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Don’t soften the evil, but don’t forget God.

Don’t soften the evil, but don’t forget God.

APRIL 6, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t soften the evil, but don’t forget God.

Steve Brown:
Don’t soften the evil, but don’t forget God. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation. And if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you were here yesterday, I read the entirety of the 12th chapter of Acts. It’s just 25 verses and it’s funny and it’s a good story. And it teaches us so much about the sovereignty of God. We looked at Herod who is a central figure in that 12th chapter. And that is one bad dude. I had a friend who told me, he said, Steve, you’re old, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll send a significant contribution to Key Life, if you’ll just say dude, once on a broadcast. And I did, and he sent a good contribution. I wonder if I can get him to send another one since I said it the second time, just then, but Herod really was a bad person. When you look at the history and I took time to go over his history with you yesterday, he was an arrogant, rebellious, licentious, cruel, angry, mean as a snake, evil and profane king. He really was. He killed people. He starved people. He lied. He, and you could go on and on and on. And he was also under the sovereignty of God. And that’s what we’re looking at this week and we’ll do it tomorrow and all of next week. And we saw the first thing you ought to note is that because God was in charge and sovereign, James was dead, verses one and two.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword.

And you say, well that doesn’t, that’s not good. I mean, if God was sovereign, how come James was dead? I mean, he was the leader, he was the big guy. They depended on him. It was important, why, if God’s in charge, how come. James is dead. Now, at least in the 12th chapter of Acts, we can find a reason for that. And we get to see the rest of this story because God wants to remind us that there’s always a rest of a story, that he knows what he’s doing, and that eventually we’re going to see and understand his loving and his sovereign hand in everything in our lives. The president of Key Life, which is this organization, his name is George Bingham, properly referred to as Dr. George Bingham. He has a doctorate in business and he’s been my friend for a hundred years and I love him. Years ago, he and his wife Ruth lost their little child Matthew. Nobody expected it. In fact, at the hospital, there were cameras from the television stations in Miami to give public relations to the children’s hospital, where the surgery was going to be done, but something went terribly wrong. And Matthew died. I could tell you a hundred stories about that. It was very, very hard. I can’t tell you how often I walked around that hospital with George. How often we cried together and how often we prayed together and how hard it was. Supernatural things happened during that story. And I don’t have time to tell you all of it, but four or five years later, we did a promotional film for Key Life. And George and Ruth went into the studio and they filmed their testimony about the time when Matthew died. And, I remember Ruth coming out of the studio crying and she looked at me and she said, Brown, I wouldn’t do this for anybody else, but you. And I thought at the time. Oh yes, you would. You would do it for Jesus. And you did, but that story is tragic as it was. And it was tragic. It was dark. It was awful. It was a hard, hard thing. That story became the basis of some things that God did in ways that would absolutely blow you away. One of the stories is one of the daughters that were adopted by George and Ruth. A listener heard me talking about Matthew’s death and how hard it was. And she called up my assistant and said, I’ve got a daughter who’s pregnant and we don’t know what to do with the baby. Do you think George and Ruth would be interested. And one thing led to another and something else. And then Jenna was brought into George and Ruth’s household. Their walk of faith is an incredible testimony to so many people. And I’m one of them. God used that as tragic as it is, and it’s still tragic, to do some things that were amazing. And someday, someday, when we get home, we’re going to understand it all. Now, you can’t minimize evil, evil is evil, dark is dark, pain is pain, loss is loss, and we are called to lament those things. In fact, I have just finished a manuscript and it will be out toward the end of this year called Laughter and Lament: the Touchstones of Radical Freedom. We’re called to lament and be sad when evil things happen. But I do want you to know that James was dead, but God wasn’t. James was dead and God was getting ready to do something that was gonna change the entire world. James was dead and that was tragic and sad and devastating to the early church, but God was there and God was in charge. And God used an evil man named Herod to kill a good man named James and change the world. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Acts 12. More to discover tomorrow, hope you’ll join us then. So, you know that there’s a whole season leading up to Christmas that we call Advent. It’s a time of preparing ourselves to celebrate God with us. But what about Easter? Do we prepare our hearts in the same way for Easter? Now listen, that’s not a guilt trip, but a challenge. In fact, Steve gave a sermon a while back called Why Jesus Had to Die, that might help you with that very thing. Take a listen to part of that talk, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.

Steve Brown:
When you’re old, you forget names, but you remember the tears and the pain. I was a young pastor, it was three o’clock in the morning when I got the call and I rushed to the home of a family that I loved and the flames were coming out of the roof. They all escaped except the father. I remember the teenage girl, as she saw me coming, ran into my arms and wept. And I remember what she said. She said, pastor, why did my father have to die? It was years later in Boston. I probably was saved, I just didn’t know Jesus, when another teenage girl in my study said, Mr. Brown, I don’t understand why did Jesus have to die? You know what I did, I gave her a book cause I wasn’t exactly sure, but I never saw those teenage girls. I don’t remember their names. I keep thinking that maybe they’re grown now with their children and they’ll be in some conference where I’m teaching, maybe in a church service like this one cause I found some answers and I would like to share them with them. I was invited back to that first church for their hundredth anniversary and I always wanted to go there cause I found some things that I didn’t know when I was serving as their pastor. It was a little church and you visited a hospital, there was never more than one there. And then you could fish and play golf the rest of the time. All they wanted you to do was talk for 15 minutes and I’ve always been able to do that. So I’d stand in a pulpit, talk for 15 minutes and then Jesus came and screwed it up. He’s been doing that with my life, but I always said, Lord, let me go back and tell him the truth. I got to go back. And I said, I know what I taught you. And I know what I said. And, but listen carefully because I’ve got some corrections to make, but let me tell you, there were a thousand crosses. Jesus wasn’t the only, there are people who died with more pain and suffering than Jesus ever experienced. That’s not the issue. It wasn’t the length of the pain, it was the person who faced the pain. It wasn’t a little Jewish rabbi hanging spread eagle crossbeams on the town garbage heap, it was God entering time and space. And you go, whew, I can’t believe that, God did that for me. You going to die. Most of you, it’s going to be a quiet slipping away. Some of you are going to struggle. And if it’s commensurate with sins, I’m going to die in great pain cause I, cause I’m going home and it’ll be over. But a lot of people die. We all die. Big deal. But when the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God of the universe enters time and space and hangs spread eagle on crossbeams between two thieves, that is something else. He did, the cross, why did he have to die? Couldn’t he have done it another way? It seems to me reasonable. I think that teenager had it right. He could lived longer and loved us more and taught us more profoundly. I mean, we could have understood the answers to our questions, if he had just stayed around. How come he died so soon? We got four little books and that’s all, we ought to have volumes and volumes as John said. We ought to, he could’ve, why did he have to die? Well, I’ve got four or five reasons I’m going to share with you very quickly.

Matthew Porter:
Guys, trust me, you are going to really enjoy this full sermon and we’ll mail it to you on a CD for free today, if you’ll call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an e-mail to [email protected] and ask for that CD. By mail, send your request to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

if you’re in Canada, mail us at

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the free CD called Why Jesus Had to Die. Key Life is all about sharing the message of God’s radical grace, and you can help us with that mission through your giving. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or give safely and securely through text. Just grab your phone and text Key Life to 28950. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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