Don’t silence anybody until a decision is made.
MARCH 8, 2022
Don’t silence anybody until a decision is made. 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. If you have your Bible open into the 11th chapter of the book of Acts, that’s verses one through 18 and a question before the house and I move the previous question, is how does the church know what to do, what we’re supposed to do, where God sends us? Now, before we turn to these principles in the 10th chapter or the 11th chapter of Acts. Let me say, that the principles are principles that can be applied also individually. They’re not just institutional questions. Perhaps right now, you’re wondering what you should do about a particular situation in your life. Well, some of this that I’m going to be teaching you over the next few days applies to your existential situation, as we speak. But I’m going to be referencing it ecclesistically, in terms of the church. And the first thing you ought to note from the 11th chapter of Acts, is that Peter didn’t question the right of the circumcision party to question him. You find that all over the text.
Peter went to Jerusalem, the circumcision party
This is the second verse.
criticized him saying, “Why did you go to the uncircumcised men and eat with them?”
In other words, you dummy, you’re a part of God’s chosen people. Why did you do that? Explain that to us. And, so there was an understanding in the church that everybody had a say. And that ought to be important in the body of Christ too. We’re living in a culture that cancels people for their views. And that’s dangerous in our country. It’s dangerous when people are taken off platforms, are not allowed to speak or holler down at a meeting because of what they’re saying because people don’t want to listen to what they say. This is one place where the church ought to stand up and give a clear witness because frankly, nobody else is. In the church, everybody ought to feel they have a say. Now, I’m not saying that the church is a democracy, it’s not. God ordains leaders. And as the German poet Goethe said.
When are men useless? When they cannot follow and they will not lead.
In the church, God does anoint leaders and we need to follow those leaders. God hardly ever leads by committee. He ordains a person and those persons are sometimes surprising. He ordains a person, not God, not somebody to be worshiped, not someone to put on an altar, not someone who says obey me and if you don’t obey me, you’re going to hell. You’ll be lost for all of eternity. That’s sick. And it’s from the pit of hell when it smells like smoke, but God is into authority. And so, the church really isn’t a democracy, where every issue is voted on, where every move of the church is debated and the people who end up disagreeing leave the church. Up until the decision is made, every voice should be heard. Every opinion should be spoken. Every thought about a particular issue should be shared without condemnation and without being a canceled culture. I have a friend who loves to play basketball on the street and at the end of every game, he throws the basketball over his shoulder backwards about 30 yards away from the net. And he misses it 99.99% of the time. I said, why do you keep doing that? And he said, because one of these days I’m going to hit that net. And when I hit that net, people are going to think I’m something else and I’m gonna tell them I practice forever to do this. I’m going to tell them it’s my prowess in playing basket. Well, that’s cool, I guess, but you can’t do that in the church. In the church, you’ve got a team. And you’ve got a team, if they’re going to score a basket, need to be a part of it. You can’t do it by yourself. It’s an old sermon illustration about the old days when the organs had to be hand pumped in order to get music out of them. And a very famous, organist came and gave a concert and at the intermission, the young man who was behind the scenes pumping the organ, said to the very famous organist, we did well, didn’t we? And the organist said, what do you mean we? And the young man was devastated. After the intermission was over, the famous organist came back, set on the organ bench and began to hit the keys and nothing came out. And then the young man behind the screen looked around and said to the organist, are we ready to begin? Well, that’s a good illustration about what ought to be going on in the church. In the middle of a cancelled culture, we as Christians need to witness what it means to the value of every thought and every opinion and every criticism and every understanding because God has made us a bunch, instead of an individual because of the principle is that he works through the family. He works through a bunch of people. He doesn’t do everything he does, without all of the other people being a part of it. And so, church meetings and I hate them. Don’t you? I really do. I can’t, the only good, well, there are a lot of good things, but one of the good things about not being a pastor anymore, is that I don’t have to go to church meetings and I don’t have to go through endless discussions about everything on the face of the earth, including the color of the carpet in the church. And that’s a great gift that God has given me, that I don’t have to go to those meetings, but the meetings are necessary because the church isn’t about you and it isn’t about me and it isn’t about your pastor and it isn’t about the elders and the deacons. The church is about us and God, and God works through the us. That’s what it means to be the body of Christ, the having very different gifts, of coming together and being a whole because we’re together. And so, Peter had had an amazing experience. It was supernatural, it was clear, it was scary and it changed everything he ever knew about what he ought to be doing as a part of God’s covenant people. I mean, it was mind shattering. What did he do first? He went to Jerusalem to discuss it with the people of the church. We do live in a cancelled culture. And in America, where we have promoted free speech, even really dumb free speech. We cancel people., If they say the wrong thing, if they express the wrong thought, if they hang out with the wrong people, if they don’t say things the way one is expected to say things, we remove them from our platforms. And what an opportunity do we have in the church to let people know that there is no canceled culture. You probably don’t know the name Carlyle Marney, he was a pastor at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. And he created an organization at a Methodist gathering place called Lake Junaluska. And somebody asked him, and it was a place where people could come and talk and get together. And somebody asked Dr. Marney what he was doing by creating this new organization at lake Junaluska. And he said something that I’ve never forgotten, this is what he said. I want to create a place where a man or a woman can come and say anything and know that they won’t be kicked out. Is that cool or what? He got that from Jesus. And Jesus gave it to the early church. And the early church, Peter being the head of the early church, the early church, where people who got together, who spoke, who gave ideas, who criticized each other, who understood that when God calls one, he calls a bunch and you can’t do this thing without a bunch. And so, when you have the question and I move the previous question and we’ll answer it some tomorrow, when you try to decide what the church should do, make sure that everybody is able to share the vision, to offer the insight, to bring the wisdom that they have to the table. If we’ll do that, the world will go, you can’t do that. And we’ll say, oh yes. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. And tomorrow we’ll resume our exploitation of Acts right here, be sure to join us for that. And do remember that if you miss any episode of Key Life, you can listen to it for free, anytime you want at our website, www.keylife.org So, here’s a question for you to ponder. Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus is actually alive right here and active right now? Well, Steve gave a sermon a while back about that very subject that’s called When Jesus Leaves the Building. In that talk, he teaches from Luke 4 on what happens when Jesus is in the building. If you’d like, we would be happy to mail you that whole sermon on a CD, for free. Just give us a call 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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