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All of life illustrates Bible doctrine.

All of life illustrates Bible doctrine.

OCTOBER 10, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / All of life illustrates Bible doctrine.

Steve Brown:
All of life illustrates Bible doctrine. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free? Welcome to Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you have a Bible, you might want to open it. If you’re just joining us, we’re talking and studying the book of Acts. And we’re up to the 17th chapter of the book of Acts and Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica. Interesting things happened and they’re not all good. If you’re a Christian, you have a tendency to think, now my life is going to work. I’m going to be happy and everything is going to be positive. I don’t know who told you that, but whoever told you that lied to you, and we’re going to see that as we look at what happened to Paul at Thessalonica. Before we study, let’s go before the throne. Father, we come into your presence so glad that you loved us enough to write it down. If you had not done that by now, we would’ve gotten it all wrong, but you created the canon. You created your word, you put it in black and white and it haunts us and blesses. And calls us to you. And we thank you for that. Father, you know everybody who’s listening now, you know that some walk a hard road and some an easy road, but those are the roads that you have ordained in your loving sovereignty. Teach us to praise you in all things, even when it hurts. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Maybe, you have heard the name Charles Williams. He was the editor of the Oxford University Press and he died in his forties. He was a contemporary and friend of Dorothy Sayers and Tolkien of Fellowship of the Ring fame and C.S. Lewis. And he was also a writer of some note himself, in writing horror stories. And he wrote a history book. I wrote a book on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and we called it Follow the Wind. Well, when I wrote that book, I used Charles Williams book, The Descent of the Dove, which was a history of the Holy Spirit. At any rate, he’s a good man. And God used him in some wonderful ways. In the biography of C.S. Lewis, Lewis was very much affected by the death of his friend Williams. And upon Williams death, let me tell you what Lewis said. He said, the idea of death met the idea of Charles Williams and the idea of death died. That’s so good. What Lewis was saying was that Charles Williams was an illustration of Bible doctrine. And you are too. Every experience that you have, every person that you know, every place you go, everything in which you’re involved is an illustration of Bible doctrine. And that brings us back to the Book of Acts. Acts is an illustration, stories of people that illustrate the doctrine that is taught throughout scripture. I love studying the letters of the apostle Paul. Spent months and months teaching the book of Romans. And I love the propositional truth of doctrine. It’s kind of like mathematics, it just is, it’s a fact and you have to deal with it, but that’s not enough. Seminary students think that sometimes that’s enough. If people understand theology, Biblical theology, if they get the doctrines, then revival will come. That’s not true. As a matter of fact, if you don’t flesh it out in illustrations, then the revival never comes. And so, preaching is not only a pedagogical effort to teach proposition truth. It is also a way to illustrate the reality of the truth that is taught. And that’s what Acts is all about. A lot of Christians make a mistake by making Acts into a doctrinal book. Charismatics and non charismatics are constantly going to the Book of Acts to find verses to justify their position. Calvinists and Armenians and Baptists and Presbyterians all do that. And that’s the wrong place to go. Acts is a transitional book. It is not a doctrinal book. You don’t buy, build a doctrinal, Biblical theology on the Book of Acts, it’s stories. My friend and former colleague Richard Pratt wrote a book years ago, He Gave Us Stories. And God does that, he gives us propositions. Don’t forget that, but he also gives us stories. And the Book of Acts is a book of stories. Now, we’re going to look at what happened in the city of Thessalonica, the capital city of Macedonia. It was a flourishing, commercial city and a major seaport between east and west. Its natural advantages have so conserved its importance that even today 150,000 inhabitants are there. In Paul’s day, that the Via Egnatia gave it direct communication with Rome and from Rome to the world. After Ephesus and Corinth, it was the busiest and most prosperous city in the Aegean. It was a cosmopolitan city, teaming with people, languages and color, a universal city, a good place in the economy of God for the presentation of a universal gospel. A universal gospel for a universal people. So, without further chit chat, let’s check out what happened at Thessalonica. Starting at the first verse of the 17th chapter of Acts, Dr. Luke writes his follows.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” and some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, crying, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard this. And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue there. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; and they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul, they came there also, stirring up and inciting the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted. Paul brought him as far as Athens, and receiving a command from Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.

Okay. We’re out of time now, but we’re going to talk about that a lot, when we get to it. But the interesting thing is, the thing that caused the problem, the thing that still causes the problem, the thing that irritated the Jews and the Greeks and the things that still irritate us today are built around the cross of Jesus Christ. The suffering and god just don’t go together. Yeah, they do. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing to guide us through Acts and today bringing us to Thessalonica and Berea. Our text was Acts 17: 1 through 15. And of course, we’ll spend the rest of this week camped out here. So, hope you’ll join us for all of that. So, we get a lot of questions here at Key Life. Is God really good? How does grace work? Why isn’t Matthew as funny as he thinks he is? But there’s one question we get more often than any other. How can I know that I’m saved? It’s a great question. Well, Steve spoke about this in a classic sermon titled How to Know That You Know Him. If you ever have doubts about your salvation or maybe you know someone who struggles with those questions, let us mail you this sermon on CD, for free. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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