Engaging the Tough Stuff Part 2

Bethel: 2.5.12
TITLE: : Manny, Meet Moe, and Jack
INTRO: Adventures with Daryl, or was that Daryl…
Transition:
Luke seen fit to introduce us to 3 rather ill fitting people, yet by all accounts, likely that they all wound up in the same church. May give some reason for Paul’s comments in Philippians 2, about the value of getting along.
Text: Phil. 2
REVIEW:
We’ve already examined the back story of the Lydian Mary Kay and now Luke follows it up with a young gal caught up in the dual vice-grip of demonism and charlatan enterprise,joined together with the story of the jailor charged with leveling local intimidation.
Text: Acts 16:
Transition: this an encapsulation of the reality the church faces– the real life bumps that come in leaving a mark on the culture.

A WOMAN, COMPROMISED FROM WITHIN AND LIKEWISE FROM WITHOUT

Her life a devilish collaboration between the devil and her own deviance. The term ___( python: ventriloquist )
Her behavior a distraction to Paul’s work in the community: unwilling her to continue hovering between the right language and wrong behavior.
Her future in the hands of her handlers less certain than in the hands of her God. Speaking truth clearly if not incomplete and over her head ( beyond her natural ability).
The play on words… When the demon came out of her, so did the profits for her employers. FF Bruce writes,
” when Paul exorcized the Spirit that possessed her, he exorcized their source of income as well.” pg. 265
Not to be outdone, her owners shrewd enough to layer their greedy economics with more emotionally, politically correct accusations that played to the ear of the Roman state.
Transition: which provides Luke the basis to introduce us to his third member of odd trio.

OLDER, WISER, A WAR HERO BUT FOUND WANTING.
It’s worth wondering if these unscrupulous charlatans ever really needed the missionaries to face a trial– only that they would feel the intimidation brought by a night in the stocks.
Beaten, stripped naked and committed to the inner more secure part of the prison, they now found themselves facing a choice– suffering by themselves and for themselves or transforming that suffering into contagious joy.
The text provides the principled answer.
How Paul knew all the prisoners were still accounted for but it may have something to do with the reputation he had already earned. Did they connect the earthquake with the message Paul was speaking is also not clear, but what is clear is the jailer’s understanding of his need and his plea for deliverance.

The response suggests a balanced understanding of salvitic process. The belief that changed our eternal standing also transforms our outlook, attitudes and actions.
Just as with the Lydian lady and presumably the demon possessed woman, something triggers the opening of the heart:
Lydian: The Lord opened her heart to a rational understanding of biblical truth.
Jailor: the external crisis of his immediate future brought him to consider his ultimate end. Truth is, God had been drawing these two closer and closer to himself, all the while He was touching Paul’s mind to come to Macedonia.

Conclusions
So we’re left with 3 individuals, 3 men/woman that cut across the spectrum of background, culture, status, and need:
For Lydia, suffering the starvation of only having a knowledge of God’s judgment, and not yet knowing the power of God to forgive, to redeem, and to energize…
And then the slave girl, suffering from the psychological pain of an evil spirit, and then the lack of any identity of her own; dependent upon her owners, only to find herself freed, her life under new management.
And finally, the retired veteran, so familiar with death and destruction; yet not fully able to escape the guilt and fear of his own death,and come to grips with his need for a savior– until now…

Which one are you?

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