Fitting Truth Into Our Box
I heard the story of a couple who married, over the years when the wife would prepare to cook a roast she would do as she had seen her mother do. She would cut off the small end of the roast. Years passed, and children were born. One day when the couple’s daughter was twelve years old she was in the kitchen helping her mom prepare dinner. She silently watched her mother cut the small end off the roast then asked, “Mom, why do you always do that?” Her mother said, “Well, I really don’t know but I always saw my mom do it. I’ll ask her the next time we visit.”
Several days later, they were at the grandparents house and the mother asked the grandmother, “Mom, why do you have to cut the small end off a roast before you cook it?’ The grandmother answered, “We just never had a pot big enough for the whole roast.”
What I want to preach about is similar: Fitting truth into our box
Acts 14:8 (KJS) And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
I. Ovid tells of a myth of Jupiter and Mercury coming to that region long ago disguised as mortals. Jupiter, called Zeus by the Greeks, was the chief God in the Greek pantheon. His worship was almost universal. He was the Ammon of Africa, the Belus of Babylon, the Osiris of Egypt. Mercury, called Hermes in the original Greek text, was the legendary inventer of speech. According to Ovid’s legend when the god’s came to visit the community of Lystra, except for one couple - Philemon and Baucis - rejected them. The 2 gods sent judgment on the area except for the old couple who were rewarded for their receptive welcome by being made guardians of a magnificent temple on the outskirts of Lystra. Lystra had its gate a temple erected to Jupiter, in memory of the thought that they had descended.
II. Now, the people of Lystra believed the God’s had reappeared and were now identifying Paul and Barnabas with Jupiter and Mercury. They could not explain what had happened to the lame man so they did the easy thing by dragging out their pre-conceived notions and applying them.
III. My premise: There is no more clever way of capturing and domesticating truth than accepting it and rehoning it to fit our previously held ideas and convictions.
IV. According to Acts 2, God has promised to pour out his spirit on all flesh. The 39th verse goes so far as to extend the promise to as many as the Lord our God shall call. The demonstration and display of event in the book of Acts is dynamic and forceful. Its ongoing manifestation is equally powerful. Yet there is a real effort for many to bring God’s dynamic into conformity with past experience. Ways we do it religiously:
A. 2 Tim 3:5 - Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof. Religious Movements do it by explaining away the spiritual or the miraculous intervention of God. It is laughed off as a hoax.
1. Form is simply a sham. It is pretend. Rather than force there is form. Power is surrendered for pretense.
2. Paul’s instruction - from such turn away
B. By compromising the lust for the carnal with some need for the spiritual. It was this Elijah couldn’t handle.
1. Israel had developed an off-beat brand of religion that was a mixture of serving the sun-god Baal and the Lord Jehovah.
2. He declared, “How long halt ye between two opinions, if Baal, be God let’s serve him, if Jehovah, let’s serve him.
3. There can be no compromise between that which is holy and the unholy. God and ungodliness don’t mix. (Sexual misconduct, adultery, fornication, , gambling, carousing, laziness, thievery - don’t mix with Godliness
V. We not let God explode the box of our preconceived notions
A. Get rid of our pretend - and get the real. Real holiness that affects the heart, and the attitude. Something that will put God’s character in our lives instead of that old human heart that is so unrighteous.
B. Let go of our limitations - bring out new wine bags for the new experience.
C. Let God transform you, giving you something new and different. Something radically unlike what you may be attempting to limit him to.