Don't let the "useless things" in life take you away from serving God.
[Darris McNeely] So this is the step on your toes version of Beyond Today Daily. I was teaching recently in the book of Acts. As we go through the book of Acts, we see the preaching of the Gospel and especially in some of Paul's sermons he preaches against the idolatry of the peoples in the Greek world and Roman world that he is preaching to. And Acts 14, there's a very interesting story, verse 15, where Paul is in one of the cities of Asia and they have performed a miracle and the people want to do a sacrifice thinking that Paul and his companion Barnabas are the gods come down to them Zeus and Hermes, the chief god Zeus and the messenger god Hermes. And they're about to do an offering to Paul and Barnabas when Paul stops it and says, "Hold on, we don't need this, we don't want this." He says, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things, the idols, the sacrifices and all the idolatry they had to the living God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them."
I like that phrase, "Turn from the useless things." And this is how Paul refers to the idols and the gods and the goddesses of the ancient world, "Turn to the living God." And then I turned to the students and I said, "How many of us spend a lot of our time with useless things in the sense of what Paul was talking about?" And then this is where I stepped on their toes. And really stepping on my toes as well because we watch a lot of fantasy, we watch a lot of science fiction, we watch superheroes and whether it's Star Wars, Marvel characters, all the realm of science fiction and fantasy, we can spend all the time that we want with that. And I've spent my share of time from my youth with my own children and even as an adult and certainly just watching and being a part of popular culture. But as we see the gods and fantasy and mythic beings that are portrayed on the cinema screen to us today, think about that in light of what Paul says. He told the ancient peoples, "Turn from these useless things and serve the living God."
Now we're all creatures of our culture and I admit that I am as well, but through the years as I've learned and I hope grown in grace and the knowledge of God, I spend more time in the scriptures, I spend more time learning about the living God who made all things rather than the useless things of myth and of fantasy and begin to see what they really are and that behind them are really the biblical themes that are eternal and they've been transferred to as they were in the pagan ancient world of Paul's time, they were transferred to the mythologies then and we've carried that into our modern world today. It's a point for all of us to look at and to understand as we seek to understand our world today, and most importantly, turn from useless things and spend our life and our time with God, the living God and understand him through all the things that he has created. So I've stepped on our toes but it's something to think about.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.