Even truth can be irritating.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
Even truth can be irritating. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth, that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening, Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Open your Bible, if you will, to the 16th chapter. And we’re going to go from verse 16 to the end of that chapter, slowly. And as we go, I’m going to point out some important and good, some even profound things about this particular text. I am after all the tour director. And we saw yesterday that as Paul and his entourage were going to a place of prayer, they were met by a slave girl who was possessed, a spirit of divination. And, she brought a lot of money to the people who owned this slave girl. And then what happened, she started following Paul and the people with him around. And she started shouting. You can close your eyes and almost see this scene where she does that.
She shouted, these men are servants of the Most High God who proclaimed to you the way of salvation.
Now that’s true. Out of the mouth of babes, and if you were listening yesterday, we talked how the world proclaims the glory of God and can’t help it. We have seen how things like music and art and dance, even done by unbelievers and created by unbelievers proclaim the glory of God. I told you about Rookmaaker, who used to tell his classes, that if it is done with beauty and skill, then it’s of God. And in fact, even if the person who does it doesn’t understand their worshiping God. And so, we need to look for what God is doing in a lot of places. And sometimes in very strange places, that’s what’s happening here. This slave girl, who’s possessed and who’s owners are making money off of her predictions. And by the way, don’t just say this is superstition. There was a time in my life when I thought I was an intellectual. And I said, things like this just don’t happen. This was a con game. She was not speaking about the future, she was babbling. And her owner said it was about the future and collected money on it and were making a fortune. Listen, let me tell you something, Satan does have power. And every gift that God gives is mimicked by Satan. We don’t sometimes understand, but we live in a supernatural world and you see an example of it in this 16th chapter of Acts, a woman possessed by demons and the demons themselves proclaiming the truth because they couldn’t help it. And so, she shouted out, these guys are from God and they’re telling you the way of salvation, but even in that kind of context, truth can be irritating, can’t it? And so, look at what happens after she does this.
And she did this
Saint Luke says
for many days, but Paul was annoyed.
I understand that, I’m a preacher. And I love babies, but when I’m preaching the sermon and the baby’s screaming, I’m annoyed. Now, it’s not because I can’t be louder than the baby, I can. There’s just something annoying about something that’s beautiful. And in this case, there was something annoying about truth. This lady just wouldn’t shut up and then see what happens.
And she did this for many days, but Paul was annoyed. And he turned and said to the spirit, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And it came out of her that very hour.
Do you know what happened? Some very dishonest pagans lost their living, that’s what happened. I mean, they were making a fortune off this lady and Paul cast out the demon and when he did it irritated them.
So, when her owners
the text says
saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said.
These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs, which are not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice. The crowd joined in attacking them and the magistrates tore the garments off of them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet to stocks.
Listen, we have this idea that when we become Christian, everything’s going to be fine. We have this idea that once we start following Christ, that everything is going to be copacetic, it won’t. Let me tell you something that you need to know. Jesus is offensive. He doesn’t call you to be offensive. He calls you to be honest about who he is. Note what Paul did at this point. In the name of Jesus Christ, he cast out a demon. And it made people angry because if what he did was accurate and right and godly, then everything they believed, everything they hoped in, everything they had built their life on was a sham and a pretense. And ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, boys and girls, that is still true. Man, if everybody thinks you’re wonderful because you’re a Christian. And they’re not Christian, but they think you’re wonderful because you are, you need to explain things. You need to be clear about what is it, that you believe. And when you are clear, that praise will come to an end. Listen, if Jesus is God, that means that the people to whom we tell about Jesus are not God and they want to be God. I remember one time doing a television program. I’d written a book and it was one of those times when I talked and I died when I realized I’d done it. That I’d talked more about me than about Jesus, but it wasn’t all lost when it was over the camera people, it was a secular station and the directors and all the people gathered around and they, and they started asking me questions and I answered them. And one guy was left and it was the director and he kept asking questions and I kept answering him. Then I realized what time it was. And I had another appointment and I said look, I’ve got to go. I’ve got, I just can’t stay any longer. And then I sat down and wrote on the back of my card, a list of three or four books. And I said, you read those. And after you do, give me a call and I’ll take you to lunch and we’ll talk about your questions and what you just read because you’re honest in your questions. And he said, Reverend, thank you for that. And I made for the door and in my mind’s eye, I can see that swinging door. I started pushing it open and the director said, Hey, wait. And I turned around and he said, Reverend, I’m not going to read these books. I said, what do you mean, you’re not going to read the books, you were the one asking the questions. And then, Diogenes blew out his lamp and went home. And this is what the director said, if I read these books, I may find out that what you’re saying is true. If what you’re saying is true, I’m going to have to change. And frankly, I don’t want to change. Listen, he was speaking for the world. You know, what we bring is good news. You don’t have to be guilty, you can live forever, you will have a friend for life, you can be a part of a forever family where you’ll be accepted, you can find peace, you can have a flag to follow and a song to sing. And all of those things are absolutely true. But it also means that everything you believed before about the world and God and the universe is a lie, that the life you built on all of that stuff is built on sand, that you’re going to have to change what you believe, how you live, what this thing is all about. You’ll probably lose friends. Family may disown you, but nevertheless, it’s the truth. If you think they’re happy about that, you’ll believe anything. You think about that. Amen.
And thank you Steve. That’s another great week of teaching from Acts in the books. Remember if you missed any episodes, catch those anytime for free at Keylife.org. Our good friend Pete will be here tomorrow for Friday Q&A, be sure to join us for that. Well, for some of us being weird comes naturally. When I was in elementary school, I wore mint green Converse high tops with thick, burgundy shoelaces, and the kids called me weird. And to be honest, looking back, I think the play stands as called, but religion can make us weird too. And not the fun kind of weird. Steve spoke about this in a sermon called Grace in Freedom, based on Matthew 12:1 through 14. This is such a powerful message that we put it on a CD that we would love to send to you, for free. Get your copy 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’d like to mail your request, send it to
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