Those Who Do Not Possess the Gospel and Those Who Enjoy the Gospel (Acts 23:1-11) February 5, 2012
There are two kinds of people in this world. With the perspective of faith, there are people who believe in God, and nonbelievers that do not believe. If you look from a gospel perspective it is different. One may have the gospel, and another may be a person that enjoys the gospel. In today’s passage, the two different kinds of people appear with great contrast. One person was spreading the gospel and then captured and taken away, but this person was happy. This was a person that God was with, a person to save Rome; this was Paul. The other person was one that threatened and judged Paul; this was high priest. There were others that stood by the high priest like the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who were also spiritual leaders of the Jews. They were people that believed in God, but when you looked at them, they did not appear as ones who believed in God. Look to what extent that was. In verse 1, when Paul says, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day,” those standing near Paul were ordered to strike him on the mouth. Those that speak of legalistic trials do not even have legalistic trials. Do those that put emphasis on legalism actually do things legalistically? They do not, actually they cannot; “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, the righteous will live by faith,” (Gal 3:11-13). In verse 6, how much did those, who supposedly followed this, have dispute and fought amongst themselves? The roman commander, a nonbeliever, listened in and thought, “Both are the same, both look pathetic,” so in verse 10, he ordered the troops to go and take Paul away in order to protect him. The high priest and servant of the Lord, secretary who governed all people, and Pharisees- why did all these people wind up this way? What is being said? This is like today’s church. The church is full of legalism, tradition, religion and not the gospel. That is why criticism and judgments take place. It is sad and unfortunate, but the church is full of those who care about their position and fight for their place in it, instead of being full of those that realize, enjoy, and spread the gospel.
1. When the family or church does not have the gospel, inevitably people become evil and have no choice but to fail, and this continues to repeat.
1) That is the fundamental problem.
a. Adam knew God but did not believe God. This is the same now. Not only does this apply to nonbelievers, but believers at church do not believe in God, or do not know how to believe. There are many that attend church without the assurance of having met God. Christ came as the way to meet God. That is what Christ who came as the prophet has done.
b. There are curses within the family and the church that one may not even realize: Curses of original sin, family line, and each individual. Life is very difficult and full of curses. This world is full of those who live only because they are not dead. That is why they cannot trust or believe anyone and is constantly angry at all things. They become the forefront of being judgmental and critical or others (fighter mentality). Christ finished this curse on the cross. That is liberation. That is what Christ who came as the priest has done. Allow yourself forgiveness, freedom, and liberation holding onto the gospel that Christ gave to solve these things.
c. Ultimately, this is the work of Satan. Satan was there when Adam fell. Satan made Adam fall, have disbelief, and this created conflict, criticism, and condemnation - to making everything fail. The Son of God came to destroy the devil’s work (1John3:8). That is what Christ who came as the King has done. Are conflict, failure, and disbelief constantly taking place? That is Satan and simply knowing that that is a spiritual problem will end it.
2) This is not something we can solve with our own strength. That is why we call is a spiritual problem.
a. Because I cannot do it, God sent Christ, His son (Messiah). In a way, God came Himself. This is the “gospel.” He came to die for me, to resurrect, and to be with me now. No matter what kind of darkness and curses overcome the land, nothing can defeat Him. He is the light and the life.
b. What must we do? Make Him the master of your life. That is acceptance (John1:12).
The moment you accept Him, your identity is changed because the master of your life has changed. You are a child of God. Even a dog is different depending on who their master is, as well as a business and who owns it.
c. That master is guiding the road that you are on. It does not matter if difficulties or problems come. The Lord who has become my master has my life in His hands. In verse 11, He came to Paul that night when he was going through hardship. May this be a time where the master of your life changes. You acting as the master will make it harder to live and make everything become a problem and conflict.
2. It cannot end with simply knowing and accepting this gospel. You need to experience and enjoy the gospel to the extent of spreading it to others. It is enjoying it 24 hours a day. It is enjoying this among all problems, incidents, crises, and conflict. See how God takes those things and turns them into blessings for you to testify. How should you enjoy this (verse 11)?
1) “The Lord stood near Paul.”
a. What do you think Paul was doing that night after he was saved from threats and hardship? Isn’t Paul a man of prayer? Find your prayer. If you are facing crises, problems, and times of loneliness and fear, it does not mean anything different. Realistically experience God through prayer. He is most certainly with you 24 hours a day from the moment you accept Him, but really experience Him personally through prayer. It is like a son who realizes and feels the love and care of his parents in times of trouble and hurt.
b. You must have at least 10 minutes a day on a regular basis to feel and experience the Lord of the covenant. Then when problems come, that will become a time of “only Jesus.” In times of hurt and loneliness the Lord is allowing time to “share this love just with Him.”
2) What did the Lord say then? “Take courage.”
a. In the midst of the most difficult times, come out of it to find your faith and covenant of the Lord that is with you. I have chosen you, saved you, and am always with you (Isaiah 43:1-4).
b. What did God say to Joshua when he began the conquest of Canaan after Moses died? As I was with Moses, I will be with you and all the lands that you step foot on will be given to you. Lastly He said, “Be strong and courageous,” (Josh1:9), you will fail to the extent of your disbelief (Num14:23, Job3:23).
3) “As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” What does this mean?
Roman gospelization was God’s plan and the vision that Paul had. Why did God save me? Why was I sent to America? It is to save this age and America. “For that reason, God will bless me, and allow me victory in this problem. Even the smallest works I will do before Him. And I will stand before God.” If this vision is truly within you, then not only will you endure these hardships with enjoyment, but you will be happy and thankful today.
Become one that enjoys the gospel. In order to do so, truly hold onto the Lord of the covenant, find your prayer, find your faith and belief within that, and find your vision of God to be used by Him, “You are the one God will use.”
If you have any inquiries or feedback concerning this message, please contact:
One Mind Church of Washington
(703) 491-3797 <onemindchurch.org>