Don’t forget the memorial stone.
JANUARY 11, 2022
Don’t forget the memorial stone. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the ninth chapter of Acts and we’re looking at what happened to Paul’s past, boy, you talk about a testimony. You know, I had a friend, I said, what’s your testimony. He said, I don’t have one, it’s boring. I grew up in the church, found Jesus when I was a kid and I never robbed a bank, I never killed anybody, I never messed around, I never hurt people, I don’t have a past. And sometimes I wish I did. You had your fun and I didn’t and I want to say, are you crazy? There’s something wrong with you. But every bit of the past, God uses. And, we were talking yesterday about how God will use your past to give you steel to strengthen your present. That’s verse 22, and that’s what happened with Paul. God, didn’t take all of his education and waste it. He didn’t take all of his efficiency and waste it. He didn’t take all of the gifts that he had given him, even if use for the wrong purpose. God didn’t waste a bit of that. He said, now you’re going to do it for me. And it’s going to be different. And it’s going to change lives and it’s going to change the world. You remember Joshua 4, God said to take the 12 stones and place them on dry land from the Jordan and when your children are asking you about the stones, you tell them that this is the place where God performed miracles. You could have stones in your life, memory stones, use them. In fact, a good practice for a Christian is to sit down and write your biography. You say nobody’s going to publish it, doesn’t matter because that biography that God gave you is the story where God speaks to you. And as you look at your past, some of it, you’ll wince. I have some things in my past, even from a kid, that were very painful and very difficult and in some ways, very dark. But when I did my biography, for only me because Jesus told me to, and then Dan Allender urged me to continue with it. I began to see things, little places. And I said, so often you were there weren’t you? That was you, wasn’t it? I didn’t know your name, but I knew you, right? You changed that, you made that happen, you loved me, even when I was unlovable and that past begins to build, and God uses everything in the past to be steel, to strengthen your future. When you think about the past, remember that you survived by God’s grace and he’ll be with you in the present. And your present will be different and better because of your past. Let me show you something else. Thirdly, I would have you note that Paul took his past, sanctified it and gave it to Jesus. Now, obviously, I don’t know your past and you don’t know my past. Well, let me tell you something, whatever it is, give it to him and let it be the stuff out of which he constructs your future. I’m a Presbyterian. And I believe that the Bible teaches that for believers, nothing happens by accident and that includes everything. And that includes your sin. You know, everybody thinks I’m antinomian and I’m not, I know the destruction of sin and I’m not pro sin. I hate it. And God hates it too. But there are times and sometimes the book of Romans gives you the permission to do this, to look back and be thankful for even my sin. If I hadn’t known the darkness, I never would have known the light. And so, sin attracts grace. Grace, all the more the apostle Paul says. That means even the bad stuff, even the sin in my life is a part of God’s plan for me to draw me to himself. Sometime do what the apostle Paul did, sanctify everything to this point in your life. Say, God, bring it up and I’ll give it to you. Name it, and I’ll put your name on it. Remind me, and I’ll make that memory yours. Show me, and I’ll make the movie a movie about you because I’ll sanctify it and I’ll give it to you. And that’s exactly what Paul did. Ephesians 1 teaches that your salvation came to fullness when and where and how God wanted it. That means that you can take those things, which you thought so horrible. You can sanctify them. And you say, Steve, what in the world does it mean to sanctify something? It means to set it apart for something better. And sanctified, say, God, it’s yours now, use it, if you please. And he will, in some amazing ways. I was with a family recently, and they reminded me that 20 years ago, they had a son who was the most rebellious young man that I’ve ever known. I mean, he was mean he hurt people, he was snarky all the time, he was a problem, he did bad things, he broke the law, he smoked pot, he was on drugs. I mean, this is not a good kid. And I said to my friends back 20 years ago, you know what I believe? And they said, no, what do you believe? And I said, I believe that Jimmy’s going to be a preacher. He said, you’re crazy. You know, he’s going to be lucky if he can even make an honest living, what do you mean a preacher? He’s not going to be a preacher. He’s the worst that God could call. I said, I know, but you watch, you watch and you wait and I’m going to pray that way. And I have an example of that in a guy by the name of Paul in the Bible who was worse than your son. And yet, God used him to change the world. So, be still, do everything you can. And there isn’t much that you can do, love him and see what God does. He’s one of the finest preachers that I know about anywhere and they think I’m wonderful. I mean, they think I have the gift of prophecy. And I don’t. I don’t have the gift of prophecy. I read the ninth chapter of Acts, that’s what I did. So, I know how God works. So, if you’ve got a son or a daughter and you’re really worried, don’t give up. Remember the apostle Paul and remember what happened to him and be thankful and be glad for that. God takes real pagans and he makes them preachers and the world is absolutely astounded by that particular fact. I’ll tell you, that was a part of Paul’s witness. People knew his past, man. He hadn’t done these things in private. I mean, he had done some really bad things and everybody knew it and then he shows up preaching the gospel. That’s what we’re called to do. Create questions in people’s minds and then make sure that we have an answer. Let me show you something else. I don’t have much time. So, we’ll talk about it a little bit more tomorrow. Paul’s past still had the scars and he accepted those scars by his grace, 23rd verse.
When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him.
II Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Just in case you think I was giving a brief for sin before, I’m not doing that. Sin is bad, it really is bad, and God hates it. And I do too, in myself and in other people, I hate what it does to a culture and to a family. I hate what it does to children. And so, I agree with God on that, about sin. And I don’t want you to think that I was in any way, giving you a brief for sin, because sin costs and sin has scars. And many of you are listening to me know about those scars. You know, about the bad dreams at night, the times when you winced. The times when you thought, how could I have been there, how could I have done that. There are scars and the scars hurt sometimes, the scars sometimes cause us to blush, the scars sometimes make us wish we had been different and acted differently and said things differently and had been better than we were, they are scars. And the Bible is very clear about those scars. But I want you to remember something that is very important. Scars are a sign of healing, not wounds. I’ve gotta go. But that’s a good thing for you to remember. And not only is it something for you to remember. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown with a beautiful message from acts about how God uses everything in our lives for his purpose, even our past. Well, if you didn’t know, our mission is to get you in those you love home with radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ as your crowning achievement. Radical grace is central to this ministry because well, it’s central to the gospel. It is the gospel. If you could use a reminder of that, we have a booklet we’d love to send you called Radical Freedom: Surprising Faithfulness. It’s a newly reprinted excerpt from Steve’s classic book on radical grace called A Scandalous Freedom. And I know it’s going to bless you. Get your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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