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The Light Shines In Jerusalem Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2022 1:00 am

The Light Shines In Jerusalem Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 19, 2022 1:00 am

Imagine all God can do through someone solely focused on God’s will. Paul’s determination to settle a church split in Jerusalem drove him into hardship, and eventually, to be on trial in Rome. In this message, we consider Paul’s dilemma and defense. Are we willing to do what is right even when harm is seemingly inevitable?

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Rain forests looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter. The apostle Paul rejected the counsel of his peers and went back to Jerusalem after completing two missionary journeys is determinations acetylene church there drove him into hardship and eventually execution in Rome, the Moody Church in Chicago. This is running to win when Sir was clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line wasn't wise for Paul to reject the advice of his peers.

Will you know Dave, I want to side with the apostle Paul, but what I love about that story is the fact that oftentimes decisions are made people disagree with what we do.

We have to trust God, we have to seek his wisdom and then we have to do what we are called to do. And that's true today is Annette in the midst of our culture. What we have so many decisions to make so many issues that we are confronted with the question is how do we navigate this culture. That's why I've written the book entitled no reason to hide standing for Christ and a collapsing culture at the end of this message. I'm going to tell you more about this book but I want to remind you that for a gift of any amount. It can be yours, simply go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen to God's word.

Glad that you're here today and that we're here for one purpose. During the next few moments and that is to ask God to birth in us passion for him because the question that is before us is this what is God able to do through a person who is God intoxicated, for whom only love for God really matters and doing God's will.

It's the story of the apostle Paul and it's in the 21st chapter of the book of acts acts chapter 21 E. turn to it in your Bibles because you got to follow along the progression and in the process were going to be discussing such issues as God's will. How do you do determine God's will, not in detail. Of course, but sometimes overriding compulsion by the spirit enables us to do things we wouldn't normally do and also were going to get right into the thick of the question of the what is the relationship of Christianity and Judaism. How far is it that we should go in being a witness to those who perhaps come from a different tradition, a different religion or different culture. All that in the next few moments. Acts chapter 21 opens in the apostle Paul is finished all of his missionary journeys. He is only one desire left, actually two desires that we could put it that way and that is for him to visit the city of Jerusalem one last time and then go to Rome and he's going to do both. Despite the fact that there are those who advised him against it.

So what were going to do is to take some cameo shots today of the apostle Paul's heart you know there are many people who are interested in the apostle Paul's theology, but the problem is that these people that is theology don't necessarily have his heart today were going to see a glimmer into his passion and what made him tick. So in order to get the context he's on his way to Jerusalem and then were going to notice. First of all, his determination is absolute determination to go even against catch this now, even against good advice. Normally, I never tell anyone to go against good advice that the apostle Paul did, but then on the other hand, I've never spoken to the apostle Paul. Either notice in chapter 21 we had come close to Cyprus and then we sailed to Tyre verse four and having sought out the disciples. We stayed there for seven days and through this spirit they were telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem through the spirit.

Paul don't go all right with that in as a background.

Let's look at verse eight on the next day we departed, and came to Caesarea and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist was one of the seven and stayed with him he had for unmarried daughters who prophesied especially during the times of the New Testament the gift of prophecy was evident and it was not limited to men and so were not sure what their prophecies were but they were prophesying these young ladies wear and Profit by the name of agate bus who shows up earlier in the book of acts, the claimant, verse 11, he took Paul's belt bound his own feet and hands and says, thus says the Holy Spirit.

This is how the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the man who owns the belt and deliver into the hands of the Gentiles.

Old Testament prophets frequently acted out their prophecies and to make it vivid, that's just exactly what he did when we heard this verse 12 and who is that we remember the book of acts was written by Luke Timothy was there seven or eight other people mentioned in the previous chapter are there as well.

Paul is taking them as a delegation to Jerusalem and he's determined to go to Jerusalem and you'll notice it says when we heard this we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem, then Paul answered. What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart, for I am ready not only to be imprisoned, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus and since he would not be persuaded.

We ceased and said well what the will of the Lord be done. Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem because the church was about to split. Furthermore, he had an offering that he was bringing from other churches that he wanted to bring to Jerusalem and he thought that this would heal the rift between Jew and Gentile from the Gentiles. He received money to give to the Jews were going through a time of poverty in Jerusalem because of a famine and so what he thought was I want to go there personally timeout did Paul do what was right or not. Many commentators say no. He was just stubborn through the spirit told don't go then agate bus says this is going to happen to you. All of the good advice was don't do it and Paul didn't. Anyway, I'm going to argue that Paul did do the right thing, even though when he got to Jerusalem it was like a spark and a can of kerosene. Everything. But Paul was determined I think that the warnings should be interpreted as warnings and not necessarily as prohibitions because in chapter 22 when he speaking to the elders at Ephesus. He says this.

It says in verse 22 of chapter 20 and now behold I'm going to Jerusalem constrained by the spirit, not knowing what will happen to me except that the Holy Spirit testifies to be in every city that imprisonment and affliction awaits me well does the Holy Spirit contradict himself. Give one message to these people in the spirit and then another message to Paul I don't and so I think that they prophesied in the spirit in the sense that they were warning. Paul not necessarily prohibiting him.

I'm going to give the apostle Paul. The benefit of the doubt even though there are some people who think he did the wrong thing were going to assume that he did the right thing and I think it will become evident as we go through the text talk about determination your warning me that I'm going to Jerusalem. I am willing to be imprisoned and to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the faith.

With that, we had a thousand apostle Paul's that's his determination. What is his dilemma. What happens when he gets there to the city of Jerusalem. Well he meets with James. Now James is the half-brother of Jesus and James on the following day.

I'm now in verse 18 of chapter 21 he went with us and they had the elders were present after greeting them all related. One by one the things got it done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God, I love that because clearly, Paul was not honoring himself here what Paul was doing is talking about what God had done, and when the report was over, they glorified God. That's the way it should be. After every missionary report, we should end up giving God glory because it's not about us. How clear God makes it is always about him so they give God the glory. But then here it is now the split that's about to happen and pull is about to exacerbate it. You'll notice it says when they heard it, they glorified God, they said to him you see brother how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed payroll zealous for the law well 3000 people converted on the day of Pentecost they believe couple thousand later mentioned in the book of acts, and then you begin to ask yourself think. Now, 20 years after Pentecost think of that thousands and that thousands of Jews that were converted in Jerusalem, but there was a problem that could split the church and seemed as if it would here. It was now put yourself in the sandals of the first century Jew you have been taught that you should honor the feast days, you should honor the dietary laws you should restrict your travel on the Sabbath day. All of this is in the Old Testament, you should bring sacrifices to the temple in accordance with God's prescription. You have all of these commands and you're an observant Jew and you want to keep all of them in honor of God, and that's what many of the Jews were doing now along comes a man by the name of the apostle Paul who says that you don't have to do that because salvation is free through Jesus, and the laws been done away and what are they saying they're saying wait a moment now and who are you to tell is that the law has been done away so you have two groups of Jews, those who dig in their heels and say we will not change our view because God gave us these laws and only God can take them away yet another group was convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and they say yeah God gave us these laws that's true, but but Jesus is God and Jesus didn't do away with them and taught us that the Old Testament laws were but a shadow of what was to come, and they believed in Jesus, but they were still zealous for the law. That's what the Bible says. James says thousands believe there still zealous for the law. Now how does Paul get wrapped up in this notice, it says and verse 21 and they been told about you he speaking to Paul that you teach all the Jews are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to their customs. What then is to be done, they will certainly hear that you have come you're going to stir up a riot here in Jerusalem. Paul now we have to pause here at the stop all the way along line and say is this a correct representation of what Paul talked don't keep the law of Moses don't circumcise your children all that is history.

That's Old Testament a new dispensation and new has come. Is that really true to Paul, not really, but you can understand how this rumor would get started and how it would be perpetuated because it's very clear that Paul taught salvation by faith alone, not the works of the law and so you don't have to keep the laws of Moses. All those intricate laws regarding travel regarding what you can eat everything now is clean and so you can understand that people would say Paul your teaching is that it's close to what Paul is teaching but not quite.

Not quite, because what the apostle Paul taught. Is this that now that he is a believer now that he believes in Jesus, you can still keep some of the customs of the Old Testament, you can still circumcise your children as a matter of fact he had Timothy circumcised if you want to take a Nazirite bow.

You can because Paul says that day he did it.

He did it, but it has an entirely different meaning. Bottom line, you can still keep some of these customs.

If you do not think that they save you. But if you were to think that the salvation comes through here then you are wrong. That's where Paul through the line by the way, today there are observant Jews and there are observant Jews who want to keep the law, and we should respect them for that. Did you know that in Israel there certain elevators and hotels I've seen them that on the Sabbath day. They are not, they automatically stop at every floor so that no Jew has to press a button that might seem strange to us, but I'm telling you the truth, because they feel that if they have to press the button.

There crossing the line and having to do some work so there are certain rules here that some of us don't quite get an understand, but it's an attempt to continue the rules of the Old Testament. What Paul was saying is that if you want to do these rules that's fine as long as you don't think that they are salvific.

What I mean by that is, as long as you don't think they save you now. Here's what they do. They tell Paul something, I mean James is speaking here.

Verse 23.

Do therefore what we tell you think.

And boy, that's a little strong for the apostle Paul.

You know if he came here to Moody church. I wouldn't say will Paul.

I'm here to tell you what you should do so do what I'm going to tell you I think that couch a little more diplomatically but then it says in verse 24 we have four men who are under a bow must be a Nazirite bow take these men purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses so that they might shave their heads.

Thus, all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.

But as for the Gentiles who have believed we've sent a letter that they don't have to keep the law, but they should of course abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from immorality and so there's no question about that the Gentiles in acts chapter 15 there was a conference where they agreed. Gentiles do not have to keep the law. They don't have to be circumcised or anything, in order to be saved. The question was what we do with the Jews, who are struggling with this issue.

And here they say, why don't you join them in there about pay their expenses.

This probably came about because Paul did bring an offering, and it was customary in those days for a richer person to help a poor person to fulfill his vow. With all the sacrifices that attended to it. You go through that Paul and that'll show people that you're also observing the law understand now whether some people who think the pole compromise dear, I don't think so. In first Corinthians.

He says this to the Jews.

I became as a Jew, that I might win the Jews to those who are under the law I became like those who are under law to win. Those were under the law and those who are outside the law I became like day that I might be able to win those that are outside the law. Paul I think is saying I can do all this as long as it's correctly interpreted and not a matter of compromising salvation so that was Paul's stance. So we looked at his determination. We've also looked at his dye llama and what is his defense well that he doesn't fulfilled about because a riot breaks out and you'll notice it says, for example, in verse 27, when the seven days were almost completed God, all from having to offer sacrifices which were part of the Nazirite bow when the seven days were almost completed the Jews from Asia seeing him in the temple stirred up the whole crowd.

They laid hands on him. They arrested him. They accused him of bringing Gentiles into the temple area.

Paul would never have done that.

He had some Gentiles with him but he would've never brought them into the temple area because he understood you go to Jerusalem today spent a long time since I've been there 10 years but I remember going to the temple mount.

And there still is a sign there that says do not enter upon the pain of death.

This owing to the sacredness of the place Gentiles were not supposed to go where the in the inner temple area so there's a warning sign. There which all of us.

Respectfully, of course, ignore, and we go in any way and that the dome of the rock today.

Of course, is the is a Muslim shrine, but the point is this, my friend.

The apostle Paul would not have brought people Gentiles into the inner sanctum because in those days that was a crime that resulted in death. Bottom line, Paul is arrested he gives his defense and you can go on and you can read what he has to say. And these events are actually going to turn out now. In such a way that he does end up going to Rome, but I won't tell you that story that will become more evident in the next message in the series. So Paul gets to Jerusalem. And he also gets to Rome for my friend, this is Pastor Luther and isn't it interesting that the issue of racism Jews versus Gentiles goes back all the way to the first century in my new book entitled no reason to hide. I have an entire chapter on diversity, equity and inclusion doesn't really help us, or does it hurt us when it comes to race relationships. Let me ask you another question. If your children come home from school and say that we are living on stolen land. How would you answer that. And, furthermore, should we be responsible for the sins of our forefathers. How do we navigate that those are the kinds of questions I discuss in my new book entitled no reason to hide standing for Christ and a collapsing culture and each chapter ends with an example of a person who stood against their culture and we honor them today because of their strength and courage and we of course should do the same for gift of any amount.

This book can be yours. Go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that contact info again. RTW or 1-888-218-9337 and thanks in advance for your generosity, because together were making a difference to get the gospel around the world is time now for you to ask Pastor Luther question about the Bible or the Christian life discrepancies in the Bible it takes some study to resolve many of them. One listener asks Pastor answer this question in Genesis 3230 Jacob said he saw God face to face. Now how is that possible when we read no man can see me and live very good question. Nobody has ever seen God is God, because you cannot see God and live to see God as God. It would be something like standing may be 100 feet from the sun, but there's no doubt that throughout the Scriptures you can see manifestations of God. Moses, for example, he was in the cleft of the rock, and he saw the glory of God, passed by, here's an interesting reference. It says in the book of John. No man has seen God at any time, but the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the father.

He has declared him when you looked into the face of Jesus, you are seeing God, but you are not seeing God as God that's white Christmas we sing veiled in flesh the Godhead see the glory of Jesus had to be veiled so when the Bible speaks about seeing God face-to-face.

It means that yes Jacob did see God. But Jacob saw God in a veiled way I can say two things that appear to be contradictory, but they really aren't. I can say I saw my face this morning and that's true. I can also say I did not see my face this morning.

Obviously I didn't.

How could I see my face directly. I couldn't.

I sought, however in the mirror.

Or maybe that helps us understand that nobody sees God directly, but there manifestations of God, and Jacob was right when he said I saw God face-to-face thank you Dr. Luther for clearing that matter up. If you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 in Jerusalem some new believers insisted that converts to the Christian faith keep observing Jewish laws, the conflict was sharp and Paul had to settle an argument that put the outreach of the gospel at risk. Next time I'm running to win we feel the passion of Paul, a man determined to run his life's race all the way to the finish line in Rome, but first you must sort out the conflict between Jewish law and Christian freedom. It's no secret that America is in crisis Masters book no reason to hide standing for Christ in the collapsing culture will be sent as our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to support running to win. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 online go to RTW that's RTW or write to running to win Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614.

This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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