Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Winning the Game of Life

September 05, 2022 Mark Roberts Season 2 Episode 42
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Winning the Game of Life
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Mark .

Speaker 3:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for Monday, September the fifth. I am mark, and it is labor day. I hope that you are off today and are going to be able to enjoy labor day with some friends and family. Do some fun stuff. Hope. Maybe you're listening to this in the afternoon because you got to sleep in. Maybe some of you won't listen to this till Tuesday, because you've got a lot of things planned for today and you may not get to it. And you know what that is. Okay too . Sometimes I get a little behind in my Bible reading. One of the things I like about the year with Paul Bible reading schedule is that it is such short readings that if you get behind today, it's not catastrophic. There's none of that. Oh, my now I'm 718 chapters back and I'm never gonna be able to make it up. If you're listening on Tuesday, it's just fine. And if you're thinking mark sounds a little happier than usual, you'd be right. And that would be because, because I have an amazing coffee mug in my hand, that's actually not a mug as much as it is a Thermo or a travel Tumblr. It's the Oja Russi travel coffee, Tumblr mug. And it is absolutely incredible. A good friend of mine. Seth heard me say on the podcast that my coffee was getting cold as I go through the podcast and record it . And he was concerned about that. Shout out to you, Seth. And so he sent me a JE Ruhi coffee, Tumblr or coffee Thermo. It has a great flip top lid that locks. So it doesn't leak all over everywhere. And best of all, it keeps coffee hot. And I mean hot and I mean, for hours, I went hunting last week, put coffee in this Thermo at five o'clock in the morning at noon, it was still hot, almost too hot to drink. So impressed. I'm pretty sure it involves maybe lava. They put lava inside of this, or maybe there's some kind of nuclear powered battery in it. I'm not sure and know they're not sponsoring the podcast and know I'm not a paid endorser. I just love it because it's great to drink coffee out of thanks again, Seth . And it gets us right to what we really want to talk about, which is the sermon from Sunday and our daily Bible reading in acts let's get started Yesterday at west side , I preached a sermon called winning the game of life and used the board game that Milton Bradley invented to kind of set up and as a vehicle to talk about our thoughts about life and how we live it and what it really means to win at life. I'll give you a couple of trivia notes about the game of life. It is the second best selling board game of all time . As I mentioned yesterday, and it was invented in the 1860s, right before the civil war, they actually produced a civil war version. It was a tiny foldable board that soldiers could carry around with them. I'm not exactly sure how to wrap my mind around the idea of soldiers after a long day in battle at Gettysburg and TEEM . And then someone says, Hey, let's play the game of life. That seems a little weird to me, but it actually did happen. And it had all kinds of interesting squares on it, both the big version and the travel version politics, the politics square, for example, sent you to Congress. That's kind of interesting, and that was worth five points, but it moved you further away from the goal of happy retirement. So maybe think about that. And then there were dismal spaces that you didn't want to land on, like the disgrace space. I wonder if anybody would worry about landing on the public dis disgrace space today. That's kind of hard to say. The only thing that I would want to add to the sermon yesterday is I really wish I could have said more about the rules. You have to play by God's rules. If you wanna win at the game of life, I just couldn't get that worked in, in a good way and in a timely fashion. But for example, Moses is always talking about the rules and Deuteronomy six in verse one, he tells Israel, this is the commandment, the statues, and the rules that the Lord, your God commanded me to teach you that you may do them in the land of which you are going over the rules. The commands of God are essential if we are going to win at life. And I would like to have said that that's more than just more than just if I don't follow the rules, if I'm involved in sin , I can't go to heaven. No God's rules are really the best way to live. I think something needs to be said in that direction. Maybe that comes under the heading of the abundant life that Jesus promises in John chapter 10. But I, I like the idea of a board game and I like the idea, Dana and I love board games , settlers of QAN , uh, all kinds of favorite board games over here. But I , I like the idea of a board game called the game of life. And then that causes us to think a little bit about just exactly how we approach our own life and how are we playing? What isn't really a game. How are we living our life? Think about that more. If you have family and you play board games, talk that up, talk a little bit about, are there spiritual metaphors in any way in any of the games that we are playing and how do they represent our values or maybe in the case of some things, they go against our values. When the girls were little, we used to have monopoly Monday. We would play monopoly while we ate supper. And that was a lot of fun. And we had a lot of fun doing that. But when the girls were little, they absolutely would not bankrupt each other. Somebody lands on boardwalk and the hotel, there is 50 gazillion dollars and, and Becca would look over it Sarah and say, it's okay. You , you don't have to pay me. And the game would last for 17 days because nobody's putting anybody out of business, which is the whole point of monopoly anyway, until finally. So, you know , you know, we had to teach the girls to be hardhearted and make your sister pay up so that she gets thrown out of the game. And then everybody of course was crying. And I realized that I'm teaching my children to be Ebony or Scrooge . And about that time, I thought we need to find us a different board game. This is not in line with Christian values. We're teaching our children not to be compassionate. So think about that. If you play board games, message me, send me an email, send me a Facebook message. Say something to me. Are there other games that I could use as a platform to build a sermon off of? What do you think about that? Let's talk about that more in the future, but for right now, Hey, let's talk about daily Bible reading. Let's get out the book of acts This week in our daily Bible reading, as we spend the year with Paul, we'll be reading the end of acts chapter 21, and then the rest of the week will be in acts chapter 22. And finally, on Friday, a little bit into chapter 23, mostly this is about Paul's defense speech that he makes as he is nearly being flat out murdered in the temple. We read about him being falsely arrested and falsely accused on Friday. And now the action continues in our reading today, acts chapter 2131 to 40, just nine versus there not a long reading, not a difficult reading, but a good place for us to think a little bit about what we will be reading from now on one scholar said with this section, we begin to lengthy account of Paul's imprisonment and trials in Jerusalem and Caesarea, and then his journey to Rome to face the Supreme Roman court. This account is given at such length , occupying a quarter of the book that it is obviously of great significance in Luke's eyes. He describes several court appearances by Paul recounts, no less than three lengthy speeches by Paul and two of which the story of his conversion is repeated. I think that helps us see this matters to Luke. This matters to the holy spirit. It needs to matter to us and not just be, oh , say old Paul's defending himself. There are a number of major themes to keep your eye on. As we watch and listen to Paul, defend himself. One of which is that Paul is the best kind of Jew. That is a big issue in his speeches. He is not some kind of apostate or radical, and he is certainly not a political threat to Rome. I think that undergirds a lot of what Luke is saying here at a time when Rome is trying to figure out where does this Christianity thing fit? Are they some sort of revolutionary movement? Are they going to overthrow the Caesar ? No , no . And absolutely not. Paul, who is the chief figure in new Testament Christianity at the time that Luke is writing is most certainly at least one of the chief figures in new Testament. Christianity is most certainly not any kind of political threat in any shape, form or fashion. And what we have seen is that for example, a Roman Centurian becomes the first Gentile convert. We've had a Roman governor become a gen , become a convert, and we've seen the Roman authorities are always helping Paul. And we're going to see a lot more of that as we read along. The other thing that I would say today is that we ought to keep our eye on how Paul handles persecution. Particularly as we live in a time in which we are made increasingly aware that there are hostile forces to Christianity, there are enemies of the cross who would like nothing better than to forcibly stamp us out. And that makes me uncomfortable. I know it makes you uncomfortable. We need to be thinking more about that. We need to be preparing more for that. I say many times I all the time, I try to tell people the time to learn how to sail a boat is not the middle of a hurricane. We need to learn how to sail in persecution now because I fear the storm is coming. So let's pay attention to what Paul does about all of that. Finally then, as I'm thinking about your questions and the things that you're gonna be asking and working with the questions from the back of the reading schedule there, please make certain that you notice in verse 36, that the mob is yelling the same thing at Paul, that they yelled at Jesus. There's an amazing touchpoint right there. And I'll give you a historical note in verse 38, the Romans Centurion asks, Paul, are you this Egyptian and Joe seethis in his history tells us that about three years previously, there had been an Egyptian adventurer who claimed to be a prophet. He led a bunch of people out to the Mount of olives. He claimed they should wait until his command and he would command the walls to fall flat. They would March in and take Jerusalem over. They ended up being attacked by the Romans. About 400 of them were killed. About 200 of them were captured, but the Egyptian leader he disappeared. And what that Centurion is thinking is if you're that guy who made those big promises and then your promises fell flat, not the walls of Jerusalem. You must be one unpopular guy. That's why the Jews are beating you up. That's why I had to come down here from the, from the forts Antonio, which was in the corner of the temple complex. That's why I had to zip down here and save you. It was a difficult time politically. And there were assassins during Felix's pro Raider ship from 52 to 59 . And there were lots of anti Roman sentiments circulating during this time. So despite all that we might imagine as Paul is rescued from these terrible enemies of his I'm thinking he needs to go inside and straighten this out with civil authorities. What does Paul say? Paul says, can I have a word with the crowd? Can , can you hand me that Mike , please? And there was a great hush and he addressed them in the language of the Hebrews. That's the better translation because Paul is speaking AEA here, which was the common language of the everyday person in Palestine. He addressed them in the language of the Hebrews tomorrow. We'll see what he said. Good morning. And welcome to Tuesday. Today's reading is acts chapter 22 versus one to 10 Paul's. First offense speech begins today. Notice as we read that Paul does not respond at all to the charge of bringing Greeks in the temple. First of all, there is no defense possible for that. That was a complete violation of the law, but of course, more importantly, secondly, Paul didn't do that. Instead. What he does is make a defense of this blanket accusation and the general feeling that he is some kind of backsliding Jew, some sort of terrible turncoat, the worst kind of Jew know , Paul will always sing in his defense speeches, that he is in prison for the hope of the Jews. And he is in prison because he is such a good Jew. The outline here of what we're going to read versus three and four would be a heritage and upbringing kind of thing versus five to 16 would describe the conversion at Damascus and then versus 17 to 21, his commission to evangelize Gentiles. And Paul does begin this speech. I think this is significant like Steven did in verse one, brothers and fathers hear this defense. The Lord defense is the term apology, which doesn't mean, I'm saying, I'm sorry. It means defense. It means to make a defense. And that is the theme of these speeches. And I think his voice sounding here, his words sounding like Stephen is intentional. And I think it reminds us that Paul is in a very real way. The replacement for Stephen Stephen was ahead of his time and saw that the gospel was free of the law of Moses and Jewishness and Jewish influence that Gentiles could be Christians without becoming Jews first. And, and Paul was part of the group that killed Steven , but he becomes that person. And as he recounts some of his history, he really is saying some things like in verse three, about sitting at the, the feet of Gaal . He's saying some things that a lot of those people in that audience could not say he's way advanced in his schooling and learning and position than they would ever be. That would command and demand some respect, but something changed. And Paul then tells what that was. And that is his conversion. That's our reading for today acts chapter 22 versus one to 10 tomorrow. We'll take that even further. As Paul gives all the details about that conversion and even talks about the man who came and baptized him . One of the most famous passages in our Bibles is acts 2216. It's underlined in heavily highlighted because we talk about that a lot and we'll get that verse tomorrow too . See you on Wednesday. It is Wednesday. And today we are reading acts chapter 22 versus 11 to 21, where Paul really gets into the details of what happened in Damascus. Anna Anais comes to him. Notice he is portrayed as a devout in law, abiding Jew. He enjoys all the respect of all the Jews in his city. And then there is a miracle verse 13 that confirms what's been going on. Paul even uses the expression, verse 14, the God of our fathers, that is a good Jewish expression. And then he tells them that he was baptized verse 16, to wash away his sins. That verse stresses the primacy and the importance of baptism. We use it that way all the time. We ought to use it that way all the time. But if you said it in its original context, that verse would've been a challenging verse or that saying that statement of Paul's , would've been a very challenging saying because the crowd would be saying sins, what sins are you talking about? You, you sat at the feet of Gaal. You, you are a Pharisee , you were persecuting this Christ movement. You're about as righteous as they come. Paul, what, what sins would you possibly need to have remitted or forgiven or washed away? So Paul here is beginning to introduce the idea that being a zealous Jew is not enough to be right with God. There is more than that. And now he says, part of that is I'm gonna go and tell the Gentiles verse 21 about God and about the kingdom of God. And that's the magic word. Paul says, Gentiles world, all done here. Nobody can listen further. Nobody wants to listen further. Nobody will have anything to do with this. And that just shows you how racism closes people's minds and keeps them from thinking and listening and hearing. And Paul sermon is over in verse 21. We'll see tomorrow, the net effects of all of that. And what's going to happen to Paul next. Thanks for reading with me. See you on Thursday. It is Thursday and today we are reading acts chapter 22 versus 22 to 29. It's acts 22, the end of the chapter. And this tells us us what happened after Paul said the word Gentiles, everybody just freaks out. Verse 23 says they were throwing off their cloaks. Is that, is that the taking off of clothes so that we can throw rot so that we can stone you. And so the Roman Centurion, the Tribune verse 24, grabs him , pulls him into the Forres saying , uh, fortress of Antonio, which as I said was on the corner of the temple complex. The Romans had built it there so they could keep an eye on these Jews. And the decision is made that we're gonna flog Paul. We'll just beat it out of him. We don't know exactly what's going on. We don't know what kind of trouble he's making. We don't know why everybody's so mad at him. We'll just beat him until he confesses very, very common kind of procedure under Roman authority. It ought to remind all of us how valuable civil rights are, particularly since what the Roman Tribune is about to order for. Paul is a case of the F flagella. This is a terrible, terrible whip, worse than the Jewish stripes or Roman rods. This is thongs with pieces of metal or bone embedded in it. It killed people. People would bleed out and die or even be crippled for the rest of their life if they did not die. So this is a very severe measure. Clearly the Tribune thinks Paul is in a significant threat and Paul looks over and says, I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that. You can put that away. I'm a Roman citizen. You are forbidden by law. Tolog a Roman citizen. We don't know how you proved under, under Roman law and new Testament times that you were a Roman citizen, does Paul whip out some kind of documentation? We , we don't know exactly how that was done. We do know that you could get citizenship in three ways. It could be awarded to you for service and the Tribune here. When he talks about buying it, he may be talking about bribing somebody to award it to him. You could inherit it. If your parents were citizens, then you were a citizen. And that's how Paul got it. Makes us wonder what kind of service his father or grandfather had rendered to receive citizenship, or you could be born in certain cities. You could be born in a free city that would make you a citizen. Paul is a citizen. And as soon as he says that everything changes because now the Tribune is responsible, not for beating him and treating him as some kind of law break . But instead he needs to protect this Roman citizen from that unruly Jewish mob out there, everything changes when Paul claims his legal rights, I'll give you this. I , I think it's fair to say here that a Christian can use their legal rights in times of difficulty. Paul does so here and he exercises those civic rights, those civil rights in a way to protect his physical body because he might very well just die right there. That's not inappropriate. Paul doesn't always do that, but he does it here. And that helps us think through some of our options. If we would encounter some kind of persecution, we're only reading through verse 29, verse 30. This is a terrible chapter division that belongs to tomorrow's reading in chapter 23, which makes the reading look odd in your schedule. 2230 through 2311 oh, can verse 30 belongs to chapter 23. We'll read it with the rest of chapter 23 tomorrow. See you on Friday. It is Friday. It is Friday. And we're reading acts chapter 22 , verse 30 through chapter 23 and verse 11. This is Paul's appearance in front of the Sanhedrin council . So unusual things happen here, but make certain, you keep your eye on the ball for Luke. That is the idea that Paul is not some kind of awful Jew trying to destroy Judaism. There is so much here that shows Paul is a good Jew. So for example, in verse five, he says, I know the law. And I know that I shouldn't have said what I just said. Furthermore, notice in verse nine, some of the Pharisees say, Hey, this is a good guy. We don't see anything wrong with him. So Luke is still pressing Paul, the best kind of Jew, the best kind of Jew is the Jew that believes in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the fulfillment of Jewish scripture. This is a difficult scene because Paul is in front of an Anais and Annia here is the high priest who received the office in ad 47. We understand from secular history outside of the Bible, that he was not a good person. He used violence and assassination. He stole the tithe . There is, oh , he was just a terrible, terrible person. And that kind of bad leadership by the way, is what will lead to the Jewish revolt in ad 67, because all sorts of inflammatory things have happen among the Jews themselves. Paul does hear shout at the high priest. God is going to strike you. You whitewashed wall. He says in verse three, will you judge me according to the law? And yet contrary to the law, you order me to be struck. So Paul here lashes out and there's lots of discussion about how he did that, why he did that, what's going on there. And there's lots of attempts to justify Paul that maybe, maybe the high priest doesn't have his official robes on and Paul doesn't understand or recognize him as the high priest. Lots of things could be said here, but is it really necessary for us to exonerate Paul? Does Paul have to be perfect? Certainly Paul, when he's an inspired man writing down the Bible is absolutely infallible as the holy spirit guides him. I got that, but is Paul sinlessly perfect ever since acts nine when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, I think not, maybe Paul just lost his temper here. That could happen. That could happen. And then Paul is sorry that he did exactly that. And Luke shows us that Paul can be human and can do things that he wishes he had not done. Paul then realizes he's not getting much of a fair hearing. And so he shouts out something here about I'm on trial for the hope and the resurrection of the dead. That's what the problem here is all about. This of course causes an enormous uproar because you've got Pharisees there and you've got sades there. And as Luke explains the sades verse eight, say there is no resurrection angels of spirit and Pharisees acknowledged them all. My dad, when I was a little boy taught me how to remember the difference in the two groups. Sades, don't believe in the resurrection of the dead. That is sad. You see, while Pharisees believe you'll stand in judgment before God and receive , uh, eternal death that your eternal destiny based on what you have done in your body. That is fair. You see, that's always helped me through the years. And yes, sometimes I'm teaching Bible class and somebody asks me a question and I am saying that in my head, how about that things you teach kids. They stay with them . Don't they? And I, I said some things about this on the Facebook video today. I don't think just trying to blow the room up. I think Paul's trying to get a hearing here and try to convert some guys. There are some guys here who seem to be leaning into Paul verse nine. And when you, when you show any kind of spiritual interest, when you show any kind of aptitude for what Paul is talking about, Paul will say, Hey, can I talk to you further? And I think Paul's trying to get some more of those guys and some more of those kinds of people. So he can preach the gospel, which is what Paul does in all of these defense speeches, every chance he possibly can. So there you go. There's our Bible reading for today, acts chapter 2230 through 2311. Notice that our reading today ends with Paul receiving a vision. There's lots of visions in acts , and there's lots of visions for Paul when he is down and gets discouraged. As we're thinking about reading with Paul and spending the year with Paul verse 11, isn't happening. If Paul is just all up, up, up all the time, he's not, he's a real flesh in blood person and he needs the encouragement of the Lord. Verse 11. He gets some of that. All right , then there's our Bible reading for the week. I certainly appreciate you reading the Bible along with me. If you love the money morning coffee podcast, we'd love for you to subscribe, follow rate and review the podcast that helps other people find it. And best of all, nothing beats you telling somebody about it, sharing it on social, sending somebody a link. So until, until next time, may your coffee be delightful. I hope your Friday is blessed and that the Lord is with you today . All day. I'll see you on Monday with a cup of coffee.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with Mark. For our more information about Westside, you can connect with us through our website, just christians.com and our Facebook page. Our music is from upbeat dot that's upbeat with two P'S U PP, B E a T , where creators can get free music . Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a cup coffee, of course, on next Monday,

Sermon Notes
Monday Acts 21:31-40
Tuesday Acts 22:1-10
Wednesday Acts 22:11-21
Thursday Acts 22:22-29
Friday Acts 22:30-23:11