Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9th - Paul's Indictment Against the Jews

Prayer Requests
-Pastor Barry Barnett in Wisconsin who is facing prison time for spanking his son.
-Pastor Aaron preaching on Romans 5-6
-Jessica's Dog
-Disciple Now
-Leon's Back

Text - 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

When was 1 Thessalonians written? AD51
Where was it written from? Corinth
Who made up the church at Thessalonica? Gentiles, probably no Jews; they were either run out of town or killed.

Acts 18:5-8 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

Paul quoted or alluded to eight different Old Testament Books in this brief event, he wanted to let the Jews he was speaking to know that he was abandoning them in accordance with scripture. He was MAD, I don't think that can be stressed enough...he was so mad that this anger showed up in his letter to Thessalonica at the same time.

He shook the dust from his garments, which was a Jewish custom of saying, "Not only am I through with you and your synagogue, I don't even want the dust from your synagogue to touch me."

The big passage he was quoting was from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 33:1-6 The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

This is called a sin of omission, when you commanded to do somehting, and you don't. In this case, it is preaching the truth if you know the truth, otherwise, if you know the truth, and don't preach it, then God will require an account for why you didn't preach. Paul did preach, and they didn't listen, and according to this passage, his duty was fulfilled and he was clean of the blood of the Jews. He began preaching to the Gentiles, which was his primary calling.

Galatians 1:15-17 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Jesus Christ is ingenious in this, that he sent the smartest Rabbi that ever lived not to the Jews whom he could have done a little good with, but to the Gentiles so they would understand the Old Testament in relation to the New Covenant as explained by a Rabbi who had been studying it his whole life.

So Paul went next door, right next door, according to Acts.

Then what happened? Crispus got saved, the highest Jew in Corinth, the person Paul had likely been seeking to convert since arriving in Corinth. This was probably God's way of saying, "See Paul, I'm in control, if you're obedient, then I will take care of my church, because, after all, I'm the one building the church using you as a tool."

First Thessalonians 2:14-16 was written at the same time as the preaching we just heard about in Corinth, and the anger expressed there carries over into Paul's letter.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Now, first of all, who are these Jews? Another name for Jews is Semites, and that name comes from the very first chapters of the Bible.

- Adam
- Seth - Yes, Seth married his sister...before the Gene pool was corrupted by sin there was nothing wrong with this and it was not socially weird at the time.
- Enosh
- Kenan
- Mahalalel
- Jarod
- Enoch - Extra righteous and was raptured...and no, I did not know Enoch, I'm not quite that old.
- Methusaleh - The oldest man ever to live, most likely died in the flood.
- Lamech - Not the Lamech who had two wives.
- Noah - Righteous in God's eyes, had three sons whom had three wives. More than likely if we search Genesis 4 we could find out a lot about the wives, but I didn't have time when preparing this lesson. (See the next lesson)

Noah had three sons.
- Shem's descendents are known as the Semites, they are Jews and Samarians
- These are your spiritual people in history.

- Ham's descendents are known as Hamites, they were the most prolific inhabitors and make up the regions of Africa, Southern Asia, America (Native Americans), and Canaan.
- They are known mostly for their inventions and servant attitudes, including being slaves to both the Semites and Japhethites.

- Japheth's descendents are known as Japhethites, and they are those that inhabited Europe and Northern Asia.
- They are known for being Artsy and Philosophical.

Every people group today can be traced back to these peoples, as was prophecized in Genesis.

Genesis 9:19, 25-27 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant."

What happened was Ham started to sink back into the old sinful ways of pre-flood, and they couldn't have that. So Noah cursed Ham, and not only Ham, but his grandson Canaan to show that this curse was genetic and not just against Ham. God ordained slavery and has used it to teach us valuable lessons in history.

How many races are there? ONE, there are many ethnicities, but only one race, all men are created in the image of God and none are to be esteemed above others.

Does God love any people group because of the color of their skin? NO!

In fact, Simon Peter was fairly certain that Jesus had only come to the Jews, then he saw a Samarian saved, and so he figured Christ came only for the Semites, but he was called to preach to some Gentiles, Greeks who were of the Japheth line. Before he preached this, Philip got an Ethiopian Eunich saved, which is a Hamite.

Acts 10:34-44 So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God is no respector of persons, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ ( he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

God saves from each of these people groups, but we see just how in control God is from start to finish of History. For example, Abraham first married Sarah, a Semite, then he married Hagar from Egypt, a Hamite, and finally he married Ketureh, who tradition tells us was a Japhethite.

Who helped Jesus carry his cross? Simon of Cyrene. Cyrene is in North Africa, Simon was a Hamite, this fits perfectly into the prophecy of Genesis 9 that Hamites will serve Semites (Jesus) and Japhethites (Roman Soldiers). A beautiful redemption story in this, is that while Simon carried the cross, there was never an indictment against him for it, and later he likely became a deacon in the church at Antioch, and his father Rufus became a respected member of the church at Rome.

So that's who the Jew's are, Semites. (We'll talk a bit more about this next week, I realized afterwards that I missed a lot of neat and useful things)

Remember, Paul was a Jew. So to jump back into First Thessalonians, the word of God is at work in believers, imitating the church at Judea. Being called imitators of Judea is a compliment, it means that Thessalonica was seeing people saved and being faithful. But, also this was a reminder that persecution was not just limited to Thessalonica, but that Judea had been thoroughly persecuted by non-Messianic Jews.

Jews killed Jesus, but remember that this was a plan of God. We ought not hate Jewish people because of what their ancestors did, but we also must not overlook their sins of continuing to blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ. We know this was a plan of God because we are told so in Acts 2, but we can also see God's hand at work at the trial of Jesus, when there is a murderous thief on stage named Barabbas with Jesus. His name is not a coincidence at all, Barabbas means "Son of Fathers" or to interpret a little, the sons of men stood against Bartheo, the "Son of God". The Son of God was holy, righteous, and pure, the sons of men are unholy, wicked, and defiled. The crowd chose themselves over God, as every people group would have done; this Sunday School class, given the chance in 1st Century Jerusalem, would have cried out for the crucifixion of Christ and the release of ourselves, it is our nature, and yet Christ died for us anyways.

The Jews have gotten the brunt of the blame because they were the ones who were actually there and actually did it.

Paul indicted them on killing Jesus and the prophets. Included in this indictment was John the Baptist, James the Lesser, and who else? Stephen. Who killed Stephen? Paul was instrumental in his murder and yet Paul was so angry he didn't realize he was indicting himself in this letter with the Jews. I think he realized this soon enough and we'll look at why shortly.

They displeased God and opposed mankind by hindering the preaching of the Gospel.

1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

God desires all men to be saved, and yet the Jews were standing against this. (This passage also has good context with the election, don't forget to pray for Obama and his cabinet for wisdom and salvation; and George Bush in his last days in the White House, give him the boldness and wisdom to set-up godly stumbling blocks to oppose Obama's godless actions)

The Jews sinned and sinned and sinned and sinned some more; and the wrath of God has come upon them at last, according to Paul. This is manifested most frighteningly in their being cut-off from salvation.

Now, running out of time, when was First Thessalonians written? AD 51, when was Romans written? AD 60. So 9 years later Paul had changed his tune slightly;

Romans 9:1-3 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

If Paul could have given up his salvation so that Israel would have been saved, he would have done it. That is true love! I believe Paul wrote Hebrews as a last ditch effort to see Jews saved, he didn't sign it because if he had, then they wouldn't have read it because it was from someone they considered totally apostate and their enemy.

We're out of time, we will jump back into this next week and probably go through chapter 3 verse 5.