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Gospel to the Gentiles

David Shin


David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK



  • September 21, 2019
    12:00 PM
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Father in heaven thank you for this opportunity that we have this morning to be able to gather together as a community of faith or do we don't want to take this privilege for granted the freedom that we have to assemble to believe according to our conscience to open the Word of God and we pray this morning that divine help would assist us through this process by the Holy Spirit and press our hearts and our minds may you specifically tailor these people words. For every heart this morning you know your needs may you speak to us we ask these things in the precious name of Jesus Amen. We're continuing our series of messages that we've been titled lessons from the life of Paul and you to open your Bibles to Acts chapter 2 verse 40. The Christian church was in the upper room about $120.00 individuals that were gathered in that permeating book of Acts begins in a prayer vigil a prayer session they asked for the Holy Spirit 10 days and on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell and those disciples gathered in that upper room went out transformed from on high and Peter preaches a sermon in Acts chapter 2 and accepted to verse 40 and with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying be saved from this perverse generation then those who would gladly received his word were baptized on that day about $3000.00 souls were added to them Now here's an interesting fact about demographics in Acts chapter 2. At the baptism 99 percent of the church were ethnically Jewish. You know when you read the book of Acts you forget that well they were speaking in tongues and the reason why they were speaking in tongues were all these ethnic Jews from all over the world had gathered together in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost they but they were all Jews they were speaking different languages because they were coming from their respective regions but when they came into Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and all these 3000 souls were added to the church they were all Jews now I put 99 percent on there because there might have been a gentile or 2 that slipped in there but I don't think so they were probably 100 percent Jews and so you have this homogenization group that comprised the early Christian church they were all ethnically and religiously unique because you're ethnically a Jew but you're also religiously a Jew as well they all joined the church together now think about the implications of this they all ate similar types of food. They all celebrated the same types of holidays they were all part of the same culture and this group of individuals were all circumcised circumcision went all the way back to the days of Abraham and if you were a ball abiding Jew 8 days after you were born you were circumcised that was the nature of how it works so the Christian church was not ethnically diverse in Acts chapter 23000 people when you add 120 or so about 3200 people comprised this new community and they had church together now this was about to dramatically change and this is the irony of church grows you know we pray for new members we pray for young families we pray for all these things and then they start coming in and you're like wait a minute. These people look differently than we do. They smell differently than we do and they eat different types of foods in Eve find that sometimes there's a flight that takes place in some demographic congregations even here in North America because these cultures are merging and here you had a homogenous group a group of people that were 100 percent for all intents and purposes Judy from Judaism Jewish that became Christians and this was about to change because Paul. Who was previously saw the persecutor had 2 key roles in this ethnic diversity trend that was going to take place and praised the Lord that the Gospel went to the gentiles you want to know what a Gentile is. If you're not a Jew You're a gentile. I'm a Korean I'm a Gentile and k. if you're Caucasian you're a gentile you know if you're Hispanic you're a gentile the Jews make a very fraction of our world population and praise the Lord that the gospel did not just stay in Jerusalem or else we wouldn't be here Ok so so this is a pivotal shift when Sol of Tarsus who became Paul began persecuting the church what it did was it drove people out of Jerusalem and they began preaching the Gospel everywhere and Philip baptized the Ethiopian Ethiopian eunuch the 1st recorded Gentile baptism and the gospel began to go to the Gentiles So Paul as a persecutor began to spread the gospel to the Gentile world but then Paul the Apostle Paul was instrumental in this ethnic diversity that was to take place this is a map of Paul's 1st missionary journey and you can see Jerusalem is is way down here Paul's missionary journey when up here and he would go out and preach the gospel and set up churches Gentile churches churches that were not Jewish churches that had no Jewish context at all they had to be educated they had to be taught and so began this influx of people that did not look jewish didn't smell Jewish didn't eat Jewish food and certainly were not circumcised. This is Paul's 2nd missionary journey I what a man this is a man on a mission he goes all over Asia Minor into into Greece there and he begins setting up churches and what he does is when he leaves a church and is in another location he begins writing letters to these churches the letter to the church in colossi kolache ns the letter to the church in f. Asus efficiencies the letter to the church in goal Aisha to lay sions and this is where we have this rich resource in the New Testament where Paul the most prolific writer of the New Testament wrote these letters to the churches and they were preserved for us today and it was the result of Paul being an ambassador for Jesus an apostle to the Gentiles this is his 3rd missionary journey this is a man on a mission and so the demographics begin to shift the church was changing from a Jewish population to a gentile population and all these people were coming in the church began to experience growing pains and tensions anytime you have people coming in to a homogenously cultural group there is going to be some tension and that's what happened all these Gentiles were coming in and the Jewish Christians looked at these Gentile Christians and said look they're not orthodox they're not really Christians and you see a picture emerging of the tensions that were coming in and this is the next 15 after for the 1st missionary journey it's already becoming an issue in Acts Chapter 15 certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses you cannot be saved can you imagine. I mean talk about a way to really stifle church growth. I mean it's hard enough to get people to to join a congregation nowadays in the 21st century and accept the Lord through baptism but can you imagine you giving Bible studies to someone say by the way we want to save this for last because it's a little bit uncomfortable but you need to go through a. Surgical procedure. Very painful surgical procedures procedure but you'll get over it you know and in order to be really excepted in our community of faith this issue of circumcision was one that could potentially kill the Christian movement I believe if it had not been for Paul and his understanding of the Gospel the Christian church very well could have stayed stifled and primarily a Jewish community of faith because there were individuals there coming into the church into these Gentile communities from Judea Jewish Christians and looking at a brother that excepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and had been baptized and says look you're not a real Christian. Because you have not been circumcised this is a big deal now in our series we'll get to the Jerusalem Council where the church had to discuss this openly about what is Christian and what is culture but this is an issue that we still face today say oh come on David we don't face circumcision we don't we don't we don't believe in these ideas and so forth but you know there's this idea that circumcision is pre-supposition it was something that was culturally held culture is a very powerful thing by the way. These ideas that we assume naturally and we imbibe them and then we project them on to things in terms of salvation now we all have different cultures and it's easy to be hard on the Jews for thinking circumcision salvation it sounds crazy today. But the reality is we are susceptible to our culture too. We just don't see it now there's a saying that goes if you want to know what water is don't ask a fish. The reason is a fish that has never been out of water has no context in which to measure his own existence he's a minor sed in water he has nothing to measure water by says what is water I don't know what water is what are you talking about there's no context for that and this is the way that culture works we are immersed in our culture in American culture in Alaskan culture. This is this is what we're immersed in like a fish in water this is what we live and breathe and there are ideas that come in to our thinking that just come in from the environment from the media or from our friends and family we have a family called her and we're like a fish in water and I have a fascinating experience of of going to Japan. What a culture shock even though I look Asian you know some people think that you know I'm Japanese or Chinese and it's all it's all the same well it's not Ok the very distinct difference between Korean culture and Japanese culture and now there's some similarities now I'd never been to Asia in my life and never been to Korea to this present day but I did have the privilege of going to Japan when you go to Japan you realize how different you are I mean I thought I was normal. I mean American culture I mean this is this is what everyone does but then I go to Japan and I'm like the odd man out even though I look Asian everyone takes one look at me and says he's not Japanese. I got those I must you know they would they would say you know and and there was this idea that that and Japanese culture is very strong. Japanese culture uplifts the collective. Collectivism Here's a picture I was so fascinated by this I had to take a picture because here is to Neil an American notice what she's wearing pink right. Japanese culture it's about uniformity I cannot believe it streets of Tokyo I'm walking middle of the day and everyone is uniform. White shirt dark pants uniformity collectivism it's not the individual it's the community and so the individual sacrifice for the community communities up here individual ism is down here but in America it's not like that it's not about the collective It's about the individuals even in our dress I don't want to dress like everybody else I want to be individual I want to stick out and so here it is in the culture of Japan everyone is about collectivism white shirt dark pants all right and it's for the the national economy and this is part of the reason why Japanese economics works in a powerful way because everyone gets in line you know there's a joke that says in Japan everyone wants to to follow. In Korea who wants to be the leader you know it's just a very interesting culture dynamic and so there's so many fractures that take place and so so this is the thing now this is a very simple thing about culture and I appreciate different cultures there are certain things in everyone's culture that are to be affirmed and appreciated Ok they're not a moral issue it's a it's a preference I like rice some cultures like rice and beans other cultures like meat and potatoes you know these are cultural elements that are associated with food but there are other things that can creep into our culture that that we can assume is Christian. The moral equivalency culture equals Christianity let me give an example of this I took a master's level class at the seminary was on. Our church missions and it was fascinating because they were studying the philosophy of missions down through the ages and when it came to the 800 squishing missionaries from America who were living in a Victorian age went over to these foreign countries and began promulgating the Gospel and teaching them and what they challenge we're challenged with was they could not very easily distinguish between what was cultural and what was Christian Now we appreciate the service of every mission and that has gone down through the ages but this does not say that we can't look back and say look we could have done things a little bit better better and here is one case where they taught a certain type of dress was the only appropriate type of dress to wear to church and it was straight from the Victorian Amerikana of American culture in the 800 s. certain type of clothes the men all had full beards all of all of the whole thing and maybe 50 to 70 years later there was another group of missionaries that went back and it was as if they went into a time warp because that church community looked straight out of the Victorian era. In other words rather than teaching the principals in regards to Christian dress they taught the application asked the principle and here is where we really need to think critically about our own culture and when we come in contact with the Word of God to ask ourselves look what is cultural and what is Christian what is the principle and what is the application there are things in every culture that that influence us language very powerful communication courtesies rituals roles customs relationships practices expected behaviors that our use fonts and matters of interacting. Now being an American I was born in this country Washington d.c. Tacoma Park Maryland Washington there been a saw spittle being administers being in the last go there are certain influences that have come into my mind being a Korean American certain values have been impressed upon my mind and we need to be careful that we don't assume that American culture is synonymous with Christian culture you following me there is this this blurring of the lines especially in the evangelical community of saying like American values equate Christianity I heard 11 sermon by Tony Campolo in which he said how do we know that were worshipping the real Jesus and not a middle class American that lives in the suburbs and has 2.5 children. In other words the reality is that many individuals have made God in our own image we're not worshiping Jesus worshipping a concept. A concept that is a figment of our imagination that has been fabricated by our own culture and environment ideas and these presuppositions are very powerful because when you come in 1st century Christianity they had made God in their own image the fairy see that they had fabricated a picture of God and when the real God came they said this picture doesn't match this picture and so we're going to kill you that's exactly what happened and could be living here in the 21st century that we have ideas that we have in by and through our culture that are as far away from Christian as the Jews thinking that Jesus would come to deliver them from the Romans we would be naive to assume that we are not. We live in an age today where we don't worship images of wood and stone alone we don't just worship our cars in our houses in our form one ks we worship our ideas we worship our concepts. And there are concepts that we hold on to like the Jews held on to circumcision that is nothing less than idolatry ideas that we cling to that it doesn't matter how many Bible texts are shown to us if we're not going to let them go because my mind has been made up I'm going to cling to these things there are individuals that come in contact with the Word of God and says look this doesn't fit my philosophy this doesn't fit my theology and they say look what I'm going to do is rewrite the Bible even though I don't have any training in Greek or Hebrew I'm going to rewrite the Bible because I'm going to make the babble fit my philosophy and meet my theology and because in reality the philosophy has become their idolatry. And so they're going to rewrite this rather than conforming their theology to me this now how did Paul do it Paul. I was Jewish he was a radical Jew And here are his credentials to live in chapter 3 verse 5 and 6 I was circumcised when I was 8 days old check like any Jews not 9 days not 7 days 8 days I made pure blooded citizen of Israel genealogy very important not one drop of gentile blood he could prove it by a member of the tribe of Benjamin a real Hebrew if ever there was one I was a member of the fairest sees he was a member of the Sanhedrin who demand the strict disobedience to the Jewish law I was so zealous that a heart harshly persecuted the church and so here it is a man that was so immersed in culture a man that was so in by in Jewish tradition and yet he becomes the Apostle Paul now Craig Keener the evangelical theologian commenting on Paul's theological reversal said Paul's view of Christ must have demanded a radical thinking of his approach to the law eschatology and everything else he was converted to a new way of thinking now last Sabbath we touched on the reality that Paul for 3 years was for all intents and purposes exiled in Arabia before he went down to Jerusalem and during those 3 years acts the Apostles page 125126 goes through the way that Paul's mind was reformatted during those 3 years in Arabia the foundation of Paul's faith was the sure word of prophecy here in the solitude of the desert in Arabia he emptied his soul of the prejudices and traditions that it had there to shape his life and received instruction from the source of truth. When you look at all of the Apostles 12 Apostles and then the new apostle to the Gentiles Pod was unique Paul I believe more than any other apostle was able to expunge himself of the cultural traditions of the Hebrews so much so that there was a confrontation between Paul and Peter that Paul writes about in the book of Galatians in the book of Galatians to the church in go now when you think about it some some traditions out say out there say that Peter was infallible but when you read the book of Galatians it shows you that Peter made a mistake now we as Christians need to recognize that no matter where we are in a Christian journey we're not infallible. All of us are human all of us are subject to ideas and presuppositions and assumptions appart things in our head that are simply unbiblical but the Lord works with us and here it is look at it in collation Chapter 6 for us 15 he says it doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not but in the same book we have Paul recounting this confrontation that he had with Peter when I read it here but when Peter came to Antioch I opposed him to his face this was a very tense moment in Christian history too and most prominent leaders were in opposition to what happened for what he did was very wrong when he 1st arrived he ate with Gentiles who were not circumcised but afterward when some of the friends of James came Peter wouldn't eat with the Gentiles anymore he was afraid of the criticism from the people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision as a result other Jewish believers followed Peter's hypocrisy and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy so here it is Peter was not able to get away from the presuppositions he was still subject to the influences of the Jewish Christian community and so when he was a bounty with the the the Jewish people that had come he basically ostracized the gentile community says look I'm not going to meet with you anymore and Peter stood up to Paul's face Paul stood up to Peter's face and said look what you're doing is not right it's wrong. You know we need to have boldness when it comes to certain things like this is when I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message I said to Peter and this was public in front of all the others since you are a Jew by birth but have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile Why are you now and trying to make these Gentiles followed the Jewish traditions Paul got it more than even Peter did because he went through this process of taking every idea every tradition every cultural idea that he had been taught in all his life as a fair city and he went through the Word of God and any time the Word of God pointed to a tradition that he held very tightly as a fair see which of course idolatry when it came in contact with the Word of God He said look I surrender that idea I surrender that idea I surrender that idea I surrender that concept even though my culture and everything within me is holding on I let it go. And here he is an advocate an apostle to the Gentiles and friends we are here today in a large part because of the audacity of paw praise God because of the boldness of Paul. I don't know if there's an ethnically pure jewel Jew in the whole Alaska conference we're all Gentiles we are a Gentile church and it's because of the ministry of the Apostle Paul that was able to come out of Judaism and through self-criticism take and weed out all of the things that had been traditional idols of his past and filter them through the Word of God. Now John Peckham who's Professor of systematic theology at Andrews University wrote a book entitled canonical theology he wrote another book entitled The love of God and it's the most profound. Analysis of biblical reflection of the love of God that I have ever read. And he gives a methodological approach of how he did this and he calls an inductive reading of the entire Bible. A deductive Bible study begins from any point that the person is trying to make and then uses multiple Scripture verses and examples to support their conclusion you know we do this sometimes in our doctrinal studies we have a point that we want to make him we go through the Bible to try to make that point that's a deep study Ok now the don't give studies are Ok as long as you take into consideration the context and also are honest about your motivation that you're trying to prove a certain point but the most powerful type of Bible study is not deducted it's inductive and it's the reverse of that in other words you lay your pre-suppositions to the side you lay your ideas to the side and you go to the Word of God to let the Bible speak to you so it's a quite a different approach you're not going to prove something you're coming to the Bible to let it prove to you so it's a different posture an inductive Bible study on the other hand begins with the rod text of Scripture and encourages participants to read the text and draw conclusions to rankly from the text itself so this is not coming to the Bible to an agenda to to prove your pet idea this is coming to the text and saying look I'm going to let the Bible show me an inductive study of the Word of God He goes on to spend pre-suppositions in those areas that might be reasonably expected to impinge upon the study in the attempt to let the text speak for itself rather than being forced into an alien mold you know sometimes these presuppositions are so powerful they're that when you read the text you're putting ideas in projecting ideas on to the text that are not there these are the power this is the power pre-suppositions And so it's this is this method where you go to the text and say you know what I'm going to lay these pre-suppositions to the side and I'm actually going to go and see what the Bible says about this topic he goes on a commitment to self examination self criticism and willingness to follow the canonical data wherever it leads. You know what I find it's not the availability or the lack of bail availability of troops it's the hypocrisy of our search in other words some people are like all I want the truth please show me the truth show me the truth show me the truth and then you show him the truth and they're like not that yours. Show me something else and we see this today in American politics you know I'm not making a statement either way but it has been going on for years in other words truth is not always convenient sometimes we assume the truth is this all euphoria praise the lord how low you I've seen the truth well not all the time sometimes truth is very inconvenient truth is very difficult do you really want to know the truth and then when you reveal the truth people are like no not that one and so what happens is people believe a truth that meets their desires but not the truth it's the hypocrisy of the search and so when we come to Scripture the most important thing is seeing Lord change my heart change my desires so that no matter what the truth is as difficult as it may be as inconvenient as it may be and when it presents itself may our heart be I want to follow this wherever it may go even though it goes against everything that my culture and the ideas and presuppositions that I've assimilated for years and imbibe help me to follow it. That's the prayer of my hour. He goes on despite the intent to overcome them however pre-suppositions or preconceptions will remain consistently Consequently the hermeneutical spiral is never a complete and here's the thing he says that as we read the Bible our ideas are refined and reformatted and surrendered and we read the Bible again and this is a spiral that takes place in regards to the Word of God the inductive study of scripture reframes and reshapes our cultural presuppositions we read the Word of God again and it's refined and refrained and we need to be studying this book friends Amen. And laying every idea every idol at the feet of the Word of God. I want to close with this quotation from the book steps to Christ. If you have not read this book Talk to me because I have a copy I can give you a powerful book was given to the soldiers in World War 2 God desires men to exercise his reasoning powers and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can does God want to use our minds absolutely God wants us use our intellect reading the Bible does not mean that we get a lobotomy that we check our brains at the door and read scripts scripture there are some professions that say look religion is all emotion Well it's emotion and reason we need to have both it's not either or it's both and so so God wants us to use our minds but we also need to recognize and this is the contribution of the post-modern revolution I don't agree with all of the presuppositions of postmodernity but postmodernism has brought forth the idea that reason is faulty there is no such thing as human objectivity. We all have biases so reason has been corrupted and she goes on yet we are to be aware of deifying reason what is that mean of making reason God knows all movement in France where they built an item called the goddess of reason now there are some professions in some communities where they put Reason on a pedestal and make reason God rather than God God And she says look we are to use our reason but to recognise that reason is not God all reason has been corrupted by sin so when you come to the tax if something does not make sense we need to assume that something is wrong with us not this not vice versa so your kids yet we are to be aware of deifying reason which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity a sense of the power and wisdom of God and not in ability to comprehend his greatness should inspire us with humility and we should open his word as we would enter his presence with Holy all when we come to buy the Bible reason must acknowledge and authority superior to itself and heart and intellect must map must balance to the great I am. In other words in our study of scripture if we come across something that defies our reason such as the virgin birth or the resurrection or the miracles in the Bible we need to sit back and say Lord. I want to bow at the feet of the Great I Am Because We are dealing with the Infinite Mind of God How do you teach and. Or haven't and to understand the Internet. What context do you even begin on. And on a whole other level how can a human being understand the ways of God This is a spiritual book that requires a spiritual process and my prayer for us today. Is that when we come to Scripture we're willing to lay it every idea to be held subject to the teachings of the Word of God Amen no matter if these are cultural ideas philosophies and ideas that we've treasured and held on for a long time we may have been trained in this for years it may be the only thing that makes sense but when it comes in contact with this even our most precious pet ideas must be held subject to the Word of God Amen is that your prayer today to bound to the great I-Am Let us pray Father in heaven we thank you so much that the Bible is not of private interpretation but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost and today Lord we acknowledge our humanity we affirm the different cultures that we come to from we affirm the richness that are a cultural heritage brings but at the same time we acknowledge that our cultures are human and fall in. Recognizing that there are presuppositions and assumptions that must be filtered through the Word of God and Lord we want to lay em free I don't ant your feet we surrender all. We give everything to you our lives our possessions. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons leader visit w w w audio verse or.


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