Acts 17:1-9

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

Sermon Transcript:

Good morning, church. Good morning. So good to be with you on this Super Bowl Sunday. It’s funny, I see a lot of people blending into the pews this morning. For some reason, , uh, we’re all excited. Um, but just for a few minutes here, I would pray that we would focus our hearts in on God’s word and that we would just be expecting.

It’s, uh, it’s amazing. As I was preparing even last night, uh, I prepare and hear because I like to look over, uh, the place where I’m gonna be preaching from. And the word that God kept giving me as I was praying and thinking through, uh, the sermon was that we would be expectant people. That we would be eager ready.

Anticipating that God has a word for each one of us this morning. Remembering that this scripture is living and active. It’s ready to penetrate deep down into us and take root and produce fruit. It’ll teach us if we let it, how we can love the God who first loved us. So it’s my hope and my prayer that this morning we would be ready expectant for him to do just that.

The story that we’re stepping back into is the story of the Book of Acts. We’re continuing our journey following God’s newly formed church as it spreads out from Jerusalem like wildfire into Judea and Samaria until the ends of the earth, and it carries with it a message of the greatest hope. The hope of a gospel of Jesus Christ.

And as we have been following this story, we’ve been seeing the power of this message to turn hearts and minds and worlds broken and off kilter by sin upside down. The passage in particular that we’re gonna be looking at this morning is found in Acts chapter 17 verses one through nine, and in this passage we see demonstrated to the obedience of Paul that this gospel message does in fact have the power to turn the world upside down, taking this fallen and broken sinful world and transforming it.

All right, let’s read the passage this morning, and you could follow along with me. As I read now, when they had passed through Amph Polis and a Apollo, they came to Thessalonika and there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in and as was his custom on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the scriptures explaining and proving that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying this Jesus, whom I proclaim to you is the Christ.

And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of devout Greeks and not a few leading women, but the Jews were jealous and taking some wicked men of the rabble. They formed a mob and set the city in uproar and attacked the house of Jason seeking to bring them out to the crowd.

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities shouting these men who have turned the world upside down. Have come here also, and Jason has received them and they are all acting in the, against the decree of Caesar saying there there is another king.

Jesus. And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things and when they had taken money as a security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. Would you pray with me this morning?

Lord? Would you remind us that this word is your written word to us, your children, to guide us, to lead us, to challenge us, to shape us as we walk in obedience and joy in this gospel, which has turned our lives upside down from death into life. I pray, Lord, that we take seriously, but not with, uh, a solemn seriousness, A joyful seriousness.

Lord, as we come to this passage, we would receive it with all gladness and joy, pressing it down deep into who we are and letting it bear fruit in us. Lord b, pray that your living an active word would be living and active in us. We pray all this in your name. Amen. Amen. It said that when you separate text from context, all that’s left is a con.

I heard that thought it was great. Uh, guy named Stuart Stafford said that, and if we’re reminded that a con is when you persuade somebody typically by the use of perception, uh, deception, rather into believing something that is not most likely true, that’s the last thing that we wanna do when we approach God’s word.

We don’t wanna enter in, jump right into the story without first remembering where this little story takes place in the larger series of stories that we find in the Book of Acts. So as I mentioned in the beginning, the Book of Acts is a larger collection, right? Written by, uh, of stories, rather written by the author Luke, who was a physician, uh, a man who was very careful to record specific details and not only to record them, but to hear them from the eyewitnesses, the apostles.

And not that this is not a history cuz it is, but we remember that this is a hand selected history to tell particular spirit led story, which Luke has been entrusted with. We see that this overall story has begun at the scene of the crime in Jerusalem. After the apostles have obediently waited on the promise of the spirit, they’ve received the spirit.

In the, the spirit’s enabling power, they’ve gone out and shared this powerful gospel of Jesus Christ and one by one, and really an, an unbelievable revival takes place among the Jews, and thousands are joined to the number of the apostles. And from there we see that this gospel is not only to be given to the Jews, but to even the surprise of Peter, it is to go to the world bigger than he ever dared dream.

And it begins first with the household of Cornelius as he first receives the gospel and a little mini gentile Pentecost takes place. And from there we see what first begins as a trickle becomes a waterfall, and the great number of uncounted, number of gentiles start entering into the family of God the way has been opened.

And Jesus is transforming and turning the world upside down. We remember this is the context of the larger context, but now the smaller context here is that Paul and Silas are now on what people call Paul’s second missionary journey. And where we last left off last week was Paul was in Philippi. And we saw in this story that, uh, mark shared last week that through a, a series of unfortunate events, Paul and Silas find themselves in prison.

But most remarkably, we see that not even the Roman prison can hold back God’s gospel and its messengers. And we see in just a really topsy-turvy moment this Roman jailer who should have had all the power on his knees begging Paul and Silas for freedom and rescue. We see this gospel everywhere it goes, transforming and turning things on their head, this broken sins scarred world.

So that’s the context, that’s what’s taken place just before this. Now, as we take, uh, a shift our eyes towards the passage in Acts 17, it’s important that we remember that. I wanna, I wanna break this down into three parts because it’s helpful for me at least as we go through to take each section as it comes.

And the way that I’m sort of laying out the roadmap, if you will, is, uh, I’m breaking it into three parts. The first that we’re gonna look at this morning is I’m calling the practice, which is verse one through three, the practice. Next, we’re gonna go and look at verses just the end of verse three, which I’m calling the purpose, and then lastly the verse four to the end of the passage, verse nine, the power.

Let’s first look at the practice. Now, when they had passed through Anthropol and that Bologna, they came to Thessalonika where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in and as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the scriptures explaining to them and proving to them that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.

What we see from these first preliminary verses is that Paul had a system. This is Paul’s second missionary journey. He’s, he’s developed a missionary, uh, a system in his, uh, mission work ev, an evangelical practice. And the first thing that’s demonstrated to us is that Paul is selective and strategic in his choice of where he goes to share the gospel.

I don’t mean stingy, I mean strategic. We see that Paul passes through em for Paulis, Alonna and comes to Fessa. Paul’s eyes were set on Fessa. The question then becomes, why this city? Why not stop and, uh, and have a similar address in Anthropol or app Apollo? Why come to Sica? Uh, number of pretty, um, basic reasons I think are that Fessa was the second largest city in Greece.

It’s the capital of Macedonia. It’s home to 200,000 people. Gentiles and Jews alike call it home. It’s a great, uh, military and political powerhouse. It’s a great import export Port City. . And if Paul, for a moment, remember, Paul’s mission is to spread the news of this gospel to take it into places where it will catch fire and there go out.

Paul sets his sight on the nikah and what we wanna remember is that this journey, and there’s a, I think there’s a picture of a map somewhere, maybe, uh, this journey is no small journey, even though on this map it looks tiny. Phillipi to Fessa is about a hundred mile walk,

and Paul did it on foot. Paul had his sight set on Fess Leica. But even within Fess Leica, Paul’s selectiveness doesn’t stop. We see here in verse two that Paul doesn’t stop in the busy marketplace. He doesn’t stop in the Pagan temple. He chooses rather to go to the synagogue of the Jews and we see that this was not merely a one time thing, but rather was a custom of his as was his custom.

There’s a number of reasons that I think even just as I read, I could see for him choosing this place. I think firstly that for whatever reason he had gotten permission and that he knew he would there have a willing ears, but also Paul had a great burden for his own Jewish people, that they might hear the news of their Messiah, that they might accept the news of this king Jesus who was their Messiah, but don’t get it twisted.

This synagogue was home to many Gentile believing Greek. There were actually great number of Greeks. You don’t always talk about this, but a great number of Greeks and Gentiles who had accepted the Jewish faith as their own and followed in the traditions of the Jewish people. And as we see in the passage, a great number of them were there at the synagogue.

We have to remember that Paul was led by the spirit. We remember in chapters B, a few chapters back when Paul desired to go into Asia, what happens? The spirit stops him turning him rather, on this path,

we see that Paul was not stingy, but strategic and selective in choosing the spot the location mattered to Paul.

The next element to Paul’s practice, which I think we can learn a ton from, is in his transmission of the gospel in the way that he gives the gospel.

I wanna look at a few verbs that are used here in these first three verses and I found, I got really excited about this. I love words. I love kind of looking at the, the root of them and understanding them a little better. So let’s just look at three words here. The first word I wanna look at is that word reasoned.

That word reasoned. In Greek. This word is the, the, the Greek word delego, where we get the word dialogue from. I found this so fascinating cuz I think what we tend to think of is that Paul comes into the synagogue, opens up his Bible, or his TA scroll, or whatever it was, or even just his notes and starts to monologue to those who were assembled there.

At least here. That is not his practice. Here he begins with dialogue, a back and forth, a question and an answer he chooses as he enters into the synagogue. To rather than monologue at them, to dialogue with them over these scriptures. I think as believers we can learn a lot from Paul’s example here, it’s pretty easy to memorize a, a list of gospel tens, the Romans road, which are all great things.

It’s a little harder to dialogue with people over the scriptures. It’s a little harder to have a give and take a conversation over the scriptures. I think we’d, we’d find many people willing and able and excited to do that with us. But it takes really knowing that what we are teaching from Isaiah chapter one, verse 18, the Lord himself says this, come now.

Let us reason together. Say if the Lord though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they’re red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Let’s follow in Paul and our own Lord’s example and reason the gospel with those we come into contact with. The next word I wanna look at is the word explaining he explained to them.

And that word, again, looking at the Greek hears, is fascinating. This word is the, the Greek word dego, which means I love this definition to open by dividing a under prying back to, to crack open.

This word is used a lot in the gospels. There’s a, a spot in, in Mark, chapter seven, verse 34, where Jesus heals a blind man. He, he touches his eyes and he speaks a prayer to his father. He says, and it’s in a, he says, opened. Dego is the Greek equivalent of that very word we see later in Luke’s other gospel, or I guess it would be earlier in Luke’s other gospel in Luke chapter 24, when the risen Jesus, the resurrected Jesus is walking on the robe with a number of his disciples who do not recognize him, and he’s walking with them and they’re, they’re lamenting the fact that this Jesus, who was their hope had died.

And they’re even telling this apparent stranger about how this Jesus apparently rose from the dead, but they didn’t see it. And Jesus patiently explains opening the scriptures to them, showing them the very same thing that Paul is attempting to, to demonstrate to these assembled people in the synagogue that the, the Messiah must suffer and die opening that same word, opening the scriptures.

Remember, Luke doesn’t do anything by accident. I think he’s calling our mind back to this passage. And what do we know later in, in verse 32 of that Luke 24 chapter, Jesus, after he leaves them, the disciples recognized him right at the moment, as right before he left. And their words are, did not our hearts burn within us when he opened the scriptures to us.

Here, Paul is following, in that same example, opening up the scriptures Ou opened

the last word I wanna look at here. Is the word proved or proving a number of other translations? Maybe your translation says giving evidence. I think that’s a pretty good translation. But the word is actually this word. It’s permi. And what I found so interesting about this word is wow, it certainly has a connotation.

Giving evidence. That’s certainly one of the ways of looking at this word, setting before evidence, before someone. It also is used quite often, even in the gospels to refer to food. When Jesus feeds the 5,000, the word is there to set before,

and maybe I’m reading into it a bit, but when I read this and I, and I see giving evidence, but I also picture this idea of setting a feast at the feet of hungry people. Oh, is that not what Paul is doing here as he reasons with them and not, doesn’t monologue at them, but dialogues with them as he opens the scriptures to them, revealing to them the truth that has been hidden for thousands of years.

Is he not setting before them a feast? And it seems as if he’s saying to them, will you not?

Taking a deeper look at these three words helped me in my understanding of Paul’s methodology behind sharing the gospel. Paul was not afraid to shake up or mix up how he gave the gospel. He didn’t just come at it one way. He was ready, willing, and able to come at it from different angles to vary his transmission of this gospel message.

There’s one last element to Paul’s practice that I think is not actually very overt in the text, not very obvious but’s in the subtext. The only spot that I could see where I could sort of point to this is when it says on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them three Sabbath days. When we see that, we remember that that does not mean three days.

That actually means three weeks. . Think of it as on three different Sundays. And my question as I’m reading that is, well, what does he do with the rest of his time there? What did he do? Did he get up there? Did he preach at them and then hide away? Well, fortunately for us, we have insight into this in the letters, which he wrote later to the church that would be formed from these addresses.

Yes, A church was formed out of just three weeks.

We see from Paul’s own words that Paul did not only talk the gospel talk, he walked the gospel walk. We wanna read these two passages to you. It’s found in First Thessalonians chapter two, six through eight and 10 through 12. This is Paul speaking to the newly formed Thessalonian church. Now, nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others.

Though we could have made demands as apostles. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel, but also ourselves because you had become very dear to us. And then in verse 10, you are witnesses, you and God also how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers, for you know how like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

They walked the walk. They did not only talk the talk and in a generation where the cry against the church is not that we don’t preach at people, but that we are hypocritical of the message which we preach. We can learn from this.

Church. When we bring tobe together, both the gospel message and the gospel life, then our witness is effective.

I hope you hear that and feel a little bit intimidated like I did the gospel. Life is impossible to live out. It should daunt you. You can’t do it apart from Christ, you see church. Unless we are willing to preach and receive the gospel that we are preaching to others each day, we will not be effective in giving it.

How can we expect others to receive that which we are ignoring in our own lives? The message of the gospel being filled up on Jesus so that we can give the gospel to others. Walking the walk as well as talking the talk. Okay, we’re gonna move on. That was the longest section, I promise. But we see here that Paul does have a very set practice in the way that he would transmit this gospel message.

We see that location mattered to Paul. He was selective. He had a plan. We see that Paul is willing and able and effective at varying his transmission of that gospel, that he would reason with them, that he would explain to them, that he would prove to them. And lastly, we see that Paul not only talks the gospel talk, but he walks it.

He walks the gospel walk. And that takes me now to our next section, the shortest section, but not the least important, the purpose. Okay, and that comes only at the end of verse three. Some of you might say, how can that be a section? That is the shortest section I’ve ever seen. It’s the cornerstone of the passage on which the entire passage turns.

The words that Paul speaks, which Mike spoke earlier, this Jesus, whom I proclaim to you is the Christ You see, Paul, up until this point, has ex been explaining to them from the scriptures why this Messiah had to suffer and die and be raised. He had not yet given the Messiah a name, but here Paul reveals in a great moment of revelation that this message was not merely a thing.

But a person that this hope, which they were proclaiming, was not merely an idea, but Jesus himself, Jesus of Nazareth, this gospel is not merely about Jesus. It is Jesus. This word was made flesh and it dwelled among them. It lived the life that they could not live. That we could not live. It died the death that we deserve to die.

And Jesus was raised to life, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and now works to give that same life to his church and to all those who call on his name, this passage, this little tiny. end section on verse three is so important because it shows us demonstrating to us by Paul’s godly example that Paul is not, does not have his allegiance given to a cause, but to a king, Paul has not dedicated his life, given his allegiance to an ideal.

It’s to a king. It’s the one who arrested him on the road to Damascus, who turned his life from a terrorist to an evangelist that’s about as upside down as you can possibly imagine.

His whole life’s mission was to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. The Jews knew a thing or two about mess. They didn’t know Jesus of Nazareth, or at least these didn’t. They would’ve heard of him wasn’t long ago before when he had walked the Earth, his 33 years of life on Earth. They would’ve heard of Nazareth.

They would’ve said, like Nathan said, they think Good come from Nazareth

Church. We need to be people about Jesus. That we would reason about Jesus. That we would open the Bible reveal and reveal Jesus. That we would set Jesus before people. Not some dogmatic teaching, not some trope of memorized verses, although those could be powerful. Set the person Jesus before people.

A king, not a.

That takes me to the final section. I told you that was shorter to the final section, the largest section versus four through nine. And I’m just calling this the power, and some of them were persuaded and joined Paul in Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women, but the Jews were jealous and taking some wicked men of the rabble.

They formed a mob and set the city an uproar attacking the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out of the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities shouting. These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also. And Jason Recce and Jason has received them and they’re all acting against the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another king Jesus.

The people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. When they had taken a money as a security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. We see now Paul has done it. It’s all come to a head. The cornerstone, the centerpiece moment has happened. This Messiah, he had a name. I met him on the road to Damascus, and his name was Jesus.

I think this is where he lost a lot of his listeners. They probably would’ve track with him. So far. He was a smart man who knew the Torah. He probably would’ve demonstrated very effectively that this Messiah had to come and suffer and die. But the moment they gave, the moment he gave a name to this Messiah, I think he would’ve lost a great number of people.

And that’s for this reason. When the power of the gospel is set before you, it leaves no room for middle ground.

Paul presents the gospel without any possibility of a neutral response. Accept it or reject it. Those are the options.

We see that very response yield out. We see those accept and those who do not. Those who are persuaded and those who are not, and there is no middle ground demonstrated here. It’s was just so in Jesus’s earthly ministry. He did not come to elicit a neutral response. And yet our culture, our world, loves to react to Jesus with the greatest neutrality.

He was a great moral teacher. He was a good man, somebody to be admired and perhaps when it’s not too inconvenient to be imitated, but Lord King, slow your role, buddy. I can’t tell you in my own generation how many people I know who I interacted with at a secular college, who the Jesus, they didn’t hate Jesus.

They liked him

about as neutral response as you could imagine. CS Lewis, who was a, a, a really well-known author, uh, of the Narnia series, he, uh, wrote an uncounted amount of books, a lot of which I’m very indebted to in my life and walk as a believer, and probably one of the most popular, and one of the ones I’ve read the most times is the book Mere Chris.

And in that book, we see that this problem of a neutral response to Christ is common and has been for a while because CS Lewis generates a rebuttal that he calls the trilemma.

See, Lewis Jesus gave options for how to respond. He said, listen, if you honestly read the claims that are made by Jesus and the Gospels, there are three possible ways you can respond. First, you could say, honestly, he’s a liar. The claim that he made about being able to forgive sin, about being the son of God, about being the only way to obtain eternal life, he was just lying.

Or secondly, you could also respond by calling Jesus a lun. A megalomaniac, a man who says, I am God. We’ve seen people on the streets say that we don’t call them Lord. We call them a lunatic.

And lastly,

perhaps just perhaps the claims that Jesus made the claims about being the way the truth and the life were true, in which case he is nothing other than Lord, liar, lunatic, or Lord. Do not call him a great moral teacher. Please. When the gospel is presented, when Jesus is presented, it leaves no room for a neutral response.

All right, let’s look at these two responses real quick. First, we see happily that the gospel is, And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul in Silas, as did a great, many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. We see a great variety here, come to the saving knowledge, accepting that this Christ was Jesus.

It’s a pretty big deal. Sounds like a lot of people accepted the gospel as a result of Paul’s ministry, even as we see here, a few leading women. Really interesting. I really wanted to know who these leading women were. I tried to find out. It’s very ambiguous. There’s some, there’s some thoughts, but the, the best I could find is that these women were probably wives to, uh, powerful political or military leaders in the city of Esla Naka.

Most likely they were Gentile Greeks and not. And most likely, they had a great deal to do with forming the early Thessalonian Church with their money, power, and influence. Remember, Paul had a strategic outlook on giving the gospel. He knew that this place was the center of a lot of goings on. He knew those women would be there, but also the great many of the devout Greeks continuing the trend, which we’ve seen all throughout the story.

Up until this point, the Gentiles are eager and ready for this gospel. There are no stumbling blocks to it. They’re, they’re excited to receive Jesus

eager and ready without any rejection in their hearts. We see the devout Greeks, eager, and these were not Greeks who had never heard of the Jewish customs. These were Greeks who had walked in the ways of the Jewish tradition, so they knew their Bibles, and yet they still received. Exciting stuff.

Next we get probably to the most tragic section in the whole passage, verses five through seven. The gospel is rejected,

but the Jews were jealous and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob and set the city in uproar.

This, uh, response as we see as it goes on, that they unite with wicked men of the rabble. They set the city in uproar. They drag Jason out, and they make accusations against him saying they’ve turned the world upside down. These men who have turned the world upside down have come here. And Jason has received them.

They’re all acting against the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another king. Jesus. Do you know what came to my mind when I read this passage? I was reminded of when Jesus was set before the Jewish people, before he was crucified, and the option was given them at that moment to free him or to choose another from the prisons to be freed.

And in that moment, John 18, verse 40 says, they cried out again. Not this man but Barabbas choosing to reject the one they should have accepted as Messiah and choosing rather, an evil man, an insurrectionist, a robber, most likely a murderer. They would choose him over the perfect lamb. And once again, they make the same mistake.

Here we see it again. They reject Jesus. And it’s so fascinating that right away, what do they do? Unite with wicked men. Choose rather wicked men.

And we see a fascinating, and again, intention, uh, intended, rather

set a phrase here that Luke gives, forming a mob and setting the city in uproar. And then right after we see those words, what is the accusation made by these men? These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, who, let me ask you a question. Who’s turning the world upside down here?

Where is the wrongness? Is it in Paul and Silas preaching a message of hope or is it in these wicked men turning the marketplace upside down, doing violence, screaming accusations, stealing money?

We see a, a last little important detail in the dialogue or in, in the words given to us by this assembled mob. He said they’re speaking against the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another king. Jesus. They’ve chosen a, they’ve chosen, they’ve made their choice. They’ve chosen a king. His name’s not Jesus.

His name’s Caesar. They are choosing the one who has them in bondage. They’re choosing Caesar, the one who has their people, ens, slave.

Who is ruling over them with an iron fist, the one that they hope the Messiah will free them from. And here as they wait, they’ve rejected him and chosen rather Caesar as their king.

This last bit begs the question, when wicked men accuse you of turning the world upside down, can you not be sure of setting it to right.

I read this part of the story and I was reminded of a pastime, a favorite pastime of mine. As a child when I was young, I didn’t have a lot of forms of, uh, digital entertainment, so I had to find creative ways to entertain myself. And being the really smart, educated, scholarly young boy that I was, I decided to get on the couch and hang my head off.

And I would do this thing where I would get on the couch, hang my head off the back of the couch, and I would try to imagine that my living room was upside down. I would picture that the ceiling was the roof and the roof was the ceiling. And something really cool happens when the blood rushes to your head , is that after a while you start to actually really be able to see it.

You’re like, wow, my living room looks cool. The ceiling is on the floor. The carpet is the ceiling, the fan on the ceiling is now something I could step on. And everything starts to seem upside down. And if you did it long enough, it became very convincing. And I remember when I was young, I used to try to like walk off the edge of the couch and then bam.

I’m like, dang it, it didn’t work. I thought I was Peter Pan for a minute. You see what happened is I spent long enough in that upside down position that it started to feel normal.

That’s what’s happening to these poor men. They’ve lived and benefited and walked in a world upside down for so long. They haven’t any idea anymore. The blood is rushed to their head and they’re so lost and confused that when they come and a message of hope is proclaimed in Christ, and he takes the lives of these devout Greeks, leading women and a few of the Jews, and flips it back to rights, they say upside down.

But I ask you the question, is this, this rabble, this mob, this violence, the world that God intended to build, that he desired us to live in? Or is this the world produced by sin and. The very things which God sent his son Jesus to defeat.

You see, this passage demonstrates so clearly that this gospel, despite the title of the sermon, is not turning the world upside down. It’s turning it back on its proper axis, this broken, destroyed sins. Scarred world is being healed, story by story, person by person, moment by moment.

And yet these poor men are elite. Their allegiance is given to a king who is enslaving them. That’s our world.

And like Paul, our hearts shouldn’t be disgusted, but it should break that they’re so lost.

That they’ve been upside down for so long, they no longer know it to be true.

I’m gonna close now with a question.

How have you responded to Jesus and to his gospel?

Because as we heard this morning, there’s really only two responses.

Maybe you’re here and you feel that you have rejected Jesus. You’ve written him off. You’ve started looking for other options. He doesn’t work. You don’t really like the things that you’ve come to realize about him from his word. You’ve started looking elsewhere where my words to you are this. It’s never too late to change your.

Romans five 10 reminds us that while you were still an enemy, Christ made you alive. It says Romans five 10, for while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son. How much more now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by his life? Even now, even as you have stand in rejection of God, he wants you, desires you, seeks you, is after you.

Even now, if you let him, he’ll turn your world, which has been upside down your whole life, right side up.

He desires your heart, even as I’m sure he desired, the men who were crying accusations against him. In choosing Cesar, don’t choose Cesar. Don’t give allegiance to that which enslaves you

turn and be healed. Find in Christ a hope that is greater than any you will know anywhere else. Trust me, I know maybe you’re here and you are neutral. Maybe your whole life you’ve kind of been sitting on the fence with Jesus. Maybe there’s a lot that you like about Jesus. Maybe you’ve sung the songs.

Maybe you’ve gone to Sunday school even. Maybe you have friends who are Christians and maybe you really don’t mind it that much. Maybe you kind of like the positive vibes you get.

I have a word I feel like the Lord gave me for you, friend. The fence is no safe place for you.

You’re not safe on the fence. And I hate, I don’t want to have to preach this message, but it’s the truth. In Matthew 12, verse 30, Jesus says, he who is not with me is against me in Revelation, Jesus says, since you are neither hot nor cold, I spat you out of my mouth.

Maybe it’s time you stop liking Jesus and start loving him.

I’m not speaking a message here, uh, of legalism. I’m not telling you, maybe it’s time you start getting your life in order before you go to Jesus. That’s not at all what I’m saying. That’s the opposite of what I’m saying. I’m saying go to Jesus, cry out for him. Recognize you can’t do a single thing good in yourself.

Don’t just be, don’t just give allegiance to a cause or an idea given allegiance to a king and watch him change your. Through the gospel of grace. Okay, my last group that I want to address this morning, maybe you’re here. Hopefully you’re here and you have accepted Jesus as Lord over your life. Maybe you’ve accepted him and now he’s taken your upside down life and day by day moment by moment, he’s slowly taking the upside down parts of your life and writing them back on their proper axis, and your family at your work and your relationships and your marriage doesn’t happen overnight with all parts of you.

He does it eternally and everlastingly. But then our life is the walk of slowly, moment by moment, letting Jesus work in us and turn our lives back in their proper orientation. For those of us who have acce have have received Christ. Maybe the next step is to follow in Paul’s footsteps, to get a game plan, to ask the Lord, Lord, where is my synagogue?

Who are the ears open to me? Who might be leaning in and ready to receive the message of hope?

Is it in your home with your children and your husband or wife? Maybe it’s in your work with your employees or your coworkers. Maybe it’s the soccer field, your ki, the parents of the kids who are playing. Maybe it’s your youth group. Maybe it’s a homeless shelter. I don’t know where your synagogue is, but ask God to reveal it so that you can live out the gospel and don’t hoard it, but give it out freely.

Be ready, church to reason with them, to dialogue, not monologue. Be ready to explain. Divide a under and reveal what lies beneath. Know your scriptures so that you can reveal Jesus, present to them nothing more or less than Jesus. Set him before those in your life as the only way to life.

Set Jesus before them as the one true and rightful king who takes this broken, fallen, and upside down world and turns it right side up. Let’s close in prayer now. Church.

Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you that it fills us. It challenges us. It reveals Lord to us so much about who you are and your.

Lord, I pray that we don’t turn a deaf ear to your word, but we let it penetrate down deep inside us and take root in our lives and produce fruit. Lord, it’s my prayer

that no distractions would come, Lord, that the enemy would be far from our minds now as we mull over your word and that guilt and shame would have no place, Lord, but that joy, peace, anticipation, conviction that these, the things would be what fill our minds now. Father, we thank you for all that you are and all that you are doing.

We thank you for your gospel and for your son Jesus, who is that gospel who is taking this upside down world and turning it right side up. Father, we pray all of this in your name. Amen. Go now in the fear of the Lord in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.