love it. They're used to hearing this in the synagogue, the history of the great nation and the great King Saul and how God deposed him and brought their beloved King David to the throne. They're used to this.

They like to hear this, and they're sort of clicking along. Yeah, he's checking all the boxes off. He's doing a great job, the stranger from Jerusalem. But now he makes a turn in his preaching that will introduce a descendant of David that they have yet to hear of, at least physically, their Redeemer Messiah. Look at verse 23. From the offspring of this man, David, that is, according to the promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.

Now, that was a shocking statement to make. They've been looking for the Messiah, no doubt had heard all that had happened, and were guilty as a nation with the condemnation of Jesus. But what a shocking thing for this man to be clicking along and all of a sudden say, hey, by the way, the Messiah has come and his name is Jesus.

Where's your evidence? Well, he immediately calls to the witness stand an Old Testament prophet by the name of John the Baptist, or John the Baptizer. He immediately says in verse 24, after John had proclaimed before his coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, what do you suppose that I am? I am not he that is the Messiah, but behold, one is coming after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie. Brethren, sons of Abraham's family and those among you who fear God, do us the word of this salvation is sent out. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, recognizing neither him nor the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfill these by condemning him.

I will stop a moment. He is saying, in effect, you have been reading in your synagogue every Sabbath the declarations of the prophets who talk of the coming Messiah, but you haven't really been listening. We've been given all the information. He'll be a descendant of David. Just check the temple records. Jesus was indeed a descendant of David's lineage. He's in the family tree. He'll be born in Bethlehem, the prophet said. Check it out. He was born in Bethlehem.

He'll be crucified on a cross, the messianic Psalms declare. He was. In other words, you're hearing, but you're not listening. And that's part of my problem and part of yours is we have the same ability to hear the word but not apply it. We read the word, we hear the word, but we apply it to somebody else, you know. We throw up this proud shield of self-defense so that we can hear it.

Yeah, I'm hearing you, but not really listen. That's what they had been doing. And think about it, for this generation, what they missed because they didn't listen to the word of God was the Messiah. Verse 28, though they found no ground for putting him to death, they asked Pilate that he be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb, but God raised him up from the dead. And for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now as witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers that God has fulfilled this promise to our children and that he raised up Jesus as it is also written in the second Psalm, thou art my son, today I have begotten thee. And as for the fact that he raised him up from the dead, no more to return to decay, he has spoken in this way, I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. Therefore, he also says in another Psalm, see, he's just rattling off these messianic Psalms, thou will not allow thy holy one to undergo decay.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, it's another great phrase, by the way, that hopefully we can apply to our own lives, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay, but he whom God raised did not undergo decay. You see, Paul has preached things that have applied from Old Testament scripture clearly to the nation, and they sit, I believe, spellbound by the truth. But now Paul will personally apply the message to them individually, and it's with two very key words that he will do this. The first key word is forgiveness.

Get ready to underline it in your text. Verse 38, therefore, let it be known to you, brethren, that through him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. This is a stunning declaration. They're used to the expiation of sin as it's done through their series of sacrifices they do not understand, full and final expiation of sin that came through Christ the Lamb. He says, I declare to you that the forgiveness of sins can be yours.

I was witnessing some time ago to a Hindu man. We were kind of watching our kids scamper about play area, and I asked him to explain his faith to me, and he did. And then I explained mine to him.

And then when I finished, he was very attentive. I said, you know, sir, the thing that strikes me as you explained your system of faith to me is that there is nothing in your faith that allows for you to be forgiven of your sin. In fact, based on how many sins you commit, you're going to come back in your reincarnated new life, supposedly, as something less desirable. Mine, through Christ, gives me full and final forgiveness of sin. And I'll never forget, he just solemnly shook his head and he said, I understand you're right in the differences between our two faiths. See, what's astounding about Christianity is that you and I can apply the word forgiven to us. Forgiven. There's another key word appears in verse 39.

Get ready to underline this one. And through him, everyone who believes is freed. Great word. Forgiven and freed from all things from which you could not be freed through the law of Moses. The word freed is the word kaiothune or justified, justification. What does justified mean? Well, it's a legal term that means to be declared righteous. The cross does more than forgive what we've done.

It deals with who we are. God declares us, as it were, sinless in Christ. This preaching caused some to say to Paul, oh, you're just allowing us to sin and sin and sin and sin. And he said, oh no, just because grace abounds should your sin abound, God forbid. But our standing in Christ is justified.

That is, we have been declared righteous. In fact, hold your finger here and turn to Colossians quickly. Colossians chapter 2.

Let me show you something. Colossians chapter 2, look at verse 13. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him, having forgiven all our transgressions. So notice verse 14.

Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us, and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, God has switched the names, as it were, on the criminal reports. Christ's name is written at the top of the volume of all your sins. Christ became, as it were, the criminal, and you became, as it were, the innocent party. Peter wrote, he bore in his body all our sin on the tree so that we being dead to sin could live under righteousness.

This is what he did. He took our vileness and he gave us his virtue. He imputed to himself our perversion and he imputed to us his purity so that our standing is now justified. Here's a good way to remember it. Just as if I'd never sinned. Say that with me. Just as if I'd never sinned.

That's justification. We stand in him justified. What incredible, incredible grace. Now go back to Acts 13 and look at verse 40. Take heed, therefore, so that the things spoken of and the prophets may not come upon you.

Behold, you scoffers and marvel and perish, for I am accomplishing a work in your days, a work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you. And as Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Now what did he tell them? What did they want to hear again? That they were sinners, that they were in deep trouble with God, that there was a Messiah that had been born and crucified and they'd better receive him. They begged to hear it again. Now when the meeting had broken up, it says they urged them to continue in the grace of God, verse 44, in the next Sabbath, nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God. Isn't that great?

Imagine that. But when the Jews saw the crowd, they were filled with joy that the crowd would listen to Paul and Barnabas. They were filled with concern that the people were indeed hearing the truth. They were filled with jealousy. The synagogue has never been packed up when we got up and spoke. But now these two strangers come in and preach something that we really don't like, and the whole city is not coming out to hear them.

We can't handle this. So filled with jealousy, they began, the text tells us, contradicting the things spoken by Paul. And we're blaspheming. That is, they were saying that Christ wasn't indeed the true Messiah, the Son of God. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, that you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life. Behold, we're turning to the Gentiles. For thus the Lord has commanded us, I've placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the ends of the earth, end of message.

Now, let the chips fall where they may. This is the truth. And the products of his message were the same products that exist today.

They're twofold. First, there's acceptance and regeneration. Verse 48, when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord. It doesn't say they began glorifying the preacher. A true preacher of the gospel will not allow that. It says they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord.

And as many as has it been appointed, taso, designed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout the whole region. Here's the second byproduct of preaching, opposition and rejection. Verse 50, but the Jews aroused the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas. The word implies that they were beaten. 1 Corinthians will tell us how he will explain how he was beaten often, which is probably one of those times, and drove them physically out of their district, literally dragged them, as it were, out of the city.

We don't, for the most part in our country, experience this kind of opposition and rejection, but it's interesting to see things growing and changing. I was listening to one man who speaks faithfully, the word of God, pastors of a large church. He was telling us as a group who were listening to him preach, he said he was preaching his way through the book of Ephesians.

They got to the point where he dealt with the role of the wife. And of course he went over to Titus where he talked about wives loving their husbands, their children being keepers at home, and he said this was, of course, dramatic news. He said when he got to that particular point in his sermon, or on that particular Sunday as he arrived at that passage, evidently the news had been out, the National Organization of Women picketed his church in LA.

ABC, NBC, and CBS were all there to cover it. It made the front page of the LA Times his text in full. The more we clearly speak the truth, the more at odds we will become with society. That doesn't mean you change what you say. The word of God stands. And so verse 51, they didn't apologize. They simply shook off the dust of their feet and protested against them and went to Iconium.

Okay, we'll go to another city. Shaking the dust off their feet means we don't want anything clinging to us that would reflect on our time with you and you rejecting Christ. So we're going to shake it all off.

It's also a way of implying that we no longer have any responsibility for you. You've heard the gospel, you've rejected it, we've given it to you. But verse 52, the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. See, Paul and Barnabas might have had to leave their new converts, but the Holy Spirit didn't. I like the way John Phillips wrote it, the Jews might be able to drive out the servants of God, but they cannot drive out the Spirit of God.

Why? Well, because there were people in this town who had heard the message and had believed. Whenever that happens, whenever God saves a person through the power of the gospel, that person becomes the dwelling place of God.

In other words, God's present is now present wherever that person goes. That's the power of the gospel. It's also the challenge that you and I carry with us every day. That's because as recipients of God's grace, we have a stewardship responsibility to share that message however we can. Thanks so much for joining us today here on Wisdom for the Heart. We're working our way through a series from our Vintage Wisdom Archive entitled, The Gospel Spreads.

It comes from the book of Acts and will continue through the series in the days ahead. Between now and our next message, we'd love to hear from you, and especially if you don't receive Stephen's weekly email. We have a group of people called Friends of Wisdom. There's about 25,000 members right now, and each week Stephen sends biblical encouragement to help you grow in your faith and walk wisely through life. If you're not on the list, sign up today. Visit wisdomonline.org forward slash friends. Join us next time to discover more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-19 02:00:34 / 2024-06-19 02:11:51 / 11

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