Convictions require church.
JULY 12, 2022
Convictions require church. And I’ll explain on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru. He’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the 15th chapter of the book of Acts, as we continue with our study in this wonderful book. We saw yesterday that this chapter is a turning point in the church. It’s a church meeting and it’s an important church meeting because it changed everything. If it had not taken place, if you’re Gentile, Goyam, you would be Jewish or you wouldn’t know God because it would have been restricted only to those who became Jews. Now, because of this meeting and a meeting I might say of Jewish Christians because of this meeting, the gospel was made available to everybody, in every place, in every time. And it is wonderful to behold. Now, as we get into this and we’re going to spend a good bit of time looking at this particular church meeting cause we still have church meetings. And you say, I don’t, it’s just me and Jesus. I don’t go to church, somebody didn’t speak to me or somebody did bad. And I don’t like the preacher and I don’t like the music. Well, you can say that. And Jesus will still love you because he loves wrong people and he loves sinners, but the Bible does not back you up on that. Forsake not the gathering together, the Scriptures are clear for Christ gave himself up for the church and he loved the church. The church is his bride, and someday it’s going to be perfect. It’s not now, but you need to commit to it. I don’t know about you, but I have been bothered of late. And I’ve got to say something with people who have either left the Christian faith, many who have left the church and a whole bunch who have left evangelicalism heritage and that branch of the church. And they have all kinds of reasons. They write books, mostly sophomoric books. They write books and they have blogs and they have websites and they can bask in the fact that they left the bondage of the church. And in almost every case, it is shallow and it is superficial. You know what we did recently on our talk show? That’s called Steve Brown Etc, and you can always listen to that. It’s on two or three hundreds radio stations every week. And it’s on video too on our YouTube channel. And you can find all of that by going to our website keylife.org. At any rate, on the talk show, we interviewed Trevin wax, he wrote one of the essays in a book of essays from a book titled Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church. And one of the things he said that I hadn’t thought about is the reason so many people are given interest and press when they leave evangelicalism or the church is because it’s so rare. We found out and I was kind of surprised, but it’s true. Trevon said that far more many, far more people are coming into the evangelical church than are leaving. And the reason the others get the press is because they’re so rare. And there’s some truth to that. But one of the things that Trevon said in that interview was that the church in connection with other Christians is really important. And that includes church meetings. You get together, you plan, you try to follow Christ, you organize so that you can be faithful to him and you are faithful, but you can’t do that with other Christians. This is not a John Wayne faith. Now, I’m not putting down John Wayne. Every time I go to California in that airport where there’s a statue of him, I take my hat off and bow because I really like John Wayne. And I like what he represents, but that’s not the church. The church is a place where we get together and we organize to serve Christ and be his witness in the world. And you say, well, I’m a member of the invisible church. Somebody said that to a friend of mine. And then later they came and said they wanted to join the choir. And my friend said, why don’t you join the invisible choir? There is an invisible church made up of Christians in every place, in every time, everywhere. And there is a visible church, the manifestation of the church in the world. And she’s a prostitute, Augustine said, but she’s my mother. So, it’s really important. People say sometime what you’re Christian, they’ll say I’m a Christian. I say, what’s your church. And you said, oh, I’m just a Christian. And I often say, but mostly manage to bite my tongue. What? You don’t have any convictions? You need to be in the church for a lot of reasons. If for no other reason than to let everybody know who’s side you’re on. There is no such thing as a secret service Christian. All right. I finished my rant. Now, we’re going to turn to the text and talk about church meetings, how important they are we’re gonna see the elements that went into this church meeting in Acts 15. Now, the first thing that I want you to notice about these verses is the inevitability of dissension in the church and among Christians. You get that in verses one and two of the 15th chapter of Acts.
But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Now, you need to know they knew what they were doing. They knew what Paul and Barnabas had experienced. They knew even what Peter had experienced in his vision on the rooftop about Gentiles. And they didn’t like it one bit and they came to Jerusalem to make sure that everybody knew it. Isn’t that awful? People are always saying, I wish we could go to the early church where everybody joined hands and love Jesus and sang Kumbaya around the church fire. That never happened. From the very beginning there’s been dissension in the body of Christ. It happens and it happens all of the time. And if you don’t have that kind of dissension, then you’ve got a bigger problem than what the dissension would have been about. Every time I talk to a couples. And they say we’ve never had a fight. I know they’ve got a dead marriage. Something’s wrong. And if I listen to a church where they say we’re in a church where everybody loves each other and we agree on everything, I know they’re not doing much in the world. They’re not reaching out the way they ought to. They aren’t serving Christ and the way they ought to because if you didn’t meet the devil this warning, you were going in the same direction. And so, to begin with, don’t be shocked when somebody disagrees with the pastor or the elders or the deacons are with each other in the church. In fact, in a healthy church, if you do it right. In a healthy church that should be going on all the time. And there are ways that you resolve that. And the church meeting is a place where that can happen. So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at seven things that took place, here in this church meeting. And, we’re going to apply those to what happens today in the church. All right. Let’s look at the first of the seven. The first is from verses three and four, and it’s the necessity of arbitration. Look at verses three and four.
So, being sent out on their way
by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to the brethren. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.
So you start out with a dissension and then secondly you move to the arbitration. You know, it’s good to have somebody on the outside dealing with the kinds of division that take place in the church. It’s important that it be arbitrated, it’s important that somebody be able to look at what’s going on, to dissect it, to describe it, and to make sure that everybody is understood. Arbitration, and we’ll talk more about it tomorrow, is a time where when we speak to each other, we know exactly what’s wrong, exactly where we disagree, and exactly what needs to be done to get this train moving in the right direction. And so, for the first step, don’t just get a gun, get somebody and talk. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to unpack the truth found in Acts 15 about a very consequential church meeting. So much forward movement here in Acts, and we’ll continue to explore all of those events tomorrow. Make sure you join us the. So, you probably have a friend who’s funny, maybe even hilarious. And you probably know somebody who’s really wise, but I’d like to introduce you to someone who embodies both those qualities, Brant Hansen. Brant is a radio host and the author of The Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Endorsement, or Any Man Willing to Show Up. If you’re a man, or if you know a man. You’ve got to hear this full show. And lucky for you, we put it on a CD that we would love to send to you 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] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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