A man with a plan.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2021
A man with a plan. And I’ll explain on this edition of Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor, who teaches the God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts. It’s a wonderful book of stories. And you got to remember, if you study Acts, that it’s a transitional book. If you’re going to build, if you’re going to write a book on systematic theology, you don’t get it from the book of Acts, that’s not what this book is about. Lots of things are in flux. Lots of things are changing. The church is just the beginning. They don’t know what they’re doing. And the Holy Spirit is giving them guidance and good things are happening. But it’s a transitional book. If you’re going to write a book of theology, check Romans. If you like stories, read the book of Acts. And we’re looking at these stories and learning a lot from them. And in the fifth chapter of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira, and I’m not going to take the time to read it again, but Ananias and Sapphira were liars and scoundrels, and they lied to the church and to the Spirit of God and they both died. And we’re looking at that, because that seems to contradict what the rest of the New Testament teaches. But we’ll talk about it, but first let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence and we’re glad for the confusing parts of Scripture, because they cause us to dig deeper and in digging deeper, we think about you more. And once we see the awesome way, you ever revealed truth to us, we stand up and we praise you and we worship you. Thank you for writing it down, even when sometimes it’s confusing. Father, teach us to trust you in the dark and to never doubt what you taught us in the light, when we’re in the dark. Father, you know, the people who are listening right now, and some now are going through a dark time. Father, come alongside and give them the faith they need to hold on until the light changes. And there are others, Father who are listening right now and things are fine. God give him the faith to praise you and thank you, in everything, the good and the bad. And then Father as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, cause there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Well, we’re get down now. I mean, we’ve talked about this story for a lot and we’ve learned a lot, it’s in the fifth chapter of Acts and Ananias and Sapphira have lied to God. They’re part of the church. And we’ve seen that they may or may not have been Christians. If they were Christians, one thing was happening. If they weren’t Christians, something else was happening. We saw that what this story has to do with the church, is that it’s about the church and its beginning, making sure that you get it right, because the way you begin is the way you end. And it was important that, at the beginning that they get it right. And Ananias and Sapphira, whether they were Christians or not, they were messing up the works and messing up a plan that was awesome and great. And, one of the things that Luke says, and he says it twice in this fifth chapter, the first verse through the 16th verse, that the people were afraid. Now, the reason he says that twice is because the people were afraid. I mean, you know this, they were having a nice fundraising dinner and I had a major speaker and they had a band and everything, and all of a sudden it turns south and these two guys or killed off. And people go, whoa, there’s somebody bigger than Phil. There’s somebody big in this universe. There’s somebody I don’t want to mess with, that’s appropriate. And we have seen, we talked about it last week, that if you’ve never stood before God and been afraid, you’re probably worshiping an idol, but if you’ve never stood before God and been loved, when you knew you didn’t deserve it, then you’re probably worshiping an idol. And so, in this particular text, the fear came on all the people, Luke says. And I guess so, I mean that will do it every time. Now, let’s kinda dig in and see if we can find some reasons for what’s going on here. And we’ve talked about some of these before, last week, but I want to nail them down as a preacher would with some points. And the first thing I want you to see is the plan of God. Oh, you have no idea, you’ve heard me say, and I believe it’s true, whatever you think God is doing in your life, he probably isn’t. We as evangelicals give the impression and Bible believers, we give the impression that we’ve got God in our back pocket and we don’t. That we’ve got answers to every question and we don’t. That we never have doubts and we do. As a matter of fact, God is bigger than we think and bigger than we can think. And what he is planned for the world, is bigger than you know. Peter in his first letter says that when the prophets prophesied of the coming of Jesus, they didn’t do it for themselves and the implication is they didn’t know what they were talking about. They did it for you, those who lived in the time when Jesus will have come. That’s what prophecy is for, mostly. It’s not so we can make charts and decide on exactly how things are going to work out and the timeline. We don’t know. Jesus said, you don’t know, the Father knows and nobody else does. So, prophecy has a reason and it’s written and given, not so we can sit around and debate it, but so that when it happens, the people of God will say, oh, that’s what he meant. Oh, I understand. Oh, I can see it now. That’s what Peter says. I didn’t say it, Peter said it. And so what’s going on here is the plan of God. The plan that even the people in the church didn’t know. Who would have dreamed that someday the church would become, would begin to grow after Acts 8:1. And we’ll get to that, when we get to it. That afterActs 8:1, the church pulled up her skirts and began to run and ran all over the world to the place where the Christian faith is the largest religion in the entire universe and remains so. I mean, who would have thought. I mean, these were not the kind of people you would have picked to accomplish that sort of thing. They were as the leaders in Jerusalem, in the court, when the disciples were brought to them and we’ve seen that, they said, we perceive that these are unlearned and common people. They were, you don’t expect great things from unlearned and common people. My mother, God bless her, could say common, in a way that would make you wilt. I mean, when people would throw trash out their car windows, my mother could say, common. And the way she said it made you think, I don’t want to go there. I’m keeping my trash inside my car. And Abraham Lincoln said, you can say that God loved the common people, but you called somebody common and see what they do. So, so unlearned and common people change the world, radically changed the world. That was a part of God’s plan. God has a plan for you right now, too. I don’t know what it is. Don’t look at me that way. I have no earthly idea of what God’s plan is for you. And frankly, I don’t know what God’s plan is for me tomorrow or next week or the next month, but I know that he’s sovereign and I know that he has a plan and I know that that plan will be accomplished. Sometimes it’ll look dark and I’ll feel lost. Sometimes, I’ll wonder God, are you really involved in this. Sometimes, and I look at our country and I think, you know, we’re in trouble, Lord, are you sure you haven’t gone on vacation? But I know, because he is revealed it and made it clear that he’s got a plan. He’s got a plan for you. He’s got a plan for me. He’s got a plan for the church. And while the Rotary Club is going to die. And so is Kiwanis. And the colleges and universities are going to melt away. And the governments are going to rise and fall. The church will be here. And so what’s going on in the fifth chapter of Acts, is God’s plan. He’s beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And while Ananias and Sapphira may look like they don’t fit, they do. And you can hang your hat on it. God’s doing something important. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Of course, that was Steve Brown, continuing to unpack the truth we find here in Acts 5. It’s a challenging story, to be completely honest, but I think that hints that there’s something really valuable here for us to unearth, and we will continue doing that tomorrow. So make sure you join us. So tell me, have you claimed your copy of the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine yet? When you do, you’re going to get some great articles from Steve, from Robin DeMurga , from Chad West and Chris Wachter. It’s all in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine. And we would love to send it to you today, for free. So call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, just send it to
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