Above All

All of God’s blessings are imparted through the message of his grace

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Posted by: Josh Larrabee
Sermon Text: Acts 20-21:6

It can be tempting to elevate individuals to a status that places them in rarefied air above commoners and peasants. The lives of celebrities and rock stars are lusted after and for better or worse, their influence is wide spread. They are seen as a standard in culture that needs to be met and are worshiped to the point of being gods. There are also people of devout faith who we see as a standard to strive after, whether they be a pastor, a church leader, or someone of more mature faith than us. We tend to elevate them to a place that they neither seek, nor strive after (of course there are exceptions). The reality is, all these people are humans. They, along with us, are all imperfect. And while it’s good to pick up on habits and learn from and honor those who are strong in the faith, we must be careful to not put people on a pedestal next to or above God. 

One would be hard-pressed to find a more influential person outside of Jesus in the Bible than Paul. He was the greatest missionary this world has ever known and penned a significant portion of the New Testament. But the reality was that he was still a human. Paul understood that but those he came into contact with sometimes elevated him above his status. Paul was flawed. He let people down, he messed up, he didn’t always get it right. In his farewell address to the elders of the Ephesian church, he made sure to direct them to the one who never fails; the one who set the example for them to follow and the one who was able to save them. 

Paul would often give examples in the letters he wrote from his own life of how he modeled the Christian life. But he would always point back to the true source of power and influence found only in Jesus Christ. Paul wraps up his instructions by saying, “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Paul gave them valuable wisdom and direction, but he ultimately pointed them to the one who could give them infinitely more. Paul could not offer the protection that God gives. He could not give them the grace that Jesus had given. He could not give them the eternal inheritance that is found through Jesus in heaven. Neither can any human on this planet give that to us, no matter how spiritual or famous they are. The source of true life and true wisdom is found only in Jesus. Paul knew that, and he made painstakingly sure that others knew it as well. We must be sure to seek Jesus above all else, and point people to him so that they may receive the greatest gift this world has ever known.
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Wednesday: Ephesians 3:14-21
Thursday: Philippians 2:3-11
Friday: Romans 12:3-8
Want to grow more? Check out the additional resources below:
  • “Praying With Paul” By D.A. Carson
  • “The Pursuit of Holiness” By Jerry Bridges
  • “Desiring God” By John Piper

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