Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Don’t forget the promise.

Don’t forget the promise.

AUGUST 17, 2023

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t forget the promise.

Steve Brown:
Don’t forget the promise. Let’s talk about it on this edition, of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free, and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown, he’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at Acts 23 and 22, the grand finale of the apostle Paul’s ministry in the Book of Acts. Now, we’re not there yet, but the plane is beginning to land. And we’ve been looking at this chapters or these chapters in the Book of Acts. And wait a second, it’s Acts 21:17 through 23:11 where, and I didn’t read the whole thing to you because it’s too long, but we’ve seen that Paul, what he expected to be a success had ended up being a failure. And a riot, in fact two riots ensued and he was in serious trouble. What do you learn from that? And we’ve learned a number of things from this particular text. We have seen that in the midst of abject failure, the Lord was standing by. We saw that failure and good circumstances don’t always dance together for the Christian. We have seen that what God considers success may not be what the world considers success, Acts 23:11.

Before God’s footstool to confess, a poor soul knelt and bowed his head. I failed, he wailed. The Master said, no, it was success.

Now, I have one more observation from this time of Paul, that has to do with failure and pain. And it’s this. God’s promise was given for courage in the midst of what was seemingly unbelievable obstacles, Acts 23:11, I mean, everything is coming unraveled. This is not a pleasant circumstance. Paul is in serious hot water. He knows that he could be killed. He knows that the ministry that God has given him could die right there in Jerusalem. And then in Acts 23:11 God comes and stands by.

Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.

Now, that’s got to make Paul feel a little bit better. At least he’s saying I’m not going to die today. The good news is you’re going to heaven and the bad news is you’re going on Thursday. But in the midst of the failure and the pain and the heartbreak, Jesus said to him.

Be of good courage, you have testified about me in Jerusalem, and I’m proud of you. So, you’re going to testify about me in Rome.

In I Kings 8:56 Solomon says.

Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he has promised.

We spent a bunch of years in New England, and some of the happiest years of our lives were spent on Cape Cod and in the Boston area, where we served churches in both places. But one of the things, you know those wonderful rock walls that you see in postcards? Or if you’ve been there, you’ve seen throughout New England, they have these rock walls and they are picturesque and they are beautiful. Let me tell you where they got those rocks, they got those rocks out of the ground. They had to dig those up. That is not wonderful soil for planting things in. One farmer who was digging up a big rock was approached by a friend from the south who said, Man, that’s a hard job. And he said, yeah, it really is, but it’s not as bad as it looks. I don’t own this land. Maybe Christians ought to say that a lot. Listen, it’s bad, but I don’t own this, this is his. Well, the apostle Paul knew that that was true, but at any rate, I served a number of years in New England and we had a backyard at the Church Manse at the Presbyterian Church I served on the South Shore, and our daughters were little girls at the time. And I looked, I wanted to plant some things out in that backyard, but there were so many rocks, little rocks, all over the place. And I said to them, girls, I’ll give you a nickel for every rock you pick up. That was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my entire life. They were finding rocks in places that I didn’t think there were rocks. They were digging them up and putting them in a pile and pretty soon I’m looking at bankruptcy. And I said to them, girls, that’s enough, that’s a lot of money you just made. I think I’m going to give you 10% of it. And both of them said in unison, daddy, you promised. You know what I did? I gave them every dime that I promised because my promises are good when they’re made to my children. And God’s promises are good when they’re made to His children too. And so, God came, said to Paul when he was down, when things were dark, when there didn’t seem to be any hope, Jesus said, take courage. You have been faithful here. I’m going to make sure that you’re faithful in Rome too. Hebrews 11:13

All these died in faith, not having received what was promised.

Now, if you’re familiar with the 11th chapter of Hebrews, you know that that’s a roll call of the martyrs. The people who suffered horrible things because of their stand for God.

These all died in faith and they didn’t receive what was promised.

And you could tell your pagan friend who says the Bible is unrealistic. You could quote that verse and say, put that in your pipe and smoke it. But there’s more than that, you’ve got to look at the whole text.

These all died in faith, not having received what was promised. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be their God, for he hath prepared for them a city.

God promises. And when God does his promise, you can hang your hat on its fulfillment. Philippians 1:6 says.

He who began a good work will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

In other words, what God begins, he always completes, and the fact of its beginning is the promise, absolute, of its completion. That’s what the apostle Paul found out in the middle of his failure. God promised. Jesus came there and showed and said take courage and Paul knew that whatever else happened that he was going to end up in Rome and was going to be able to witness for Christ in the center of the Roman Empire. And so, it’s good, II Peter 3:13.

We according to his promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth.

I John 2:25

This is the promise that he has given us.

We have a God who gives promises. I have a friend who says Christians believe in sitting on the premises. rather than standing on the promises. That’s a mistake. God has promised us not only eternal life in heaven, but in this life, in the midst of what we think is failure, what we think is pain, what we think is not salvageable, God has given us a promise. And he’s told us that he will not leave us alone, but will come himself. And so, as Paul went through his experience in Jerusalem, as he went through the pain of failure, After he had faced what he thought was going to be accolades and he got rocks thrown at him, when he was down and out and depressed and hurt, he remembered that he was serving the God of the universe. And then Jesus came, and Jesus said, I promise. He still does that for his people. He still gives you promises. He’ll never leave you. What you think of as failure probably isn’t, where you’re going is safe and secure. And if he said it, you can stand on it. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Take courage. That is a good word and a good way to wrap up our week of teaching here in Acts. Thank you Steve. And do join us tomorrow for Friday Q&A of course, that’s when Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson will tackle the challenging questions that you’ve sent in. Hey, do you know what your name means? My name is Matthew and that means gift of God. It does not mean gift of God to women as has been explained to me. Well, on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc we recently spoke with author and filmmaker Jared Brock. Jared mentioned that Jesus’ name is actually Yeshua or in modern terms, Joshua. And from there, it’s a short trip to Josh. And in his new book, A God Named Josh, Jared Brock explores the surprising implications of a Savior who is both wholly God and wholly human. It is a fantastic conversation that we’d love for you to hear yourself, 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. Or to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Jared Brock. And finally, if you value the work of key life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

Back to Top