Are you sure of your faith? Paul, Peter and the other early leaders preached Christ crucified and resurrected. We live in the revealed mystery world of the Gospel. (Acts 13:1-3, 26-50).

Speaker(s): Kim Shibley, Barry Quirk
Sermon 12423
6:30 PM on 12/11/2022

P. Shibley –

You are such a friendly crowd. Nothing like the people in my church. They’re terrible. That’s not true! They’re
really nice. Good evening everyone. Let’s all stand. We’re going to read in the book of Acts,
chapter 13, beginning in vs. 1-3. (Prayer).

This is the beginning of the Jews non-Jewish outreach. Better known as Paul’s first missionary
journey. But you know, wait a second. Didn’t we see a Gentile come to Christ a few weeks back
or a few months back or whatever? It was Cornelius a few chapters back. I have no idea how
much time it was but Cornelius came to Christ. But Cornelius was a little bit different. He was a,
someone who was worshipping God but didn’t know Jesus. He was a Gentile, Roman. But this
was the first planned trip from a city to a city in the pagan world to preach Christ.

And what we see here is a pattern that begins to form with Paul and then with Barnabas. It is
that whenever they went to a new city, they would find first the Jewish community and visit
their Saturday worship at the synagogue and so again. Wait a second. I thought they were going
to the non-Jewish population? And yes they were. You are correct. They were. However, they
went first to the Jews for one very important reason. It’s cause they understood the message.
They were expecting the Messiah. It was something very interesting about this. Not to say that
everyone accepted but many, many did actually. They had an understanding of Scripture. They
understood prophecy. They understood and they were able to teach how Jesus was in fact the
fulfillment of all biblical prophecy. Many did believe and they learned the teaching of the
apostles that the Son of God had come and had to suffer at the hands of the Jews.

So, after this was all established, the outreach to the Gentiles actually began. And it was
actually amazing, but the message remained the same. It didn’t matter where you went. The
message was always the same whether it was Peter, whether it was Paul, whether it was
Barnabas, whether it was James. The message was that Jesus is the promised Christ. The
message was that Jesus is in fact the perfect man, the Son of David who was put to death on a
cross, laid in a tomb and then raised from the dead for the forgiveness of sin. That’s the
message and that’s the message that never changes. When they believed on that message, they
believed unto justification or salvation.

Read with me quickly in Acts 13:26. This is part of what Paul said to them. Vs.26-32. So, this
again is the message that would turn the world upside down and it is in fact the same message
that we preach today. Am I right about that guys? It’s the same message. We preach Christ and
we preach Christ crucified and resurrected. It’s the message of salvation.

Paul’s experience in his travels in planting local congregations was that many did believe and
they believed with all their heart and their lives were transformed. Their lives went in a new
direction because they had received the new birth. Amazing.

But then there were many who did not believe, right? We see that. We see that many held on
to the past traditions. We see how there was a split even in the Jewish community when they
fought amongst each other in Acts 13:50. This describes people of course who reject the
message of the gospel. What happens to many who do profess Christ is that over time, if they
don’t exercise their faith, actually people become listless in their Christianity. They become
directionless. They end up having no leader. They do not see Jesus as their shepherd who is
going to guide them and protect them and they begin to be bored. And when that happens,
people search for something else. There’s something about us. Paul would write later in Romans
1:16, he would write this, vs.16-17.

Now I’m not saying that every Christian is going to have the same fervor and the same drive as
Paul, as Barnabas. I kind of wish they would. If that were the case, there would be no seats
tonight open in the chapel. There would be no seats in my church. We would have to have
multiple services. But the truth of the matter is, the church itself would be nothing without this
kind of message. The thing that we want to point out is that all the apostles, all the deacons, all
the bishops, all the elders, all the pastors, all the evangelists, they all preached the exact same
message that Christ died and that Christ is risen and to believe on him for salvation. It’s so easy
and it’s so predictable that we would get sidetracked with the details of life.

Of course, it is but the challenge is to not get sidetracked, right? We don’t get sidetracked
because there are so many things that can and actually do fill people’s spiritual vacuum when
they don’t fill their vacuum with the Word of God. P. Schaller has mentioned it. Unbelievers
have a vacuum. Unbelievers have a hole, a God-shaped hole in their hearts. And it’s amazing
and believers as well. When we don’t fill ourselves with the Word of God, other things come in
to take its place. Because this is how we are. This is who we are.

Look at the billboards. Look at Netflix and Pureflix and other flix and how many flix are there
out there? People are trying to – people go all night long. I could do it. All night long watching
show after show after show cause they are trying to fill themselves. They have a void. They
have a need. They need to be relevant. They need to fill something. They need to see
something. They need to experience something.

So, when this happens to Christians, they really get off track often times. They wander
spiritually maybe. But oftentimes we wander spiritually in doctrine. We wander spiritually when
we start to seek things outside of the message that I just talked about. Not that there aren’t all
kinds of intricacies in the Bible. There are. There’s all kinds of beautiful stories in the Bible,
beautiful accounts of amazing people that overcome all kinds of crazy things, and they really
show us how we can overcome these things. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking
about people who wander off spiritually thinking maybe that they found another truth, maybe
another mystery, maybe another gospel.

Paul describes it in 1 Timothy 4:1. Imagine that? Vs. 2. Have you known anybody that way? I have.
You have, right? I have, too. Vs. 2-3. It’s interesting. How many of you have heard of
Nostradamus? Oh, yeah. Just the name gives me the chills. He was a French guy. He was a
philosopher, reputed seer, prophet, whatever. He wrote a book called, “The Prophecies.” He’s
credited by some to have accurately predicted world events. I think he even predicted the
assassination of J. F. Kennedy. That’s pretty amazing.

Wait a second. Nostradamus lived in the 1300’s or 1400’s. I mean, he really predicted John F.
Kennedy – where were all the scholars interpreting his dreams and visions? Shouldn’t
somebody have told John F. Kennedy don’t go to Dallas? I mean. Come on. All we see is after
the fact, right? Yeah, we found out afterwards. I don’t know. So many calculations. So many
assumptions. So many things that people read into stuff. It’s hard to really decipher what
they’re talking about, what it all means.

When people get involved in speculation actually what happens their fervor for Christ becomes
muted. It really does. It’s like, woe! That guy used to be on fire for Jesus. What happened? Oh,
he read the Bible Code. That’s what happened. He read the Bible Code. I mean the Bible Code;
this was published in 1997. The Bible Code. And of course, it is similar to Nostradamus. The idea
is that very, very smart mathematicians have taken letters, sentences and paragraphs of the
Bible and they run them through super computers and in there they find hidden codes like stuff
we never saw before. And yes, I am mocking by the way. I’m so sorry. I am mocking. I’m a
mocker. That’s part of my life.

You know, they found the assassination of Martin Luther King. I think Yitzhak Rabin, they knew
he was going to die. They should have told him. So, these very precise things like maybe your
social security number. I don’t know. Something like that. But this book sold tens of thousands
of copies and then they had two sequels and a movie because people are so fascinated to know
these mysteries. These things that God hid from everybody and it took a super computer
thousands of years after Christ to find out what really was being said. Sorry, Pastor, that’s your
pulpit. Oh, man. I’m so sorry.

Anyway, is that what God wants to reveal his method? Is that how he revealed his methods to
shepherds? Is that how he revealed his methods to carpenters and moms raising kids? Yes,
child, you must learn trigonometry, calculus. All kinds of high algebra to learn. But this is not
the Bible Code that spoke to a 19 year old kid from West Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s not the
code that spoke to me.

Do you know what my Bible code was? My Bible code was God is love. That’s my Bible code. My
Bible code is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s my Bible code.
My Bible code is and it was all my righteousness is as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6. That’s one of the first
verses that I learned and that’s my Bible code.

My Bible code is Psalm 22 where the crucifixion of Jesus is described about 400 years before
crucifixion is even invented. That’s the code that I want to follow because it actually happened.
That’s the code that actually told it. That’s the code. My Bible code is found in Isaiah 53:6. That’s
the code that I know. That’s the code that I learned. “The Son of Man has come to seek and
save that which is lost.” I don’t need a computer for that. All I got to do is read it. All I got to do
is hear it. That’s the code that we need to talk to people about.

My Bible code is in Romans 5:8. Do I need this book? Do I need people? Do I need to learn
something new today? The apostles didn’t. The apostles had the same message for years and
years and years and decades and centuries and it turned the world upside down. It was
incredible because their Bible code was that there’s no fear in love but perfect love casts out
fear. That’s the Bible code that I want to know.

The Bible code that I want to know is “God at various times and in various ways spoke in times
past to the fathers and the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his
son.” That’s the code that matters. That’s the code that is clear. That’s the code that changes
lives. We don’t need to get involved in things and sometimes we do. Sometimes people get
involved in so many questions. They begin to look into apologetics and they get all confused.
And apologetics is wonderful. Don’t get me wrong. But we cannot go astray from one thing to
another thing to another thing and then think that we have the message when the message is
right here. This is my code right here. It’s all contained inside there. This is what we need to
know.

I was having a good talk with my son who lives in New York now. And we were talking – he
reads way too much. I said Kim, what happens when you find something that kind of challenges
your faith? When you find something in one of these books that says something different than
what the Word of God says? And I really loved his response and I’ve actually used it in my class.
His response was this: I return to orthodoxy. Not the Orthodox church but to orthodoxy, to the
pure doctrine of the Word of God. That’s his Bible code. That’s my Bible code.

And this is another Bible code, Zechariah 12:10. You see, that we can show. That actually happened.
That doesn’t need some type of calculus. That doesn’t need some type of new invention that
hadn’t happened. You see, God’s message is for everyone. God’s message is for shepherds. And
God’s message was also for kings. God’s message was to women and God’s message was also to
slaves. God’s message was for rich people and God’s message was for people who are
challenged in every way of life. It’s amazing, right. This is what happens.

My code is that Jesus was born of a virgin. My code is that he had twelve disciples, that he lived
a sinless life. My code is that a person must be born again to see the kingdom of God in John 3:3.
That “in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God” in John
1:1. My code is in John 1:10-12. What do I need to search outside of that for?

What do I need to go and find other truth when the very truth has been told for centuries by the apostles and the
prophets and other pastors and missionaries? The truth that has created hospitals, that has
created orphanages, has created a world that is so incredible, so much more advanced, that has
created science, has created history, has created all kinds of things. It’s amazing what this Word
does and how it transforms. This is my code. This is my code. This is my code and there will
never be another code in my life. This is what we do, right? Mystery solved. Mystery solved.
Then we might ask ourselves. Well, P. Shibley, I’m thinking what is my Bible code, right? I think
your Bible code is the same as my Bible code. It should be I think. Not that I know everything. I
just know this is where it is. When I don’t know something, I look in here.

When I don’t understand in here I say okay, fine. I don’t understand but God will show me some day what
that means maybe. When I’m in heaven, I’ll definitely know what it means. I don’t know. But I
know this: there are no mysteries that are not revealed in Christ.

Are you sure of your faith is the question? Are you sure of your faith? Maybe people have
believed. Maybe you’ve made a decision. Maybe for you this is the life, right? This Bible life. But
maybe it’s not. Maybe some people will listen to the message and they’ll say, I don’t know what
that guy is talking about. I get that actually. I get that. I can see that. Like what is he talking
about? Or maybe you are saying, man, I want to know that Bible code. And that’s a good thing.
That’s why we have a Bible college, to learn the codes. To learn what we are doing. We teach
codes in Bible college.

Going forward though. If you are believing, will anything ever tempt you to change? Can you
see something in your life possibly in the future? Well, I’m a Christian now and I like this life
now but maybe there’s something better. That’s the kind of thought we need to put out of our
life because there is – we can only go deeper. We can only know God better. We need to have
our code always be one thing: Jesus saves. That’s our code. “The wages of sin is death but the
gift of God is eternal life.” That’s our code. “For him all the mysteries are revealed.” And that’s
the code that I want to live by. That’s the code.

I want you to remember one thing and this is a really important thing. We have a code breaker
in our midst. Isn’t that amazing, the code breakers. Not the Navaho Indians. Not the guys that
knew how to break the code – I forget what it was called for England. The Enigma Code. How
did the Germans not figure that out, pastor? I can’t figure it out for years. But we have the code
breaker. His name is the Holy Spirit.

Read this with me, John 14:26. Isn’t that great? He breaks the code of forgiveness. He teaches me
the code of love. He shows me the code of mercy and kindness. The code that helps me when
I’m broken. The code that helps me when I’m wounded, that humbles me when I’m proud and
that gives me grace to serve God and to serve people. It’s the code that shows me how to love
the fatherless, how to love the widow, how to love the homeless, how to feed the hungry, how to give my life, how to tell other people my story, what Jesus did for me. That’s the code that I
want people to know and I know you have the code.

But if you don’t have the code, it’s not hard to find the code. The code is this: that “God so
loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him would not
perish but have everlasting life.” “For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the
world but that the world through him might be saved.” Are you here tonight and you don’t
know if you are saved but you want to be? You want to have this gift of eternal life. I want you
to bow with me and say a prayer and repeat after me. (Prayer).

 

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