Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Four Fatal Flaws in the Four Spiritual Laws

January 31, 2022 Mark Roberts Season 2 Episode 5
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Four Fatal Flaws in the Four Spiritual Laws
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 31st. I'm mark . I'm holding an amazing latte that I just made and it is incredible. And I am ready to talk to you a little further about yesterday's sermon that I preached at west side . If you haven't heard that sermon click in the show notes, you can listen to that sermon about the spiritual laws right now. If you have listened to that sermon, let's talk about a little bit further and then let's get out our daily Bible reading schedule. Let's get out our Bibles. Let's think about what we're reading this week in the year that we're spending with Paul. This is gonna be an exciting opportunity for us to build spiritual momentum and to use that energy that we had yesterday and just keep it rolling right into the week. So let's do it. Let's get started Yesterday. I preached the sermon titled the four fat of flaws in the four spiritual laws and what this sermon was about. And what I did in the sermon was review a very famous piece of evangelistic literature, a track called the four spiritual laws. The idea behind that lesson, what I'm trying to do there really I'm trying to work towards you , that you can be saved by faith and faith alone, accepting Jesus into your heart, praying to sinner's prayer. That's the kinda language that you hear. That's the most commonly proposed salvation method today, and lots and lots of people have bought into that. And that's not biblical. And I want to talk about why it isn't biblical. So that's why I'm developing that particular less sending that just gave me an opportunity for the case for faith alone, salvation to kind of make itself via the track and then to work through it. And so the four fatal flaws are first and foremost, the track forgets that faith always leads to obedience. And then the second fatal flaw is that the track forgets the at God's grace. Doesn't exclude man's obedience because as soon as we start talking about, Hey, have you obeyed, what have you done to obey people start talking about, it's not of you, it's of grace. You can't earn salvation. And then the third fatal flaw is that the track forgets that the new Testament specifically teaches that faith alone cannot save. And this is really kind of the equipping point in the sermon. I know, you know, when I get up and preach that, that the majority of people who are sitting there in the auditorium do not believe in faith only. They're not on board with that. So why are they listening to this? What have I gotta say to them? And here I'm trying to give folks something that they can use I'm being put in their back pocket when they encounter this. The James two passage is deeply troubling to faith, only advocates as well. It should be because it specifically says don't believe that that that's not right. Don't be doing that, that isn't gonna work. That's not going to save you. So that's a great place to land in a conversation about this matter, which then leads finally to the fourth fatal flaw, the track forgets about repentance and baptism. The track really says nothing about needing to repent sense and absolutely nothing about being baptized. Of course, it's all about faith and faith alone. You can't do anything to receive salvation of that thinking. And so repentance and baptism is completely out. So let me just add an additional thought or two here, as you continue to think a little bit about that and maybe pray for opportunities to make use of that material and try to help somebody better understand everything that the new Testament says about salvation. Probably the thing to start with you year is to realize that the faith only salvation plan, if I can call it, that is just one part of a systematic theology known as Calvinism or as it is commonly known today as reformed theology. And so to you and me, this kind of thinking makes sense whatsoever. Here's some plain passages and scripture that are being contradicted, what's going on with that, but in Calvinism, it kind of all comes together and sort of even kind of makes sense. If you buy into the presuppositions, if you buy into the package of Calvinism, then yes, you can get there. You can see why they would believe that and teach that how maybe some passages can be read to provide some kind of limited support for that, or even be bent over a little bit, warped a little bit twisted to kind of get there. You ignore some other stuff and , and you can go with that. And so if you're talking with somebody and they talk about being Calvinistic or they talk about , uh , I'm reformed I'm I'm into reform theology, that's become very, very popular of late then that's where they're gonna land on the salvation issue. The other thing that , that I wanna say about that is I think the four spiritual laws is a great illustration of how sometimes we just oversell Christianity. And the part of that, that I'm referring to is where it says in the first law, God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. A wonderful plan. God has a wonderful plan for you. Now. I think that is certainly in some ways a scriptural idea. God does have a wonderful plan for us. And that plan is to save us from our sins and for us to come and live with him for all eternity in heaven. And that will be amazing. Wonderful. Doesn't begin to cover it, but I really seriously wonder how does a non-Christian somebody who is not been exposed to biblical thinking somebody who's coming to this cold, what are they hearing? God has a wonderful plan for your life. Maybe they're not thinking about eternity. Maybe they're not thinking about the afterlife. Maybe they're thinking, you know, if I become a Christian, then my life is gonna get great. I'm gonna have a better job. I have better relationships make more money. My life is gonna be amazing. Particularly as the track goes on to develop, let me get a little coffee here. Oh , that's a wonderful latte. Um, as the track goes on, it even says in the material about now that you've entered into a personal relationship with Christ, this is the stuff after you've prayed to sin, prayer, the moment you receive Christ by faith, many things happened. You were forgiven of your sins. Christ came into your life. You became a child of God on and on and on. And then it says you began the great adventure for which God created you. Again, I, I sort of understand where they're going with that. And in some ways, discipleship is a great adventure. I think I've even talked about that in the pulpit preach about that, but it is certainly not the kind of adventure that may be a non-Christian somebody who's not literate in the Bible or thinking about spiritual things is going to expect great adventure and wonderful plan for your life just may be promising a lot more in Christianity than Christianity is going to deliver, because Christianity is not always going to make your immediate temporal circumstances. Wonderful. It's not always gonna be a great adventure. Some people who have become Christians were persecuted and killed. They that doesn't feel very wonderful at the time. I'm certain. So we need to, just the point I wanna make here is we just need to be really careful about what we say to people. As we're talking about Christianity, we're talking about discipleship. We don't wanna over promise . And we wanna be careful that what we are saying, particularly if we're using religious jargon, religious German , that they're hearing the same thing that we are saying, perhaps I have great illustration of that. Dean and I were talking about this a little bit is sometimes we get into that conversation about you folks think only the church of Christ is going to be saved. And if we're not careful, we can really mislead people about that. If, if we say things like only the church of Christ is going to be saved, I am understand you understand people who have read the Bible, understand the church is the saved. So in , in some ways that's just kind of redundant. Only the church of Christ will be saved. Only the saves will be saved because the church is made up of the saved. But what do people who are not Christians here? When we say that they think of the church of Christ as being one of a zillion D flavors of Christianity, there are church buildings on every corner. And what you're saying is your church, your little group that meets in your little building, you think you're better than all the rest of us. You think you're the only ones who are gonna go heaven and all the rest of these are not. And what is wrong with you? And we're not saying that we're , we're not trying to say that at all. That's a profound misunderstanding of the word church. We're certainly not saying only the people at west side will ever be that's craziness. Okay. Um, so what's happened. There is what we are saying and what we mean well is not going to be heard in the same way that we intended it to be heard. We just need to be careful about that. So these folks are saying, God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. I'm not sure that's gonna be heard the way they intend that to be heard. You begin the great adventure. I get it. I get it in some ways I kind of even like it. But I wonder if everyone's hearing that in the same way. We just don't wanna a promise in Christianity and then result the result of that will be people end up leaving Christianity, disillusioned and disappointed. Jesus is always really straightforward with people. I think about those occasions in Luke chapter nine, when he just straight up says, Hey, you need to follow me. And God says, I , I think I better go bury my father first. And Jesus says , Nope, let the dead bury the dead. You need to follow me. Jesus can be really straightforward with people. And I think sometimes maybe we kind of Guild the Lily a little bit, if that makes sense at all. Cause we don't wanna be quite as straightforward with people maybe saying, God loves you. And if you follow him, you may be persecuted and killed. That probably doesn't that , that doesn't go down as easily. He , you to say, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. So think on that a little bit in your evangelistic , uh, in your evangelistic conversations. And, and again, pray for opportunity to talk with somebody about this lesson. Maybe even just ask somebody and say, Hey, do you know about the four spiritual walls? It's uh , huge, hugely, widely used kind of material in the denominational world. And if somebody says, yeah, yeah, we're all about that. We have that . Have the church say, Hey, listen to this lesson. My preacher kind of reviewed some of that and, and , and said some things about what the Bible has to say about that. I maybe we could talk about that further. Listen to this lesson, send 'em a link. See if you can make something of that in an evangelistic kind way that might cause somebody to say, Hmm , I never thought of about the four spiritual laws like that. Wow. There are some flaws in that Calvinistic approach to salvation that the four spiritual laws offers good. I hope that's good and hope God will grant you some good opportunities in this week. Let's think about daily Bob reading . Let's go see what Paul's up to This week in our daily Bible reading, we're going to complete acts chapter 15, the fame Jerusalem conference, and then push into the second missionary journey in acts chapter 16. Really this all begins out of acts 15 one, but some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised. According to the customer , Moses, you cannot be saved as I'm beginning today. Our reading on Monday is acts chapter 15th versus 10 to 21. We kind of stopped on Friday, right in the middle of Peter's speech. I'm not really too excited about where we had to make the cut in the reading there, but that's where we were. I, I wanna deal with some issues up front about the Jerusalem conference in acts chapter 15. There really are two things that are troubling about this. And, and neither one of those are the fact that I'm almost to the bottom of my latte. First, there is the issue of how to make application of the letter that the brethren write. And we'll talk about that here in a little bit, as we get to that day, when we read that, what does that mean? And, and how do we make , make sense of that and, and what exactly is being asked there, but probably the more pressing issue is the question of relevance who even cares. Okay. So we got together and we figured out that you don't have to become a Jew first to become a Christian. I got it. I'm good. Moving on. I think that's how a lot of people view this material. And particularly since I great deal of the new Testament deals with this issue, Paul writes the , uh , pistol to the Galatian churches. Paul writes the book of Romans. Both of those letters deal extensively with the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. And we've seen a lot of that already in the year with Paul material, as he's always having trouble with Judaizing teachers follow him around. And we saw that is what got Steven killed. So this is a huge issue back then, but it's really easy to say, this is not an issue today. So why do we need to talk about it? I think most people today understand very, very clearly that you don't have to become a Jew to become a Christian. And so why are , are we talking about this? What is the relevance of this material? And I'm gonna say a couple things in that direction first and foremost, it does establish that Christianity is not a subset of Judaism and that is not insignificant. And the fact that you and I understand that, and we have grown up always kind of with that in our thinking and that saturates and permeates the environment out we live in today. It's okay for Gentiles to be in the kingdom of God. Gentiles are not second class citizens. We just kind of assume that that does not mean that it is unimportant or that the Bible shouldn't treat that. The reason we understand that. So thoroughly is because of what happened in acts chapter 15. And maybe we should think of a little bit more about what Christianity looks like and how that is received in the world and what you , you and I in our lives would look like if in fact we needed to become Jews first and keep the old law . And then you stack Christianity on top of that, which is exactly what acts 15. One says, some brothers were teaching. So first and foremost, yes, that point is being established and that should not be minimized. But I think, secondly, here we get a good look at what God thinks about adding stuff to the gospel. That's important. That's important. The principle of acts 15 is not just, don't add Judaism to Christianity, kind of smash 'em together and get this synthesis of these two religions. The principle here is don't add anything to Christianity period, and that would include the creed books and systematic theologies of men. I am looking at you, John Calvin, and all of your writing that result in false doctrine and false thinking and wrong ideas about Christianity. But I'm also looking at brethren who add their scruples and their conscience. And this is how I was raised to Christianity and want everybody to not only be a Christian, according to the new Testament, but oh, also we've added all these extra rules since then that cover all of these other situations. And that goes from maybe a hundred years ago, when folks were saying, you can't play cards and you can't go to the movies to whatever new thing people are adding today and saying, you know, if you were a real Christian, you wouldn't be doing this and you wouldn't be stop it, stop it. Don't add stuff to Christianity. Don't put a burden on others that God has not put upon them, which bring you then to the third thing that I'd wanna say about that, which is what act 15 really emphasizes is the need to get along with brethren. Because at the end of our reading today, what James is talking about, there is yeah, U Gentiles don't have to become Jews. You don't have to observe the old law. You have to do all that stuff, but you know what? There are Jews in every city and there are Jewish believers who are gonna be deeply offended and it's gonna cause division. And it's gonna cause strife. If U Gentiles are doing a lot of crazy things. So in the name of unity, even if it's not required for salvation, we're gonna do these things so that we can get along. And if you think that we don't need that lesson to date, you just haven't been paying attention because all through the church's history, there have been things that weaker brethren have needed brethren of different ethnicity, brethren of different knowledge, backgrounds, brethren of different, and there's things that we need to do to maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. And sometimes brethren just flat. Aren't willing to do that. And I think during the pandemic, we have seen a pretty good share of that. Somebody who has said, I'm not comfortable with this. And people have said tough luck to you because I don't want to do that. And that is outside of new Testament. Christianity, these Gentiles are going to be asked to let go of some things and to not do some things so that their Jewish brothers can be made comfortable because unity matters. And in every congregation, in every town, in the Roman empire, the dream of the apostles, the dream of God is that there's going to be one congregation of odds people. And the fact that they have come together, Jew and Gentile, Jews, Greeks, Romans Barbans , and they're all worshiping the same God and proclaiming Jesus Christ of Messiah. That is going to make a huge statement to the world because you have love for one another. Jesus says the world will know that you're my disciples. And so the apostles do not say in acts 15, okay, here's what we're gonna do. You Gentile star the south side church. And you Jew, you start the north side church and never the two will have anything to, to do with each other. That is not the answer here. The answer here is to be ready to give some things up. That don't matter to God. They're not the essentials of the gospel. Just give 'em up, give 'em up so that we can get along. That is the message of acts chapter 15. And we need that message today. So somebody tells me, oh, I don't think this is all that relevant. Mm . Maybe not. I'm thinking this is extremely in . And so the conversation begins in verse 10, as Peter continues to push this idea, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yolk on the neck of the disciples? The yo here would be the law of Moses. He's talking about the entirety of the law. And he says two things about this. God gave the Gentiles the necessary purity. That's verse nine. From last week's reading, none of us could fulfill the law verse 10. That becomes a very important idea. As you move forward in the new Testament, if you want to be saved by the law, you're gonna keep the law. Then Hey, what you're buying there is you're gonna keep all of the law who wants to do that? Who thinks they can do that? Nobody can do that. So then Paul and Barnabas speak verse 12. There's a silence there. We , it says that Peter speech is very convincing and then they make an appeal. Paula barn is making an appeal to implication. God's blessing upon our work implies that he has sanctioned it. Then James beginning in verse 13, he is the brother of the Lord, James, the brother of the Lord verse Corinthians 15 seven tells us about him. He quotes out of aims chapter nine, and the quotation is loosely from the septus. So it may read a little bit differently than the quotation of amist chapter nine in your English Bible. But he makes the point that the old rules of Jewish religion are no longer applying. That's not it. God is doing something completely new to make a people out of the nations. And God has always wanted to do that. And so God is doing that now in Christianity, he's bringing all people together. God first visited the Gentiles to take from them. A people for his name. Peter has told us verse 14, and this is what the prophet Aimes says. Verse 15, I'm gonna rebuild the attentive . David I'll rebuild its ruins. And then that the remnant of mankind verse 17 may seek the Lord, not the remnant of the ju no , everybody in all the Gentiles who are called by my name, God wants everyone. So stop with the Jewish laws. Let's move forward with the gospel. That includes all people. That's always been God's intent. I'll hold us for today's reading. That was kind of a lot on today's reading, as we think about the relevance and importance of this material and what's going on here. So work with that. Think about that. Pray about that. I'll see you tomorrow. As we tidy up the results of this acts , 15, this famous conference in Jerusalem tomorrow, we'll think a little bit further about this letter and what it means. Welcome to Tuesday's reading Tuesday's reading is acts 15, 22 to 31. Then it seemed good. Verse 22 to the apostles and elders with the whole church to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called barvas and Silas leading men among the brothers with the following letter. So a delegation and a letter goes forth. The church is doing everything it possibly can to clarify, and to make this issue. Crystal clear, verse 24 even says, we've heard some people have gone out from us, although we gave them no such instructions. Folks are flashing their Jerusalem credentials. We come from Jerusalem and that's impressing people. The Jerusalem congregation says, don't be deceived. We didn't tell 'em this. We're not teaching this, this isn't right. The difficulty then with the letter and with what the delegation comes to say is how exactly we are to make application of that. In verse 29, the Gentile brother are told they need to abstain from what's been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what's been strangled and from sexual imorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you'll do well fare. Well , this is roughly restated . What James had said in verse 20 across the page. The question is, what does all this refer to? And what does this mean? Well, of course, the idea of abstaining for what's been sacrificed to IEN from blood, and what's been strangled. Those are things no Jew could eat. Kosher dietary restrictions would keep them from ever being able to be any part of anything like that. So if you serve that to a , a Jewish brother, he's just gonna freak out and there's gonna be all kinds of problems. Paul will talk more about that. In first Corinthians eight , nine , and 10, he will also address that in Romans 14 and 15. And maybe you're thinking that's not such a big deal. What is such a big deal, but you have to remember Jews grew up with those kosher dietary restrictions in place. They had never eaten bacon. They had never eaten things that were unclean. Peter gets told by God, in acts chapter 10, to rise, kill , and eat . Peter's like, I'm not doing that. I am Jewish. I am not doing that. It is not just a religion. It's part of their identity. It's part of their heritage. It's part of who they are. And just suddenly abandoning that, oh, I've been baptized now. I'm gonna have , have all these foods that I've never eaten before. That's not even gonna happen. So in the name of unity, it's easy to see why the Jerusalem congregation would say, we recommend you don't serve these things. We recommend that this not becomes something that's divisive in these local congregations. And we'll see, as I said, Paul saying the same and kind of things and prescriptions eight , nine, and 10. The question then though continues when they say abstain from sexual imorality okay, wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait a minute. That's not just a recommendation. No, Christian J Gentile doesn't matter is allowed to be involved in fornication , adultery, homosexual, none of that kind of stuff. Okay. So what is this doing? Running in with that? And there is a lot of discussion about that and how all of this works. Some people have tried to argue that these things, all of these things are always wrong because they're part of the covenant with back in Genesis, chapter nine, particularly the emphasis there on keeping from blood. And so they're trying to make that some kind of everlasting covenant that's really problematic because Paul says in first Corinthians that you can eat this kind of, I offered meat and says that that's gonna be okay. So how is this? Then a perpetual covenant from the time of Noah, others have tried to say that this decree deals with culture and custom and how to get along with you and Gentile believers. And so it doesn't apply at all, but I'm asking, what about abstaining from sexual morality ? Is , is , is that off the table? Oh, as long as it doesn't offend my Jewish brother, I can do anything I want to down at the temple with the temple prostitutes, that is clearly a mistake. Clearly, that kind of thing is prescribed in a ton of other passages in the new Testament. Maybe the best answer that I've seen to try to put all this together and to harmonize all of this, which is the kind of material that I love being able to give you here in this podcast, because I think this is the kind of thing that causes maybe some head scratching when you're doing the daily Bible reading is the idea that sexual imorality was so common among pagans. They didn't see it as a moral issue. So while Jews would certainly see it that way while you, and I would certainly see it that way, it was not viewed that way among Greeks and among Romans think about it. They went to church by going to see a temple prostitute. We know in car an that there were a thousand temple prostitutes. That's probably after the close of the new Testament, that gets cited a lot. That the evidence for that is probably after the end of the new Testament. But even if that was an 8100 8200 , that just tells you maybe there weren't a thousand temple prostitutes when Paul came to cath , but there were a bunch. And there were a bunch of Antioch, as we talked about when I preached the sermon on Antioch and what that church was like, there, there was a Grove of trees, a sacred Grove outside of the city and men and women went there and they were going to worship. And the, that you worshiped was you were involved in sexual imorality with a temple prostitute. It was just not even considered a thing. And so as the church in Jerusalem writes these things and sends forth this , this delegation, they are addressing some things that the Gentile believers would not consider to be monstrous, spiritual, scriptural, sinful objections. They're talking about some things that would not be viewed in that kind of light. And so sexual morality would fit there for those Gentile believers. I, I think that's probably the best explanation of that , that I've seen. I'm not entirely happy with that. And there are some things that I would would like to ask about that and try to work with. But there isn't any question that abstaining from what's been sacrificed to idols. Verse 29 is okayed. You don't have to abstain in Paul's later writings. So I can't make that a universally applicable. This is absolute. You can't ever eat anything. That's been on the altar of an idol because Paul will say, you can, it will be okay under certain circumstances, but we feel pretty comfortable saying you should not be involved in sexual morality because Paul and the rest of the new Testament says, don't be doing that. So how to harmonize all of that, maybe like I said, the best way to handle of that is to just say, pagans, didn't see that as this giant sinful spiritual issue for them, it was just part of life. And so the church at Jerusalem writes and says, you're gonna need to be extra careful about that. You don't think that's a big deal, but it is a big deal. It's gonna cause real problems in the church from a unity standpoint. And as others addressing the new Testament, it's a spiritual issue. It's a sin. You can't be doing that. It's gonna cause real problems between you and God and in your walk with God. Maybe that will help us as I close all that, please notice that the end of our Bible reading verse 31, there's the joy theme. Again, there's unity. They're doing what's wrong . They're doing what God through the holy spirit has led them to do verse 28. It seemed good to the holy spirit. And so the brothers are excited and they're joyful. And the church is moving forward. What has caused a speed bump? If you will, is no more. We took care of that. We're good to go. Let's move forward. There's our reading for two tomorrow. We'll read acts 1532 to 41. There's gonna be an argument. I'll see you tomorrow. Wednesday's reading then is acts 15 versus 32 to 41. It's a short reading kind of breaks into two pieces. We see the brethren taking this letter and everyone is rejoicing. Then there's a lot of teaching and preaching going on in Antioch. So some of the brothers are able to be sent off verse 33 and carry this good news that the gospel's not being hindered. Paul and Barnabas remain verse 35, continue to work with the brothers in Antioch. Some think that Paul is wintering there waiting for the spring where he can travel again. And then verse 36. The second part of this Paula Barnabas end up Splitsville. This is a painful little section in some ways, not, not good stuff, kind of hurts to see Paula Barnabas having such a disagreement over John mark because John mark left them on the first missionary journey. And, and they end up going their separate ways because Barnabas wants to take John mark and that's important to him to help John mark get back up on that horse and go again. And Paul says, I'm not doing that. I , I don't have any faith in this guy. Don't trust this guy. Can't be taking him with me. And so Paul and Silas will now become the missionary team in some ways, if you're not careful, you can slide into the second missionary journey here with almost without noticing it, because what really gets the headlines here is that Paul Barnas have this dramatic disagreement. And I do hope as you're doing your questions and working with your questions for Wednesday, maybe you'll think a little bit about how disagreements among brethren can be whats the gospel. And we have to work those things out. But Silas of course, verse 40 would just be a marvelous choice for Paul to take. He's known also as SVA and appears in a number of places in the new Testament. He seems to have been a Roman citizen, which would be a really good choice because if Paul's whipping out his citizenship to say, Hey, don't be mistreating me. And this other guy with him is a Jew. Then that's gonna create an awkward situation. He is certainly a leading figure, acts 1522 in the Jerusalem church. And that would make him a wonderful person to have along. Maybe some Judaizing teachers are like, well, that's not what they're saying in Jerusalem. And then Silas could jump up and say, I'm from some . And I'll tell you what they're saying in , in Jerusalem, cuz that's where I'm from. I'm part of that church and they are not binding the old law. They are not making these Gentiles become circumcised, be circumcised before they could become Christians. Maybe the other thing to notice here is we conclude this reading for Wednesday. This is the last time that's the last time X 15. That's the last time that we're gonna see Peter. It's all about Paul from here on end . That's our reading for Wednesday. Welcome to Thursday. We're reading acts 16 versus one to eight today. And this is the second missionary journey with Paul in Silas . And here they pick up an important person who will be a huge figure in Paul's life. Where spending the year with Paul, you have to know about Timothy . We meet Timothy. Then as they come to Derby and Tetra , there's a disciple there named Timothy X 16, verse one, he's a son of a Jewish woman. Who's a believer. His father was Greek . He is not circumcised. And so in verse three, Paul does exactly that, which maybe is caus some people to pull their hair out because I thought we weren't going to impose that on anybody anymore. Acts chapter 15. Well, it's not going to be imposed on anybody as a condition of salvation. Remember acts 15 one. If you're not circumcised, you cannot be saved. Paul does this simply. So Paul and Timothy can preach in the synagogue. He simply doesn't want an unimportant issue to get in the way. And that is exactly where circumcision is. It's not wrong to be circumcised. That's not the case. And if that will get me into the synagogue so that I can preach the gospel, Paul says, Hey, I'm all about it. Let's do whatever it takes so that we can spread the gospel to more people. And that's why Timothy is circumcised. And I have a note here and we'll probably share this with the Bible class. When I get to act 16 to my Wednesday night Bible class, we do well to remember that Paul never taught that being a good Christian meant that you had to be and had to become a bad Jew. Paul continued in many Jewish observances all of his life because that was his culture. He couldn't stop being Jewish anymore than we can stop being Americans. And so as Paul deals with some Jewish issues, remember there's always two levels there. There's the, this is a, and this is necessary to be pleasing to God. Paul says, no, that's not the case anymore. I'm a Christian, but there's also that cultural level. This is who I am. This is what I'm comfortable with. This is how I grew up. This is what I'm willing to do. These are the people that I associate with that kind of thing for Paul makes Judaism a big, yes , that's just how, how I live my life. And maybe the thing to think about is some of our own American dietary ideas over in the far east, for example, they eat bugs. Uh , Dean and I have seen some TV shows where people are traveling in Thailand or Vietnam or some of those far Eastern countries and they're eating giant crickets. And that is really, really gross. Me and I am absolutely not doing that. I don't care how much ketchup you have, but that's not weird to them in any way. And probably some of the stuff that we eat over here would be really strange to them. So if you're in that culture, you try to adapt to that culture. And that's what's going on here in X chapter 16. So the churches are strengthened in the faith eight verse five, and then we get 6, 7, 8 and nine where Paul and Silas kind of get the wanders here as they're trying to figure out. God's will. I think if you get out your map for the second missionary journey and you look to see what's going on and where everybody is, it looks to me like Paul wants to go west SIS . Paul loves to go to the major city in an area, big city and get church established there. The gospel then can work out of that base of operations there, but that isn't happening in this particular occasion. God has greater plans for Paul and Silas and Timothy . And we're gonna see that as we continue to move forward in our reading in acts chapter 16 tomorrow, please make note , well, I'll save that for tomorrow. See you tomorrow for Friday's Bible reading it's Friday and today we're reading act 16 versus nine to 15, and it is difficult for me to emphasize how significant and important the verses that we are reading today really are for a couple of reasons. First verse 10 says when Paul had seen the vision immediately, we sought to go on into Macedonia. So we talk about Timothy and how important he is, but the, we there includes Luke. Luke is now part of the traveling party and is giving firsthand accounts, eyewitness accounts of what Paul and Silas are doing is an enormously important part of the text and helps us so much in our appreciation of Luke and his writing and this historical record here in act. Maybe the other thing that might even be a little more important is this is the occasion in which the gospel goes from Asia to Europe, crosses over the garden straight, make sure that you have your map out. And there we are setting sail from Cho as verse 11. And from there verse 12 to Philippi , which is a leading CI city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony Philippi is on the Ignatian way, the major road that goes all the way to Rome. It had been named for the father of Alexander. The great, a lot of important historical events occurred here. There is a famous medical school here, and some people have wondered if Luke was left behind for a period of time here, maybe that would play into some of that. It was settled with Roman army veterans. We've talked about some cities already that had had that done. Rome liked to do that. It was a good reward for those who had served faithfully in the military. And that kept the peace . You put a bunch of Roman ex-military in a place, and those folks are gonna make sure that everybody's paying their taxes and is loyal and is serving the Caesar. So we get the there , and there's a bunch of women verse 13, and they're down at the river and they're praying. And what that would say to us is there's not a lot of, not a lot of Jewish presence here, because if you have 10 men, 10 Jewish men, you can have a synagogue. So there just must not have been a very strong Jewish presence here or Lydia. And these ladies would not be down out at the river. And so the word of God is preached. God opens her heart. I think we're seeing the work of the holy spirit. The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword empowers the word of God. She probably is very wealthy. She is a working woman purple was made from an unusual root . And there is an , uh , there would archeological evidence that there was a Guild of purple merchants in Philippi , but of course it would be very expensive. And this, as I said, would mark Lydia as being a wealthy person. She is a business woman and she becomes, she becomes in verse 15, the first convert in Europe as for the, the very first time Christianity goes west, what a world changing event. This really is. I always, when I'm talking about this in a Bible class, or if I'm preaching through this text, I'm just gonna stop and observe for a moment that by and large Christianity moved west, it comes finally here to Philippi and then it keeps going west to Rome. And from Rome, Paul wants to take it to Spain and ends up going to England and ultimately to America. And that has changed that whole portion of the globe, that whole part of the world, Europe and America is all different for the spread of Christianity. Obviously I'm using that term pretty loosely, some of what arrived in America, some what arrived in England and so forth. Isn't new Testament Christianity, but it is something like this system of faith belief in Jesus, those kinds of things. And that has changed that world. Meanwhile, the gospel did not really get a lot of traction going east and that world is very different than the Western world. And what accounts for some of that, maybe what accounts for most of that is the fact that Christianity brings with it. Uh , the Protestant work ethic and interest in education. So people can read their Bibles. The idea of individual rights, the idea of people should be able to practice their religious , uh , conscience and should have religious freedom. Many of the things that we take for granted are inherently within the ideals teachings and doctrines of Christianity, how to treat people, treating people like I wanna be treated. A lot of these things go together. And ultimately, as I said, that just changes the Western world. And the begin of that, if you wanna pinpoint where that started is in our daily Bible, reading today, act 16 versus nine to 15, help us see the gospel continuing to take root. And now it is in Greece. It is in Europe and I'm excited to see where it's gonna go next. Well , that's our Bible reading for the week. Thank you so much for listening. And I hope these podcasts are helping you in your daily Bible reading and helping you make better use of the sermon material that's presented on Sunday. If you like this podcast, we would really appreciate it. If you would follow or subscribe. And especially if you'd rate and give a review that helps more people find the podcast . Maybe the best thing to do is just tell somebody else, Hey, listen to this. It's a help to me. I think it'd be a help to you. So until Monday, I hope that your coffee on this Friday is delightful and that your Friday will be short and the weekend will arrive quickly. I hope that worshiping God on Sunday will be a big part of your weekend. And I, that the Lord will be with you today all day. I'll see you Monday.

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