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Being Passionate for Christ - Life of Paul Part 63

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2021 7:00 am

Being Passionate for Christ - Life of Paul Part 63

So What? / Lon Solomon

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January 21, 2021 7:00 am

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See you guys there. I hope you'll take a Bible with you brought it and I hope you'll open it with me to ask Chapter 19 were going to be continuing in our study of the life of the great man of God. The apostle Paul, and I know this is been quite a summer some unusual things that happened Mars is in the year has passed a mere 35 million miles from Earth. We had a hit summer movie about a horse. We have a a member of the Kennedy clan was running for governor as a Republican but you know all those things are commonplace and predictable compared to what's been happening this summer in Chicago last week, the Cubs and the White Sox were both in 1st Pl. in September. Now the last time this happened was in 1906 because haven't won a World Series since 1908.

As a matter fact I haven't even been in the World Series since 1945 the White Sox have only won one World Series in their history was 1917 and how is all of this affected Chicago well to talk about teams are going to draw over 5 million fans this year in the city of the Illinois Gov. Rod Burgoyne obits a diehard Cubs fan has instructed his staff. The paper said to keep the schedule three good is going all the home games at Wrigley Field in the month of September and the paper said. Actually, the reason game because they lost within a very controversial call about all the governor of Illinois yelled so long and so hard with the rest of the crowd at the old but he lost his voice a good speak of his news conference the next day. Now Chicago Mayor Richard Daley on the other hand, is a diehard White Sox man. He got this from his mother, who into her 90s went to every game at Comiskey Park. As a matter fact when she died last year they buried her in her White Sox hat and he's going all the White Sox games if it is really wild was going on in Chicago and is one more interesting thing if you were to show up these days at Wrigley Field for Cubs game. You're very likely to see a Billy goat in the stands. Let me tell you why.

It's because of what they call in Chicago is the curse of the Billy goat you see back in 1945. That is the last time the Cubs were the World Series. A guy named William CNS bought a ticket to tickets to the game for the World Series at Wrigley Field. One ticket was for him and one ticket was for his Billy goat's pet Billy goat that he liked to bring the sporting events with the well when he showed up at the game they would like the Billy goat in and so this is been of course in Washington.

The goat would've gotten a lawyer but one in Washington was in Chicago and so instead, Mr. CNS pronounced a curse on the Cubs called the curse of the Billy goat and his curse was they would lose the 1945 World Series which they did, and that they would never get to another World Series which they haven't got just before Mr. CNS died. The Cubs management went to him and begged him to lift the curse of the Billy goat and he wouldn't so recently with the Cubs management is been doing is they been buying the ticket and bringing the Billy goat to every gold game in the hope that somehow this will reverse the curse of the Billy goat is dry within the paper, but it hasn't worked.

Now what I was reading all of this in the paper.

I thought to myself, you know there's only one word to describe the baseball fans in Chicago and that's the word passionate passionate the dictionary says means to have strong feelings about something to be fervent to be ardent to be zealous and today the reason I bring all that up.

You might be wondering why is because we want to talk about a God that he got in the Bible. Name the apostle Paul who was just as passionate and more passionate but not about baseball. He was passionate about Jesus Christ and we want to look at his passion and then we want to ask ourselves why did he feel this way and see if maybe some of that passion will rub off on us as followers of Christ here in the 21st century.

So let's look background. Remember, the apostle Paul has spent three years on his second missionary journey in the country of Greece that show you a map. He visited the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens Koren and then at the end of this. He decided to sail home. As you can see to Antioch in Syria for little bit of R&R. Now we didn't stay at Antioch for a long because he was so passionate about sharing Christ and so we departed and started on his third missionary journey.

Ask 19 verse one, Paul took the road through the interior that is of Asia minor and he arrived at Ephesus, the Cholla map again, notice the apostle Paul left Antioch over here and he went to the cities of Derby Lister I colonial Antioch pergola all of the cities he'd been to on his first missionary journey.

He went there strengthening the believers and strengthening the churches that he established all the while working his way over to the city of Ephesus that we should remind ourselves that Paul has wanted to do serious ministry in Ephesus for years. If you remember for years before. Ask Chapter 19, way back in acts 16. At the beginning of the second missionary journey, Paul tried to go to Ephesus, and God told them no. You also I hope remember that on the way home on at the end of the second missionary journey just a few months before, ask 19. In Ephesus, and preached a couple sermons and when the people they are asking is that he said I can.

Acts 1821, but I will come back if it is God's will will and obviously was God's will and now Paul is back in Ephesus but all this begs the question what was so important about the city of Ephesus that the apostle Paul was so anxious to get there and do ministry well Ephesus friends at this time was the second most influential city in the Roman Empire right behind Rome herself, but Cholla map Ephesus was the capital as you see with the big red star of the entire Roman province of Asia. Everything you see in green on your map.

Asia was the most populous and the most affluent of all the Roman provinces and is the capital of Asia. Ephesus became the political and the governmental center for all of the Eastern Roman Empire. Moreover, all the trade that move between the eastern and the western half of the Roman Empire moved to the city of Ephesus.

Ephesus became a huge city. Best estimates are that at the time of the apostle Paul Ephesus had 250,000 people living in the city and the Cholla.

Some slides archaeological slides of the digital see their water rolling through those. Let me just remind you that what you're seeing here is less than 30% of the city. The rest the other 70% is still underground. These pictures only represent 30% of the city that what made Ephesus even more influential was the Temple of the goddess Diana that was here. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world and people would travel from all over the Roman Empire making pilgrimages to come to this temple. So in addition to the quarter million people who lived in Ephesus there were always tens of thousands of pilgrims moving through the city. Coming to this temple, friends, remember last week I told you that Washington DC is so strategic a city in our world and we impact this city for Christ.

The reverberations of that will be felt around the globe. Remember that well what Washington DC is in the 21st century, Ephesus was in the first century and that's why Paul wanted to get to the city. Verse eight of this chapter Paul entered the synagogue in Ephesus and he spoke boldly there for three months. Verse nine but when some of the Jewish people became obstinate and began to speak evil of the faith. Paul left and began teaching the word of God daily in the school of Taranto's I told you last week. We don't know anything about the Scots around us. We don't know whether he was the teacher at the school were the guy that owned the building. We don't know what he rented it to Paul over the ages. Let Paul use it.

What we do know is that every day believers and seekers alike would come to this building to sit at the feet of the apostle Paul as he taught them the word of God. This was like Ephesus, Bible college if you will going on here and it went on for two years.

The Bible says in verse 10 from the spring of 54 A.D. until the spring of 56 A.D. they know what I study for messages as I do every week always come across interesting factoids that I don't have time to bring into the message could just as we just don't have enough on the minutes in the message. But I ran across an interesting factoid in studying for this message that I think is really worth mentioning, and that is I found out that in the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament. Some of them contain a footnote here to ask 19 nine and years without a footnote reads that Paul began teaching in the school of Taranto's everyday. Here's a footnote from the fifth hour that is 11 AM until the 10th hour.

That is 4 PM.

That is footnote appear so early in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament that is hard for us to imagine that that it's anything except true that it represents what Paul really did.

And if that's the case. This tells us in an enormous amount about the apostle Paul and the passion you have for Christ. Let me explain to you how we know from archaeology and historical writings that hearing the eastern part of the Roman Empire were Ephesus was that business began at the first hour, which was 6 AM and went until the 11th at 11 AM the fifth hour and then at the fifth hour 11 AM everybody went took a siesta.

They went home and at lunch. They relaxed related rounding. They did whatever and that business again picked up again in the early evening. Now there was a good reason for this reason is that in the middle of the day. Ephesus becomes unbelievably hot. I been there six times on various tours and about a witch told her on it seems like the itinerary always puts us in Ephesus in the afternoon and friends. It is hotter than blazes there in the afternoon I need paralyzing Lehigh in the afternoon and this is why the city basically shut down between 11 AM and 4 PM because it was just too hot to do anything now while the rest of the city of Ephesus was home resting.

What was the apostle Paul doing well. According to this footnote in the Bible. Those were the very hour that the apostle Paul was preaching and teaching his heart out here at the school of Taranto's why was he doing it then will probably because that's what he could get it.

It was probably occupied in the morning and occupied in the evening, but nobody wanted to be there in the heat of the day. So Paul got a great deal on the place in the heat of the day. But remember he was in there preaching with no air conditioning, no electric fans, not nothing to move the air around it all. It must've been hot enough in there to kill a temple. I can imagine how hot it was in that building. You know, I can relate a little bit to this in the years before we were able to move it over both me before 1992. We finished the new addition over there six years.

We met at Langley high school from 1986 to 1992 when the auditorium over there. It was air-conditioned. Everything was all right.

We set up in the morning we take down in the evening, but one summer the Fairfax County school board decided they were going to refurbish the auditorium at Langley high school and so they said we had to move out and into the gym, which was not their condition that the only thing the gym had with those big old exhaust fans is to blow video out of the gym. You know I'm saying that was it. And so for the month of July and August. We met in the gym with no air conditioning and even preaching without a suit coat on. I would come home in my time I would be sweated wet all the way down to my waist and then when my ties would dry.

I did big white salt states across my thought is true.

I ruined everything I had that summer and I only did that four hours a day. One day a week for two months friends. The apostle Paul in worse heat did it five hours a day, every single day for two years.

He ministered and that Connie but there's even more. Don't get there while he was doing this he was also working for a living, to earn the money to support him and his team acts chapter 20 verse 34. Paul writes to the Ephesians. He said that you yourselves know how when I was with you these hands of mine supplied not only my own needs but the needs of all my companions as well. So let's take a glance at the apostle Paul's daily schedule. There was a schedule from 6 AM to 11 AM Paul made tense consultants in the marketplace from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Paul preached his heart out in the sweat box of Taranto gems that what I mean. Then after 4 PM according to acts 20 verse 20 Paul went house to house, praying with people talking with people, encouraging people doing personal evangelism and then we know because he was a businessman. He had to go back and open up the shop for the evening shoppers window when they would call him at night. You saved my gosh how long did he do this. He did this every day for two years is along with this guy when it is time for sleep when in the sky every time he went any relax when you play golf well I don't, he did much of that stuff but I'll tell you what he did do what Paul didn't do as he rocked the province of Asia for Jesus Christ.

Verse 10 continues and says at the end of those two years he was there all the Jews and Gentiles who lived in the province of Asia had heard the word of the Lord and when we look on the human level to find out how this happened. How that kind of impact could've taken place. We can trace it directly to one source and that is the apostle Paul's passion for Jesus Christ, the passion that drove him to the limit of pace and keep up a schedule like this. The passion that infected. It inspired everybody. He taught at the school of Taranto to go out and stand across the province of Asia and live the same way, the apostle Paul's passion for Jesus Christ friends make the Chicago passion for baseball look puny by comparison.

Now that's as far as we want to go in our in our passage because it's time to ask the question again done this for a while so let's make this worthy of its resurrection here at McLean Bible church, always ready everybody 123 still could yeah is a lot. So what say okay that's great you don't respect the doctor working his heart out what differences in you that makes me all friends. I think it makes a huge difference because Paul said the things that you have seen and heard and experienced in me copy these things. I believe friends that God wants everyone of us is a follower of Jesus Christ to have the same kind of passion for Christ that Paul had. We may not accomplish the same thing.

That's not the issue, but the issue is we all have the same passion and use it will on what makes you say that, well, what makes me say that is what Jesus himself said to the church of Laodicea. By the way, one of the churches actually started by Paul, one of Paul's disciples right there at the school of Taranto's and here's what he wrote the said revelation freeze that I know your deeds, but buddies and I know that you are neither hot nor cold.

So because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth number limit them to remind you what Jesus is saying here Jesus is saying hey you know if you were spiritually cold.

If you were just a seeker. I could live with that. And Jesus said if you are a believer and your hot and passionate and fervent for me will that's even better.

But Jesus said the claim to be a follower of Christ and then to have no more passion for me, then you have for root canal. That's just not acceptable, like Starbucks coffee, it's okay. Cold. It's great hot and lukewarm. It's disgusting and that's kind of the way God feels about people going in the short of it.

Friends is that if we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. God wants us hot. God wants us passionate for Jesus Christ. So here's the question that all this begs what explains the passion to drive the fervency that we see in the apostle Paul here at Ephesus is there will on. I got an idea. Maybe he was passionate like this because he knew the message of Christ that he was preaching was right.

He knew that it was the true and the only way to God. Well, certainly the apostle Paul knew that.

I mean, Romans one says Jesus Christ was authenticated with power to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of Jesus is the sine qua non the nonnegotiable that proves to us. As Peter says that we have not follow cleverly devised fables and may I say that if you're here and you've never trusted Christ in the real and personal way that you have no need to be concerned that this is a counterfeit because friends, the resurrection proves attempting no other religious leader ever claim to be resurrected or was resurrected, but but God resurrected Jesus from the dead is proof positive you and me that this is the true and living way to God and remember what I love to say follow a dead Savior and you'll end up disliking follow living Savior like the Lord Jesus and you'll end up like him think about what Paul knew this, but I don't think this explains his passion he said will maybe his passion is explained by the fact that that he knew the message of Jesus that he was preaching would radically change people's lives down here take people out of the pits and and really make their life worth living. Well, he knew that to second Corinthians 517 if anyone is in Christ, they become a new creature, old things passed away. All things become new. You know, the apostle Paul is an experienced this in his own life riding along the road to Damascus gets knocked off his horse by the Lord Jesus is whole life today he is seeing that same transformation, the thousands of people's a lot of people's lives during his missionary journeys. Paul knew this was true for folks I don't think this explains why he was so passion similar to what these things than what was it while I think when we look at the seal the passion and the dedication that the apostle Paul displayed in Ephesus and by the way, the same zeal that he explained it displayed everywhere else.

He went his whole life. The only explanation that makes any sense. Is this that the apostle Paul was fervently in love with Jesus Christ.

He was fervently in love with Jesus Christ. If we miss this will never understand the passion for Christ that Paul displays the drove this man for Paul it was about more than just the message of Jesus Christ. Paul was passionately in love, not with the message of Jesus Christ. Paul was passionately in love with Jesus himself.

They know this is been true when we look down the annals of history and every other great servant of God, passionate servant of God would drove them was not a love for their ministry or love for the church, but a love for Jesus. I think George Whitfield you heard about the University talk about him before George Whitfield came to America in 1740 and spent the next 30 years riding up and down the colonies on horseback, he had little collapsible pulpit with the need preaching the open air and George Whitfield in those 30 years rolled over order of a million miles on a horse he led tens and tens of thousands of people here in the colonies to Christ. He was responsible on the human level for leading the greatest revival that is ever struck this comp country called the great awakening. He wrote the rain and snow snow and sleet thunder and lightning and hail and cold and heat, and you know he wrote his friend John Wesley in England and here's what he said and I quote he said my frequent vomiting's have left me and though I write a whole mindset have frequently been exposed to great thunder's violent lightning and heavy rains yet. I am rather better than usual." Can you imagine his godliness that Stark is riding on a horse. It's raining and thundering and lightning. He's losing launch on the side of the horse, and he just keeps going 1/4 of a million miles a road like this is that why why would anybody do that. Why would anybody do that. I don't even come to church in the rain. Why would anybody do that will let them tell you why he wrote in another letter. All that I could do more for him.

Jesus Christ Wesley wasn't doing this for the ministry Wesley what to give me Whitfield.

When doing this for the ministry and Whitfield what even doing it for the people he was doing it for Jesus. I'm sure there were days he got on importance of Lord only reason I'm doing this is for you.

That's one doing this he goes on to say all that I was a flame of pure and holy fire and had a thousand lives to spend in the dear Redeemer service and I intend going on till I draw, which is exactly what he did you know I think of Mother Teresa. She said in an interview, even though we do social work.

You must understand that we are not social workers.

We do what we do for one reason only. We love Jesus and we do it for him. They see friends as followers of Christ. We need to remember, Jesus never called us to be in love with the Bible. He never called us to be in love with the church. He never called us to be in love with the ministry.

He called us to be in love with him, he said. Matthew 22 the greatest commandment of all is that we love the Lord our God, not the Bible not the church. We love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, mind, and all our strength.

He wrote to the church of Ephesus Revelation chapter 2.

A number of years after Paul was there and he said I know your deeds and your hard work and your perseverance but I have this against you they will could have against them. They were working hard.

They were persevering they were doing religious activity always and I still got some against you.

You have lost your first well that's me so repent Jesus and make a U-turn and do the things you did at first.

When you first became a believer you know when I first became a believer I look back and I realize now you know I was willing to go anywhere got asked me to go willing to do anything. Jesus asked me to do willing to say anything yes me to say willing to stand up for the anywhere you want to stand up for and the reason was simple I was in love with Jesus.

Just that simple. And then, over the years.

In my early Christian experience.

No slow erosion began to set in the my life and and little by little. Other things crept in and took over first place in my life that these were necessarily bad things. They were girlfriend or wife or children were job or ministry. You know I did go apostate.

I didn't deny the faith. I Read my Bible and praying and going to church and being in small group and say grace before meals.

Not all that but that inner passion for Jesus that I once had that I had at the beginning of my Christian experience when there anymore and you know I became like a beautifully painted Easter egg. You know I was gorgeous on outside and I was just sucked dry and empty on the inside, and God had to get my attention. Talk to me about that and I will take the time now to tell you exactly always that he did that but the message he sent to me until I finally got it was clear that his you know what he salon. I want you to understand some I appreciate all your hard work, son, and I appreciate all your service and I appreciate you lead McLean Bible church and I appreciate your preaching, but you know what I still got this against you, none of those things are. My primary concern. My primary concern is that you love me and that I'm first in your life that you passionately love with me and salon. I got a message for you son repent to a U-turn and go back and do things like they were at the beginning when I was your first love, now took me a while but I finally heard that message and I didn't imprint if you're a follower of Jesus Christ in your here today and there's been some slippage in your life in terms of the level of your passionate love for Christ, then God has a message for you and it's real simple. Repent likely inter and go back and didn't do the things that you did at first. Go back and re-enthrone him as number one in your life is a lot how you do something like that. While I don't know how you do it, but I'll tell you how I did it. The Bible says he was been forgiven much love much and I'll tell you what help me. I just that every time I saw myself slipping, I just say sit down and go back and remember where I was when Jesus found I just go back and remember what I was when Jesus grabbed me and friends in one much believe I didn't have much of a future. My life was a disaster. Jesus pick me up and took me from an absolute just an absolute rescue mission situation and brought me to where I am today. You know, long the longer my memory gets on that stuff, the stronger my love for Jesus.

That's what I do they do that would help you some of you when Jesus found you, you want a very pretty picture either and and we just have a tendency to take for granted God's love for us in God's forgiveness for us. Don't do that. Remember, where he found you remember what you were remember where you will go in and what Jesus is done in your life.

He was been forgiven much love as much know what when people visit McLean Bible church. I'm always interested in the impressions that they take away you salon Jan I'm curious you know if somebody asked you what what would be the one impression that you'd like somebody to walk away with a visit McLean Bible to succumb and here they sit through a service they leave within the somebody said what was your impression what what would you really like him say will presently tell you I wouldn't really I don't care if they walk out here and say while you know I was really impressed with the technical stuff there. I was really impressed with the way they should that stuff up on the screen. I was really impressed with how everything seems to work and I was really impressed with all the program they've gotten all the outreach I got. I was really impressed with their facility. You know that guy up there in front one too bad that was good.

I don't care about anything you don't want people to walk out here and say the highest accolade they could ever give us as a church family is for people to walk out here and say you know what impressed me the most. Those people there are passionately in love with Jesus Christ. They love Jesus Christ.

Now that's the highest accolade, a church could ever be given.

That's the highest accolade you could ever be given as a follower of Christ, that woman that man loves passionately. Jesus Christ friend that's my vision for you and for us as a church family because the blessing of God does not rest on how hard work.

If it did God witness said what he said to the church at Ephesus.

It doesn't rest on our religious zeal and activity.

If it did God witness said what he said to the church at Ephesus, the blessing of God rests on how passionately were in love with Christ and that's why the Bible says. Second Chronicles 16 nine for the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those people whose hearts are totally God's there is the issue that God might show himself mighty on their behalf. They won't God show himself mighty on your behalf. Don't offer religious work.

Don't offer him religious zeal and activity offer in your heart, giving your heart hundred percent to the best the ability and you'll have the blessing of God on your life. The spring with our heads bowed and her eyes closed. I like to give you just a moment if you needed to do some business with God. If there's been some slippage in your life on this issue than wanted to take a moment right now and you tell God that you need to repent and you need to fix what Jesus we appreciate you reminding us today that the bottom line issue for you is who's our first love you wanted to be. You you want us to be hot and passionate in our love for Jesus and father.

Thanks for reminding us that all that we see Paul doing in Whitfield and Mother Teresa and so many of these people that it didn't flow out a commitment to the work you flowed out of a commitment to you and I pray heavenly father that you would work in many of our hearts here who need the work and that you would you would remind us of the things that we did at first we were really in love with you and Lord.

If we become like Easter eggs and my prayer is that we would repent and re-enthrone you in our life for Jesus. Thanks that you loved her so much he put us first in your heart. Help us to do the same and we pray this in Jesus name, amen

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