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A well-placed funeral.

A well-placed funeral.

APRIL 20, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / A well-placed funeral.

Steve Brown:
A well placed funeral. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at God being sovereign in the dark. When things are bad, our God reigns. And that’s a good thing for us to remember and to remind each other. God’s got this. I know the political situation is pretty scary. No matter which side you’re on. I know that many of you are going through really tough times. I know for many of you, it’s really dark. And so, you need a preacher, that would be me, to say to you, God reigns. God’s got this. God is sovereign over every molecule. And so you don’t ask, what would Jesus do? I have a friend, his name is Lea Clower. And I love him more than I can tell you, a former fighter pilot, and we’ve been walking together for more years than a lot of you have even lived. And Lee called me one day and he said, I’m going to do one of those bracelets. I said, what kind of bracelet? He said, you know, those bracelets that say, what would Jesus do? WWJD and people put them on pins and bracelets. I’m going to get one that says, where is Jesus in this? WIJIT, where is Jesus in this? Well, that’s what we need to remember. Not so much how bad it is, but where is God in the middle of this? And we have seen that because God was in charge an angel was watching, because God was in charge Peter was in prison, because God was in charge James was dead. But let me show you something else. I used to say to our congregation when I was a pastor, there’s nothing wrong with this church, I couldn’t fix with a few funerals. And they would laugh and I would laugh because they thought it was a joke. It was more serious then they thought. No, I’m just kidding around. But because God was in charge, there was a well timed funeral. And that was the funeral of Herod the adversary of everything Christian, verse 22 through 23.

And the people shouted, “The voice of God, and not a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him,

That would be Herod.

because he did not give God the glory,

And this is colorful. And I don’t know if I would’ve included it, if I’d been the editor for Luke’s book. I maybe would have said, that’s a bit much, isn’t it? I would have left that out. But then Luke writes.

and he was eaten by worms and he died.

An act of God. Now, I want you to see something here. Herod was not destroyed because he was a bad man. We’re bad men and bad women. The Fall has affected all of us. And if that’s the criterion for destruction, we would all be dead right now. Herod was destroyed because he tried to put himself in the place of God. And that’s playing with fire, Isaiah 42:8.

My glory

God says

I will give to no other.

Most dangerous statement that you can ever make is to call yourself, I’m self-made, because you see that makes you and God equal. And that’s an abomination, someone once said to a college president that he was self-made. And the president said, well, I’m glad because that relieves the Lord of a great responsibility. So Herod had messed with God’s people. He had taken the place of God and he was eaten by worms and he died. Boy, that’s a pretty final. That pretty much brings it to the end. God was in charge of that too. And the rest of the story when James had died, when Peter was in prison, when the people of the church were praying, the rest of the story had not yet happened, but by the end of this chapter, it happens and God balances his books. The Archbishop of Canterbury said to queen Victoria one time, just because God doesn’t balance his books on Thursday, it does not mean that God does not balance his books. Do you know how we ought to respond to all of the bad things that are going on, that are caused by bad people and are directed to us, God’s people? Anger, you can’t help that, but you shouldn’t. Try to fix it, try to place yourself in a position where you have power. That’s what we do. But actually what we ought to have is compassion. Remember Herod, the worms ate him and he died. The ultimate end of rebellion against God is dark and lonely and forever. And the ultimate end of bad people who have been forgiven and redeemed is joyous and light and heaven. And we’re not home yet because, say it with me, our God reigns. We started by talking about how good it was to go back to the beginning and hear the war stories of our family, when God was doing stuff from the beginning, when and Henry the fourth returned from the battle, he spotted a French nobleman named Grillion by the road, and he shouted out to him, go hang yourself Grillion. We had a great victory and you were not there. Well, Luke puts us there and that’s a good thing. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
I don’t know how many chapters there are of the Bible that can elicit both a wow, praise God and an eww, that’s gross. But brother Acts 12 is one of them. Thank you Steve. We will continue from here in Acts tomorrow. Hope you will join us then. Well, if you listened last week, you heard some teaching from Justin Holcomb. And man, was it good. He also joined us recently on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc discussing the new devotional that he edited. Take a listen to part of that episode. And then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.

Steve Brown:
Before the break, I was saying, it’s interesting that most people think of heavy theology as something you get through, but devotional stuff is something quite different. That’s a spurious view isn’t it, Justin?

Justin Holcomb: First, let’s be honest, a lot of devotional material is kind of mushy headed and really about how you feel about feeling about God’s feelings or something. It’s so, most devotional, the devotional genre is not terribly thick and rich with ideas. It’s mostly sentimental stuff, but so that that’s one reason why not to like devotionals, but most people are going the other extreme think, well that’s because all of that theology stuff is so boring and abstract, acting irrelevant. But once you start reading through some of the old theologians of the Christian tradition, you start realizing, Ooh, this is rich. Like, this is rich for my soul. And this actually influences my emotional, psychological, and spiritual life more or than kind of mushy headed, sentimental words. And, so that’s what I wanted to do. My hope was, when Bethany came to me, they came to me with an idea. They said, will you do it devotional that, you don’t have to write any words at all. You have to find them in the Christian tradition. I said, I’d love to. I said, well, what’s the topic and how are you going to do? And I said, let’s do it on Jesus Christ, and I’ll read through all the different ones, and I’ll select the best of, that I can find in the Christian tradition. And what I started finding was people talking, B.B. Warfield talking about the emotional life of our Lord Jesus, that’s the title. B.B. Warfield is not known, B.B. Warfield wrote books on the inerrancy or, no inspiration of Scripture. He’s a Princeton theologian. He’s not the kind of person you go to, to talk about the emotional life of Jesus. But in that essay, he talks about Jesus’s compassion. And what Jesus’ compassion for people who are suffering, what that means about God’s disposition toward us. Or Calvin. Calvin is not where most people go to. They think, well, he’s going to talk about predestination and God’s wrath and double predestination and clobbering me and the reprobate, Calvin on Christ is beautiful. It’s some of the best written theology. It’s marvelous in it’s wonder. Or Athanasius, like the Bishop who argued against Arius in the 300’s, about a heresy. Stuff he’s written about the incarnation, what that means about God’s care for his people. Like, there’s gold in the hills of our theological tradition, that’s been overlooked. So. I wanted to use the devotional genre with unlikely sources to kind of load it up to show people like, hey, these theologians, they’re not abstract, dry and boring and irrelevant. It’s unbelievably relevant. And they do the devotional stuff, better than most devotional stuff you’ve been reading. So, there’s a bunch of theologians in there, but there’s authors, Flannery O’Connor. You have Chesterton who isn’t really a theologian, more of a, I mean, he does theological thinking, but he’s not like a technical seminary professor, theologian type of person. Yeah. You have a former slave trader. You have, you know, Luther has a history also, Soren Kierkegaard, years ago, there was a biography that you all interviewed the author on, on Soren Kierkegaard, the way he treated the woman who was engaged to. So what’s happening, is we’re looking at beggars who found the feast, who are pointing to where the feast is that they found. That’s what I, I like that type of tone. I don’t want to hear a chef tell me about the amazing meal they made and how wonderful it is for me and how lucky I am to get it. That’s how too many times devotional stuff can come off. I want the tone to be like, Hey, I’m starving and I’m a beggar and I need food. And I found a feast that a king made for us. You want to come with me and see this cause it’s amazing.

Matthew Porter:
And guys that was just four minutes of this entire conversation. You need to hear the whole thing on CD. And lucky for you, we can make that happen for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail a request, send it to

Key Life Network
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If you’re in Canada, send your request to

Key Life Canada
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Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Justin Holcomb. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. Just grab your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network

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