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Sunday, April 1, 2018 pm

Judged Unworthy of Eternal Life
Acts 13:46

 During Paul’s first missionary journey with Barnabas (Acts 13-14) , they come to Antioch of Pisidia where Paul enters the synagogue and preaches to the Jews about Jesus Christ (Acts 13:14-41).  This was typical of Paul on his journeys.  He would first go to the Jews and then the rest of the city.   There are reasons for this, but time will not permit a discussion of these at this time. 

Following the message, we read many of the Jews followed Paul and Barnabas.  But Gentiles begged them to stay another week.  The next week, the whole came to hear the word of God.  When this occurred, vs. 45 tells us that the Jews saw the multitude and began contradicting and opposing Paul and caused problems.  As a result of this in our text we read, “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

This evening I want to talk about the phrase, “judge yourselves unworthy” and make some application to us. 

 I.                     The Message of Paul

a.       The sermon we have recorded on this occasion begins with God choosing Israel through Abraham, delivered them out of Egypt and giving them the land of Canaan. He then brings them to David and addresses the promise fulfilled through his seed.  He notes that Jesus was that Savior.   He then declares ow in Jerusalem, because they did not know Jesus, condemned Him and had Him put to death by Pilate. But God raised Him from the dead and He was seen by many witnesses.  Paul quoted the Old Testament to prove that Christ was the fulfillment of prophesies.  He then declared that through Jesus forgiveness of sins was preached and every who believes is justified in a way you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.   He concludes with a warning lest they reject the message that they not reject Him. 

b.       The privilege of the Jews.  Jesus instructed His apostles to go to the Jews first.   This is borne out in Acts 1:8 as Jesus outlines the order in which they would be witnesses.  It was not until Cornelius (Acts 10) that the message was extended to the Gentiles.
Paul would typically go to the Jews in a city first.  Why?  Because they had background knowledge that should lead them to accept Jesus.  It was the SAME God who worked through Moses and the nation of Israel and Judah that brought Jesus and salvation into the world.  He was the Messiah they were seeking.  
Paul explained the privilege the Jews enjoyed – Romans 9:4-5, 3:1-2. 
And MANY Jews did receive Him.  In fact, in most cities where Paul preached, some of the Jews obeyed the gospel and became followers of Jesus.

c.        However, it was typical of some of the Jews to reject the message of Christ Jesus as preached by Paul.  Acts records Jews persecuting and seeking out Christians to try and stop the spread of Christianity.  Saul was on his way to Damascus for that very purpose when he was struck blind and would be told what he needed to do to be saved.  Hostile Jews pursued Paul wherever he went and sought to stir up trouble which is one reason he was constantly moving from place to place. 
Many of the Jews would have accepted Jesus, had he remained exclusive to the Jews.  But preaching to and including Gentiles was the cause of many Jews rejecting the gospel.

d.       Such is the case in our text.  But let’s notice some specific things they did that demonstrated their rejection and caused them to judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life.

 II.                   Ways We Judge Ourselves Unworthy

a.       Prejudice – As we have seen in our context, this was a serious flaw of these Jews (and often times Gentiles), as prejudice is often a two-way street. 
Prejudice is a sin.  God shows no partiality – Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11
Furthermore, the gospel is for all – Romans 1:16, 10:12-13, Galatians 3:27-28.
We are warned that if we show partiality we sin – James 2:8-9.  2:3-4 notes that such becomes a judge with evil thoughts.  Matthew 7:1-5 speaks of sinful judging (which would include prejudice) It is contrary to the whole purpose of the gospel.
THOUGHT: When it comes to sharing the gospel with others, do we show prejudice?  Nationality, ethnicity, or social status?  Let’s be honest about this! 
Would we want our prejudices to keep us out of heaven?

b.       Envy – envy was a downfall of the Jewish leaders.  It was envy that caused them to reject Jesus and turn Him over to Pilate (Matthew 27:18).  In our text it was their envy for Paul treating the Gentiles equally to the Jews that caused them to behave badly and oppose them.
But they were not alone.  Envy is a sin – Galatians 5:21 – a work of the flesh.   James 3:14-16 describes as sensual and demonic.
Galatians 5:26 – challenges us as brethren to not be envious of each other.   Instead Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice.
Envy is a symptom of hatred – which is one reason it will endanger our souls.
THOUGHT: Envy can cause us to mistreat others, and as we see in our text to behave badly and commit other sins. 
We must rid ourselves of ALL such attitudes if we are to secure eternal life.

c.        Opposing the truth – including blaspheming and contradicting. 
Again, we find this often in scripture. 
Acts 19:9 notes that some were hardened and spoke evil of the Way before the multitude.
As Jesus taught the truth, many turned against Him.  At times it was simple rejection, but at other times they contradicted truth and blasphemed.  Consider when they accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub – Luke 11:15ff.  They twisted His words, refused to consider context of His teachings and actions, etc. They tried to entrap Him with the law. 
Jesus warned this would happen to His disciples – John 15:19-20 – where Jesus warned they would be hated and persecuted.  Matthew 10:25 Jesus even made reference to their calling Him Beelzebub. 
THOUGHT: Today, we are living in times where God’s word is maligned and spoken evil of.  Skeptics condemn God’s word and will often speak against it.  Many professed believers call Him Lord, but teach things contrary to sound doctrine and twist scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). 
Even among Christians, we must be careful that we don’t reject the truth to have our ears tickled or seek to stop or destroy those who challenge our ungodly behaviors and attitudes.  Yet many do.
WE must be careful to not be caught up in contradictory teachings or things irreverent.  Remember that to twist scriptures can lead to our destruction!

d.       Rejecting the truth – the previous point is one way that we reject the truth.  But you don’t have to openly oppose the truth with vitriolic language to be unworthy of eternal life.  You just simply have to not obey it.
Again, is that where many are today? They refuse to obey the gospel and their souls are in jeopardy.  OR they refuse to repent of sinful behavior and thereby reject the truth. 

 III.                 Judge Yourselves Unworthy

a.       None is really worthy – a point to understand as we conclude this lesson.
But God has made it possible for us to be forgiven anyways (John 3:16, Romans 5:8-9).
Through Jesus Christ our sins can be washed away (Acts 22:16), or as Christians we can repent of our sins (1 John 1:7-9).
BUT, even though we are not worthy, when we are faithful we are counted as worthy – Revelation 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 11cf. Matthew 25:21. 
We can also “walk worthy of our calling” – Ephesians 4:1, Philippians 1:27

b.       You judge yourself unworthy

                                                   i.      Judge – a word that means to evaluate.  The point is that by YOUR actions, YOU give God no other choice but to declare you unfaithful.

                                                 ii.      No one who stands condemned before God in judgment will do so because it is His fault.  It will be YOUR decision.  We are told that on that day, we will be judged by our lives – 2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:11-15

                                                iii.      BUT, it is up to you to not let that happen! 

 

These are some things we can learn from this text.  Perhaps there are other ways that one might judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.   These are presented here for our consideration.  What about you?  Does your conduct judge you unworthy of eternal life?  If so, let me encourage you to change that today.