Don’t worship at anybody’s altar but God’s.
JUNE 15, 2022
Don’t worship at anybody’s altar but God’s. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious clichés. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the 14th chapter of Acts. And we’re looking at an illustration of very shallow religion. It’s not enough just to be religious, everybody’s religious, but sometimes religion and it’s in our DNA becomes a shallow way to get what we want. And when God doesn’t give us exactly what we want. We say, I don’t believe in God anymore. And that is when you realize that the religion was not real, that it was shallow and that it was silly. Yesterday, we talked in answer to the question, what makes religion so shallow? It’s when it is based in the flesh instead of revelation. Let me show you something else. I’d have you notice that the superficial and shallow religion of the people in the 14th chapter in Lystra, in the 14th chapter of Acts is marked by the veneration of men rather than God. Don’t ever worship at anybody’s altar, except God’s altar. That’s why I have suggested on numerous occasions that at least once a year, you need to tell your pastor where you disagree with him or her. You need to be kind and gentle and loving and affirming, but at least once a year, find something that drives you nuts by your pastor. It’ll be good for and tell him or tell her. It’ll be good for them and it’ll be good for you too, because it is so easy to put people on a pedestal. We were talking, Jeremy who produces this program and I look at him through a big glass window and he’s in the control room, but you ought to be able to listen to our conversations as we sit down to do these programs. And my Bible was falling apart and I made reference to it and said it was a study Bible. And that the man who wrote the notes to it was a friend of mine and his name was Harold Lindsell. He was a hero. He was the editor of Christianity Today. He could be very strong and abrasive, but I loved him. And you know why? Because I always pictured him in a Johnny, in a hospital with his posterior sticking out the back. And you say, where are you getting that? Well, his daughter was a friend of mine and Dr. Lindsell was in the hospital and she said, would you go by and see my father? And I said, he won’t want to see me. And she said, oh yes, he will. Go by and pray for him. Okay? So I went, this was in Boston. And so, I went to the hospital where he’d gone through surgery. And when I came by his room, the door was open and he was on the phone and I thought I’m just going to stay in the hall until he finishes the phone call. And then I’ll go in and tell him, hello, and I’ll pray for him. You know what he did? He stopped the phone call, saw me in the hallway, came out in a hospital Johnny. And you know how they are. And he grabbed me by the arm and he said, Steve, I’m so glad you came, come in. You’ll be interested in this phone call. And I sat down and he was talking to people all over the world and they were planning a gigantic international evangelism conference. And he let me sit in, but one of the interesting things that happened is the way he did it. He knew that I had him on an altar. And he knew that that wasn’t the place where he was supposed to be. And so, he let me see him in the most vulnerable way, you can see a person and that’s wearing a Johnny in the hospital, after the pain and suffering of surgery. That was a gift. And he gave it to me. I remember, and I’ve got to quit just telling stories because, but it’s a part of what we do. I had a man that I had made into my pastor and my hero when I was a young pastor. And I loved him and I was so glad for him. And he realized what was happening. At lunch one day, he said, Steve, I want you to listen to me, you’re putting me on a pedestal where I don’t belong. And in order for you to stop it, I’m going to confess my sins to you. And I thought, don’t do that. Everybody needs one hero, but he then began to confess and they weren’t popcorn sins either. And when he finished, I was shocked. And he said, I can see your shock and that’s the gift that I give to you. What was he doing? He knew the tendency and we all have this, the tendency to put people on altars where they don’t belong. Over my ministry, I’ve been privileged to know a lot of people who write the books, who stand in the pulpits of megachurches, who serve on the boards of great and effective ministries. And for some reason, I think because everybody thinks they can tell me secrets, cause nobody could be as bad as I am. And I can take it. They’re honest with me and I’m not going to name names and I’m not gonna lay it out, but I want you to know, they’re just like you. They’re lonely, the way you’re lonely. They mess it up, the way you mess it up. They fail, the way you fail. They sin, the way you sin. They are very human. And when ever you have a tenancy to put somebody in the place of a religious guru, stop it. It’ll ruin your worship of God. You think about that. Amen.
Well, it’s Wednesday and sometimes on Wednesdays, when I have a little bit of time, I take some time to answer one or two of your questions. And as you know, Pete Alwinson comes in on Fridays and he’s been doing that for 25 years. And we sit down and devote the whole of Friday’s program to answering questions. Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong, but we’re always doing the best we can and urge you to check the Scriptures and find out if what we say is right. And that’s true on this Wednesday. And as I always say, we really do love to get your questions. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, record your question. And sometimes we put your voice on the air. Or you can write to
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Or you can e-mail us at [email protected] And we’ll take your question seriously. And if you can help us financially, please do, and we’ll rise up and call your blessed. And we’ll be as faithful with your gift as you were in the giving of it. And squeeze every dime for the glory of God. And all those addresses and touchpoints are places where you could do that. Oh, by the way, you can give on your phone, text Key Life at 28950. 28950 and just follow the instructions. Alright. Let’s get at one or two of these questions. In Psalms, this is an e-mail. In Psalms 37:4, it says.
Delight thyself in the Lord.
How can we do that and what does that mean? Well, the Hebrew reads this way.
Delight thyself in the Lord.
It means what delight is, great joy and laughter and rejoicing and celebration. And the problem is that most of the time we think God and the worship of God is so serious that we can’t do that before a Holy and sovereign God. I’ve just finished a book. That’s going to be out, if it’s not out yet, it’s going to be out pretty soon. It’s called Laughter and Lament. And it’s about the touchstones of radical freedom. And one of the things that I did in that book was describe the God who laughs. It’s throughout all of Scripture. Sitting in the heavens and laughing. And the laughter of God that spills over into a very sour and dark and depressing world. Do you know one of the best marks of a Christian. When I teach at a new church, I listen for the laughter. And if I don’t hear any laughter, then Jesus has left the building because people who are forgiven everything, can’t help but get the giggles on occasion. People who have been loved so deeply and profoundly when they knew they didn’t deserve it, can’t help but laugh. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christiana and Mercy are making their way, following Christian to the final place, the Holy City. And one night, Mercy is sleeping and she laughs in her sleep. And her companion says, I heard you laugh last night. What was that about? And then she says I was dressed in rags and dirty clothes and then I looked down and my clothing changed and I was given jewels and gold and silver. And I heard a voice saying, welcome child. Welcome. And I did laugh and laugh and laugh. So, what is delight yourself in the Lord? It means laughing in his presence with the laughter that he gives to you because you’re free, because you’re loved, because you’re forgiven and because he’s going to get you home and he’ll never let you go. And if that doesn’t cause you to delight in the Lord, the way the Psalmist taught, then your dead. Go join a sour church that worships in a sour way, who believe that laughter is of the devil. But if you’re a real Christian, you’ll do what I said. Hey. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.