Our text is Acts 21:27-36.
From its focus on humility and love, Acts 21 turns to hostility and lies. What a stark contrast between the spirit of Paul and the spirit of the Jewish crowd in verses 27-36. The charges sounded like what Stephen’s accusers said about him before stoning him to death. And the accusations are ironic given that Paul was actually undergoing a purification ritual in order to enter the temple. Paul did teach, however, that the Messiah is the fulfillment of the law and the temple—not in a way to denigrate them, but in a way to reveal their true glory as Christ himself taught.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. These messages will parallel the sermons from Acts to help guide the children through the concepts that are taught in the sermon. Today’s message is provided as a video; this link appears just after the Gloria Patri in the service (where it would normally occur in our church service). Click on these links for a children’s bulletin and printable activity pages to accompany this message: Children’s Bulletin and Citizenship Coloring Sheet.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
Psalm 103:1-3a; 10-13
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity,
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (ESV)
Almighty God, you are the standard of perfection.
You are all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, infinitely holy and just; abounding in love and mercy; you are sovereign.
You have foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. And we your children have come here today to acknowledge and proclaim your infinite worth publicly. We thank you so much for the privilege of gathering in your name, and for the many blessings that are so evident in our lives.
Everywhere we turn, and even when we don’t look for it, we see your hand sustaining, guiding, loving, and satisfying. And even when we face difficult circumstances, while the pain is no less real, you are with us and you bring us through our trials.
So Father we praise you this morning, not only because of what you have done, but because you are worthy. Will you enable us through the power and guidance of Holy Spirit to worship you in spirit and in truth as we come through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the month of November, our congregation will be singing Psalm 89, it is set to the tune, Ode to Joy, from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We have now reached the majestic Covenant Psalm, which, according to the Jewish arrangement closes the third book of the Psalms. It is the utterance of a believer, in presence of great national disaster, pleading with his God, urging the grand argument of covenant engagements, and expecting deliverance and help, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah.” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury/ps089.htm
Corporate Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)
Father, help us be honest this morning as you deal with each of us here today. You know the sin we ignore instead of confessing, and you know the pride that makes us indignant about the sins of others.
You know the anger we try to suppress.
You know the masks we wear.
You know the pain we hide, and the grief we carry.
You know the spirituality we fake.
You know all our secrets.
So Father, forgive us for the totality of our sin, and transform us for your glory and for our good. We rejoice in your everlasting love placed upon us from before the foundation of the world, realized through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, and applied through Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
Hear the Good News!
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (ESV)
Glory to God!
Affirmation of Faith:
The Heidelberg Catechism
Question 21: What is true faith?
Answer: True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.
A Good Citizen (Click here to link to the video of the Children’s Message)
(You may want to take a moment to pray with your child or children for your family, your church family, our country and world.)
Offertory: Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV)
(Online giving is now available for your convenience. This link, https://www.faithpresarp.org/give/, will take you to the page that explains this process and includes a button which will redirect you to the secured giving platform.
What hymn brings together the Hebrew Yigdal (doxology), a Welsh Wesleyan preacher and John Wesley? Answer: This hymn, written by Thomas Olivers, who was one of the many people from the middle and lower classes that were converted through the evangelical ministry of George Whitfield. Olivers heard Whitfield preach on the text, “Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?” from Zechariah 3:2. He was converted and his life changed dramatically. John Wesley recognized Olivers’ talents and persuaded him to become an evangelist. The opening stanza of our hymn is based on Exodus 3:6, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham,” and Exodus 3:14, “I am who I am.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: Paul Arrested in the Temple
Fanny J. Crosby was the author of over 8,500 gospel songs. Though blind at 6 weeks of age, she began composing texts at age 6. Our hymn written in 1869, combines vivid imagery: a fountain of healing streams, free grace, the daily walk of faith, God’s pursuing love and mercy, Jesus, the Lamb of God, and of course, the Cross. Though an instrument of cruel punishment and torture, the Cross is the source of a “healing stream” (stanza one) and a place where “the bright and morning star sheds its beams” on us (stanza two). In (stanza three) we are invited to meditate upon the Cross and ask the Lord to “bring its scenes before me.”
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- Why were the Jews enraged at Paul?
- What was their accusation? [verse 28]
- What was the basis of their accusation? [verse29] What can we learn about accusing people?
- In what modern contexts might Christians face hostility and false accusations? How should we respond to them?
A Good Citizen
Over the next few messages we will focus on the Apostle Paul talking about being a citizen. Paul’s citizenship will be very important to everything that happens to him for the rest of our study in The Book of Acts.
These verses show Paul’s citizenship (all verses from the Holman Christian Standard Bible):
But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
As they stretched him out for the lash, Paul said to the centurion standing by, “Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and is uncondemned?” (KJV)
When the centurion heard this, he went and reported to the commander, saying, “What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”
The commander came and said to him, “Tell me—are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes,” he said.
The commander replied, “I bought this citizenship for a large amount of money.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul said.
Therefore, those who were about to examine him withdrew from him at once. The commander too was alarmed when he realized Paul was a Roman citizen and he had bound him.
When this man had been seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I arrived with my troops and rescued him because I learned that he is a Roman citizen.
Did you read how important it was for Paul to say that he was a Roman citizen?
Oh, but you still don’t know what a citizen is…. 1a: an inhabitant of a city or town especially. b: one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman. 2a: a member of a state. b : a native or naturalized.
Okay, let me break that down:
I am a citizen of a city, of a County, of a State, of a nation – I am a citizen by birth.
But some people can become citizens by taking a special test and classes to become citizens.
You can be a natural born citizen or a naturalized citizen.
But all citizens have rights and responsibilities.
Usually a free citizen has freedoms guaranteed to them, like we do in the American Bill of Rights.
The apostle Paul, just like you and I – had rights as a citizen of the Roman Empire.
But Paul knew that good citizens have responsibilities too:
The Bible tells us as citizens of this world we are to obey and pray for our leaders, our cities and nation:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (NASB)
Jeremiah 29:7 – Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. (NASB)
1 Timothy 2:1-2 – I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (NIV)
1 Peter 2:17 – Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (NASB)
Titus 3:1 – Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, (NASB)
1 Peter 2:13 – Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, (NASB)
What can you do to be a good citizen?:
• love your neighbor like Jesus said
• take good care of the place you live – your home, your neighborhood, your city
• if you are in school – treat your teacher and fellows students nicely
• obey the law
• Vote – “if you are old enough”/A Big Kid
• Help with community projects – cleaning up trash from your street
• Good citizens know that other people have made great sacrifices to protect your rights: military service members, policemen, firefighters, first responders/emergency workers/doctors and nurses – they all bravely serve and protect where you live and your country.