Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Lightening the Load

January 10, 2022 Mark Roberts Season 2 Episode 2
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Lightening the Load
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. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for Monday, January the 10th. I'm Mark and I have my Bible open Hebrews chapter 12 and verse one. I've got some new from yesterday's sermon that I preach from Hebrews 12 one. I've got my Bible reading schedule as we spend the year with Paul. Ready to go. And yes, I am working on a great cup of coffee. This is some OAA . I have gotten really fond of OAA coffee, done through a pour over and it's just tremendous coffee. So I've got that in the cup. I'm ready to talk about what we can do to sharpen our spiritual focus. As we enter into this week, it's still kind of new year's we're still getting 2022 started. And I know you're still thinking about your resolutions. You're still thinking about making some changes. And yesterday I preached this sermon from Hebrews chapter 12 in verse one about lightning, the load. Let's talk about the at let's get some spiritual energy into this week and then we'll do some daily Bible reading stuff. As we continue to think about Steven's amazing speech in front of the Sanhedrin council, there's lots in front of us. As we start the week together, let's get some coffee, let's get our Bibles open. Let's get started. So yesterday morning and preached from Hebrew chapter 12 and verse one, therefore, since we are surrounded by so greater a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin, which claim so closely and let us run with endurance. The race set is set before us just wanted to talk a little bit about how we can lighten the load so that we can run that race better. And so we talked about laying aside unbelief about our past sins, that thinking that I'm not really forgiven, Paul's a great illustration of not being defined by his past. Not letting terrible mistakes, not just mistakes persecuting. The church is not a mistake. That's a sin, a great sin against God against Jesus Christ. Paul confronts that repents of that turns away from that and does not let that burden him further. Secondly, we talked about the importance of moving forward by being realistic about present temptation, not going to stick my hands in the fire, not gonna overestimate my ability to withstand what the devil brings against me. The wiles of the devil. Paul will call that in Ephesians. I need to be very candid about what I can and cannot do and not tempt temptation. Does that make sense at all? Not decide I can handle more than I really can then I just end up being tripped up by sin. Then finally, my third observation yesterday morning was we need to have more certainty about heaven. I just have a lot of concern about that just sometime I'm seeing people's eyes or maybe in their body language, in their tone of voice, a little, Humina just a little doubt about whether or not somebody like me. I'm, you know, I'm just a, I'm just a regular Joe Christian . I , I'm not an elder. I'm not a song leader. I , I , you know, I'm just me and, and somebody, me , the struggles I have, the doubts I have, the problems I have am , am I really gonna get to heaven really need to make certain that we have great confidence that that eternal reward can be and will be ours. Heaven is not the hall of fame for super special ultra elite Christian. That is not what the Hebrew writer is saying here to his original audience. And he is not saying that to you and me. He wants us to know that we can run this race. As we look to Jesus who seated at the right hand of God, we can do this. We can get there. We , we can be with the Lord for all eternity. That's a huge, that's a huge push when we start thinking about needing that lift so that we can serve the Lord. Well, let me just share then one additional idea to help you make use of yesterday's sermon and you to lighten the load. And I , I just want to key off the word endurance, Hebrews 12 one , let us run with endurance. I think a great enemy of endurance is thinking it's just impossibly difficult. It's just so hard. Why even try with all the things that are against me. And I do think we're pretty capable of thinking that sort of way, because there's a lot going on in our world. That is not really very good. This pandemic won't seem to end. And we've got all kinds of racial turmoil and political division and social media just seems to generate more division in and hate all the time. And so sometimes I think we just get a feeling of, oh, in times like these, there's no way I can serve the Lord. There's no way I can be pure. There's no way I can do what's right. There's no way I can endure to the end. But if we could just back up from Hebrews 12, one into chapter 11, we would read the account of people who lived in times that were just a lot harder than our times. I'm thinking here about Able verse four. I'm thinking about Abraham in verse in Hebrews 11, verse six in Isaac verse 20 in verse 21, Jacob and Moses in verse 23 from many, many standpoints. These people lived in incredibly hard times. They lived in a time when invading army swept through the land and just killed everybody and burned everything down and drug people who they didn't kill off into slavery. They lived in a time when there were no hospitals and antibiotics and vaccines. And that doesn't mean there weren't pandemics. Yes. As a matter of fact, they were, there were plagues and all kinds of sicknesses. They lived in a time when famine could just wipe people out and there was no government assistance programs and Kroger wasn't right down the street. And you could just go down there and get the food that you want. These people lived in really hard times and they endured and they serve God. Sometimes. I just think we need a dose of reality. And that is that while we are dealing with some difficulties and our world, we better equipped to deal with those difficulties. We have more assets and more programs and more government assistance. And just more of everything on our side to help us get through. And that doesn't mean it's not difficult. And I'm as fed up with the pandemic as anybody else is, but, but other people have faced far worse and they have endured. I just wonder what's gonna be my excuse on the day of judgment. If I look over there at Sampson and Jeptha and David and Samuel and Gideon, and Bayrack who threw faith, conquered kingdoms, enforce justice, obtained promises stop the mouths of lions quenched , the power of fire escape. The edge of the sword made strong outta weakness became mighty in war put armies to flight women receive back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured refusing to accept release . So they might rise again to a better life, suffered other suffered mocking and flogging and chains and imprisonment, stoned, and sawn into ill with the sword they went about in the skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated of whom the world was not worthy wandering about in desert and mountains and dens and caves of this earth. Although they were commended through their faith, they did not receive what was promised since God provided something better for us. I live in a better world from a technology, medical financial government democracy standpoint. And I live in a better world spiritually. I have the Bible I know about Jesus and the sacrifice that he has given for me on the cross. I stand in such a better place. You know what I need to do. I need to quit whining about how tough it is. And I need to, since I'm surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who live through much more difficult times, lay aside every weight in the sin, which clings so closely, and I need to run with endurance, the race that's set before me. And if I'll keep my mind on those truths, then I can do that. And you can do that. We can do that. We can run this race and the Lord expects us to, and we can, and we will. And I hope you're taking that spiritual energy and momentum out of yesterday's lesson into this week, as we do exactly that run that race and something that'll help us run that race is daily Bible reading. Let's turn our attention to our daily Bible reading now. So I've refreshed my coffee and I'm ready to go with daily Bible reading. Let's talk about it. Monday. We're reading acts 7 42 to 53, the Climax acts of Stephen speech to the Sanhedrin council. The big thing to notice here is in verse 43, Stephen is quoting out of Amis chapter five, and he kind of puts his own spin here by the inspiration of the holy spirit on this text, he talks about worshiping Molak and Raven , and I will send you into verse 43 into exile beyond Babylon. Clearly, Steven is pushing the Sanhedrin council here to the limit because he says you are like that idolatrous generation that got punished with captivity for 70 years of captivity in Babylon, back to Babylon with people like you, who don't really care about God. And in fact, he then pushes further. Remember one of the charges against Steven , as he's spoken against the temple. Steven seems to think verse 44, that the tent of the wilderness, the tabernacle is really the better way to worship God, because God is too big verse 48 for any manmade house. And that manmade house caused these people to think that they had contained God, they'd put God in a box. No, you're just a bunch of stiff neck and uncircumcised people. Verse 51, uncircumcised in hearts that is a strong charge and must have made them furious. It would be like calling , uh , a Patriot part of the part of George Washington's army. Hey, you're just a Tory. This uncircumcised in heart and ears , verse 51 would be a very, very incendiary thing to say. And it gets a strong reaction, but you people verse 51, you resist the holy spirit. And I wanna be clear as we talk about how Steven handles this crowd. This is tough preaching without any question at all, but they have put to death, the righteous one verse 50, and what Steven shows us here is there is a time for calm words. There is a time for building common ground. As you rehearse the history of Israel and everyone there in the Sanhedrin council room. Would've been saying, yes, yes. We know this history. We're the people of God. We're in the covenant relationship with God. We just love this. Oh, Steven , keep on our preaching. There's time for that. But there's also a time for cutting people to the heart. There is a time for bringing a sermon to a powerful conclusion that will bring people to repentance. And that happens in verse 54, which will start our reading in Tuesday. Let's break right here, getting us with coffee and let's see what happens when Steven has this powerful conclusion to his sermon. What's going to happen. We'll read verse 54, acts 7 54 to acts eight , four on Tuesday. Now on Tuesday's reading, you wanna be careful because we're reading across the chapter line. We don't normally do that. I don't like to do that. I like nice, clear tidy endings, but we are going to read across from 7 54 into chapter eight in verse four, because Luke puts Saul of Tarsus on stage . For the first time we are meeting him for the first time. Of course, Saul becomes the apostle Paul that we're gonna spend the year with. And so we wanna hold this reading together. As for the first time we meet this enormous figure, not only in the book of acts, but in the entire new Testament, Steven preaches verse 54, they are enraged. They grind their teeth. He is at the same place that Peter is at an acts chapter two. These people are cut to the heart. Peter just has a better audience. Peter's audience is cut to the heart and they repent in our baptized for the mission of their sin. The Sanhedrin council will have none of that. They don't intend to repent at all. Instead they intend to end this message by ending the messenger . Stephen though , verse 55 is full of the holy spirit. He sees Jesus standing. We don't know why Jesus is standing at the right hand of God. There's lots of speculation about that. We Don know why Jesus is standing, but it is a dramatic image. It's the only time we see that. And so he cries out. I see the son of man standing at the right hand of God, verse 56. This is the only place outside the gospels that Jesus has called the son of man. It is a clear reference to Luke 22:69. What told the Sanhedrin council as he applied Daniel seven to himself, they went nuts when Jesus said it, then, and they go absolutely crazy here. Verse 57, they stop their ears and rush upon him. This is portrayed as just an unruly mob, taking the law into their own hands. They drag Jesus , uh , dragged Stephen outside the city. And he is stoned to death there. And of course , Saul is there. Verse 58. The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. Jesus commits himself to of God. When he dies. Stephen commits himself to Jesus. As he dies, they both die saying father, forgive them when they know not what they don't know what they're doing. Stephen very much is a Christlike figure. He is acting like Christ acted. He is carrying on the work of Christ and he becomes the first martyr. He died . Like Jesus died. It's a tremendous seed. And it's something that Saul of. Tarsus never, he never forgets what happened there. He will be changed by these events and he will be changed by what Jesus helps him see happened to Steven . We will see more of that out in our reading this week. So chapter eight, wanna make sure that you just keep pushing right on don't end at the end of chapter seven verse 60 need to continue right into chapter eight. Saul approve of his execution. Saul of Tarsus. Here is a farsighted person. He sees the incompatibility of Christianity and Judaism right away. Christianity cannot be just another sec of Judaism. We can't have that. These people have a totally different view of the work of God. They see Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is not the Messiah. He is a faker. He is a Charan. Can't have that particularly because remember what Stephen was preaching. Gentiles can be part of the kingdom of God. Oh my, that has to be stopped. And Saul is determined to stop it . Verse three, he ravages the church. This is a strong term. That references what happens to the body when it is when wild animals fall upon it. So this is a gruesome term. Saul is just ripping the church part. And so the church Christians have to get out of town. Verse four. Those who were scattered about went everywhere, preaching the word. Some have suggested that Christians may have left Jerusalem. Cause they thought the city was doomed. That the judgment of God would follow on that city right now. But acts eight , four tells us Christians are going everywhere. Preaching the gospel. They're not stopped by what has happened here. They're not stopped by the Sanhedrin council , they're not stopped by Saul. The word of God is spreading everywhere. And so Saul sees that and he decides I'd better do something about that. The gospel's going north to Damascus and I'm going to go up there and I'm gonna stop it. And that is what happens in chapter nine. That's Wednesday's reading our reading for Wednesday is acts chapter nine versus one to nine. And of course this is the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. The beginning of his conversion story. The story is enormously important. It is told three times in the book of acts, that alone tells us how significant this is. And Paul talks about it all the time. First Corinthians, 15 Galatian chapter one, flipping chapter three, first Timothy one. Paul references this as well. This is enormous moment. Church history. In many ways in world history, the world is changed by the preaching of Saul of Tarsus, who becomes Paul, the apostle. So chapter nine, verse one links back to eight , four to eight , three Saul, breathing out threats and murder into disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest. So we're gonna go to Damascus. That's about 140 miles north of Jerusalem. There are according to Joesphus, about 10,000 Jews who are living there. And Paul goes up there to get any who belong to the way, the way is going to be the way pun intended that Luke refers to Christianity. It won't be until chapter 11 that we read about Christains. We're gonna read a lot about the way that's a common expression that Luke will use to reference new Testament Christianity. And of course, while Paul is on the way he meets Jesus, verse five, who are you? Lord? It can't be God, he's not persecuting God. He was defending God, but now he realizes he has persecuted Jesus, the Christ. And this is a great place to notice that grace doesn't comp doesn't compel anybody. I can't seem to get the word compel out. It is not compulsive there in verse six, rising into the city. You'll be what you are to do. Paul has an option he can choose to obey, or he can choose to disobey. There are some discussions about some differences, very minor differences between these three accounts. We can work through those as we get to particularly to the third telling of this story, as Paul tells it in act chapter 22, if there some very minor differences in all of those can easily be handled without any, without any difficulty at all. It's not hard to harmonize. What's being said in these accounts in any way, that's gonna take us to Thursday's reading in acts chapter nine. We'll keep reading the conversion of Paul acts chapter nine, verse 10. So Thursday's reading is acts chapter nine, verse 10 to 19 here comes Annanius He engages in the long standing a nd ancient I sraelite a nd Jewish tradition of arguing with God. But eventually he decides he will go see Paul in verse 15 is the verse. That is the key verse here. This is really a summary of Paul's mission statement. And in this is what gets Paul into so much trouble. He has a chosen instrument of m ine to carry my name before the Gentiles. If Paul had just taught Jews and had continued to keep Gentiles o ut o f the kingdom of God, he would never have had any problems. But the point being made here is that Jesus is for all. And Paul, the most Jewish of all of the apostles will be the one who will take that gospel into the Gentile world. It is absolutely certainly something that we would not have expected. I would not have thought that this guy, Paul would be the one to teach and preach all over the Roman world and who would advance the idea that Gentiles can be fully integrated into the people of God and being covenant relationship with God. But that is exactly what is going to happen. Just hold on to verse 15, we're gonna get some Kings. There's no doubt about that. But verse fifteen's really about the Gentiles. And if you're making notes, Paul is probably around 30 years old at this point, probably somewhere around 30 years old, that will carry us then into the last reading of the week on Friday. So our reading for Friday is acts chapter nine versus 20 to 31. And here for the first time, we begin to encounter some of the difficulties in reconstructing, the chronology of Paul's life. Because verse 23 says when many days had passed the Jews plotted to kill him. We're trying to figure out how many days and where that fits. Particularly in light of what Paul says in Galatians, in Galatians chapter one of 17, he talks about being in Arabia for three years. Now, Arabia is not far south Saudi Arabia Arabia extended far north. He's really not that far away from that in Damascus. Paul goes to Arabia for three years. We don't know what happened there. Paul never tells us what happened there. Of course, the speculation is that the apostles had three years with Jesus. Paul has three years. We don't know, we don't know that, but at some point he goes to Arabia and we also know there's a mention in Galatians one 18, then of a trip to Jerusalem. And that starts the whole business of trying to line up the trips to Jerusalem that are in acts and align those with the trips to , to Jerusalem that are mentioned in Galatians. And that gets complicated. And we'll talk more about out that when we read the book of Galatians, as we talk about how all of that chronology works, but for right now, probably outside of verse 23 in my Bible, I would write three years in Damascus and Arabia. And maybe put a question mark, beside that to say, we don't really know everything there is to know about those three years in , in verse 26, he comes to Jerusalem. This is probably the first visit to Jerusalem that Paul has ever made as a Christian. This may be somewhere around 37 ad and Barnabas is doing Barnabas things. Barnabas is the guy who says we can trust him. The church is not anxious to get involved. Another Stephen , uh , persecution, crazy event like that. So you can certainly see why they would be holding him at arms length. We don't know, maybe he's a mole. Maybe he's trying to be an insider, but Barnabas breaks that open and here comes Paul he's accepted. And he comes in and uh , places his membership, if you will, he identifies it joins becomes part of the church there in Jerusalem. But at some point, this begins to be a very difficult issue for the church in Jerusalem. The result of that is that verse 30 tells us Paul is moved out of town. Like I said, we don't need another wholesale persecution. Like Steven's death touched off. So Paul moves out and then we get this summary statement in verse 31. Really the end of a section. This is section two in acts . If you follow these summary statement that Luke uses where he gives us a little note about how the church was doing verse 31 then becomes the end of this section. We have a new player in the game, Saul, Tarsus now the apostle Paul, what's he gonna do? Where is he gonna do it? How is all of that going to work? What's next for some of that. And what about this Gentile issue? We've come in. Just this week's reading from seeing Stephen die for preaching. The gospel that Gentiles can be fully in the kingdom. It's not about the temple. They can be. Gentiles can be part of the people of God. He ends up being murdered, being put to death for that teaching. Now we have the guy who is present when he died, who was part of that? Who was persecuting the church because of that teaching. Now he is a Christian and we get an inkling from acts nine 15, that he's gonna teach that gospel. We get a little bit more of that here in our reading today in acts nine in verse 29, how is God going to use Paul? That's where we are. When we come to the end of our , our reading here on Friday, Act 9 31, the church is doing well. Note the role of the holy spirit, the holy Spirit's one that empowers the church church is doing well, but I'm kind of on the edge of my seat. What's next for this incredible figure. This incredible conversion who saw this coming the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to become the apostle Paul. Well, thanks for listening then that's this week's Monday morning coffee podcast. If you like what you're hearing, we certainly would like for you to follow or subscribe. And we would especially appreciate a review or a rating on whatever app that you're listening on. The more of the , that kind of thing that we get, the more the apps in the program show this. When people are just searching to try to find a podcast, Hey, lots of people are liking this show. Why don't you listen to this? So if you'd give us a review or a rating that would really help out simply tell somebody about the friend about the show. Simply tell somebody about a friend, simply tell somebody about the show. How about that you tell I need, yeah, I need a little bit more coffee here to get finished out up. Tell somebody about it , uh, share it on Facebook, help other people get involved in this because we're trying to help people read their Bible, understand their Bible, connect with the sermon on Sunday, carry that into their week. We think that this show is a great way to do exactly that. So help folks find this podcast until next time, then may your coffee be delightful? May your Monday be short and may the Lord be with you today? All day. I will 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.

Speaker 3:

I .