Even if we don’t like each other, we need each other.
JANUARY 4, 2022
Even if we don’t like each other, we need each other. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the book of Acts. And we’re looking at the ninth chapter and we’re talking about Ananias. And I was reviewing yesterday, what we’ve seen the week before and I ran out of time. One thing that we’ve seen, and we’re going to talk more about it today is that in this particular text, we recognize when we look at Ananias, how this story illustrates how we need each other. We might not like each other. Ananias certainly didn’t like Saul at this time. In fact, he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to spend time with him. He didn’t want to do what God told him to do, but he did it. And he went to Paul, placed his hands on Paul’s head, and Paul, who was at that time Saul, who had been blind was allowed to see. And then it says something important in the 19th verse.
For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
Let me tell you something. If you don’t already know it, we live in a very cold and cruel world. It’s a dog eat dog world. And very few people even care whether we live or die. And that’s one of the reasons that God created the church. You know, one of the difficult things with a pandemic and the lock down and doing church on a computer, I hate that. And then when we got back together, we couldn’t have real communion. We had these little cups, that you had to peel off the top and by the time you did, Jesus and left the building. But things are back normal now. And do you know what normal is? Normal is people. Normal is the need for people. Normal is the hug. Normal is the encouragement. Normal is the cutting of slack for each other. Normal is knowing the family secrets. Normal is being together and recognizing that if nobody else understands, we do. If nobody else cares, we do. If nobody else loves, we do. That’s what church is. And that’s why it’s not good to worship on a computer screen. Now, we don’t have a lot of options and I get that. So, Jesus used it in a lot of lives, but it’s not the way it’s supposed to be because frankly we need each other. In this story of Ananias, it’s hard to imagine the apostle Paul was ever a new Christian, but he was, and if God had set him loose without anybody else involved on the world, he would have made a mess out of it. But it was normal for him to be with the disciples, to be discipled, to be taught, to be prepared for what God had prepared for him. I one time asked an evangelist what was his greatest problem? And he said, when people become Christians and go back to their local church, the flame flickers and dies. In other words, nobody stood in the gap. Nobody said, look, you’re new, and our tendency is to lock you up for a year before you hurt people. But we want you to go out and tell 10 people what happened to you and then be still for a year and learn and grow because we need people, not just here but in every place in the church. In another time, another place, there was a king who had a son and the son was unmanageable in spite of the efforts of many tutors. One day a wise tutor, fastened a strip of royal purple on the boy’s coat. What’s that for, the boy asked. The tutor said, that is an emblem of your royalty. Whenever you act in any matter, look at the purple and remember who you are. We need each other, and we need to understand the royal purple of our calling. And we need to be together. Now, let me show you something else. And this is the final thing and we’ll move on to another text, but it’s important. Ananias illustrates how a minor act will produce a major miracle. Ananias didn’t really do too much, as a matter of fact, just went where God told him to go, and he did what God told him to do. And that wasn’t much, but because of his minor action, the world will never be the same. Do you know who led a Charles Spurgeon to Christ? No, no, no. We don’t even know his name. None of the records record his name. And it may have been a she. All we know is that he or she was a leader in a small primitive Methodist church in Gloucester. And that’s it. But what if that person had decided that morning, I am so small and unimportant, I’m not going to do nothing. You never know when Spurgeon is sitting there listening and watching. You ever heard of Nicolas Cop, anybody? No, you don’t know who he was. He was the rector of the University of Paris, and because he was arrested for heresy in 1533, and because of his stand, John Calvin decided that he could no longer remain on the fence. Nicholas Cop, nobody knows who you are, but you’ve done good. You ever heard? I could do this all day, but I’m not. You ever heard of John Gifford? He led John Bunyan to Christ. And because John Gifford was faithful, we can read with delight Pilgrim’s Progress. As I said, I could go on and on. The point is this, there is nothing that you do within the will of Christ that he will not use in a mighty way for his glory, nothing, washing dishes, teaching Sunday school, standing in the office, caring in little ways, smiling, talking about Jesus, being a good mother, being a good father. Oh man, I’ll tell you, God is using all of that. He’s weaving a puzzle. Someday, when we get home, you’re going to see what God did, and it’s going to blow you away. And me too. So, I’m not saying go out and make an impact for Christ. Most of us can’t do that. Go out and make a stand and change the world. Are you kidding? I can’t change myself. Just be faithful where God puts you, at home, in the office, at church, with your friends, with the people you love, just be faithful and stand for Jesus. Let the devil take the hindmost and you’re going to be surprised. Do you know who Nancy Hanks was? She was a Christian mother who died when her son was only nine years old. She had faithfully performed her task for only those nine years. Do you know who her son was? It was Abraham Lincoln. Rosemary Benet has a wonderful poem about Nancy Hanks, listen to this.
If Nancy Hanks came back as a ghost seeking news of what she loved most, she’d ask first, where’s my son? What happened to Abe? What’s he done? Poor little Abe left all alone, except for Tom, who’s a rolling stone. He was only mine, the year I died. I remember still how hard he cried. Scraping along in a little shack, with hardly a shirt to cover his back. And a Prairie wind to blow him down or pinching times if he went to town. You wouldn’t know about my son? Did he grow tall? Did he have fun? Did he learn to read? Did he get to town? Do you know his name? Did he get on?
Isn’t that wonderful? Oh, Nancy Hanks, you rest. You rest and rejoice because no act, the act of a mother who is faithful in the place where God puts her, even if she dies, God will take that act and he will do something great with it, Nancy and Ananias and and all the rest. You were minor, but you were important. And when the role is called up yonder, in a different place, there will be a lot of names heading the list. We could ask Jesus who was the most famous Christian, the most important Christian. And he would say, I’m not going to tell you. We’d say, why? And he would say, because you wouldn’t know the name. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve Brown there continuing to teach us from Acts 9, about how we need each other, even if we don’t always like each other. I don’t know about you, that’s a really freeing idea. More to explore tomorrow. Please be sure to join us then. So, here we are in a new year and I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year, new dreams, new plans. Maybe one of your plans is to be more productive. If so, make sure you check out the episode of Steve Brown Etc, featuring author and entrepreneur, Jordan Raynor. We spoke with Jordan about a gospel centric approach to being productive. He also shared some powerful time management lessons from the life of Jesus. It’s not just ra ra, get more done. It really is about being motivated to do our best work in the light of what Jesus has done. Grab that free CD 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 that CD. If you would like to mail your request, send it to
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