Speaker 1: If you have your Bible to turn the Book of Acts, twenty eight, you weren't blessed by that. How about this? We only got one more message out of the Book of Acts and then we'll be done.
Speaker 1: I think good, I was glad you didn't like start cheering and applause or anything like that. Go ahead and stand with me as you find your place at twenty eight. We're going to begin reading and verse number one. Three down vs. No. 10. Great passage this morning, I'm excited to get into this with you. I hope there's hope there be some helpful things for you here this morning. X twenty eight versus number one, the Bible says this says when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. The barbarous people showed us no little
Speaker 6: kindness for they killed the fire received us everyone because of the present reign, because of the cold. And when Paul had
Speaker 1: gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire.
Speaker 6: There came a viper out of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the Barbarians
Speaker 1: saw the
Speaker 6: venomous beast hanging
Speaker 1: on his hand,
Speaker 6: they said among themselves, no doubt this man is a murderer whom though he has escaped the sea yet. Vengeance sufferer not to live, shook off the beast into the fire and felt no harm, albeit it looked when he should have swollen or
Speaker 1: fallen down, dead
Speaker 6: suddenly. But after they had looked
Speaker 1: a great while and saw no harm come to
Speaker 6: him, they changed
Speaker 1: their minds and said he was a god. The same quarters
Speaker 6: or possessions
Speaker 1: of the chief man of the island, whose name
Speaker 6: was Publius, who received us and lodged us three days courteously came to pass that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux to whom Paul entertained and prayed and laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was
Speaker 1: done, others also which had diseases in the island, came and were healed, who also honored us with many honors. When we departed, they laid it us with such things as were necessary. Let's pray. Definitely, father, we thank you for this day and thank you for the opportunity we have to be together this morning or I pray that you would help us as we look into your word that you would give me the words you'd have me to say. You help the folks that are here to listen. Apply with you here to their lives for in Jesus name. I pray. Amen. You may be seated. How many of you have ever seen? Not any specific one,
Speaker 6: but you've seen some kind of like poll or study or some article that is saying that Christianity is failing, Christianity is weakening, church attendance is going down. Evangelicals are less of a force than they used to be. All these different things. Have you seen something like that? OK. And everybody that writes an article like that or publishes a poll or a study along those lines usually will make an attempt at pinpointing why this is happening.
Speaker 1: They'll say things like, Well, you know, church is just too old fashioned. It needs to get up modernized and, you know, catch up with the times. They'll say we're doing a bad
Speaker 6: job with making the transition from
Speaker 1: the youth
Speaker 6: group to the young adult ministry.
Speaker 1: They'll say, you know, preachers aren't trustworthy anymore.
Speaker 6: There's just, I mean, if you read six articles, you'd find out 10 reasons
Speaker 1: why these things are happening.
Speaker 6: And I'm not going
Speaker 1: to try and tell you that what I'm going to say today
Speaker 6: is the reason. But I would say it's a pretty big reason
Speaker 1: why churches are struggling today. I would say that what we're going to talk about this morning
Speaker 6: is a a sizable threat to the health and future of not just our church, but any church. And Paul is going to demonstrate for us a a remedy, an alternative to this danger that could be festering in our church here this morning.
Speaker 1: You said, Well, I don't know, where is this going?
Speaker 6: Are you saying we've got venomous snakes in the church and and they're going to bite our ankles while we're in the service? And that's why people don't want to come.
Speaker 1: Now some of you are like, What's he talking about? Venomous snakes? Didn't you read the passage? We just read together
Speaker 6: as a venomous snake in the passage?
Speaker 1: That's not what it is. I believe one of the greatest dangers, not just to the church members, but also to church
Speaker 6: staff, preachers, ministers, anybody. Is the danger of entitlement.
Speaker 1: Entitlement. You're familiar with that word. Perhaps when I say the word entitlement, you think of a government program, that's not what I'm talking about.
Speaker 6: Why then talk about entitlement? I'm talking about this. This concept of this idea of I am
Speaker 1: owed certain things. I've done this or I've been this or I've seen this.
Speaker 6: And so now you owe me.
Speaker 1: For my for what I've contributed, this is very, very dangerous and can be. Definitely, definitely. That's not that's not right. It could kill. A church. This idea, this mentality of entitlement. The Bible tears in Chapter Twenty Eight starts by picking up where we left off last week and if you were watching or you were here, you know, we we covered the the the the medic came. So that sounds like a medicine. No, no, no. It's a hurricane in the Mediterranean, and it's called a medical giant typhoon type storm that arose there in the
Speaker 6: Mediterranean Sea and caught Paul and the ship that he was on for
Speaker 1: 14 days. They were tossed to and fro. They thought several times that they were going to die. They did
Speaker 6: everything they humanly could do to save themselves,
Speaker 1: and nothing worked. In the end, they had to trust God,
Speaker 6: God, God brought them through, and every person of the two hundred and seventy six passengers that was on that ship survived, though the ship was lost. And so in verse number one, you see, and when they were escaped, maybe you were wondering, what did they escape from King Kong?
Speaker 1: Godzilla, though it was a hurt, but not a hurricane American.
Speaker 6: When they escaped there on the beach, they'd come out with their lives and nothing else. And now they are faced with another hurdle because after their harrowing experience in the storm, Paul and his fellow travelers are really just blessed to be alive. But without quick action, they would be in danger of further trouble if they didn't address some of their current needs is the number one they needed to figure out where they were. They need to figure out where they were. They had no idea they'd been tossed and pitched back and forth for several days, and so they've lost all sense of direction. But they also needed to find a way to get out of the elements just because they were on land didn't mean that they were out of trouble. So the Bible tells us, verse number one, that it is not long before they discover that they are on the island of Melita. Melita is the modern day Malta,
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 6: Malta is a small island about a hundred and twenty two square miles, 50 miles off the coast of Italy. One hundred and twenty square miles is not very big. Tulsa County is over five hundred and eighty square miles, so you can kind of get the idea of just how small of
Speaker 1: an area this was, the chances
Speaker 6: of them landing on an island. This small were pretty remote, if not for God guiding them right?
Speaker 1: And so they find out where they are.
Speaker 6: Melita No. To that second problem of the elements is quickly handled because it wasn't long before the inhabitants of the island made themselves known. And it's very easy for us to get the wrong idea about who these people were. How many of you when you hear about a shipwreck on an island, immediately start thinking.
Speaker 1: Gilligan, OK, good, Gilligan or the Swiss family, Robinson, the American watch that also, I thought, would be cool to have a tree house like that.
Speaker 6: Maybe you think the beginning of the Disney animated feature Tarzan
Speaker 1: with a shipwreck and they're there on the coast, but
Speaker 6: that's those are the things that we think of. And then in verse number two, Luke makes it worse, because how did you describe the inhabitants of the island barbarians?
Speaker 1: OK, so what are you thinking now? You know, if you're thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know, he's got, you know, a fur around his waist and he's got a giant sword and some weird girl headband or something like that. Anything in Barbarian? That's not what this is supposed to be in our minds
Speaker 6: when we read Luke's description of the people as barbarous. We may start to think that they were uncivilized or maybe even cannibalistic people that had never been touched with anybody off the island. But none of these pictures are accurate. The only thing that separates the people of the island of Malaita and the shipwreck
Speaker 1: survivors is their language.
Speaker 6: These people are barbarians because they have a different language. Then the sailors and the soldiers and the prisoners. And I know
Speaker 1: that we, as primarily English speaking people, cannot understand why you would consider someone that doesn't speak your language to be a part of it a barbarian. I mean, we treat people like this the time. Oh, you don't speak English and what's wrong with you?
Speaker 6: That's that was their mentality. I mean, everybody speaks Greek, it's called coin a common Greek. I mean, it's just it's the world language. What do you mean? You don't speak Greek, you don't speak Greek.
Speaker 1: You must be a barbarian. We kind of do that today, too. OK, you don't you don't like that, I can tell. This this this barbarous term is a common descriptor from their date to describe anyone
Speaker 6: that did not speak Greek or Latin. If you did not speak Greek or Latin, then you are a barbarian. It didn't matter what you spoke that no matter how educated you were, how successful you were, you were a barbarian. Because to the Greeks, your speech sounded
Speaker 1: like Bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah. There's that word again. It's an onomatopoeia. Sounds like what it sounds like. So anyways, the barber, the barber is people come and the Bible tells us that they showed no little kindness to the survivors of the shipwreck. These barbarians were actually Phoenicians, the sentence of the Phoenician people, and they immediately went about helping the strangers and washed up on their shore.
Speaker 6: Now I love this because this is a it's a it's a cycle that we're going to see in the in the passage this morning. These barbarous people come to these shipwreck survivors and begin to help them expecting nothing in return because they have nothing to give. They have escaped with their lives. And yet these people, these these islanders, they come and begin to help the survivors of the shipwreck expecting absolutely nothing in return. And so they build a fire to keep them in warm. Luke tells us in verse number two that. Everyone that's there is is cold and wet, cold and wet now. How many of you
Speaker 1: are glad that it warmed up a little bit today? Me too. Oh my goodness, my. I'm watching my propane tank, you know, just go. Me, OK? I feel like I just filled the thing up, and I'm sure they're going to come back soon and take that money out of my bank account.
Speaker 6: But, you know, I'm glad fifties. Hey, that's almost like, fortunately, weather.
Speaker 1: Let's not be ridiculous.
Speaker 6: But after what we've had experienced, 50 sounds pretty good. The then the time period in which this happened in the Mediterranean. Chances are the lows for them were in the 50s. OK, so you think, OK, well, 50 degrees? I'm not exactly like
Speaker 1: lighting the fireplace. Maybe you are. And the house is not that
Speaker 6: cold, but I get. I bet if you
Speaker 1: went outside right now and it's about 50 degrees and I took the hose and
Speaker 6: started hosing you down like, OK, yeah, that's pretty cool. So here they are. They're out on the beach. They're exposed to the elements, the storm just because they made it to the beach. The storm isn't over. I mean, it's still raining and blowing. And so they're cold, they're wet. But now they've got a fire. And I'm sure the survivors were surprised and grateful at the hospitality of the Malaysians. I mean, I'd be surprised if some stranger came up to me and began to help me.
Speaker 1: I'd say something like, Are
Speaker 6: you an angel? Did God send you to me? I mean, because I was not expecting help? Completely surprised by what's going on here, but I'm grateful for it now. Hospitality isn't the only surprising
Speaker 1: thing that is happening on the beach that day.
Speaker 6: And verse number three, we see another surprising thing in that we see Paul
Speaker 1: inversion of three going out and gathering
Speaker 6: a bundle of sticks. Now, though, Paul is still a prisoner, he is not your normal prisoner. We've seen that throughout the journey. I mean, how many prisoners are given leave to go into town and visit with their friends? How many prisoners are given the opportunity to speak as to the fortunes of the ship that they're on? Or how many prisoners can tell us Centurion of Rome? Hey, those men can't get out of the boat because if they do, we're all going to die.
Speaker 1: And the centurion says, cut the ropes and the boat is lost.
Speaker 6: Paul is not your normal prisoner. He has proven his value to the expedition. He has gained the respect and gratitude of Julius, the Centurion and the entire crew. But Paul surprisingly refuses to leverage
Speaker 1: his standing to get out of participating in the mundane task gathering. Six.
Speaker 6: Gathering sticks, that's the that's the chore that my parents save
Speaker 1: for my children when they come to visit. They say, OK, well, Jackson, you're looking for
Speaker 6: something to go pick up sticks. It's like I can. Yeah, I go pick up sticks. That'll be great. You do a good job, OK? And he gets a little
Speaker 1: wheelbarrow that he has there the house and he goes round.
Speaker 6: He picks up all the sticks.
Speaker 1: Do you think maybe my dad just doesn't like picking up sticks? So he makes Jackson think it's this great thing. Jackson's just looking for a job to do. You know, he likes doing little jobs and and so he goes and picks up.
Speaker 6: Nobody wants to go out and pick up sticks, especially if you're cold and wet and there's a nice toasty fire over here. How many of you were going to take fire over darkness?
Speaker 1: Cold, wet picking up sticks? I'm picking fire.
Speaker 6: That, Paul.
Speaker 1: Paul is a man that really. Could have been the
Speaker 6: most stuck up do
Speaker 1: gooder that you ever met. I told my wife earlier this week after studying for Wednesday night, I don't know if I would have liked Paul.
Speaker 6: You know, I just don't know. I look at the people that I don't really care for today, and
Speaker 1: then I read about Paul
Speaker 6: and I'm like, I don't think I would've liked him, like just knowing him from a distance. I maybe if I got to know him and talk to him, maybe it have been different. But if I was just some outward observer of Paul, yeah, I
Speaker 1: think I probably would have thought he was not a good guy. I'm sure there were some who thought this of him. I mean, Paul, if we were
Speaker 6: honest, could have had the most unpleasant superiority
Speaker 1: complex of every Christian, of any Christian that's ever lived.
Speaker 6: I mean, what do we usually say?
Speaker 1: You know, it was the greatest Christian that ever lived. Oh, it's Paul. You're not going to pick Peter. Right? Peter's always like, you're for the mouth.
Speaker 6: Really, pull this, Paul Fisher is Paul.
Speaker 1: Paul didn't know what people were saying about him. I'm sure he did.
Speaker 6: He could have been. Really difficult to be around. But thanks to Luke. We get to see an inside glimpse at this man that few others got to see. I mean, think about it, you and I get to know Paul better than some of the people who lived contemporaneously with him. You know, I mean, we get some, some behind the scenes glances, that loophole was to try and knock down.
Speaker 1: My problem with him. And made me say, Oh, you know what, maybe he wasn't such a. Cocky person, after all.
Speaker 6: Because of what Paul's doing. When we look at him as he's there on the beach, gathering sticks and picking them up and leaving the fire to go and help make sure that everyone else is comfortable, we see a man that is not too good for something. Instead, we see a man who is humble and willing and unafraid to do the work that no one else wanted to do. Nobody wanted to go pick up steaks when
Speaker 1: the fire was available.
Speaker 6: But that's exactly what Paul's doing. In this case, as everyone else is huddled by the warmth of the fire, Paul leaves this spot of comfort to go and gather sticks.
Speaker 1: Why is he gathering sticks while so that everyone else can stay comfortable? So the fire won't go out.
Speaker 6: He is willing to forgo his own needs in order to minister to the needs of others. And maybe we can even go this far and say he is willing to forgo his own rights.
Speaker 1: For the sake of others. Let's be honest,
Speaker 6: if it wasn't for Paul, would
Speaker 1: they even be on that beach?
Speaker 6: If it wasn't for Paul, would they even be alive? The ship was going to make the
Speaker 1: journey one way or another.
Speaker 6: Paul, beyond the ship, had
Speaker 1: absolutely no bearing on that ship, making that journey. A poll was on the ship. Because Paul was on the ship. They lived. Paul is out acting as a servant. And it could have been demanding recognition for the. Work that he had done, the benefit he had provided. Bible tells us that as Paul tosses another pile of sticks into the fire. Something else surprising happens. Everyone is shocked. To see what Luke calls a Viper shootout and latch on to Paul's hand. I've never seen somebody have a snake latched on to their hand. I've seen somebody let a lizard latch onto their hand, that was kind of funny. They let it bite right here on their hand and then they let the thing hang. They got tangled in around those kids, around the kids like. It was Florida, they got all kinds of creepy things down there. It's almost like Australia.
Unidentified: Just the weird stuff.
Speaker 1: First, for the inhabitants of the island, recognize the snake as a venomous beast version before. This is an interesting point that they would say this because the island of Malta, Malta today there are no species of venomous snakes. On the island about the.
Speaker 6: Now, that was 2000 years ago, ecosystems change, but people will say,
Speaker 1: well, this just goes to show you this just
Speaker 6: proves the Bible is an accurate because there are no venomous snakes. Now, there could have been many mistakes back then, so
Speaker 1: the was line, you cannot trust it. Things change. Did you know right now you can look this up, this is kind of interesting. Mountain lions are breeding in Oklahoma like the first time in 70 years. You know, for the last 70 years, you could say there are no mountain lions in Oklahoma. But now there are. So watch out. But it's just just because it's true now doesn't mean it was true back then. And these islanders who have
Speaker 6: lived their whole, their whole lives, they're the ones who looked at and say, that's venomous.
Speaker 1: So they watch him watch Paul and the Bible says that they have this, this response to seeing the venomous snake biting him. The islanders see it. They say this version before they say, no doubt this man is a murderer
Speaker 6: whom though he has escaped the
Speaker 1: sea yet. Vengeance is not to live. So Paul shakes the beast off in the fire, and Paul doesn't feel any harm. You've seen snake bangs, they're really small. It's possible for you not even to know you've been bit but the inhabitants. They think well since he survived the shipwreck, and
Speaker 6: now he's definitely going to die because he just got bit. He must be some really bad criminal.
Speaker 1: Islanders start to watch him, as Paul, I believe goes back to work, continues to go and pick up sticks
Speaker 6: and the Bible says in verse more six that they looked when he should have swollen or fallen down, dead suddenly. What kind of Mormon people are these? Nobody is like,
Speaker 1: I know you're not supposed to do this, but Hollywood tells us this is what you do and you bit by a snake. Nobody is like, Hey, let me suck the poison out for you. Lewis says that they're just sit back watching. Hey, hey, hey. This guy got bit by snake. Oh yeah, it was one of those venomous ones, you know, that killed a, you know, Jimmy the other day. Watch what he's going to. He's going to drop dead.
Speaker 6: They're just like waiting for him to fall down dead. Does anybody else see how weird this is? This is not normal behavior. Surely they had some kind of first aid available to them. Nobody offers it to them, though. They're just waiting for them to die or waiting for his hand to swell up and explode.
Speaker 1: After they had looked great while and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds. Let's be in it must have been an all female island. They change their minds and said. No, he was not a criminal. He must be a God.
Speaker 6: Earlier in the Ministry of Paul,
Speaker 1: he shows up to town and
Speaker 6: they said, Oh, it is the gods come to see us, and then they
Speaker 1: get annoyed with him and they decide, Oh, wait, no, he's a criminal and he stone him to death. So it goes from God to criminal. Well, in this case, it goes from criminal to God.
Speaker 6: In both cases, they're wrong. This just goes to show you
Speaker 1: have to be very careful in the assumptions we make about people.
Speaker 6: You can even change your mind
Speaker 1: and still be wrong about them. Criminal God, God criminal is just a common guy.
Speaker 6: I know Paul is just the same as any one of us sitting here today. There's I mean, there's there's nothing different about his DNA. There's nothing
Speaker 1: different about the amount of the Holy
Speaker 6: Spirit that he got when he got saved. It's he got saved just like you got saved. He was a sinner, just like, you're a sinner.
Speaker 1: All is just a normal guy. A hearing versus, you know, four or five and six that snake bites him and nothing happens. You know, the contrast here between what others thought about Paul and how Paul viewed himself are amazing. Paul, I'm the chief of sinners. So there's some surprising stuff happening here.
Speaker 6: But these are not the
Speaker 1: only occurrences that take place on the island during the three months recording of our storm or 11, the three months that the crew would have remained
Speaker 6: here. Luke also tells us
Speaker 1: about a run in that Paul has with the chief man of the island. How many of you would like to be chief man of something? Chief man of the car. Chief man of the radio
Speaker 6: chief man in my house.
Speaker 1: Chief man in my
Speaker 6: own private island in.
Speaker 1: This seems like a strange title for a person.
Speaker 6: In fact, this is another title that critics of the Bible have said, this is foolish. This is made up. There was nobody back then called chief man of the island. Was Luke talking about.
Speaker 1: Then archeologists come along just what they uncover on the island
Speaker 6: of Malta, an
Speaker 1: inscription for the teeth man of the island. It's almost like the Bible, true? I don't know. The chief man of the
Speaker 6: island was the
Speaker 1: Roman official who was placed in charge of the island in the case of Malta during this time.
Speaker 6: That man's name is Publius. Publius invites Paul and the others to come and stay with him for three days. This was a great courtesy. Most likely, Publius is doing this for the sake of Julius. The centurion he is not inviting.
Speaker 1: Paul and Paul is prisoner. Paul's nobody. He doesn't know who Paul is, but Julius is a centurion, so
Speaker 6: Publius thinks he'll
Speaker 1: be well served in showing courtesy to Julius and so Julius, who has no doubt gained an affinity
Speaker 6: for Paul. He includes Paul and his companions in this three night stay at the Publius Resort.
Speaker 1: After their arrival, perhaps while they're eating.
Speaker 6: Paul becomes aware of the fact that Publius father is sick. Bible tells us in verse number eight that probably his father had a fever and a bloody flux,
Speaker 1: and what they believe this is referring to is dysentery. Had dysentery once. It's not good. Then thing called Civil Air Patrol, it's kind of like ROTC type thing, and we went down to this camp and we're supposed to drink. I can't remember like six canteens of water a day. Well, the place that they were telling us to fill up our water cooler where we got our water for our canteens was the gray water faucet. For watering the plants. And so for three days, we drank great water, which was not good, and I didn't get near as bad as some people, some people got really sick and had to go to hospital. They've got a cast iron stomach, so we'll get. That's not true. The story is true, but it's not true that I've cast iron stomach, it's normal. Historically, Malta was known to be a place with a high concentration of dysentery. The goats on the island had begun eating a certain type of plant that introduced dangerous microbes into their system. And so then when they would milk the goats and drink the milk, if you didn't build up a tolerance to it, then you would get severely sick with dysentery, and this could last for a very long time. Publius probably brought his father with him to the island when he was made the governor of the official there, and so his father not being
Speaker 6: used to the goat's milk of the island begins to
Speaker 1: drink it, putting it on his cereal. I don't know what. I'll make an ice cream out of it.
Speaker 6: And the microbes cause him to get sick. And so now he's here and he's in great pain. He is in danger of dying. And so Paul, being aware of this goes in to see Publius, his father. And he does something here that is unique to the New Testament, although it seems very common in the Old Testament. He goes in and says Paul prayed and laid hands on him and healed him. Now I want you to notice that there is no record here of Paul putting any kind of prerequisites on his actions. He doesn't say the public, say you're a Roman governor, I'm a prisoner. I'll go in and heal your father. You put in a good word for me with Caesar. Make me a nice official letter that I can take with me to Caesar and present it to him so that he'll go easy on me. There's none of that. Paul just goes into this man that is sick and he heals him by the power of God. But no charge. No strings. There's no such thing as a free lunch. No, but I guess there are such things of free healings.
Speaker 1: Paul doesn't expect anything in return. Bible says immediately
Speaker 6: that the the fever left him immediately, his stomach stopped churning immediately, the man was healed.
Speaker 1: Now, as you can imagine, the word spread quickly about what Paul had done.
Speaker 6: This is no doubt aided by the testimony of Julius, well, what Paul had done on the sea voyage. Also, it's
Speaker 1: not that big of islands, so you know what else they have to do, but talk about what happens. Before they knew it. The birth number nine. All of the sick of the island are being brought to Paul,
Speaker 6: one by one God uses Paul
Speaker 1: to heal all of them. Of course, people are so appreciative of what has transpired so that a person over 10 honored us with many honors when we departed three months later, they laid it us with such things as were necessary.
Speaker 6: They were so grateful for what Paul had done. They gave him gifts and honors and laid them down
Speaker 1: as they began their journey again.
Speaker 6: But if you look at verse number
Speaker 1: seven, eight, nine, 10,
Speaker 6: do you notice there's something missing from this account? You notice there is something absent that we should have come to expect from a story about Paul
Speaker 1: visiting a new a
Speaker 6: new area.
Speaker 1: It didn't present what we would.
Speaker 6: In. We see no evidence that he presented the gospel we saw. We see no teaching or preaching. He didn't go, look for a synagogue. What's the deal? Paul, off his game.
Speaker 1: Although I am a prisoner. Nothing I could do. My hands are tied literally.
Speaker 6: Also there, well, we're on this beautiful island time for a vacation.
Speaker 1: So there's no record of any presentation of the gospel, and I believe there are a couple of reasons that this could be. No one could be. It simply wasn't recorded. I mean, we've been with Paul for a couple of years now. Does this seem likely that Paul would intentionally or unintentionally just forget to share the gospel with people? No. Perhaps it's not recorded because no one responded.
Speaker 6: Perhaps he did share the gospel with Publius
Speaker 1: and his father and the the inhabitants of the island, but they just weren't ready for harvesting. Maybe it was the planting or a watering event. Maybe in this seems likely the language
Speaker 6: barrier was a hindrance in communicating the gospel to the. Whatever the case, though, we see another lesson that combats this idea of I'm entitled. You see, not only was Paul
Speaker 1: humble and willing to do the work no one else wanted to do,
Speaker 6: but he also wasn't solely focused
Speaker 1: on the results. I've heard people say well-meaning, if just one person gets saved, then it was all worth it. What if nobody gets saved? Is it still worth it? Let's put it into terms that we're familiar with. Vacation Bible school comes. We invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into teaching these kids about Jesus, presenting them the gospel on a daily basis for for their their reception. But something happens and nobody gets it. For sure, we would look
Speaker 6: inwardly and pray
Speaker 1: over this, were we in the right place? Is there something that we should have dealt with? Could just be that no one was ready. Maybe it was a planting time or a watering time. Do we then say vacation Bible school is not worth it? Nobody got sick. What if this sounds like a stretch? What if this year? And we support 70 plus missionaries. We're going to send out a hundred thousand dollars to missions. What if? Month after month after month, we get letters that say no one got saved.
Speaker 6: The gospel was presented,
Speaker 1: but no one got sick. It was say, yeah, that
Speaker 6: was a waste. It was a waste of
Speaker 1: a hundred grand. Is it still worth it to make the effort? Even if no one responds. Now, if I make a sacrifice, I'm entitled to some fruit.
Speaker 6: If I'm going to send it, they've got a rigged console safe, they're going to be some conversions.
Speaker 1: There are some hard fields out there that don't yield in human terms, a whole lot of fruit. Is it still worth it? I believe the answer is yes. You say, you see, we are not responsible for generating the increase. We plant, we water, God gives the increase. Paul is here and he's ministering.
Speaker 6: With. No. Strings attached. It's not I'm going to do
Speaker 1: this for you, but then you're going to listen, then you're going to make a decision.
Speaker 6: And if I could bring this back to this idea of relational soul winning
Speaker 1: relational evangelism or evangelism,
Speaker 6: we've dealt with this before of showing kindness to people in order to have a door to share the
Speaker 1: gospel with them. What if they don't respond? Was that meal
Speaker 6: not worth it then? What what if they don't want to come to
Speaker 1: church with you, you said, well, that's the last time I mow their yard. Teenagers, you know, you try to invite your friends to youth group or Sunday school or a teen activity, and so you show them kindness, you, you talk to them, you sit with them at lunch, do whatever
Speaker 6: you have to do
Speaker 1: to try and get them to to come with you. And then they don't come. Do you disown them? Yeah, well, I tried. Well, what am I even dating her for if she's not going to come to church with me, you know? I would not advise that. I believe Paul demonstrates for Luke's readers. The proper way, the minister through life, by maintaining humility, and if I could say it this way. A reliance on God to bring the results.
Speaker 6: You see, we are not entitled to anything, we're not entitled to seeing results for our labor. If if we labored for God faithfully our entire life and never saw one thing that a human would say, that was worth it. Wouldn't service the guard still be worth it? You see, we talked about this on Sunday school. We don't minister, we don't serve God in order to achieve his blessings. I don't minister serve God so that he will then feel indebted to me.
Speaker 1: So then give me good things.
Speaker 6: Not entitled to that. There's nothing I could do to make myself
Speaker 1: legitimately entitled to that. Truth matter is, I already have his blessings. I already have it.
Speaker 6: And so I minister to him from a state of love. And gratitude. Paul's there on the on the island, and he's he's just so glad that God has saved them. You know, they've lost everything.
Speaker 1: But he's alive. I'm just happy to be be able to walk around this beach.
Speaker 6: Everybody else is sitting there freezing, shivering like, Oh, my life is so horrible. Paul's like, Oh, I'm going to go pick up some sticks. Woo.
Speaker 1: You know, he's like singing as he's on the beach and they're all like, what is wrong
Speaker 6: with this guy? You know, even when he gets bit by the snake, he throws the the sticks in the fire, the snake jumps out and latches onto files as he shakes them off the fire.
Speaker 1: What would you do if you got bitten by a snake?
Speaker 4: Oh.
Speaker 1: I was on. He doesn't have a Publius House, but this is my dad sick. Was like, excuse me, gets up from the table, goes and finds Publius Room.
Speaker 6: Dysentery, it's not pretty. OK. Not the kind of room you want to go into,
Speaker 1: although then lays hands on and prays, one guy gets healed. Paul's gone. I don't know. Maybe at the time it takes to go freshen up.
Speaker 6: It comes back with Publius to the table and now probably is. Probably this is dead. He sits down with them, poses like, Damn, what are you doing out of bed? And he's like, Let's go heal me. All the officials at around the table like what yield me.
Speaker 1: They all go home and start telling everybody before we know it, everyone's coming to Publius House for Paul to pray over them and heal them, and it does happen. Nobody seems to get saved. Also, is that a just ministry
Speaker 6: just doing what God would have me to do? I can't control their decision.
Speaker 1: I can't control what I do. See? It doesn't matter how many ministries. You do it the search. How long you've done them? If you come to me expecting me to treat you differently because of how much you give, I'm sorry to tell you I don't know what you give. And so if you don't tell me I'll never know it because I'm a big giver and I say, I think you might be a liar.
Speaker 6: I don't know.
Speaker 1: I have no way to verify that. Check. I've been a member here for X amount of years. Don't you think you owe me this? No. I'm grateful. I was messaging for the Dean Swim building message, just me on Facebook, and, you know, we were talking about many decades of investment into a church. And we understand. That we are here because of the investment sacrifice those have come before us. Amen. You've been a member here for three years, five years, 10 years. We are here because of the investment those that have come before. You can even say that about our charter members. They are here because another church invested in this church. We are grateful. We are not to be entitled. We are to serve with humility
Speaker 6: if that means
Speaker 1: picking up sticks or picking up trash. That's what we do.
Speaker 6: We don't ever get to the point where we say, I'm too good for that.
Speaker 1: I've paid my dues. Oh. Banging my head against something. I've paid my dues, what is that supposed to say? You no longer have an
Speaker 6: indebtedness to God.
Speaker 1: Like, we could even begin to make a payment on that. We serve where we need. Well, you know, we'll just see how things go. You know, I mean, if if there's a response, then maybe we'll keep going. I mean, if there's a response
Speaker 6: like you're entitled to a response because you did something.
Speaker 1: Well, I mean, you know, we just really feel like God would have us to do this, but but nobody's getting saved, so we're just going to quit doing it.
Speaker 6: Well, it's. You put strings on your service. No. Entitlement.
Speaker 1: You know who struggles with that most? Creatures, people in the ministry. You've seen it. I've seen it. Seen it myself. I have given my life
Speaker 6: to serve God. I am entitled
Speaker 1: to a certain level of respect.
Speaker 4: No, you're not.
Speaker 6: You're not. Paul, the perhaps greatest Christian that ever lived. Did not see himself as entitled. And so if he didn't see himself as
Speaker 1: being owed certain things. What makes us think that we should be that way? It's a when when when our church takes this lesson and applies it. Do you realize what that does for our body here? A body full of servants looking for ways to help others serve others with no expectations to serve God.
Speaker 6: Not worried about what
Speaker 1: the results are going to be, just knowing, Hey, I'm going to serve God. Oh, my goodness. The opportunities that could come. I thought this is interesting, and I'll say it's not close. Nineteen forty two. During World War Two, the president of Malta was a Christian. Every day he met with his cabinet, if you'd call him that for a Bible study and devotions. He wanted to disciple his. His government to follow Jesus. And as the bombs were falling because Malta was it was not going along with everything that Mussolini was doing, they were being bombed on a regular basis. They never missed their Bible city Typekit. In that crazy.
Speaker 6: I mean, here's Paul, 9400 years earlier, just trying to serve. And 900 years later, they're saying they're connected. But the president of the island
Speaker 1: is a Christian. It's incredible what God can do when we're not in it for ourselves. We're not entitled. We just want to serve the Lord. Friday, only, father, we think for the state. Thank you for the good attention of the people that are here. I ask that you help all of us to guard our hearts from this attitude of entitlement. Because of what we've done for you or. How much we've given you, how long we've served you, that we are somehow owed certain things? Lord, I pray that we would see that attitude as as reprehensible. We would not want anything to do with it or but we would just come before you as willing servants, no matter what it is, you have us to do, whether it's picking up sticks, taking care of babies, cleaning the trash, cleaning the church, whatever it would be, Lord, that you would help us to be willing servants today. Lord, I thank you for the fact that there are so many here at this church that have served you faithfully without any strings, or they just want to enjoy the the benefits and blessings of of serving you. What? I pray that you would hope that that mentality to spread even further among our members, the Jesus name. I ask these things. Amen.