6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Characteristics of a Mature Christian - Acts 21:27-40

Characteristics of a Mature Christian - Acts 21:27-40


Sat Apr 13, 8:22 AM ET

TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. (Reuters) - An 8-year-old Florida boy drove himself to school in a stolen car after missing the school bus, police said this week.

The youngster was caught when schoolmates told a teacher they had seen him park the car in the faculty lot at Riverhills Elementary School in Temple Terrace, a city northeast of Tampa.

The boy, who could barely see above the dashboard, had crossed at least one busy four-lane intersection on the 1.5-mile route from his home to the school.

He was suspended from school for up to 10 days for endangering himself and others, but was not arrested because police did not see him driving the car.

The boy said his uncle had been giving him driving lessons since last week in the car, a 2002 Ford Focus that had been reported stolen, police said Friday. The car theft was still under investigation.

Police said neither the boy nor his mother knew the car was stolen, and that the mother was not arrested because there were no signs of neglect at home.

"He wanted to show it off to his friends I guess," said Temple Terrace Police Capt. Tracy Mishler. "He made it (to school) right on time but he bragged about it and that’s why he got caught."

The boy’s uncle, Darrick Wilford, was arrested on Tuesday on an unrelated vehicle theft charge.

Paul went to Jerusalem in the face of stern warnings not to enter the famous city. However, mature Christians set their face like a flint regardless of the opposition. Paul showed an intense desire to bring hope, love and truth to his Jewish people as he longed to see them find eternal salvation and liberty in Christ. Furthermore, Paul wanted the Jewish churches to accept the Gentile churches as a part of the body of Christ for the sake of unity amidst diversity. Even though the Jerusalem church welcomed Paul a dispute arose over the issue of law and grace. Paul taught that it was not necessary to keep the law as a means of salvation, but as a Jew he practiced it to remain in good standing with the Jewish elders. Paul shows us how to deal with bigotry, abuse of power as well as personal consecration in this passage.


A problem is a concentrated opportunity. The only people I have ever known to have no problems are in the cemetery. The more problems you have, the more alive you are. Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. I often say, when the Lord wants to give you the greatest value in this world, He doesn’t wrap it in a sophisticated package and hand it to you on a silver platter. He is too subtle, too adroit, for that. He takes this big value and buries it at the heart of a big, tough problem. How He must watch with delight when you’ve got what it takes to break that problem apart and find at its heart what the Bible calls, "the pearl of great price." Everybody I’ve ever known who succeeded in a big way in life has done so by breaking problems apart and finding the value that was there.

1. The Jews show us in verses 27-31 how they used their religion for a greater sense of power, prestige and political clout in the community. Even the best things in life can be used for the wrong reasons. Paul showed how to be all things to all men in this passage without compromising essential truths of the scripture. When we are speaking the truth in love we are able to see the Lord use us to bridge gaps between cultures, classes and levels of maturity in the church.

2. The Jews demonstrated their bigotry against the Gentiles who they supposed were lesser Christians unless they lived according to Jewish law. Faulty assumptions always get people in relational trouble with God and men. Most of the arguments that come up in the church could be resolved if we simply used the New Testament principles of grace in all our dealings as Paul did.

3. The Jews showed hatred toward the Gentiles "Seizing Paul they dragged him from the temple and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar." (Acts 21:30,31) People who are hateful and struggle to control their anger usually have a problem with pride. They need to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God allowing Him to sort out the problems in His good way. Paul entrusted himself to the Lord instead of trying to match the Jews with his own cunning tricks. It is a wise person who knows how to overlook another person’s faults.

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