Sunday Morning Podcast January 23, 2022. Bro. Dave Goble. Pastor

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We want to continue this week, on the thought, “The Journey from the Destination.”  This week is part 2, “Destination of Our Own Making.” Usually when we think of destination, we think of the end of our journey.  I’m thinking here of the journey from the destination.  Now I have a series of topics I have included in this study.   Last week we spoke of “Dogma.”  Dogma again, is tradition or teaching, which someone holds as opinion, or preference, and it’s not meant to change. Even though sometimes it must change; that’s dogma. Dogma is not to be confused in a religious sense with doctrine.  Doctrine is teaching, it comes from the Greek and that’s what it means.  Teaching has a couple of dimensions to it when it comes to the gospel sense.  It’s founded on the Word of God, which is on the solid rock, which is Christ Jesus.  And teaching in that respect is not meant to change.  Because if it changes, and is subject to which “way the wind is blowing,”  then we can’t depend on it!  It becomes variable, and subject to human interpretation.  Doctrine isn’t like that in that sense.  It’s founded upon an principal that’s not meant to change.  That’s what gets us from chaos, to order in life. But doctrine in this sense does  evolve when we take that eternal principal that never changes, and we apply it to an  everchanging world, in which human circumstances dictate a need for change.  So you can understand that doctrine is not dogma.  Dogma is full of human interpretation, it’s full of human preference, someone’s philosophy, personal convictions, traditions, that’s dogma.  Sometimes dogma is useful, but in a Christian sense, Jesus said, when you use that as your doctrine, you could fall into trouble. Last week we considered 8 woes in the book of Matthew, that Jesus was teaching that was in opposition to the dogma of the Pharisees.

That’s where we began this study.  My whole point of this is I’d like us to think about 2 things; one it’s where we’re headed in life.  We want heaven to be our destination, don’t we?  And we can all agree on that!   But I’m considering in this series, destinations that we make in life’s journey that we stop at, and God needs us to keep going.  But we’re stuck at a destination of our making.  And that’s the subject of our lesson this morning;  “Destinations of Our Own Making. ”   God needs us to move when we’re stuck at a destination that we have made, perhaps in good faith, and good will.  We didn’t think we were deceived but this was perhaps where God wanted us to stay and never move, and God says I need you to move and like Peter, the sheet comes down, and God says I need you to move and Peter says “No, I’m not gonna move.”  That’s a destination that Peter made, and God needed Peter to move from that destination, even though Peter had made it in good will, and in good faith.  Peter wasn’t manipulative, he wasn’t deceiving anybody,  he wasn’t trying to lift up himself.  He actually had a destination that God had given Moses.  But God needed Peter to move someplace else, and so that was the point of that particular story.  We sometimes arrive at destinations of our making, when God needs us to move.  So think about this series, as moving from a destination along the journey.  We are moving on this journey with a desire to be founded on the Rock Christ Jesus.  Moving on Jesus’s doctrine as our standard, and commonality.  But in a journey that will keep us current with the needs that we face today.  This week we’re going to look at it from a different point of view than last week.  Moving from a spot of our own destination by understanding how we see the world.  We call that our worldview, and what that means.   This can influence whether we move from a destination of our own making, or not, to a destination that God shows us.  The issue is “Are we lined up with God?”   Or a destination that “we” have made?  Real simple.  We go to Acts 7, and deal with Saul of Tarsus, who later became Paul the Apostle. This is the first witness.  We’re not going to focus on Paul as much as Saul.  The second witness, is the worldview of Jesus.  We need to see if the way I see the world, ..is it lined up as Jesus sees the world?  If it is, we’ll find ourselves in movement with God!   We turn to Acts 7 58-60.  This is where Stephen was persecuted, and killed, verse 60.

TEXT: ACTS 7:58-60

58 “And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Stephen died as one of the first martyrs, of the Church. The man Saul, who would be known as the Apostle Paul, was witness to his assassination.  And the crowd laid Stephen’s clothes at Saul’s feet.  Saul had consented to Stephen’s death, and even instructed the crowd to stone him.   That’s why they laid the clothes at Saul’s feet and not another one.  He was in charge in the midst of the crowd, this same man that would become the Apostle Paul.

Acts 8:1-2   1 And Saul was consenting unto his death.  And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Acts 9:1-2

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the lord, went unto the high priest,

2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of thiw way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

These first couple of verses we’re looking at this Saul.  He was going to Damascus to purge the synagogues of believer who were following Christ.  This was a threat that Paul perceived to his leadership, and true religion, and especially the Jewish religion of the Hebrews.  I don’t know whether this attitude of Paul was held by all, but we’ll get to one man in particular, but it was certainly Saul’s opinion, and had to be shared by some.  This period of time was probably at the time of the newness of the Church.  He hasn’t yet gone on his missionary journeys, writing letters or epistles.  It was still some time before that would happen.  Later there had risen up a sect of the Jews called the Zealots, who  were also present in Saul’s day as well.  The zealots were a religious group that felt that the temple needed to remain pure in a ritual sense.  They were very dogmatic.  Change was not a very nice word for zealots.  Saul was more of a zealot than others.  The zealots felt that things were just falling into ruin in the Jewish nation, that there was too much accommodation with Rome.  Today we would say there was too much worldliness. They felt that things needed to be purged as did Saul.  One descriptive word might be fanatic.   I’m emphasizing this to illustrate that Saul had a certain worldview that was religious in nature that was very dogmatic that was based on a destination that they had made which God did not.  God needed the Jewish nation to move in unity with Jesus!   And it wasn’t happening and throughout time

Acts 22: 3-5     3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.   4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there were bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

I want you to understand the worldview of Saul of Tarsus.  Very dogmatic, zealous, stubborn, stuck, not moving with God.  He references a man named Gamaliel.  Gamaliel, in history was the grandson of a man named Hillel who was a Jewish scholar very important in Jesus’s time. Gamaliel was important, a teacher, perhaps even the president of the Sanhedrin, the council of the leaders of the Jewish people.  Paul said he was “taught at Gamaliel’s feet.”   Let’s see who Gamaliel really was.   Acts 5:34-40   34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostle forth a little space.

In this chapter Peter and the apostles were being persecuted, and Peter hauled before the council that Gamaliel was the head of the council and desired to give space to the apostles so he could privately talk to them.

35 And he said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days arose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.  37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.  38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought.  39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. 40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

I’m using this to make a point.  Saul of Tarsus was taught by this man.  In this case this man tells this council not to haul people out of the synagogue and kill them.  He tells them, leave them alone!  Because of what they’re doing is of God, you can’t stop it anyways.  And if it’s not, people aren’t going to follow them.  So leave them alone and it will come to nothing.  His counsel was quite different to what Saul of Tarsus did by hauling men and women into prison to be executed as they did Stephen.  Saul of Tarsus is even more fanatic than his teacher.  His teacher was not fanatic in this case.  The world of Saul of Tarsus was a mean, stubborn, stuck at a particular destination and even his teacher did not share Saul’s worldview.  How we see the world, will strongly influence our faith and how we see God.   Romans 10:1-3   1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

How ironic that Paul the Apostle is writing this the exact opposite to what Saul of Tarsus did before he became Paul the apostle, because Saul was then ignorant of God’s righteousness.  Saul of Tarsus had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge!  Because Saul of Tarsus moved from a destination of his own making! 

Destination of Our Own Making