Don’t look for results. It will drive you crazy.
NOVEMBER 22, 2021
Don’t look for results. It will drive you crazy. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us and you’re new, we’re taking our time in a place called Acts in the Bible. Verse by verse, precept upon precept, we’re studying what God has for us in this wonderful book. And I’m your tour director on this particular tour. And we’re taking our time. We’re up to the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. And we’re pausing as we go along and, and looking at particular sites without any kind of hurry. And we’re glad you’re a part of it. Listen, if you have your Bible, open if you will, to the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. We’re going to look at the first, or continue to look at the first three verses of that eighth chapter, as we look at the repercussions of a committed life. Before we do that, and it’s a good practice, let’s pray and then we’ll study. Father, as we come into your presence, we are once again, reminded of the gift that you have given us by giving us your word. And your wrote it down cause you knew we would get it wrong. Father, thank you for the truth that you’ve taught us, for the precepts where you have called us to live, for the reality of the world as you created it. Thank you for Revelation, revealed propositional truth, stories that inspire, realities that put gasoline in our engine. And we are thankful. You know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places and the soft ones, you’re sovereign over both. You created our laughter and our tears, you and your sovereign goodwill know when we need to walk a dark place and we need to celebrate. And so, we worship you. We worship you because you’ve been so kind and gentle and gracious and merciful and forgiving, but if you had not been any of that, you’re still the sovereign Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of all that we see and perceive and all that is and as such, you are God, the only God and worthy of our worship. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, they call him Reverend and he’s not, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. I’m going to start at the very last verse of the seventh chapter, which will be the 59th verse and the first three verses of the eighth chapter of Acts, where Luke, the physician writes as follows.
And as they were stoning Stephen
And if you’ve been with us, they killed him off, but you talk about a canceled culture. This was a canceled culture.
As they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting to his death. And on that day, a great persecution arose in the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried, Stephen and grit made great lamentation over him. But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
Well, that’s not a good advertisement for being a Christian, if that’s what it includes. I mean, Stephen’s dead. And the followers have been persecuted and spewed out of Jerusalem. And we have seen that Acts 1:8 didn’t take place until Acts 8:1 took place. In other words, Jesus said go into all the world and they didn’t, they sat around and sang Kumbaya. And then there was a persecution which God used to spew God’s people into the world where they would serve. And when we finish talking about the repercussions of a committed life, we’re going to look at Philip, one of the guys who was spewed out of Jerusalem and what happened with him as we look at the supernatural nature of the faith that we have. But here we see a kind of dark time in the church, persecution, death, fear, doubt, dark. Oh man. And that runs kind of counter to a lot of today’s Christian faith, doesn’t it? I mean, you follow Jesus, you’re going to be happy all the time. No, you’re not. Follow Jesus and everything is going to work out just like you want it to, probably not. Follow Jesus and you will be healthy and wealthy and together. No, that’s not true. You know what I did this morning? I was writhing an answer to a pastor who had written me and I’m going to call him if you’ll send me his phone number and we’re going to talk, but everything he believed in, everything he put his faith in, everything he trusted has just come apart. We have over 4,000 pastors on the mailing list at Key Life. And as you can imagine, I spend a considerable amount of time talking to pastors, crying with them and laughing with them. And I love pastors, I’d rather be with pastors then anybody else that I know. Now, I’m talking about the real ones, not the wusses. I’m talking about the ones who have dirt under their fingernails. And so I was writing this pastor and he said, Steve, could you say something encouraging? And then he told me what had happened. He had been betrayed by people in his church. He had tried to be open about his sin and they decided to kill him. His denomination is ready to kick him out. He’s depressed and he’s down, or he doesn’t know what to do. And I wrote and said, you know, Jesus said this was going to happen, are you surprised? Now, that’s not all that happens, a lot more is to be said than that. I used to, when I was teaching seminary students would say, if I get so negative that you’re thinking about leaving the seminary, raise your hand, and I’ll say some positive things about ministry. And there are a lot of them. There are positive things about the Christian faith. You can’t buy any other place, total forgiveness. No matter where you’ve gone or what you’ve done or who you’ve hurt or the sins you’ve committed, you’re forgiven. And you can’t buy real freedom, freedom to do right, to do wrong, to serve, to not serve and know that all the time you will be loved. The only people who get better are people who know that if they don’t, Jesus will love them anyway. There is of course the blessings, the provision, the caring, the compassion, the patience of God, those things are good, but don’t let anybody kid you, there are thorns in the flesh. There are difficulties and pain and not everybody’s going to like you. So, we see a kind of dark time in the church when persecution is beginning to come up. If you’re living in the U.S. and listening to this or in Canada and listening to this, you know some people don’t like us. We did a program on our talk show about evangelicalism and how we’ve been defined by the world and dismissed and how they would simply like to get rid of us. We’re in for some dark times and that’s bad. No, that’s good. That’s how we get down to the muscle. As you read these first three verses and the last verse of the seventh chapter and the first three mercies of the eighth chapter, it’s really dark and scary and bad. No, it’s good. It was this place where God changed the world. It was this place where the church picked up or skirts and started running. It was this place in the dark that the light came and the light came to millions and millions of people throughout the ages. So, so it gets dark sometimes, it’s painful sometimes, sometimes you wish God would do it differently, sometimes you want to pray, Lord, is this the way to treat your friends? But trust him, be quiet, watch. See what he does. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, guiding us through the end of Acts 7 and the beginning of Acts 8. So much happening in these verses. And we’ll continue exploring Acts tomorrow. Make sure you join us then. Hey, by the way, have you claimed your copy of Key Life Magazine yet? Yes, there are copies still available for a limited time. This issue has some wonderful articles by Robin DeMurga, Chris Wachter and yes, of course, Steve. But check this out, we also now have a new digital magazine, completely different content. That one features a very important article from Steve called Wolves in the Church along with pieces from some of your other favorite Key Life voices. Get your copy of our digital magazine for free, right at www.keylife.org\digitalmagazine and for our print magazine, just call 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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