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June 2, 2018

The Side Show

by Josh Keller

'Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.’ He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 28:28-31 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=02c8691459&e=82a9a8f891)

This weekend our kids wound down a long sugar fueled Memorial Day at a friend’s house by watching some television. When a commercial played, my kids, who rarely watch any television with commercials, came unglued. “What happened to the show? Bring it back?!” They were frustrated because Netflix and PBS are never interrupted by commercials. The commercial was a sideshow interrupting things, distracting them, and confusing them. They just wanted to get back to main story.

In many ways, that is how the Jews in Rome felt as Paul expounded the gospel to them. The Jesus deal felt like a sideshow, a confusing little sect, an interruption in the main story of God’s dealing with His people. Let’s go back to the regularly scheduled broadcast of a people rescued from slavery in Egypt, saved by the blood of a lamb, baptized in the water of the Red Sea, watching that snake Pharaoh impotent and destroyed in those same waters, getting to feast with God at a mountain, receiving His word at the same mountain, getting miraculous provision on the journey to and finally reaching a promised land. You know, that story! Let’s get back to that one. Forget this commercial interruption.

But of course, this Jesus sideshow is the main show. The story isn’t being interrupted. In fact the plot hasn’t really changed. The fascinating thing about these last two chapters of Acts is how clearly they remind of the Exodus story. Paul begins in captivity. He is then freed from that captivity to journey to God’s promised destination. He leaves after the Day of Atonement to cross a great sea. On the journey, things go bad, but Paul gets a word from God. Paul breaks bread at dawn with them. Everyone is saved through the water and a serpent is found to be impotent and destroyed. And finally they arrive in Rome, the promised city.

Do you see? This is no sideshow. God is writing the same show. It is the story of God redeeming His people from captivity to sin and death. Freeing them to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Bringing them to a promised land to dwell in peace and joy forever. If you are in Christ, that is your story. It is the story. So go tell the story. Be bold. You are not hindered. You will pass through the waves. You have been freed. The serpent is impotent. You will come to the land that is promised. Jesus is bringing you through. There are those who will listen. There are some desperate to hear this story. Tell it without fear.

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About the Author

Josh Keller
Assistant Pastor
All Saints Presbyterian Church

Joshua Keller, a native Kansan and graduate of Kansas State University, lives in Austin, Texas, where he serves as Youth Pastor to All Saints Presbyterian Church. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary during which he spent some time working at PCPC in the Youth Ministry.

He and his wife Erin have three children, Elliotte, Oliver, and Adelaide, and one faithful dog, Ike.

 

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Nothing Else Matters!

    [Jesus said,] "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you — they are full of the Spirit and life."

    John 6:63 NIV

    Key Thought

    The apostle Paul said essentially the same thing as in today's verse when he wrote, "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." (Philippians 3:8-9). Paul was saying that everything is nothing without Jesus. So much of what we pursue — what I have pursued — really counts for nothing. Economic meltdowns, which invariably happen, are reminders that the only investments that last, that are sure, are investments in Jesus and his kingdom. So we are called to turn our hearts to Jesus, to be shaped by his words, guided by his Spirit and conformed to his character. Jesus' words are lasting, eternal, and life-giving. Better yet, there is someone lasting and eternal and life-giving in his words — the Holy Spirit. That is why one of the ongoing works of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is to bring to our minds the words of Jesus (John 14:26). So read the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But more than reading the words, ask the Holy Spirit to be alive as you read and are shaped and given life through the words of the Savior!

    Today's Prayer

    Holy God, I praise you! I thank you, Father, for sending the Son to die for our sins and for showing us the way home to you. I thank you, Jesus, as Son of God, for sending the Holy Spirit as my Advocate and Comforter, to be your presence within me and to bring me life through your words. I thank you, Holy Spirit, for living within me, and I ask that you conform me to Jesus and produce your holy fruit in me. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Must!

    [Jesus said,] "But the time is coming — indeed it's here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

    John 4:23-24 NLT

    Key Thought

    "Must..."! That is a hard word when spoken by Jesus! So we should pay careful attention when the Lord uses it. Our actions must conform to his words. "Must..."! Yet this "must" is not one we can do on our own. The requirement to worship God acceptably cannot take place because of our effort — not because we do it right, say the right words, do it in the right place, or follow the right procedures. God is Spirit. We cannot worship God without the Holy Spirit! In other places, we are told that true worship is worship in the Spirit (Philippians 3:3; Ephesians 5:17-21 — notice "pray/praying in the Spirit" in Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20). More than engaging our minds and our bodies, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit to help us worship acceptably. We need the Spirit for at least two reasons. The first is that the Holy Spirit facilitates our communication with God by giving us access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18), interceding for us (Romans 8:26-27), and enabling us to cry Abba Father to God, spirit with Spirit to God (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:6). The second reason is that the Spirit is at work conforming us to be like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18), empowering us to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:9-13) and to display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This influence of the Spirit is why being born of water and the Spirit is so important (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:3-7). Without the Spirit, true worship will not happen. We MUST have the Spirit to worship in spirit and truth!

    Today's Prayer

    Father, thank you for sending Jesus to reveal your truth and for sending the Spirit to make that truth come alive in me. May my life be a living and holy praise to you! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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