Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

The keys to reading Paul in 2022

January 03, 2022 Mark Roberts Season 2 Episode 1
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
The keys to reading Paul in 2022
Show Notes Transcript

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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:

Good morning, good morning and happy new year. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for January the third, the first podcast of a new year, like I said, happy new year, I'm holding a really good cup of coffee. I'm holding a brand new reading schedule a year with Paul as we start something entirely new. And I preached about that yesterday in the 10 40 hour, that link is available to you in the show notes. If you've not heard that sermon, you should list to that sermon. That is a crucially important sermon. As we start this new reading program, as we're talking about what it's about and what you need to do to maximize your daily Bible reading, maybe three big points out of that sermon that you wanna hold onto . Let's get some coffee, let's get our Bibles open. Let's get to it. First and foremost, with any reading plan, not just this year with Paul reading plan. The first thing that we talked about yesterday is you need to decide why you're reading the Bible. What am I doing here? Why am I involved in daily Bible reading? Am I just doing that? Because everybody else is doing that at Westside. Am I doing that so that I can post that on social media and look spiritually mind, cup of coffee and the Bible spending some time with the Lord. That's a very popular Instagram, very popular Facebook kind of post makes me look really good in front of my friends. Of course doing it cuz everybody else is doing it, doing it to be seen of men while that is very weak, motivation, not really good stuff at all. Instead, we wanna read the Bible to know the, Lord. Jeremiah 9 23 and 24. Paul talks about first Corinthians one verse 11, such a critical passage for us this year imitate me as I imitate Christ. That's why we're reading the Bible. We want to know God better. We want to be in a relationship with the Lord where we love God and trust God. We care about God. We care about what God cares about. We are seeking to honor him. We are seeking to be like his son. We are imitating Paul this year as he imitates Christ. The second thing then that I said is that we ought to consider listening to the text this year. That's how the new Testament in its original form would have been consumed by the majority of new Testament. Christians, there would be some Christians who could read and some people even did own a Bible. We know about the Ethiopian Eunich in acts chapter eight, but by far and away, those are really exceptions and exceptional cases. Most people in the new Testament world would not have had their own copy of the Bible. And many, many people would have been completely illiterate, which means they're depending completely upon the Bible being read to them in the assembly of the local church. And we ought to try to get some of that. The Bible just comes across differently. When it's heard, you have to focus, you have to listen. I do think it does something to that tendency that we have to just super magnify, every little phrase, maybe even every little word drills, super deep into the text. You just can't do that. When you're listening to the Bible, being read to you, you have to stay with the reader. And so you get more of a flow and of a big picture kind of idea. I'm gonna try to listen to the Bible this year, particularly when we get to the epistles , I'm gonna see if I can spend some time listening. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I run, when I'm in the Jeep, I'm listening all the time to something and I'm gonna try to listen to the Bible this year . Like I said, particularly as we come to the place where we are , ehh , in the epistles, those would have been heard. Then thirdly, I just talked a lot yesterday about the process and grinding the process. Reading the Bible on a regular basis is a process. And it is a process that works over time. Particularly if you take the time to answer the questions, we have questions on the back of the reading schedule and those are critically important. The readings are so short this year. You're really going to be in a situation where if you read the readings, if you read the readings, wow, what else could you do with readings? If you read the readings, what you're going to get out of that is about seven or 10 verses . And that's gonna leave you probably with a big, ehh whatever. And that's not gonna be very meaningful if you flip to the back of the reading schedule, which by the way is available at justchristians .com be on our Facebook page as well. You're gonna see questions when we're in acts that will help you integrate that reading. Think about that. Reading meditate on the word of God, Psalm one talks about the value of meditating upon God's law. We need to think through the readings, then there's questions when we're in the epistles, that will help us with that. Got to do that. That's the process. You just have to do that or this year for you is probably gonna be a big, eh , I didn't get a lot out of that kind of thing. So I promised then in the conclusion of the sermon to give you some best practices, some tips, some just practical sort of things that will help you to stay with daily Bible reading this year, here we go. Couple things that will help you. Five keys that will help you stay in the word all year. First and foremost, tie your daily bible reading to something that you enjoy. One of the surest ways to fail at daily bible reading is to make it into drudgery into a chore , something you are dreading, but you feel like you have to get done and check off. Don't let it become that in a good way. You to keep it from becoming that is to link it to something that you really like doing. Sometimes we do things that we don't enjoy because of the benefit. Maybe you don't enjoy your job, but you go because, Hey, you like a paycheck, but with Bible reading, we're gonna link this to something that we enjoy doing so that we're getting a benefit from it. Long term . We'll talk a little bit more about that as we go along here, but we're also enjoying the actual process, the grind, if you will. So , uh , that's why I drink coffee. When I do my daily Bible reading, I'm looking forward to that. I want that cup of coffee. I'm looking forward to a great cup of coffee. So that is tied to my daily Bible reading. And that makes that more enjoyable. Maybe you like nice pins and notebooks. Uh , that's gonna be a big part this year. Writing down, working through those questions, spend a little bit of money. Get yourself that notebook that you enjoy opening the paper feels good. I love fountain pens. I love writing with fountain pens. So I've got a fountain pen . I've got a journaling Bible and I'm using those together. Maybe there's a place that you enjoy being a park bench . Maybe you enjoy being out side. Oh , the weather's kind of turned sort of nasty. Maybe you enjoy a quiet time. At the very beginning of the day before the entire family gets up, do something that's enjoyable so that you're looking forward to daily. bible reading. Then secondly set a specific time in place to read the Bible. There was a study reported in fast company magazine, where three groups of people were asked and given some information about exercising regularly. The first group was asked to exercise once in the next week, only 29% of them did. So the second group was given information on the importance of exercising. The value of exercise. 39% of those folks did in fact exercise. But the third group was asked to commit to a specific place on a specific day, at a specific time that they would exercise 91% of them exercised specific day specific time specific place. When we say vague things like I'm gonna read my Bible every day , but we don't plan for a specific time. We're gonna do that. What we've got is just a lot of vague hope and kind of a wish and a prayer sort of thing that may or may not happen plan. Now, this is when I'm gonna do my reading, I'm gonna get up early. I'm gonna do it on my lunch hour. I'm gonna do it before I go to bed, I'm gonna do it before I check social media, that will drive you into your Bible, make a plan now. And here's a pro tip for you, make a backup time as well. So that, that first choice gets clobbered with something unexpected. You have a second slot ready to go so that you can do your daily Bible reading. Thirdly, never miss two days in a row. Now this is a five day a week reading plan. And the reason it's a five day week reading plan is because we know that crazy stuff is going to happen. It's gonna interrupt our Bible reading. If we are doing seven readings in a week, we get behind and the behinder we get the more chance it is that we'll just get discouraged and we'll just give up. So there's a little bit of lag time. It's a little bit of free time in the schedule. You're just reading five days a week. You're not reading every day. You're just reading five times in a week, but it's very important that if you miss a day, you jump back in the next day. We all need a little slack in our lives. But what causes quitting is when we let the misses pile up, instead of regular reading. Now what we're doing is we're regularly missing. So if you m iss three days i n a row missing one more, e h, doesn't seem like that big a deal. And the habit that we're trying to build is in the danger, serious danger of drying up decide. Now that if you miss, you're not gonna beat yourself up for it. We don't w ant Bible reading to become a pain, a source of guilt in our life. But if something happens, we had to skip a day. We forgot to read. We got busy, whatever, whatever. Then the next day we are on it. We wanna pile up successes, not failures. We want to instill the habit of daily Bible reading. So again, miss a day , we can live with that missing two days. That's a problem. Don't miss two days in a row. Fourthly, don't be discouraged. If a magic moment doesn't happen. I talked about this yesterday in the sermon about the process. The process takes time. You're not gonna read acts chapter six versus eight to 15 today and suddenly becomes super Christian. Okay ? Maybe you are. But I think you chances are pretty good. You're probably not. It's gonna take time for the word of God. As we soak into a little bit, every day we work through those questions. We write some stuff down. We pray about it. We think about it. It's just gonna take some time before we begin , begin to notice in the corners of our lives. There's some subtle changes in the center of who we are. We're just feeling different about the Lord. We're feeling different about his word. We're feeling differently about going to church. It's just gonna take some time before that impact is felt. So don't give up. If there's not an amazing woo angels are singing and a light shining from above upon us. It takes time for the word of God to gradually impact our lives. Finally, always, always, always make application of what you read. We've got some questions on the back of the daily Bible reading schedule, as I've now mentioned about 400 times, and those are important questions, but there is no question as important as how do I change my myself to be more in line with the Bible reading? How does Bible reading translate into Bible? Living eventually all these notes and highlights in our Bible. Beside our Bible, in our journal in our notebook have to become something that is changing our life. I need to understand the way of the Lord. So I'm gonna meditate upon your wonders, Psalm one 19 verse 27, but I'm gonna do that. James says so that I can live the word of God. We wanna be doers of the word James 1 22 and not just hearers only. So always say, how can I be more like Jesus? How can I be more like those that Jesus approves of? How can I instill this text in my life? What am I doing with what I am reading application makes the difference. Application changes, Bible reading in to Bible living. And of course, I'm gonna remind you once more. We have a ton of stuff going on on Westside to help you understand the word of God, live the word of God. Rusty's tweeting summaries and thoughts from each day's idea of Bible reading. Paul Gause is writing on the Facebook page. Make sure that you're reading what Paul has to say. We've got the Tuesday night zoom Bible study and prayer session that has been an incredible resource for those that are attending that jump in, come zoom with us. That's a great thing on Friday, I'm gonna do some daily Bible reading . There'll be lessons as well. We've got the road , uh , to the new Testament church, the, a new Testament church road tour. Then I'm gonna be preaching this year that will help us connect to the Bible. Reading lots, going on to keep you in Bible reading, help you maximize Bible reading, help you get benefit from Bible reading. It's gonna be an incredible opportunity to do something that most people have never done integrate the life of Paul as Luke records, that in acts with the writings of Paul and what Paul has to say through his epistles , we're putting all of that together. We're spending a year with Paul. It's going to be, yeah, it is just going to be amazing. So let me get a little bit more coffee and I'll give you some notes for this week's daily reading in the year with Paul. So on Monday we begin our year with Paul reading in the book of acts acts chapter six versus eight to 15 is our reading from Monday and Stephen full of Grayson power was doing great wonders and signs among the people. The timeframe here is somewhere from 80 33 to 80, 37. We're not entirely certain as to how many years after the day of Pentecost. This is seems to be closer to the day of Pentecost. I think 37 seems like a little far that's about four years. I think this is a little closer to act two than that, but we're somewhere in that kind of range You wanna watch here as we're tracking Stephen in acts chapter six in acts chapter seven, for the parallels between him and Jesus. One of the questions we're always asking in acts is how does this show the continuation of Jesus's work now going on in the church? And the answer is Steven is very much like Jesus. Uh, both Jesus and Steven cannot be stopped. Witnesses are paid to lie amount in them. The charge of Blay is made against both of them. The people are stirred up. Jesus is said to be guilty of teaching that the temple would be destroyed in the same charges made against Steven . And of course, both are brought to blaspheme. Both are murdered by those who are determined to put an end to the things that they are teaching. Maybe the big question though, is why are we starting a year with Paul in acts chapter six in verse eight, probably maybe would expect that we would begin in acts chapter seven, where in verse 58 , Saul of Tarsis who becomes the apostle Paul of course has mentioned for the very first time. And the answer to the question why we're starting with Stephen is because of what Stephen is preaching. Keep track of that. They secretly instigated men, verse 11, who said, this is act six 11. We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. And they stirred up the people verse 12 and they came upon him and they seized him because verse 13, this man never ceases to speak words against this holy place. And the law, those kind of charges would make people in Jerusalem furious because the temple was one of the main business centers for Jerusalem. Tourists came there to worship, and it was a once a , in a lifetime kind of trip for many Jews who lived outside of Jerusalem, outside of Judea. So this is a religious attack. It's an economic attack. Jerusalem's chief livelihood was the trade in tourism that was generated from the temple. Stephen is saying something about the law of Moses. Stephen is saying something about the temple. Stephen is saying, Christianity is for everyone, not just Jews. And as a result of that, Gentiles can be full on members of the kingdom of God. And they don't have to submit to the law of Moses. They don't have to become Jews. They don't have to come to the temple. Judaism is being replaced with Christianity. That is what Steven is saying. And that will most certainly be said and be much clearer as we journey along in the book of acts. In fact, in act chapter 15, there'll be a giant confab to talk about that very issue. And Paul will make an appearance at that. We'll talk about that. We're gonna read about that. That's gonna be a big deal in the book of acts, but we're not in acts chapter 15. Where are we? We're in acts chapter six and what Steven is teaching and preaching here is way too early. He's ahead of his time for most people. And it will result in him being killed because the Jews are not about to put up with the teaching that Judaism is out and that God's blessings are now available for everybody that is unthinkable to people in acts chapter six in acts chapter seven. In fact, it will be even unthinkable in acts chapter 15, which by the way, acts chapter 15 is probably maybe 49 ad. So that's like 15 years after the day of Pentecost and acts chapter two. And the church was still trying to make up its mind, still trying to figure out where Judaism fit, where Christianity fit were they in some ways United is Christianity, a subset of Judaism. You got your Pharisees, you got your Sadducees you got your Essenes doing weird things down there at the d ead s ea. A nd you got your Christians. They got that Jesus and Nazareth Messiah thing going on. But you know, we're all Jews here. We all keep the law. We've all been circumcised. We all go to the temple. Steven says, Uhuh , no, we don't. No we don't. We don't have to do that anymore. And that opens the door to Gentiles, to full participation for Gentiles that cannot happen. And that is what's going to cause him so much difficulty. And the reason we started with Steven is because that makes him, that makes him the forerunner to the apostle. Paul Paul is not the apostle to the Jews. He should have been that would've been my plan. Paul is rabbinically trained. He trained under Gamellia. He should have been the bestest kind of preacher for Jewish people could have argued from the old Testament. Could have read Isaiah that would've been tremendous. That is not what God did with Paul. Is it? God knows better than me. God sent this most Jewish Jew to the Gentiles. Would there be anything that could prove better that Jews and Gentiles could be one in Christ than this Jewish rabbi who now preaches the gospel and has full fellowship with those awful barbarians, those terrible Romans, those Greeks, those Gentiles. Paul lived the gospel that Stephen died preaching. Stephen is the forerunner of Paul. And there is some tremendous irony that Paul will stand and participate in the death of Stephen . He's going to come Stephen. And that's why we're reading an act chapter six. That's our reading acts chapter seven to begin the year with Paul Steven . Stephen is the beginning of Paul. Isn't he? So on Tuesday, then we're gonna read acts seven one to 10. That is the beginning of Stephen's defense speech. And it is a very unusual defense speech. Let's just talk about that for a minute. This is one of the longest speeches in the book of acts, and it is not in any sense of the word, a classical gospel sermon. Jesus has only mentioned in verse 54, just one time. The focal point of apostolic preaching is always the resurrection. Stephen doesn't even say anything about that. It is also not a recounting of visual Israel history. There's not much on the Exodus, which is the really big event in Jewish history and some very important Kings like Hezekiah and Josiah make no appearance at all. The focus is actually on some very unsavory moments in Jewish history. It is kind of a tour of the worst moments in Jewish and Israelite history. And of course, Steven is doing that with purpose because what this is is a classical defense speech. Steven defends himself against the charge that he has spoken against the law of Moses by making himself a defender of the law. And he responds to the charge that he spoke against the temple by saying I'm the only one here who really on understands what the temple is all about. The major theme of what Stephen is saying. Let me grab a swallow of coffee here. The major theme of what Stephen is saying here is that the Jews reject God's word and God's messengers, and that God can work outside of, of the promised land and work outside of the temple and is interested in all people coming to serve him. But that the Jews have regularly resisted God and not listened to him. They don't want what God wants, which is all people to serve him. So in verse five, look at how he talks about how Abraham never owned any land in Canan , but he still sustained a battle relationship with God being in the land is not as important as obeying God. And then in verse eight, you can't say that Stephen is opposed to circumcision when he clearly supports it, but he moves quickly. Then two Egypt and begins to talk about how they have resisted God's messengers. Joseph first nine sold into Egypt by his brothers. They were wicked. They were jealous. Look at that. Those are bad Israelites. The, the 11 brothers are kind of pre Israelites aren't they see? And they sold him, but God still used him in that foreign land. Those are the first 10 verses our reading then for Tuesday. So Wednesday's reading is act seven 11 to 19, and here the theme begins to come out Jewish resistance to God's leaders. Joseph moves the family to Egypt. God is able to work in Egypt. There's lots of conversation about the numbers here, and that's just a giant distraction to the preaching. That's really going on. I'll probably talk about those numbers in the Tuesday night zoom meeting, cuz there's some questions about all of that, but that's not really the emphasis here. The emphasis is they were in Egypt. They weren't in the promised land, but God was still able to use them. And God was able to still bless them. That's where Steven is. That's what's going on here. But how about Moses? Moses starts appearing beginning in Thursdays, reading in verse 20 to 29. Let's talk about the Thursday's reading act seven 20 to 29 . And Steven has been accused of speaking against Moses, but instead he shows Moses as a great example of a leader chosen by God, but resisted by a stubborn and ungodly people who don't care about God, who don't do what God says, who do what they want to do. Note particularly that they thrust him aside verse 27, saying who made you a ruler? And a judge over us. Steven will, will continue to emphasize that. When he says in verse 35, they rejected saying, who made you a ruler? God made him a ruler and a Redeemer. They rejected the messenger of God. The Redeemer that God had sent. And that is the same as rejecting God, you reject God's messengers. You reject God's Messiah you have rejected God. So Friday's reading is verse 30 to 41 of acts chapter seven. Notice again, you don't have to be in Jerusalem to have holy ground, verse 30, the fiery Bush outside of Canan. You don't have to be in the promised land. God can work outside of Jerusalem, any place where God is, can be holy ground. Stephen is driving home. His point that God is not confined to Jewish soil. In fact, the most important place in the old Testament, as far as the revelation of God's will, Mount Sinai is not in the promised land. It's not in Jerusalem. And then Stephen begins to drive home his point with the repetitive phrase, the, this Moses underline that in your Bible, this Moses started verse 35 verse 36 verse 37 verse 38. Make sure the audience is getting the point. The rejected Moses was God's choice this Moses. And by the way, in verse 38, where he uses the term there, this is the one who was in the a congregation. The term congregation is that term ecclaseeia, which did not mean church or have any religious connotations necessarily in new Testament. Times, at least this early in the book of acts, it was adopted and used by Christians kind of taken over as the designation for their own community as the church. But again , to see itself as the true ecclaseeia of God, as the replacement for physical Israel, spiritual Israel, the church, and here's some of that, here's a use of ecclaseeia congregation to refer to Israel in that kind of way. So then Steven verse 39, he has really hit and stride here. Our fathers refused to obey him. They thrust came aside in their hearts. They turned to Egypt, verse 39 and then they made a golden calf versus 40 to 41. This incident is so horrible that the rabbis would call the making of the golden calf, that unspeakable deed. This is the worst thing Stephen could possibly bring up. You folks think you're so religious. You think your God's chosen people. God just loves you cuz you always do everything. So right. You're just so amazing. I'll tell you what your forefathers did. They built an idol with all the advantages, the law of God, Moses being there as their leader, they failed God. They rejected Moses and they accepted an idol. This is not a happy history moment is it? But Steven has more to say and will resume his speech in acts chapter seven, beginning in verse 42 on Monday, as we continue to watch Steven , the forerunner of Paul, just think about how much Steven has talked about the rejection of God by the Jews. We're gonna see some of that working in Paul's writing in Paul's teaching. As he, like I said, he becomes Steven cuz Steven , isn't gonna be there to do this kind of preaching and teaching. God will select the apostle Paul Saul of Tarsis the most Jewish Jew around to be what Stephen , what Stephen is right here in act chapter seven. Hope that helps you with your daily Bible reading. Hope that's gonna be a value to you. As you can tell, I'm just really excited about this reading program. I think it's gonna be very, very cool and will really help us to better understand Paul, as we set him firmly in the context of his life story, as Luke tells us about that in acts and as we help those epistles, as we take those EPIs and integrate them into acts, we're gonna have a better understanding of his writing, why he's writing what he's trying to say, what this is all about. So thanks for listening. If you love the Monday morning coffee podcast, we would love for you to follow rate , give a review on iTunes or whatever app that you are listening on. Or just tell somebody else about the show. Other people trying to read the Bible. Maybe you are trying to encourage someone to read the Bible with you in 2022. Make sure they're aware of this resource to help them maximize their daily Bible read. But until next time, may your coffee be delightful. May your Monday be short and may the Lord be with you today all day. I'll see you next week.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday Morning Coffee with Mark, for more information about Westside. You can connect with us through our website, justchristians.com and our Facebook page. Our music is from uppbeat.io. That's upbeat with two P's UPPBEAT where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others and we look forward to seeing you again with a cup of coffee, of course, on next Monday.