Don’t leave until you’ve been loved.
JULY 25, 2022
Hey, don’t leave until you’ve been loved. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a great week-end and got a lot of rest and fun, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts. And we’ve gotten stopped in the church meeting in the 15th chapter of Acts. And we’ve been there for a couple of weeks and we’re gonna stand there, stay there for most of this week too, because this is an important, seminal, world changing meeting that takes place in the early church. It’s the first major universal church gathering. And they made some decisions that have affected us 2000 years later. And important decisions about the universality of the body of Christ. And this is where it was decided. And so, we’re taking some time and I’m not gonna take the time to read that chapter to you again or most of it, but I’ll be referring to it as we go along. So, if you have your Bible, you might want to open it to the 15th chapter of Acts. And before we study, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence rejoicing. Rejoicing because we’re forgiven forever, that we’re acceptable forever, that we’re yours forever. And that we’re going to get home before the dark. But Father, between where we are now and where home is, it’s hard sometimes. And you know that. Father, I lift before you the people that are listening to this broadcast, who are going through some hard and difficult stuff. You promised to come alongside as the Spirit of comfort. And I ask that you would grant that in a double portion for them. And some of us are doing fine, just fine. Don’t let us forget you in our laughter, don’t let us forget you when things are going well. Father, we belong to you and you know how weak we are. The ocean is so very big and our boat is so very small. Father, we worship you. And, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Well, what we’ve been doing, we’ve been doing it for a good while, in this 15th chapter of Acts. We’ve been talking about what happened in a church meeting, and we’re learning a lot about church government and church meetings, with looking at this meeting in Jerusalem. We have seen, for instance, the necessity of arbitration. We have seen the necessity that everybody be heard, that they be valued. The necessity of a Biblical norm. There’s some things you don’t vote on. There’s some things that God has decided and revealed, and that ought to be at the very heart of the Christian Church. Should we have a committee to decide on whether or not we’re going to make disciples? No, I mean, we’ve been told that’s the job description. It’s chiseled in concrete and we don’t have to have a committee meeting on it. We saw the necessity of a strong leader and a concomitant principle, the necessity of submission. But Biblical submission, not shut up and be quiet and do what I say submission. The necessity of communication. And then I’ve got a new one, I want to show you. Note the necessity of love and consideration. If you’re familiar with this 15th chapter of Acts, you’re aware that the issue was, what are we gonna do with the Gentiles? I mean, we are God’s people, God’s covenant people for hundreds of years to whom God has given everything above anybody on the face of the earth. I mean, that happened. And it happened hundreds of years before when a group of nobody’s in the middle of the desert. And some people say the word Hebrew means wanderer. I mean, really nobody’s living in the middle of cultures like Egypt that were sophisticated and big and mighty, this group of tent dwellers that moved around following the water, got this crazy idea that there was one God. And that that one God had called them to be his people. And, it was amazing. They developed, and this is one of the reasons, among many, many reasons that I’m a believer because nobody can explain how this happened. This group of uneducated nobody’s developed the highest form of ethical monotheism ever created in history. Where did they get that? They got it because it was true. They were God’s people. God was their God in a very special way. Now, things are beginning to change. I mean, they’ve had this forever, they’ve had the prophets, they’ve had the wisdom and the teaching, they’ve had the Scriptures, they’ve had all of that. And all of a sudden this guy Paul and Barnabas, come along and say, you know, God’s bigger than that. He’s reaching out to these weird Gentiles that we didn’t like before, and they’re coming in droves to Christ, what are we gonna do with them? And so, this initial meeting of Jews, by the way, came together the early Christians to decide what to do with you and with me, if you’re a Gentile. And what they would decide would affect our relationship to the church to this day. And so, it was an important meeting. And so, there is a necessity for all the things we’ve been talking about, but there is a necessity for love. Now, note that in this chapter that when the decision was reached, when everybody agreed, when Jesus had come and guided them in a wonderful way, they communicated that decision. But there’s a weird part of that decision, that kind of makes you stop and say, what’s that? And this was that, you’ll find that in the 29th verse of the 15th chapter of Acts.
We say that by necessity, you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well, Farewell.
Now, note that it was not a commitment. If you do these, you will do well. In other words, these are really good suggestions and you’ll find those issues being dealt with in Hebrews and Paul in Romans writes about eating food that is offered to idols. And he said, idols don’t exist. But he also said.
If eating that food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat.
What’s going on here? I mean, what’s happening? What is with this blood thing and all of that. Listen, love is happening, kindness is happening, wisdom is happening. These leaders knew that the church was going to be different from now on. It’s going to have a Gentile and a Greek flavor about it. It’s going to, there are going to be some really major changes and not everybody’s going to like it, especially the original followers of Christ, who were all Jewish. And so, what they said is this, don’t forget them. Don’t forget to love them and respect them. And don’t do things, don’t wave a red flag in front of that bull just to irritate them. These are good things to remember, love them and love them well. Oh my, that has all kinds of implications to church music and worship and the worship wars. Doesn’t it? I mean, God is bringing us such great new music. But there’s great old music too. And we need to remember that we’re a family and that as a family, we sing all kinds of songs, some with a guitar and a trumpet and some with an organ, some soft and gentle, some old and some new, because that’s what families do, when they love each other. And a good place to get that illustrated and to get strong teaching on that, is from the 15th chapter of Acts. So, if you go to Jesus, get loved before you leave. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing to lead us through Acts chapter 15. And we’ll be camped out right here through the rest of the week. So, hope you’ll join us again, starting tomorrow. Has anyone ever told you, you have issues? I’ve been told that, but the real question is, do you have the issue? I’m talking about the most recent issue of Key Life Magazine. This edition features a moving article from Steve called, For Heaven’s Sake, Lighten Up! It’s a freeing invitation to return to the wonder and joy of the good news of Jesus. The magazine also has pieces from some of your favorite Key Life voices, Chad West, Pete Alwinson, and Kendra Fletcher. Get your free 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 the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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