Final instruction…sort of.
JUNE 21, 2021
Final instruction…sort of, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God, because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering. That grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re just beginning, we’re probably two or three weeks into a multi month study of the book of Acts. I love the book of Acts. Luke tells us about Jesus, and then he tells us what Jesus does through people. That would be the book of Luke, the biography and the book of Acts, the report of now this is true. This is what happened. And this is not a book of really nice people who are gifted and intelligent and articulate and together. I mean, these people are messed up sometimes worse than we are. You hear sometimes when people say, I want to go back to the early church. No you don’t. Well, yes you do. But not for the reasons that you think, because they were open to a God who was gonna use them to change the world. And that’s where we’re supposed to be too. We’re going to dig in a little bit to that first chapter more than we have to this point. But before we do that, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence, surprised, surprised that we’re here. Sometimes it’s amazing that you, an infinite omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God, would want to spend time with us. That is amazing. And Father, we praise you for that. We praise you for Jesus and for his sufficient and finished sacrifice on the cross. We praise you for the Holy Spirit and his power and his leading and his comfort. And we praise you an awesome God creator and sustainer of all that is. Father, you know the stuff we deal with every day, sometimes it’s really good and sometimes not so much, but you’re sovereign. You wrote this story and we can trust you in our lives with all of it. Be the God of our laughter and be the God of our tears. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, cause there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Now, if you were with us the last couple of weeks, we talked about the first thing that Jesus told his disciples to do. He didn’t tell them to get moving and change the world, he told them to stop. He said, be still and wait. And we spent almost two weeks talking about that. Now, I want to show you something else in this first chapter, before we turn to the Biblical doctrine of leadership. If you have a Bible, open it to the first chapter of Acts and I’ll start at the sixth verse and go through the 11th verse.
So when they had come together, they asked him. “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?”
Now I would have said, if I had been Jesus, you bozos, you still don’t understand, but he didn’t.
He said to them, “It’s not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. However, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and an old Judea and Sumeria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Oh, that’s the promise. The promise is first that you know nothing. And when you think you do, you’re in trouble. They wanted Israel as a nation to be restored. And they thought that was the ultimate plan of God. And it wasn’t, God’s plans are always are far bigger than we can imagine. And Jesus said in effect, you don’t know the times or the seasons that are set by your Father in heaven. And when you do know, it’s going to blow your mind. And it really does. And that’s what we’re going to be looking at as we study the book of Acts. But secondly, Jesus said, be still and you’re going to receive power, amazing power to do things that you never expected that you would do. That’s still true. It’s still a promise. It’s still ours. And then the third thing, is he’s going to return the way he left, only this time it’s going to be with his angels and his armies and to clean up the mess. I can remember for years when I thought I was an intellectual. There were a lot of things that were a part of that. I couldn’t say the word Satan without calling it metaphorical personification of evil. And if you, watching in our television audience, you can see that I’m blushing right now. I’m just glad we don’t have a television audience. I just can’t imagine how insufferable I was in those days. Another thing that I did, is that I thought that our culture would get better and better and better and by our efforts, our understanding social ethics, our understanding equality and justice, that we would bring in the kingdom of God. And that’s what Jesus meant by the second coming of Christ. He didn’t mean that at all. And when I think about the things that I thought and said in those days, it absolutely blows me away. When I was a teenager, was a part of a Bible study in a lady’s home. Her name was Aunt Gordy and it lasted about a year, almost two years, before I went south and became an agnostic. But I always looked back on that time as a very important time in my life, when God planted seeds that were going to grow. Aunt Gordy, and I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, in the mountains of North Carolina, she had a really nice house up on the side of a mountain. That overlook the city of Asheville. And every Monday night we would walk up that mountain, gather in her living room and she would open her Bible sometimes have others come in, missionaries to speak. And, we would study the Bible together and sing, and one of the things about Aunt Gordy. And I loved her, she’s in heaven now. And I can hardly wait to get home and tell her the impact that she had on my life. Whenever I would go back to my hometown, even in the days when I was no longer a believer, I went by to see her, but one of the things so good about that time, and this is what she did every morning of her life. She went into her kitchen. She opened the windows, even on a cold winter, snowy day. And she looked up at the sky and down at the city. And then she would say, Lord, maybe today, maybe today. As I became an intellectual, I thought, she was nice and I liked her, but she was just simply shallow and superficial and obscurantist, and she didn’t understand, but I’m older now and I’m a little bit wiser and I rise up and call her blessed. And I go to my window and open the sash and look out and say, maybe today, maybe today. That’s what the two guys who were in this text that I read to you are thinking about. They are angels and God sent them and said, you say this to those disciples who are looking up into the sky. You just saw Jesus leave, but don’t worry. He’s gonna come back and he’s gonna clean up the mess. I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. We live in a really messed up time. I’m old. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that the way it is right now. And it’s pretty scary, but go to your window tomorrow and look out and maybe you’ll feel better when you say Lord, maybe today, maybe today. You think about that. Amen.
God’s plans are always bigger than our plans. So true and so exciting when you stop to think about it. Thank you Steve. And again, in case you missed it, our text today was Acts 1:6-11. Much more to discover here in Acts. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow.
I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. In the span of two weeks, there have been four deaths in my orbit, their lives ended well.
Those words begin a wonderful article written by Robin DeMurga called Living in the In-Between. If you’ve been looking for some hope amidst the hard times. You need to read it and you can find it in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine, along with other great articles by Chad west. Chris Wachter and of course, Steve. Grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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