The Right of Appeal

by | Oct 1, 2023 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Acts 25:1-12

To whom do you appeal when you are in your most desperate times of need? God declares that he hears the cries of the righteous, but punished the evil doer. How can we cry out to a righteous God, when we are a people who fall short of his demand for righteousness? The answer is found in the grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ, who when given the opportunity to appeal to His Heavenly Father for deliverance, denied Himself that right. He did it to fulfill the righteous demand of God for you and for me. When we put our faith in Him, His righteousness is credited to our account and we are given the right to make our appeals to God.


Heavenly Father we thank you for these ancient words will you come now holy spirit will you lead and direct our hearts and our minds will you lead us to the throne of grace that we might find help and mercy in this our time of need and Jesus we pray this in your mighty name amen you may be seated

well today we’re uh we continue uh our slog through uh the book of Acts but uh you know I say that in jest I know that what your real reaction to it is man I hope this never ends uh we are loving every moment of this but uh we’re continuing what what Chuck uh was preaching on last week uh and that was the the Paul uh entered into uh into the temple uh when he entered in the temple and he entered into it thinking it was going to be a good day he entered in uh because he had listened to uh to James and the and the elders uh when they when they took a meeting together to report on all that God was doing among the Gentiles and also among the the Jews uh in Jerusalem and how many were coming to to know the Lord uh well they they came to a compromise that there were some of those who were zealous for the law among these new Jewish Believers uh who had heard a message about Paul and that was that he was teaching the Jews to uh not to adhere to the Jewish customs and and the laws and so they they were a bit suspect of them and so uh James and the elders uh proposed a plan to uh to to Paul that he was to go into the temple uh he was to uh to accompany those uh that were the Jewish believers who were about to make uh make a Nazarene vow and he was to pay for them he was also to go through the purification rights himself and therefore showed everybody that that he was still honoring the Jewish Customs it’s supposed to be a good day they’d come to this compromise even if you know Paul may not have really loved the idea he was willing to do it uh but what happened was when he got there there were some some Jews who had come down from Ephesus uh these are these uh folks who had been fighting against this message of the Gospel that he proclaimed and they stood up and accused him in front of everybody of having brought Gentiles uh into the temple and this wasn’t true uh this was a trumped up you know lie that was spoken but what happened was is it really stirred up uh what became just a few in the beginning became a whole mob uh who were accusing Paul had almost been beat him to within an inch of his own life he was only rescued when the Roman Tribune came with soldiers and rescued him uh from getting beaten to death it was a it was a difficult difficult moment uh one but one of the things that that Chuck spoke of last week that I thought was especially at least convicting to me was uh was that idea that you know we’re part of the mob yeah we’re part of the mob uh and I want to thank you Chuck because you gave ammunition to one of my children this week who may not or may not be standing right and they’re sitting right next to me uh to tell me that I was being the mob to him um this week and uh and I didn’t have anything to really retort that um so you know yeah

but this so he but he gets rescued he gets within a beaten within an inch of his life and he gets rescued but then Paul does something incredibly surprising and we’re gonna read about that uh but it has to do with his motivation for sharing the gospel with others his real heart motivation for wanting others to hear the good news of Jesus Christ for themselves and so one of the questions I want to ask this morning is what motivates you what motivates you to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others or what doesn’t maybe it’s on the other side are you motivated at all but if you are is it out of a sense of Duty this is what the Great Commission says and this is what we’re supposed to do or or maybe is it out of uh of some idea of you know if I do this then great will be my reward and uh and I’m gonna benefit from this and so I’m gonna do it or maybe you you do it out of a sense of you know sharing the gospel with others I I’ll please God he’ll be more happy with me the more notches I get on my belt uh you know the the more Rank and pleasure that I will give the Lord and he’ll reward me or maybe it’s to you’ve got some sort of idea we need to spread the gospel so we can create a a utopian society we can win back what’s been lost and we can live in this perfect world again or maybe it’s to prove to everyone that you’re right and they’re wrong what is it what is it that motivates you well I think it’s pretty convicting when we read the reason we’ve read that gospel message this morning is you know Jesus had penned through a lot he had just heard in that reading about the death of John the Baptist and he was hurting he was deeply wounded by it and so he needed to get away he needed to get away and get by himself for a little while to mourn and to to reflect and to pray but what happened the crowds all came they found out where he was and they heard the news and they all went went to find him and so what was his reaction when they did find him I would have been really annoyed I would have been probably really short uh and aggravated I don’t have time for this right now I mean I got the news that Jimmy Buffett passed away and I was in tearing up yesterday and uh but life had to go on we did listen to some music and uh you know reminisce but what was his reaction his reaction was one of compassion he had compassion on the crowds as they came to him uh he he felt deeply in his innermost being that’s what it means in a way that moves him to act and so he healed their sick and then we hear the Amazing Story of him him feeding them and caring for them because he had compassion he loved them that much that’s what motivated Jesus for the gospel and so what’s what are we going to see through Paul because I think we learned something important not only about the motivation but also something that can really help us in our own uh sharing the gospel with others in our lives some real practical things this morning but I want to invite you to uh to to walk through this passage with me for the next few minutes is we we find out what’s going to happen as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks so he was rescued by the Tribune really and remember in the in the uh in the uh the soldiers uh so he’s been rescued been about to be beat been beaten to an inch of his life uh he was about to be brought into the barracks where he would be safe where the crowds couldn’t get to him and then he said to the Tribune may I say something to you and he said do you know Greek well with that the Tribune said are you not the Egyptian then who recently stirred up the revolt and led the four thousand men of the assassins out into the wilderness but Paul replied I’m a Jew from Tarsus and cilicia a citizen of no obscure City I beg you permit me to speak to the people so this man who’s been beaten to with an inch of his life who’s just been pulled out and rescued uh he wants to go right back he wants to come back before them that’s that was what his desire was why why would he want to do that why would he want to put himself In Harm’s Way

well when the Tribune had been given him permission Paul’s standing on the steps motioned with his hand to the people and when there was a great hush he addressed them in the Hebrew language now there there’s a reason he addresses them in the the Hebrew language here and that is that uh This was meant to be an intimate moment you know I know it’s a crowd but it’s in a way he was taking it was saying this message that I have it isn’t for the Romans it isn’t for the Tribune it isn’t for the even the Gentiles that I brought with me who don’t know Hebrew this most likely would have been Aramaic the dialect of Hebrew uh this is just for us this is just for you these people that I deeply care about it’s not for anybody else this this message for you and he wants to identify with them uh personally and so then he begins in this Hebrew language brothers and fathers hear the defense that I now make before you now when we hear that word defense it can be a little misleading because it can sound like that this is just a courtroom and that he’s just trying to make an argument so that he can win the debate uh but that’s not what the word means in its original form it means to uh to to give a reasoned response you know he wants to be able to say something to what is all is happening he needs to be able to respond to it in some way and so he does but call what we know about this is that Paul cared for them enough to want them to hear the gospel that he was willing to go back he was willing to put himself Back In Harm’s Way why would he be willing to do that why would Paul be willing to put himself right Back In Harm’s Way when he’s been rescued he’s been saved he can now get a good night’s sleep in in the barracks right while they figure this thing out but Paul sees the opportunity that was given to him to speak to this crowd because he was moved he was moved just as Jesus was he was moved with compassion for them and it’s clear he wanted to also make a point right he wanted to clear his name he was being falsely accused and so there was on some level uh there was on some level this need to kind of vindicate himself to set the record straight there was some level of that there as well but Paul as we’ll see in the way that he makes his argument throughout this and the way he responds to them it was really out of love and compassion I believe that gave him the courage and the heart to step right back in to want them to hear the gospel message and so how does he do it well how does he address the crowd well first what he really does he doesn’t debate it’s not a sermon per se what it really is is his own testimony that’s what he does he wants to tell them his own story what’s to tell them about how his life had been transformed by Jesus Christ he wasn’t trying to argue theological points here that wasn’t what this is about this was very deeply personal you want to tell him how he had encountered the Risen Christ and how this this new Christianity uh had uh which once he had been the biggest enemy of he now was his greatest propagator it shows the power of personal story doesn’t it you know even a crowd who’s angry and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say there’s something powerful about our stories there’s something disarming that people are willing to listen you know even if you’re in this heated debate you got and you disagree with each other on the facts about something you if you tell you’re just your story about your experience and your encounter with Jesus people will listen they want to hear your story they want to listen to it they won’t they usually won’t interrupt you and say uh-uh I don’t care about what happened to you yeah now people are at least politer than that right they’re gonna they’ll they’ll at least listen to you in that but then as it goes on Paul also makes this personal appeal he makes it culturally relevant to them by speaking in that that Hebrew dialect Aramaic this was a personal conversation it wasn’t for the Romans it wasn’t for the Gentiles and so he was showing respect for the people that he was trying to reach he was showing respect to them he also showed solidarity I’m not going to read at all we don’t have time to go back through it but you heard it uh small Paul spent the first part of this you know this testimony this appeal all tick articulating to them that he was one of them that he was one of them his deep roots in the in the Jewish faith he tells them about his respect and loyalty for them he calls them brothers and fathers he stresses his Jewish upbringing in Jerusalem is training in the law of our fathers under Gamaliel Paul had been an Insider and he was sharing that with them he was making that personal connection with them and so in doing that he’s identifying himself with them he told me I was a violent and fanatical for God as any of them was that day that’s who he had been so he’s identifying with them connecting with them and what they’re going through uh he’s admitting that he too was was one was once a sinner well he is still a sinner but he too is a sinner Paul affirms their he even affirms their zealousness you know that is incredibly powerful that here when their zealousness was leading them in a way wrong direction Paul was looking at it and he was still affirming the zealousness of where it was coming from he was a finding something to affirm in them in order to identify with them and connect with them he’s affirming that at their heart their desire albeit wrongly uh wrongly uh achieved or uh implemented their desire was to honor God that’s what they wanted to do

and then again in verse four and five he says I was once exactly where you are right now I was there I get it

you know as a Storyteller this would be incredibly gripping for an audience right keeping him engaged with hey I was there I was just like you what you’re doing right now I was doing the same thing

and then he goes into his actual Encounter With Jesus

and basically what he’s saying is if this didn’t happen then how can you account for this dramatic transformation that’s happened in my life you know if you say that I did that there is no Jesus Christ and he didn’t rise from the dead and that I didn’t encounter him then why in the world would I have given up everything that I had as one of you who was a greater Jew than you all were I was excelling why would I have given it all up to become this follower of Jesus Christ and to be a propagator of the Gospel and then finally he goes into the implication God told him I will send you far away to the Nations I.E to the Gentiles now let’s let’s look back before we deal with that because that’s really going to be next week’s uh uh we’re gonna deal with that that last part uh but Paul so far he’s identified and affirmed them he tries to create a common ground between himself and between them he shares his personal story of coming to Christ then he hits them with the implication

and what we’re told is they listened they listen to Paul’s words this mob that was all geared up and was all wanting to attack him they actually stopped and they were willing to hear him out and then they listen to this message at least up into this point our first uh our first verse for next week in verse 22 says up to this word that God was sending him to the far away to the Gentiles as to this were up to this word they listened to him then they raise their voices and said away with such a fellow from this Earth so we had him until now right but but he had him captivated in this moment they heard uh the gospel for themselves they listen what was it that motivated Paul and the only thing that couldn’t motivate him was love and compassion for these people otherwise you just would have shout it at him he just would have told them the truth and then he would have gone off and uh Gone on and been protected uh and he would have wiped his hands at them and said this is all on you no but he knew there was something appalled that he knew this may be his last moment he may never get to speak to this crowd and to his brothers and sisters again this was it this was his last moment and he wanted to be able to share with him have you ever had that experience maybe a loved one a parent a child someone maybe was dying you knew they were dying and you knew this may be the last chance I may not get to share with them again not Christ not the good news of the Gospel about God’s love for them but the hope that they can have and the Assurance of faith in Christ and eternal life I know I have and I know there’s times where I chickened out or I thought yeah this isn’t the right this isn’t the best moment you ever had that experience

but what could drive us back in what could drive us not to to put it off to know that this is the moment there’s only really one thing and that is a love and a compassion for the ones that you’re sharing the gospel with so how do we share the gospel with compassion how do we see it happening here with Paul well one it’s make your testimony the very basis for the evangelism that you’re doing make your testimony the the basis of it people are open to hearing your stories people love story they want to hear it and we live in a society that you know because we believe that truth is relative uh they’ll listen to anything you have to say they’ll listen they won’t shut you down for the most part very rarely

tell them how uh tell them how Jesus transformed your life that was Jesus your encounter with Jesus giving you hope how is it giving you love joy maybe a newfound patience maybe it’s giving you a new faith maybe it’s given you contentment that you never knew was possible before you don’t have to share them all maybe it’s just just one of those ways that it’s Christ has impacted you and this doesn’t have to be the big dramatic story in fact probably most often people will will be able to relate to you more if it’s not you know they might be wowed if you had a big story but maybe not wow isn’t what people need what they need is they need to hear the ordinary which is incredibly extraordinary the God breaks into our lives with his grace and mercy so the first thing make your testimony the the basis of your evangelism as Paul did here number two make your evangelism personal and make it relevant make it personal meaning tell your testimony in a way uh that connects with the person that you’re sharing with be sensitive to that be wise to that then in a way that makes it relevant to that person you’re sharing with which means have a relationship and know enough about them to know what are their fears what are their Joys what are their their struggles and their sadnesses be gracious and sensitive to the uh to be able to speak in a way that they can hear it you know this isn’t the first time Paul has shared his story he does it a number of times and in his letters as well and every time they’re a little bit different you know they’re not radically different in the sense of that these are contradictory stories although I had a religion my new testament professor and uh in college would have would like to say that uh but they’re not that kind of contradictory they’re actually relevant to the audience and to the people that he’s talking to be

be sensitive wise to that just as as Paul was and number three find solidarity with those that you’re sharing with find that that exists between you Paul went to great efforts to show that we’re the same we come from the same place we have the same kind of History maybe it’s how you were raised or where you were raised your likes your dislikes your hobbies shared interests things that you can find common ground on to be able to relate to one another find solidarity with the person that you’re sharing with and then number four be affirming be affirming just as Paul was able to affirm and then their zealousness for God their desire to honor God he saw that is a good thing because what that’s doing is it’s it’s showing someone that God’s already at work in their lives he’s doing something in them affirm what’s good in them I had a chance to share one time with a co-worker um and uh before I was ordained I was uh sharing the gospel with them over a whole summer of working with this person uh and you know what I found out about this person is we got to know each other we’re kind of going through some of these steps um not you know not going through every step in some sort of legalistic way but just naturally uh one of the things that I found out about this person is they were working for a non-profit and they were doing it because they just had a passion to help Humanity wanted to so desperately make good in the world but they weren’t a believer and so it opened up a door to being able to affirm that I was like that this is amazing that you have this heart and this passion to what to help Humanity I love that that’s amazing where do you think that comes from it opened a whole new door firming something that God is doing in somebody uh that everyone has created in the image of God and you can find that thing that you can affirm in them

it gives you an incredible place to be able to to speak the gospel in someone’s life number five when the moment is right tell them about your encounter with Jesus again it doesn’t have to be dramatic in fact probably if it’s not it’s better but find that right moment when you found that common ground and that solidarity and you’ve been able to affirm them friends this is the way to do it with compassion

way to do it in a way that loves and actually honors the person that you’re trying to share with

and finally share with them the last step by the way I think it’s the last step and maybe not always there’s always exceptions but I think it’s helpful for what we’re seeing and uh and how Paul shared the gospel here share with them the honest implications of this decision in their own life

that’s the hard part that’s the hard part right if you don’t receive Jesus now you’re going to hell now I I thought you giggled but you didn’t but that is the implication right it is we’re not comfortable with it it’s not something the way that we like to talk

we have to eventually talk about the implication that apart from Christ we’re separated from God

do we have to receive Christ into our lives that he is the hope of the world and for Paul that moment of invocation was actually him mentioning the Gentiles and what was the reaction well we’ll get there next week I won’t go too far into that uh but the reaction action was at least from what we’re told you know many of them from that moment on rejected him and wanted him to die they had had enough you know what you may get shut out [Music] we have no promises of whether someone’s going to receive just because we share the gospel with compassion it’s not ours to determine whether someone’s going to receive it or not for Paul they didn’t that day or at least the ones were told about

so what’s the conclusion sharing the gospel with the same compassion that Jesus has for us and Paul had for the crowd of the utmost importance

but if you’re not motivated by compassion how can you get there you know that’s that that’s the beer question right because I think if we all truly were motivated by love and compassion really for those in our lives for those people that we meet if we really were broken for them knowing what what would awaited them if they did not receive Christ that I think there would be every motivation in us to do it to share but we don’t how can we get there well I think we have to be aware ourselves of God’s grace and compassion for us start there doesn’t it that knowledge that we’re lost but now we’ve been found that we’re no better than anyone else that is around us apart from the grace of God that’s at work in US that the goodness and righteousness that exists and you and it existed in me is not our own work it’s the work of Jesus through his holy spirit that’s at work and us that’s the only way I know to get compassion for others and not just to sit in judgment over them to realize that I well I’m no different I’m one of the mom I wouldn’t have done things any differently it weren’t for the grace of God for me friends Jesus looks at you and he looks at me the crowd who bugs him the crowd who comes to him and and wants to receive and wants to get even in the midst of his own sorrow and his own grief you know how he looks on us with compassion and he gives himself away to you and me because he loves us and we have that kind of compassion to share the gospel with others amen.

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