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Leaving a Suitcase in Israel

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 3, 2022 12:00 am

Leaving a Suitcase in Israel

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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October 3, 2022 12:00 am

The Apostle Paul invested himself in every city and every church and every person he came across because he realized that people are eternal. Will you do the same?


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Would you answer this question, what's the real purpose of the church. Churches forgotten the redemptive role in our country especially seems to be running around trying to make her more comfortable place for people to go to hell from while the church may be used by Christ in any and all of those other things.

It is our redemptive purpose that keeps us on task.

We pray and we plead and we trained and we were for the salvation of other that can be a great outreach into the neighborhood, but we need to remember that church programs and ministries should have a redemptive purpose today in wisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi begins a series entitled how to get to heaven from Earth. That's an important thing to know is in it will be looking at the message of salvation and the role we can play in doing God's work. We have a resource that might help you as you share the gospel with others. It's called God's wisdom, I have received an email from a radio listener living in Germany began dear Stephan is spelling, which of course was the way he would pronounce it over there means a lot to me to know people who have a personal relationship with Christ and are called to proclaim his good news here in Germany we have a saying quote I left a suitcase in Berlin explained, it means that you have Some sort of tie to a city or to a people that you've left even though you have moved away and no one on to explain that while you moved away from his hometown. He still had a suitcase. There meaning. His heart was still in some way back there with his family, his people whose roots. I love that expression I left a suitcase in Berlin, we can identify with that. Can't wait. You have suitcases like these, you left them here and there as you travel, perhaps around the country.

They represent places of emotional tie roots and special events and their sort of darted around in your memory places in this country may be for someone here that farm where you grew up you have left a suitcase there at the place of fond memory. My parents recently took a trip back to Minnesota where my dad was raised on the farm and they showed me pictures a few weeks ago and there was my dad standing next to a fence pointing in the caption said this was where the barn was and then I learned the story caption continued that I burned down I was six years old playing with matches. He never told me that story, but that place still represents to him as it were, a place where he's left a suitcase ready for you. It is the school where you begin your first teaching assignment. You'll never forget it.

Maybe it was that first apartment you and your spouse lived in after you were married. Maybe it's the church where you came to hear the gospel in trust Christ as your Savior. You're here today, but you have suitcases and other places. You have places of emotional investment and ties roots go deep. What a great expression for how we feel with former places where we still care and love. We been studying the movement of Paul and we watched enemies traveling around the Mediterranean world and from reading is a letter here and other letters are filled with emotion and longing. It's obvious to us that the apostle Paul has left a suitcase in Israel, and it becomes very apparent as we begin this In what we call chapter 10 and verse one brethren. He writes my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation were to stop with this one verse and what I want to do is just unpack Paul's suitcase and bring out into the open three characteristics that tell us what kind of man he was. That also tell us why he was so effective in the lives of unbelievers and bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ. Frankly, as I read this verse and studied.

I skipped over it and I was thinking of to get the verse to bear the witness.

They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge that was what I wanted to get to.

But the more I looked at this verse the more I knew this is where we would camp out today so let's stop and unpack this phrase together and discover why he was so winsome those who disbelieved in Jesus Christ. The first quality of character is what will call an inward passion.

He had an inward passion and we could add to that that explained his resilience. Paul writes in verse one.

This is my hearts desire later on in the verse. He tells us his heart desires for the salvation of the Jews. This is my unit Kia this is my deep longing. This is my greatest satisfaction. This is my hearts desire.

You could translate that word you to key in all those expressions. In other words, Paul is saying, I find nothing in the world so satisfying, so fulfilling to my deepest longing to see unbelievers come to faith in Jesus Christ, which to me is absolutely remarkable when you consider what the Jews of done up already. How could he ever say this is been stoned and beaten for sake and humiliated and ridiculed and shunned and scorned it hunted, hated, you name it. He's experienced it from the hands of the people. He says he loves.

By now Paul should be carrying a garage a mile long, saying something like, well, Lord, whatever Israel has coming to her let her have it. Not this see as you unpack the suitcase you do not find deep resentment or desire for revenge when you would think they would be in here somewhere. You remember with me that this man was an honored man.

He grew up in a wealthy home so wealthy that his parents were able to take him to a leading university of their day. He sat at the feet of the greatest scholars in their generation, a man named Gamaliel an attorney and they were able to afford that kind of private education for Paul and he grew up and so distinguished himself among his peers that he was made a special prosecutor to the Supreme Court. It was his task to uphold and to defend the traditions of the father. It would be him. I would seek to stamp out this threat, but now he has no connection to the Supreme Court other than the fact that they hated him. He has very little money. In fact, we learn another text that he supports himself and finances's trips by making tents. What inner drive what inner passion. This man had you know anybody with inner passion, you know, a driven person you're sitting in the seat of driven person we see illustrations of it all around us. Maybe watch some of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

The stadium was filled with young men and women athletes who are driven they have spent years in fact, many of them since they were little children preparing for that competition and they are driven by their desire to win and that competition. This is the inner drive of a woman that enters the jaws of death, to deliver a baby and then once another one. Have you forgotten person in her drive, passion for that. Will Paul has this inward passion that created this kind of special resilience listen to an incident that occurred limit is rated T for next 14 or something is happening his preaching of his downs and Jews came from Antioch and I Connie him and having one over the crowds. That is there trying to wrestle away the attention of the crowds from Paul having one over the crowds. They succeeded, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. They figured they'd kill them. But while the disciples stood around him. He got up, you'd imagine that for a moment there standing around his bloodied Paul they know he's dead but one other standing around him.

The text says he got up miraculously restored and he reentered the city that to me is the amazing thing I would've said, guys, it's time to find another city in a like me there that heart, but he goes back and then the record continues.

The next day he went away with Barnabas, the Derby and after they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples. They were turned to Lysistrata strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith your badge and of course should listen to him tell you to keep in the faith, because he was doing it himself.

Let's look at a second characteristic that made him so effective is the Lord's Amb. number two. He had an upward pleading that expressed his confidence as he Paul not only had an inward passion that explained his resilience.

He had this upward pleading that explained his confidence. Notice brother and my hearts desire in my prayer to God for them. The antecedent of them as backup in chapter 9 look there in verse 31. He tells us who them are, but Israel that's the them pursuing a law of righteousness did not arrive at that law. Why because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone or they had enough of this talk of a Messiah who would die.

This is not what they wanted or had expected to lead you to wonder why would Paul pray for them if we believe that God is sovereign and we do will then why do we pray for unbelievers to give you three very quick answers number one. First of all, the only kind of God worth praying to is a God who is sovereign will. We pray to him prior to any other kind of God is useless he could do nothing but sit up there and think. I wish I could help you but I can't. I'm not powerful enough.

This is the only kind of God who can answer prayer is a sovereign God, one who is in total control of all things, and we intuitively know that if God is truly God. He is sovereign even the liberal theologian who might be driven to his knees, will pray that God will heal his child from certain death.

Why, because he knows that the God worth praying to must be a God capable and sovereign over disease are many people that prayed that the hurricane wouldn't come near them. Why because they intuitively knew that the kind of God worth praying to the one true and living God would be a God. He was sovereign over nature. So we plead for God related to unbelieving souls because we know God is sovereign over unbelieving, so secondly we pray for unbelievers, not only because we know God is sovereign but we pray because we know God is the one who saved for those in here who are sharing your faith with unbelievers.

This is incredibly reassuring God is the one who does the work he deserves all the credit he is doing the work we do the planting and watering the God gives the what God gives the increase.

He gives the fruit for scripting 36 listen to Jesus as he says this no man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

That's actually reassuring to those who share their faith that God will be the one to draw the God alone will be the one to open the eyes. The guy will be the one to open the mind, be prepared. Yes, I can tell you a testimony.

Modern life related to evangelism explosion. Once I learned that it was incredibly helpful in sharing the gospel with people but the reassuring thing is knowing that even though I have that it is still God, who alone must work in all I am is available and prepared for him to use me, but I left and all the answers, neither do you. Paul is in praying here for answers. He is praying to the answer is pleading for the unbelievers, the kinsman according to his flesh. The word for praying. Here is a very strong Greek word that Asus it could be translated, and often is in the New Testament with the word back to bed. In Luke chapter 5, a leper saw Jesus in the text as he fell on his face any begged him, saying, Lord, if you are willing, you can cleanse me and the Lord looked at him and said I'm willing decline later on in Luke chapter 9 the father of a desperately ill boy comes to Jesus and the text says he shouted out saying teacher I bet you look at my son is my only boy.

You see, there is a sense of desperation. In this word and Paul is desperately begging God on behalf of the unbeliever. Why, because he knows God alone is sovereign in God alone can say why pray third, we pray because our sovereign saving Lord's chosen to use us in his redemptive plan. Have you ever noticed it is the people who are prepared to seem to lead others to Christ. Have you ever noticed that the people who pray for others and seem to be ready to share the gospel with them.

What a coincidence. This is the message of Romans 10 the responsibility of us to be messengers look over in chapter 10 verse 13 look. Therefore whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

We give universal invitation. We will know what God knows listen. God says through Paul. How then shall they call upon him in whom they've not believed and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard are they hear without a preacher without a messenger God has chosen to use us to deliver the message God has ordained the ends and he has ordained the mean to his ends and we happen to be privileged to be his means to his ends in the redemptive plan of God.

Nowhere does Scripture give us the responsibility to figure out whom God's chosen, but he has given us the responsibility to preach and teach and testify and pray and exorbitant plead with unbelievers proclaiming the saving gospel to anyone who will hear praying and pleading and begging God all along to save them and when he does, we are overjoyed to God alone who can save not only saved but used us in the saving process of this unbeliever. I pulled up to a home for an appointment knowing the husband was an unbeliever gracious and sharp, inquisitive, I turned off my pickup truck in the driveway and for brief moment prayed as I typically do. I'll tell you what I did not pray I did not pray Lord give me the ability to so articulate the gospel that it will be irresistible.

Lord help me a lot with him give me deep answers for deep questions. No, it's more like this Lord if you're calling this one. If you're about to open his eyes.

If you're going to open his ears to the gospel. Would you do it tonight and if you would allow me the privilege of being the one to share the news in this particular instance. This gentleman placed his faith in Christ and when I drove away. Around midnight I did not in the truck get alone and say all I did it I did it. No.

If you've done that, if you've shared your faith with some unbeliever and a trusted Christ.

You know what you say, God, thank you for doing and for allowing me to be a part. This is to be our inward passion, like Paul, this is to be our upward pleading and finally the last thing will unpack from Paul suitcase is his outward purpose which he defined his relationships, his outward purpose which defined his relationship. Everything about Paul ultimately revolved around the work of redemption, and I mean everything Paul did not view himself on planet Earth as a tent maker.

That's what he did to survive so that he could do something else so that he could be someone else.

See, we tend to get together. We talk about what we do.

But that's the least important thing who are way we happen to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ, who also happen to work over here because God has placed us there to be his ambassador. That was Paul's perspective.

He writes brother and my hearts desire in my prayer to God. My longing in my pleading to God for them is for their wide for their salvation for their salvation. Did the Jews not need peace. Yes they needed peace than the Jews struggle to survive. Yes were Jews hungry yesterday need clothing yes where is there injustice in the world. Yes, what about all those thing all of those things are secondary to the redemptive purpose of the believer on planet Earth. Jesus Christ provides this perspective when he said what good does it do a man to gain the whole world and still loses what his soul what good does it do Amanda have peace and prosperity and clothing and food justice and lose his soul. The church has forgotten the redemptive role in our country especially it seems to be running around trying to make her more comfortable place for people to go to hell from while the church may be used by Christ in any and all of those other things. It is our redemptive purpose that keeps us on task. We pray and we plead and we trained and we work for the salvation of others. First and foremost, this defines who we are in the world you might be saying that I like to be more like Paul and I would agree. I would like to be more like him to. Maybe you're saying and I don't know how to do it at work at school wherever I am a believer all my friends. I really do to come to faith in Christ.

But where do I start only very quickly give you five principles to remember as you imitate the apostle Paul in his passion. First and foremost, we have to start here if we can check this box. We don't need to move further be willing to embrace your calling as Christ's representative be willing to embrace your calling as Christ's representative in that office on that campus wherever listen. Ladies and gentlemen, you are it. Your heads in that place you are there you have an open opportunity. Don't abuse it.

Don't take your employers time to sit around and take people through your latest study. Be careful how you use it, but be willing to embrace your calling as Christ's representative. Do you own a business, you manage a business to give you a simple thing very simple thing play Christian music over the loudspeaker.

Try that. I don't have a contract with Muzak or whatever but you know get to the end of it. I didn't put your own CDs and just play music over the loudspeakers and is a will you people might not like it, will they like your business so much that they might overlook it, but someone might hear it like I did just a few days ago, sitting in Chick-fil-A reading my newspaper and as I'm sitting there reading my newspaper I'm hearing music but that I keyed in on the way the second. This is Christian music and it was. I thought there's some manager in the back room with a mission and it isn't to sell chicken that might be his livelihood, but his mission is to get the gospel to everybody who walks in to that Chick-fil-A sees the opportunity for Christ. Second will be willing to communicate only what you know and that to be comforting.

God knows what you know and he knows what you don't know any put you in positions knowing what you know and he wants you just to say what you know.

Don't get out on the limb. Not many of us are Ravi Zacharias great apologists that many of us are Charles rivalries great theologians God has placed you where he is placed you and he knows what you know and he's prepared those people for you and you for those people so somebody asks you a question and it's a tough one.

People will ask you difficult questions just to deflect away from themselves as you're sharing the gospel with them. When it gets a little too hot though the shift over and say well you know what about all the people in Africa and you will got sick and I don't know but what about you, I don't know them. I know you.

A lot of times it's just to deflect away so here's a question maybe even say I don't know, but they don't stop there. Go home study communicate only what you know. Third, be willing to walk away from an argument you could easily win, you might win an argument that loses a relationship or a path. Can you recall, just for a moment. All the conversations that Jesus Christ had with the scribes and Pharisees. They were always trying to do what their eyes for the system and he come back with these great answers, you know, just a sentence or two, but if you've noticed as you've read. He stopped there when he could have kept going and he could have literally buried them.

He stood before Pilate and Herod and the Sanhedrin. He refused to do what he could have done. He could have nailed them all of the wall, but his purpose was redemptive and so what did he do he let them nail him to the cross.

Fourth, be willing, in fact only change that would be willing to just a be eager be eager to complement be eager to complement before you critique as you talk to people out of the workforce, you discover people believe a lot of things don't. Pretty interesting. Never more amazed at times than to hear what somebody believes so we have to be careful like the apostle Paul listed in Athens. Remember Athens had more gods and goddesses. They say than men. They lined the streets every municipal building was dedicated to a god or goddess they had statues everywhere, and Paul had traveled the city and he was so deeply disturbed, but finally he gained an audience in the Areopagus, and you would think he would say in his opening statement.

I cannot believe you are so idolatrous and hears words wrong but instead is very first sentence was, I perceive that you are very religious in all things that create I sense your very religious in all things I've seen all your gods, and then he goes into this, but you've missed one. Let me tell you who you was an ice cream store with my 10-year-old daughter.

I got all these fattening places here and I tell you about it while we were there. It was a new part of town for us in Raleigh and the woman behind the ice cream counter was Pakistani as I asked her where she was from. She was wearing her sorry and very kind and helpful and I introduce myself and then my daughter charity and I explained to her what charities name meant and I was it. We were the only people in the store and she was very kind and it'll be the first perhaps of many conversations I trust we walked out. I asked my daughter I said did you see on the counter right by the cash register where everybody could see it sort of all by itself, a little statue of an elephant sitting on its rear end covered in gold with little jewels with trunk coming up. Did you see then she said I did. I said that was that woman's God. I'd seen many of them in India.

Now if I go back in there. I wouldn't want to walk up having recognize that now as I left. Walk in and say you know I noticed that you mean to tell me that your God is an outfit. What audit is go in and I hope to say something more like you know I see you're very courageous and letting people know who your God is what's his name may be the next visit.

Does he know who you are and then again as God continues to develop my ice cream ministry I go back many many times does he really care about you and then maybe I can get to the correct site can I tell you, but my God, and how I know he cares for me. That leads me to this fifth principle five. Finally, be willing to distribute truth one piece at a time.

You don't have to back the doctrinal truck up and unload you just because you're passionate doesn't mean you have to panic you can take your time. If God is drawing that one to himself. He has ordered the universe to have time and space to make room for that soul. So deliver what you know and deliver in one piece at a time if need be I could give you two or three keys to opening the heart of an unbeliever.

One pray passionately for lost people. Number two. Pray passionately for lost people. Brethren, my hearts desire.

My deepest longing and my prayer, my pleading, my begging to God for them is for their salvation. What passion what pleading, what purpose. No wonder ladies and gentlemen, the church is still reading and studying what this man had to say under the influence of the Holy Spirit 2000 years after he left his suitcase in his room.

Often churches have programs and activities. That's both the members as well as the community. There's nothing wrong with programs that can be a great outreach into the neighborhood, but we need to remember that church programs and ministries should have a redemptive purpose. Today unwisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi begins a series entitled how to get to heaven from Earth. That's an important thing to know is in it will be looking at the message of salvation and the role we can play in doing God's work. We have a resource that might help you as you share the gospel with others. It's called God's wisdom for your heart. One of the easiest things to do is install the wisdom international app to your phone. This resource is right on the home screen so you can bring it up and talk through it with some will continue this series on our next broadcast of wisdom from the heart

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