Evil and good are not judged by results.
DECEMBER 1, 2021
Evil and good are not judged by results. Let’s talk on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. 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 studying the eighth chapter of the book of Acts, a transitional chapter in Acts, where the church is finally leaving their warm, soft, safe place and spewed into the world because of persecution. And God uses that in an amazing way. And we’re seeing the beginnings of that in this text. I’m not going to read the whole thing to you again. I’ve done it twice. But it’s about Philip and the signs and wonders that accompanied Philip’s ministry and his encounter with a magician by the name of Simon who did magic and people thought he was great until they saw Jesus and he lost his constituency. He lost his audience. And so, he joined with the enemy. He was baptized and became a Christian. And then it became apparent that it wasn’t real, that he was looking for power to do magic tricks the way the apostles did. And he was reprimanded and he repented and everything was cool, but the whole aura of this beginning has a supernatural feel to it. And we’re talking about the Christian faith and the supernatural. We’ve seen that we live in a supernatural world and that the supernatural world is more real than what we call the natural world. And then we saw yesterday that we’re not called to a party, we’re called to a battle. And that the battle is not between two equal powers, we’re not dualists. God’s in charge of all of this, and Satan is his lackey, and the supernatural is being bent for the benefit of the terrible meek, the people of God. Alright, let me show you something else. I would suggest that God would have a see in these verses that a Christian does not judge goodness and evil or any power by the results. Look at verses 10 and 11.
They all gave heed to him
Luke’s talking about Simon, the magician and the magic that he did.
all gave heed to him from the least to the greatest saying this man is that power of God, which is called great. And they gave heed to him because for a long time, he had amazed them with his magic.
Who do you give heed to? Well, I’ll look for, you know, when you go to a restaurant and it’s a new restaurant and the parking lot is empty, you ought to go somewhere else because, you know, if nobody’s going there, you don’t want to go. It means somebody checked it out and decided this isn’t a place you want to go. You can get jungle rot in his place and you don’t want to eat the food they cook in this place. But if you have to wait in line, then you’re at the right place because the truth is in the cooking. The truth is found in the people who are attracted to, and that’s true of a restaurant, but it’s not true of a worship service. I can’t tell you the number of times when I’ve heard people say, you know, he or she is attracting a great crowd. It must be of God. And I sometimes say sometimes I just keep my mouth shut, which is hard for a preacher, but sometimes I say, you know, Hitler attracted a great crowd too, did you ever think about that? That is true. So, you’ve gotta be careful. One of the questions that we get often at Key Life, is I’m looking for a church. What should I look for? Now, if you ask a lot of people, what you should look for in a church, look for a church that’s really busy and involved, that has a pretty building, and where a lots and lots of people are coming and then become a part of that church. Don’t you do that? That doesn’t mean that God isn’t in big churches and God isn’t in pretty buildings, but that’s not the way you judge, you judge by another measurement and that measurement are the Scriptures believed and taught. Is Christ exalted. Do people try to love each other, even if they have trouble pulling it off. And if you can find a church like that, the rest is small stuff, but if you find out there’s a big crowd and the preacher doesn’t believe in the Virgin birth. Or if you find out it’s a pretty building, but they worship Buddha. Don’t become a part of that. It’s just, and that’s true in life. And it’s true of so many circumstances. There was a scholar in Germany and I can’t remember his name right now. I wish I could, who wrote a book on good and evil and the demonic. And he said that for every gift that God has given his people, Satan gives an alternative something that isn’t genuine, but seems to be the same thing. So, if people are healed, find out the name in which they are healed. If people are changed, find out who they’re following, if things are happening and they look good, make sure that you go through a checklist to make sure that this is of God and not from a dark place. And so, the principle is you don’t do results as the measurement, some of the most important, amazing things in this world are happening in little churches. And some of the worst are happening in stadiums. You think about that. Amen.
Some thought provoking things there. Thank you Steve. We’ll resume our journey through Acts tomorrow. Hope to see you then. So, I don’t know about you, but I’d love a great story. And the only thing better than that is a great, true story. If that’s you too, then lean in and hear about the story of Horatio Spafford, the man who wrote one of the all-time most famous hymns after his four daughters died in a shipwreck, It is Well With My Soul. Steve used that hymn as the title of a very powerful sermon, take a listen to part of that talk. Then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.
You are shepherded. When Peter says he’s the shepherd of our souls, you begin to see that he takes care of things like food. He protects us. He teaches us. He’s working with us to make us even more. Anna is in Alabama with our grandchildren. I love you guys, but I wish I was with her. Well, I love her, but I love our grandchildren a lot. They’re better than yours. God, only sends boys to guys he doesn’t like, and I have two daughters and three granddaughters and our granddaughters are growing up. The oldest one’s in college and the other two are in high school. And I want you to know that I love them. You have no idea. This is true with our daughter. I love them, totally. I would given my life for any of those girls, but I want you to know as they grew and began to talk and I began to see what was happening in their lives, the things they were learning, the exciting ways they were changing. I loved them, is it possible, even more. That’s what God has done. You take, most of you don’t even know what it is, but the AARP magazine, when you turn 50, you can take it and join. Then you start getting that dumb magazine. Burn it, it’s filled with drivel. Case in point, the one that just came last week had an article called the Seven Things to Foster Your Inner Life. And I thought that’d be cool. I’d like to know that myself, you know what they are, hold onto your family. Alright, I’ll go with that. Get a job. What? Get over yourself. Well, maybe. Use different gifts, find like minded folks, get a dog, make new friends. Who writes this stuff? What, well, if that turns you on, I guess. If that fixes your inner life, there’s something wrong with you, or you don’t have much that needs fixing. I frankly would rather hang out with Jesus. The truth is, he shepherds our souls. And so, the things that you and are worried about, the sin you can’t quit and you’ve tried over and over again, chill out. You’re going to get better. You have personality traits that drive your friends nuts. I do. And I’ve tried biting nine tongue, smiling all the time and being nice and I just can’t do it. And Jesus told me chill out, I’m going to take care of it. You have lost somebody and the nights are hard and he’s not there to wind the clocks anymore. That’s awful, but it’s okay. Jesus is going to take care of it. You feel like you’re never going to be a strong faithful Christian. I feel that way. And I’ve been doing it a lot longer than you have, chill out. It’s going to be okay. Galatians 2:20 says, this is Paul speaking.
I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, but Christ liveth in me.
Now, please note that Paul did not say, go be crucified with Christ. Or get a cat of nine tails or suffer some and be crucified with Christ. He’s not telling you what to do. He’s telling you what you are.
The incarnation of God in Christ, when Bethlehem happened, means that you are secure in Jesus. You are treasured, shepherded and preserved, all by Jesus. His coming, made all the difference. Listen, you’re going to love this full sermon. So let us send it to you for free on a CD. Get it right now by calling 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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