Assuming goodness in others and yourself is dangerous.
FEBRUARY 28, 2022
Assuming goodness in others and yourself is dangerous. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
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.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open into the 10th chapter of the book of Acts, as we continue with our study in the book of Acts. I haven’t taken the time to read that entire chapter. It’s quite long. But it’s an interesting and exciting story of God’s breakthrough in cultural barriers. And it has extreme relevance to us in our time, as we deal with cultural and racial and ethnic barriers. You know, the world has a lot to say about what we ought to do, and every time they try to fix it, it gets worse. I’ve never seen that divisions deeper. I’ve never seen the hatred more rancid. I’ve never seen the kind of thing going on in our time, that is happening among different cultural and racial groups. And the people who are the experts keep telling us what we need to do, how we need to change, what it will take to fix it. And they don’t know what they’re talking about, but God does. And throughout the Bible, there is clear direction about how Christians are to act in terms of racial justice, in terms of crossing over cultural barriers in terms of walking as one. And the Scripture, when it gives stuff, it comes from the throne of God himself, who is the Creator. And because it does, it works. And so, we’re spending some time in the 10th chapter of Acts. It’s a great story. And I’m not going to tell it to you again. You can read it before you go to bed tonight cause it’s short. It’s not too short, but it’s short enough to read before you go to bed. It’s a story about how Peter who is extremely, extremely prejudice is sleeping when God shows. And God hits him upside the head with a two-by-four, makes him eat stuff he didn’t want to eat, think things he didn’t want to think and go places he didn’t want to go. In this case, it happened to Goyam, that would be Gentiles. And Peter knew that the Gentiles were not God’s chosen people, so God said, I want you to go to Cornelius. And a bunch of people you don’t like and don’t want to associate with because I’m going to do something that will blow your mind. And that’s exactly what happened. God’s Spirit fell on the people, that Peter didn’t expect God’s Spirit will ever fall on. I remember when my friend, the late Jim Kennedy first started Evangelism Explosion. And, he had gone to do a week of services at a pastor friend of his on evangelism. And he was a great teacher and his friends said, let’s go visit somebody and practice what you’ve been teaching. He said, the first house they went to, the guy, came to the door and had a cigar in his mouth and a beer in his hand and a stomach that came through the door before he did. He was in a t-shirt and he smelled and Jim decided he was just not of the elect, so they would go somewhere else. But Jim’s friend, pastor friend said, could we come in and talk to you for a minute? And they did. And Jim said that this pastor friend led this man to Christ. And Jim said, you have no idea how crazy it is, for a Calvinist to see a member of the non-elect being led to Christ. Well, that’s what, that’s what happened to Peter man. He saw the non-elect being led to Christ and it changed everything. We’re going to look at that a little bit more, but before we do that, let’s pray. Father, as we come into your presence, help us to think your thoughts after you. Help us to see the way you see and understand the way you understand. Father, we tried to do it with our thoughts and our understanding, and we made a mess out of it. So, Father come yourself. This is no time for boys. You know everybody who’s listening to the broadcast and you know, the hard places and the soft places, the laughter and the tears. And we rejoice and worship you because of the fact that you are the God of everything, sufficient for every need and present at every party. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins cause there are many, they call him Reverend and he’s not, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Well, if you were listening last week and the week before, and I’m going to get through this sometime during this week because frankly I’m tired of talking about it and I bet you are too, but we do need to talk about it. We need to dig into the Scriptures and find out what God says about our divisions and our hatreds and our cultural and racial and ethnic barriers because the Bible believe it or not, has a lot to say about those things. And we’ve seen that the first thing you could note in the 10th chapter of Acts, is that the Bible does not assume goodness on the part of Peter or on the part of Cornelius or on the part of anybody else. The Bible is clear about human anthropology. We’re not good people. One of the things that happen often in discussions about racial matters, Or the past things that have happened that have been unconscionable, sinful and deserve repentance, and they are there and we must never hide them. We must never pretend that they didn’t happen. We must never, never put them under the bed and turn away, like it didn’t happen. It did happen. But it happened everywhere and we sometimes forget that, one of the things that I’ve said often on this broadcast, as they are tearing down statues of former heroes because of the bad things they did in the past and taking names off of buildings and institutions, names of people that we honored in the past because they did something bad in the past. I get that. I mean, I understand that I don’t like putting up monuments to anybody except God. But if you’re going to do that and you’re going to put up monuments and you’re going to put new names on the buildings, where are you going to find the people to do that with? As a matter of fact, there aren’t any. Nobody’s good. The history of the world is the history of war and slavery and racism and cultural nonsense and hurting other people and greed and envy and killing. And I could go on and on and on because that’s what it means to live in a fallen world. And so, we need to look at our past. We need to be honest about our past and our future. And we need to repent and ask forgiveness publicly, but not because we’re bad and they’re good, but because everybody’s bad and Christians acknowledge that and ought to say so. And so, as you move into this 10th chapter of Acts, you’re looking at a racist. You really are. I tell ya, boy, when you look at what Peter was thinking about people that were different than him, he was a racist. Now, are you going to take every church and every cathedral on the face of the earth called St. Peter’s and change the name? Of course you’re not because you can’t find another name to put on the cathedral because we’re all sinners. Every one of us and the 10th chapter of Acts makes that very clear and we have to make it very clear here too. If we’re going to make progress in matters, we got to recognize that we’re both sinners. Jerry Parries is an African-American pastor here in Orlando, where Key Life is. Jerry is something else. And we decided we are going to do a grace conference together that deals with racial problems because Jerry knows he’s a sinner. And I know I’m a sinner and everybody else is a sinner also. And if you start at that point, if you begin to move in that direction, then you can talk. But if they’re bad people and good people, and you’re one of the good ones and they are one of the bad ones, you’re never going to get anywhere. Trust me, I know. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, resuming our leisurely, but very intentional tour through the book of Acts. We’re now up to Acts 10 and we’ll be hanging out here for most of the rest of the week. Do you have a favorite love song? I do, a bunch of them and I enjoy singing them almost as much as my family enjoys, not hearing me sing them. There’s just something about love songs. And I think author, Jared Wilson would agree. His latest book is called. Love Me Anyway: How God’s Perfect Love Fills Our Deepest Longing. We spoke with Jared about our need for love on Steve Brown Etc. And it ended up being a great conversation. In fact, we would love to send it to you on a CD, for free. Claim your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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