2 Kings 4:18-5:27, Acts 15:1-35, Psalms 141:1-10, Proverbs 17:23
Today is the 23rd day of June welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is awesome to be here with you today around the Global Campfire as we just kind of exhale, release the stresses and all of the stuff that just builds up and it’s just chaos sometimes…we just release all that for a few minutes and just come into this oasis around the Global campfire and…ahh…exhale and allow God’s word to speak to us today. So, in the Old Testament we’re in the book of second Kings and we will spend our time alongside the prophet Elisha and then we will flip over into the New Testament and in the book of Acts today we will be encountering the…the most poignant foundational impactful decision that the early church really needed to face and come to terms with. And the implications are far reaching but we’ll get to that soon enough. First, we’re reading from the New International Version this week. Second Kings 4:18 through 5:27.
Okay. So, we kinda mentioned at the beginning that…that…that what was happening in the book of Acts today was really big, monumental pivotal shift. And this is known as the Council at Jerusalem or the Jerusalem Council or the first church council, like where…where church leaders had to come together and actually consider and even debate and wrestle with and invite God into a decision because they had reached a…a point where they needed the guidance of the Holy Spirit because things were not adding up. Basically, what was happening is what we’ve alluded to in the past, Jesus the Savior was a Hebrew human being. Although God made flesh, He was a Jew and He grew up Jewish. And, so, when he began His ministry the context for this ministry was Jewish and it was centered around the Hebrew Scriptures and the Hebrew prophets. Like the whole thing was based on the Hebrew story. And, so, that’s how He did His ministry and that’s mostly who He did His ministry among. So, Hebrew people who had put their faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Hebrew Messiah, they…it was not in their mind that they were converting to a different religion or like that they were leaving the traditions of their lives that they had grown up immersed in and needed to find completely different ways of doing things. It was just assumed that Jesus is a Hebrew rabbi, He’s commenting on the Hebrew Scriptures, He’s attending the Hebrew festivals, He’s doing things in synagogues. Like this is…is a Hebrew context. Nothing’s changing here. Then Gentiles began to believe, and God began to affirm the Gentiles belief through the affirmation of the Holy Spirit. I mean we can be like 2000 years in the future right here in 2020 and go like, “man, what does that got to do with me? And why? You know, like, it just doesn’t make sense that they would be arguing about this.” But this is huge. Like what we’re seeing today changed the complexion of the faith. So, some Hebrew believers that gone to Antioch and they were teaching about Jesus, but the message of conversion or like the good news message was, “convert to Judaism. Follow the Hebrew customs. Be circumcised. And then you can follow Jesus. But until you come in through that gate…like until you come in and are circumcised and the whole thing, you can’t follow Christ.” That was very troubling to the Gentile people that wanted to follow Jesus and it was very troubling to Paul and Barnabas to the point that this Jerusalem Council came to be. And the central question was, “are Gentiles permitted to be in this faith in Christ, or is this a Hebrew only thing?” In other words, who gets to be in? So, Peter weighs in and talks about the vision that he had about clean and unclean. He talks about going to Cornelius’s house, a Gentile military man of Rome, and how the Holy Spirit fell upon the entire family and affirmed that He was accepting them in the same way that the Holy Spirit moved upon the Hebrew believers while at the same time, there were others in the church, church leaders, arguing, “no. This is a Hebrew thing. Jesus was a Hebrew person and His own commentary was in a Hebrew context. So, that…that’s how people have to understand Him. That’s how they have to…that’s how they have to come in. That’s how they get in.” And you see why it would need to be a counsel because these are valid things to consider on both sides. And in the end as they come together, hear all of the different testimony, including the testimony of Paul and Barnabas, it becomes apparent. The decision is made because they can see or sense that it’s not them that are making a decision, it’s God who has already chosen to accept Gentiles. And why heap upon them the Mosaic law when the Hebrew people have not even been…not been able to figure out or adhere to it pretty much ever. So, then the thought is like, you know, “to a person who hasn’t grown up in this or has no understanding of this, why do they need to be saddled with this when Christ has come to make them free?” And, so, they give them a very few basic things that they need to adhere to, like don’t eat the meat of sacrificed animals to idols and stay away from blood and…and…and stay away from sexual immorality. But…but other than that, “welcome to the family”, basically. “Welcome. And God is doing a new thing and we…we have to acknowledge and see it. So, welcome.” And they sent two people back to affirm this in word and they sent a letter back which we read today. This shifts things dramatically in the church because now everyone…everyone is welcome, all who call upon the name of the Lord. Everyone can be saved no matter who they are, no matter where they are, no matter how they are. It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal that’s called good news. But this good news, like we’ll see this the rest of the year as we continue through the New Testament, especially as we get into the letters. This decision right here causes monumental problems on a lot of different levels. For starters, just the Roman empire itself. The Roman Empire itself let you at the time worship whatever God you wanted or whatever gods you wanted. Like you had the religious freedom to worship whatever gods you wanted to honor however you wanted to. But you had to revere the gods of Rome, the gods of the Empire. You had to revere the gods who made Rome great. And, you know, especially like observe the national festivals and stuff like this. And if you didn’t do that that’s gonna be a problem because the people that you live among, your own nation, your own people would see you unwilling to participate in national celebrations and there's…like this time there’s not something called the separation of church and state. Like sacred and secular weren’t compartmentalized. So, if you’re not involved in what’s national and even honoring the national well then, it’s very easy to think that you are anti-Empire you are anti-Roman. And I think we’ve…I think we’ve experienced enough in the Scriptures to get the sense that that’s probably not a good idea if you want to stay well and alive. So, the interesting thing is that the Hebrew people were part of the Roman Empire as well, but their worship of the one true God, right, the God of Israel, the one who had chosen them and set them apart, that predated Rome vastly. They were a very, very ancient people with a very ancient religion. And, so they kinda had…they kinda had a pass. Like it was understood what they were doing and why they were doing it even though it was marginalizing them in the Empire. But for the most part they didn’t care about that because they were separatists, they were exclusive other than the fact that the marginalization was oppressing them. So, they were being oppressed by the Romans and that’s the environment that Jesus came into. But they didn’t have to do all this Roman God worship and stuff. Up until this point, the Christians, because they…they weren’t really called that, they were followers of Jesus or followers of The Way of Jesus the Hebrew teacher. Up until this point kind of the assumption was, “well…He…Jesus was a Hebrew and He was a rabbi. And, so, like this is part of the Hebrew religion.” And, so, they, the early believers, gotta pass as well. They didn’t have to do any of the other worship. But then this decision gets made at the Jerusalem Council, where now Gentiles have completely different rules about coming into the faith and now all the sudden the law of Moses doesn’t have to be adhered to in the way that is traditional and the teachings of Paul are kind of contrary and he’s being labeled a heretic. And, so, now all the sudden this isn’t under the protection of the Jewish religion anymore. The Jews are rejecting it and are being vocal about it saying they have nothing to do with us. So, now believers in Jesus are kind of out there because it’s like this is a new religion. And you gotta be on board with the gods that made the Empire great. You gotta be on board with being Roman if you’re gonna be here. If you’re gonna be here you gotta be here and do what we do. So, that makes things difficult because now the Jewish people want to oppress the…the believers in Jesus, the Christians as well as the Empire. So, there’s like no place to go. And over time this gets really really difficult and we will read through some of those difficulties as we go through the rest of the New Testament, but because of all of this climate that’s being formed here we’re gonna see a theme. And there’s one word that defines this theme, “endure.” It’s not particularly our favorite word. It’s probably not particularly our favorite action or posture, but we will see the church to survive, like to survive had to learn to endure. And we will see that that has a role to play in our lives as well.
Father, we thank you for your word and we thank you for all that…all that you teach, all that you reveal, all that you snap into place for us as we move through the Scriptures. And as we continue to learn both in our minds and our brains but also as we continue to grow in our hearts, we invite your Holy Spirit to be ever present and lead us into all truth. This is our kind of perpetual request. We…we ask it a lot but it…it’s necessary. We want to walk in the truth, and you are the truth. And, so, we want to walk with you and we are like sheep and we do go astray and we need a shepherd and you have come to comfort and guide us. And, so, we surrender to that. We rest in the flow of that. We allow you to lead us forward. Come Holy Spirit into all of this we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website, it’s you know, home base, it’s where you find out what’s going on around here. There are some things coming up that are going on around here. So, talk a little bit today and…and even more tomorrow about it.
So, two weeks from today is kind of our own Daily Audio Bible family holiday, I guess. It’s a tradition that we have had for well over a decade now and we call it “the long walk” and that takes place every 7th of July. And it’s something that we do together as a community, even though we’re…we’re doing it alone. And it’s designed to be that way. So, we’re kind of alone together which is so strange because this has been a tradition we’ve had for well over a decade like I said, but in this kind of era of social distancing, yeah, we have this event that is…that fits perfectly. Like we don’t have to modify anything. So, the long walk is self-explanatory, a long walk. Every July 7th we…we try to take the day off if we can and just go somewhere beautiful, whether near or far. Just kind of pick a park or a place or a trail or a region or just wherever, whether you drive for several hours which some people do, or whether you just go down the street. Find somewhere beautiful. Find a place to find stillness and go for a long walk with God. And it’s remarkable what that can do to change the entire complexion of the week and really the trajectory of the year. We find ourselves approaching the center of the year in the middle of our journey through the Bible and if you haven’t been under a rock, which I assume none of you have, the first half of this year has been exciting and unusual. It’s been very very different. And we’ve had to think about, contemplate and endure things that we never really…that were never categories per se, some of them of long-running things…but there’s been unrest, there’s been disruption. This is a time to re-center ourselves to actually take a day and say, “I need to get alone with God. Whatever it takes I need to get quiet and still before God. There’s a lot I need to say that I haven’t had time to say. And, frankly, I haven’t even been listening that well. And the Lord has a lot to say that I haven’t been listening for.” And, so, we just take a day out of the year in the middle of the year to restart the second half of the year and just go for a long walk with God. And just knowing that even though we’re doing it alone, we’re not doing it alone. Our brothers and sisters all over the world are doing it as well. And then we make it kind of a community event by just saying, “wherever you go, whatever you do, wherever you go on your long walk, take a picture.” I mean you’re probably gonna carry your phone with you. Maybe you could put it on do not disturb for a few hours or whatever but take a picture of where you go or take a little video of where you are and what you’re doing and then you can kind of post that as a comment to the Daily Audio Bible and then we’ll post it up on the Daily Audio Bible page and all the sudden these windows start opening up. Like we get these glimpses into the beauty of the world all over the world, but also glimpses of the beauty of each other in community just knowing that we’re really doing this and we’re really doing this together. And, so, that’s the long walk and that is coming up two weeks from today. So, I mention it now just so we can begin to make preparations and plans because…well…those of you have been on long walks in the past because we’ve been doing this for…I don’t know…I think this is thirteen years, I think. So, many of you have been on…on long walks before and could say, “yeah that is a re-centering, a necessary re-centering of the year. That does make a difference.” In fact, most people I talk with are like, “this needs… you know…this needs to be once a month. Like this needs to be something that we do often.” But here at the Daily Audio Bible we do this together each July 7th. So, make plans for that. And then tomorrow I’m gonna tell you about a new resource that is releasing and coming…becoming available on the 7th of July, tailor made for part of the long walk journey. And I’ll explain that tomorrow. We’ve been kind of talking for a long time about the Jerusalem Council and stuff. So, I’ll wait and share that more tomorrow. But make plans for the long walk July 7th, two weeks from today.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There is a link on the homepage. I am profoundly humbled and in awe of the community that we have. And we have it because we’re in it together. And, so, thank you for your partnership. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or encouragement you can dial 877-942-4253 or you can just hit the Hotline button in the app and begin to share from there, the little red button up at the top.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi everybody this is Lawrence in California it is June 17th. I just heard Adrian’s call from June 12th. Adrian is having a hard time focusing on things that she has to study to advance in her work and it’s really driven her downwards is wat it sounds like. Adrian, you said that you were happy that everybody would just listen to you prattle or you hoped that people would be okay with your prattling on. Adrian, it’s fine. I was happy to hear you prattle. These are hard times and I admire your courage. I admire that you have called in to join in with us and I will pray for you that things take a better turn. And don’t think of yourself as an idiot. Okay? Take care. Bye-bye for now.
Hello Daily Audio Bible family this is Denise and this is Ephesians chapter 2 starting with verse 14. Gracious heavenly father I pray over the Daily Audio Bible family. I pray over Asia from Chicago. I pray over Virginia from Dallas. I pray over Kingdom Seeker Daniel and Vincent and Lady a Victory and Father everyone whose voice whether prayed on the prayer line or prayed in silence who is grappling with racism in their heart and their place of being a solution here in Your world Father. I affirm that You are a peace, I affirm that You have made all groups one and that You have torn down the dividing wall of hostility between us for in Your son’s flesh Father He has made no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations that would divide us. Father, I ask that You might create one new people from the dividing parts two resulting in peace Father. And I know that You will do this so that You might reconcile us to You as in one body through the cross that Your son hung on by which He put hostility to death Father. And I ask in this prayer that we are able to proclaim the good news of peace to those who are near and to those who are far. For Father through Jesus we want everyone to know that we have both access in one Spirit to You and that we are no longer foreigners and strangers but brothers and sisters who are in love with each other who pray for each other who respect each other who can hear each other honestly and still love through whatever would make us different Father because difference is beauty. You’ve made us all different. We celebrate that Father. We are citizens with the saints and members of Your household built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus Christ himself as the cornerstone Father. And, so, I ask in this prayer that the whole building being put together be larger grow through this strife and grow into a holy temple for You Father. And I ask this in Your Son’s matchless in mighty name. Amen.
Hi this is Rachel from Pennsylvania. I ask that you guys just lift up my brother and sister Laura and Stephen. I’m praying for their salvation just praying that they find God and that they find a personal relationship with Him. I had some time to talk with them today and I just…I was praying for God to…to help lead me and guide my words but I just felt attacked and I just…they said a lot of things that were hard to hear about religion. And I tried to explain to them that this is not about religion, but they don’t understand because they’re…they haven’t listen to the DAB and they’re not part of the community and they just don’t get it yet. I just pray that they get it one day. So, if you would keep them in prayer I appreciate it. Thanks.
Good morning Daily Audio Bible listeners this is a Elisa Marie from Dinuba. I just finished listening to the podcast for the 16th and I heard Victoria Soldier call in and I love what she said that no matter what they tell us in about what’s going on in our country and in our nation it is righteousness that exalts a nation. And, so, upon that I come in agreement with my sister and everyone else who is praying. We put on father God…we put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We take up the shield of faith where we can quench all the fiery darts of the evil one and above all we take up the sword of the spirit which is your word. Father your word says in Isaiah 54:15 that whoever comes against us it will not be you’re doing father. Whoever comes against us will surrender to us. And right now, we see the spirit of division, we see the spirit of murder, of gang mentality of mob mentality. We see the spirit of the enemy of hatred of dissension, contention and strife and division. We see you and in the blood of Jesus we say no. You stop. You take your dirty hands off of America right now in the mighty name of Jesus. We plead the blood of Jesus over the doorways of America. The entryways of America and the north and the south of the east and the west and we say no. We take authority over you by the mighty name of Jesus and with the spirit of the living God we say you take your dirty hands off of America right now. We speak peace over America. We speak peace we speak truth. May the truth of the living God came forth each and every every believer and we stand together united in the mighty name of Jesus and we say no more, enough is enough. So, you get your dirty hands off of us and we stand for truth for God’s righteousness and we ask that the peace that passes all understanding will come in and govern our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Hi DAB family this is Nate from Washington. I need your prayers. I’ve been struggling with addiction to pornography for the last 15 years. I got to a point 3 years ago where I was faced with the decision to choose my addiction or my wife and three kids. I chose my family thank God. I believe I got the courage to make the right decision because I prayed about it for the first time. For so long I’d been trying to change on my own. I’ve made some great progress since then, but I still keep falling on my face a lot. I started listening to the DAB in January and I get so encouraged by Brian’s passion and everyone’s prayers and voices. I keep telling everybody all about it. I know that putting this out there would be accepting life on God’s terms and not mine. And your prayers help me learn how to talk to God and the DAB has been a lifeline for me ever since I found it. Thank you everyone.
Hello, my dear Daily Audio Bible family. I love you. We are one in Christ. A shout out to Tony the Narrator that what you said so encouraged me about there being only two races and we get to be family. It’s so awesome. We are not just that counterfeit that the world has for unity, which is uniformity, you know everybody being a whole bunch of clones that trying to force everyone to think a certain way and somehow that’s going to cause us to be one. Even Peter and Paul disagreed on things and in the New Testament we’ll see about John Mark that they had their disagreements the early church you know and the rockiness that…that Brian will point out later on and ask like how much more will we have trouble now. But those very diversities are what brings such glory to God when we all come together in unity in Christ and in love and I love it. It’s one of things I treasure about the Daily Audio Bible. I come here and I’m challenged. I’m not in my little echo chamber because of my background or the church I go to or whatever. I come here and I hear differences of opinion because of denomination because of race because of culture because of all these backgrounds and I go, “oh well maybe I should look at that scripture again. Maybe I haven’t been understanding or right. Maybe it’s just my tradition that has made me look at it that way.” And I love that. I love being a missionary through these almost 15 years that we have here serving in Mexico a lot of co-laborers in the gospel, English, Irish, Mexican and Colombian, Canadian, Venezuelan, Navaho, Guatemala, __, Glax, Australians, Asians, I can’t…there’s too many to name all of the different people that we have been working with and we are one in Christ.
Good morning everyone this is Helen in Durham North Carolina. In today’s reading of Psalm 136 I did what you suggested Brian and joined in saying the response “his faithful love endures forever.” And as I did that I thought throughout the earth thousands of voices are saying, “his faithful love endures forever.” It was a powerful thought to me. It is a powerful action against the forces raging against God and His authority. So, I say yes and Amen to this.