God’s Care: Resilience, Part 2 (#948)
Welcome. We’re going to continue our series on God’s Care, the one we’ve been doing this the beginning of 2018. And last week we talked about how one way God care’s for us is giving us resilience. And we read about Ahab, and Hezekiah, and we started in on the ministry of the apostle Paul, but there was so much detail that we stopped. We stopped about the time Paul was arrested. But we’re going to pick it up there.
And of course Paul had many ups that downs; everybody has ups and downs in life and Paul had a lot of them and they are very well documented in the book of Acts and to a lessor extent in the epistles. He of coarse had challenges primarily from the other believers, the Judaising believers, the Christians who had become born again, but didn’t want to let go of the old testament law. Paul, of coarse was the one most responsible for teaching about the age of grace and that Jesus Christ had fulfilled the law and that we no longer should or had to follow the old testament law. God revealed that to many people, but nobody more than the apostle Paul, who received the revelation of the great mystery, the book of Ephesians and other parts of the Epistles that really make it very clear. And of course those Christians, the Judean’s didn’t like him, because he said you should follow Jesus Christ, because they did not recognize as the Messiah. They were very mad at him. But just as mad at him were the Christians who, although they were born again, still wanted to follow the old testament law. And we see this today in Christianity, lots and lots of Christian groups don’t really understand the Age of Grace and the deliverance we’ve received through Jesus Christ, they just want to keep people under the Old Testament Law. So we see it very common today, its just a little different. Back then the biggest deal was following the law and circumcising your children.
People don’t seem to argue about that today, they argue about many other things. Pick any topic in life, pick any topic in the scriptures and you can find some group that’s worried about it and occasionally what they say it actually found in the scriptures. Quite often it has no ground in the scriptures whatever, just what they’re into. You know like for instance, there are still groups that don’t like you to go dancing. We’ll if you look in the scripture about dancing, the only example I can think of is when David had a great victory and danced and one of his wives, Saul’s daughter, got mad at him and he basically shut her up in the tower for the rest of her life. She, because it was very godly for him to dance before the Lord. So how you can have a Christian group that says dancing is evil, I’m not sure where you get it from the scriptures. They just don’t like the idea. And that’s just one example, there are so many others. But at any rate that is what Paul was dealing with. And we’re really not going to focus on the difference between the law and grace today, that is a whole different other topic that we’ve spent time on before and the future we’ll spend more time on.
But what we’re going to focus on today is Paul’s resilience. That in spite of being attacked and set up, and tricked by legalistic Christians who should have been on his side, but instead were hindering him. And in spite of the attacks by the Jews, the legalistic Christians that came from a Jewish background, and the Roman authorities, and many other groups. Remember he was stoned to death, we are not going to read about it today, but at one point he was stoned to death by basically a bunch of pagans who thought that he and Barnabas were Greek Gods and when they found out they weren’t they stoned them to death. So they started out trying to worship them and then Paul wouldn’t let them worship them, they stoned them to death. So, he had to be resilient. They literally killed him, but the believers prayed, he got up from the dead and he went on and preached in the next city. That takes resilience. There are people that have a bad conversation with somebody, or have a disagreement with somebody and it sets them into a tizzy and takes them years to recover if they ever do. Well he was stoned to death and he still got up, brushed the dust off his feet, and went to the next town to preach the Gospel.
So Paul had great resilience and it is part of God’s care that He provides what we need so we can be that resilient. And we can read about people like the apostle Paul and so many others in the scriptures who come back from great set backs, great challenges, great difficulties. Sometimes it is because they did something wrong like Paul going to Jerusalem, when God told him not to go. Sometimes it is from other people doing bad things to them like when the counsel of the church leaders told him to go into the temple to offer a sacrifice. They did that to him and then the other Jews there, they’re the ones that started to beat him up and almost killed him. It took the unbelieving Roman soldiers, unbelieving in the sense that they didn’t believe in the true God and Jesus Christ, they are the ones that saved him. And that will happen sometimes in life, the people that aught to be behind you, the other Christians, are the ones trying to kill you and it takes some nice more rational unbelievers to come in and save your bacon, so to speak. So that’s going to happen in life. I’m not saying just love the unbelievers and hate the believers, but there are times when the unbelievers will be the more rational and helpful for you. Because the believers throw you out. Anyway, with that background, let’s pick up Paul before the Sanhedrin.
He’s already been to the temple to offer sacrifices, which is a silly thing to do for someone born again. But the church leaders in Jerusalem were so legalistic they thought it would keep the legalistic Christians happy. Now in retrospect, what Paul should have done is one, not go to Jerusalem and two, if he got there say, ‘I don’t care what you guys say, we’re free from the law, I’m not going to go offer sacrifices; Jesus Christ fulfilled all that.’ But there are all kinds of things he should have done, he didn’t. And we certainly can’t make fun of him because we do sillier things on most days. But Paul did and the result is he is now being dragged before the Sanhedrin, which is the ruling body of Judaism; it isn’t a Roman court, because although the Romans controlled Judea as the Roman province and they had a Roman governor there, just as in the time of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion it was Pontius Pilate, there was a Roman governor there which will come out as we read further. And the Romans controlled the province, but they let the Jewish leaders continue to have their own council and handle their own internal matters. That is the way big empires will often work, they’ll let the locals police small matters, but when they get big, then the imperial government comes in and controls it. So, Paul is before the Sanhedrin, the council of the Jewish leaders, here in Acts 23…
As taught by Bruce Mahone, 20180722. All rights reserved.
Verse Listing and Notes
Acts 23:1-10 Paul before the Sanhedrin
Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer,
Acts 23:12ff Paul barely escapes the mob
Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus left Paul bound.
Acts 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat
Acts 27:23-24 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, Saying, Fear not, Paul;
Acts 28:23 He expounded and testified the kingdom of God concerning Jesus
Acts 28:30-31 And Paul dwelt two whole years preaching the kingdom of God
Gal. 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen.
[[[To [the] Galatians written from Rome.]]]
Eph. 6:24 [[[To [the] Ephesians written from Rome, by Tychicus.]]]