Follow close and you’ll be okay.
MARCH 7, 2022
Follow close and you’ll be okay. Let’s talk about that, on this edition of Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace, is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts and we’re taking a very long time. I am, as it were and have said often, your tour director. And as we take this trip through this absolutely amazing and wonderful book, I’m pausing here and there to show you the sites. And, it is a wonderful trip, even if it takes a while. Now, we’re up to the 11th chapter of Acts. And I, we’re going to look at the first few verses of that chapter. And, I read it last week, but let me read it here, then we’ll pray and then we’ll study.
Now the apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Now, we spent a couple of weeks looking at the 10th chapter, where the Holy Spirit fell on people that the Jews felt should not have fallen on, in other words, they were the Goyam and they, the Jews were the chosen and the chosen did not even eat with Gentiles. And yet Peter because of God’s intervention, opened the door and God did a wonderful thing. And that surprised and offended the people in the early church in Jerusalem who were all Jews.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to the uncircumcised and eat with them?” But Peter began and explained to them in order: “I was in this city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something descending, like a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts and prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But I said, “No Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” but the voice answered a second time from heaven, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and all was drawn up into heaven. At that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Cesarea. And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon called Peter; he will declare you a message by which you will be saved, you and your household.” As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as the Holy Spirit fell on us in the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, “John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.
Oh my. Let’s pray. And then we’ll talk about it. Father, as we come into your presence, we come sort of like our brothers and sisters in the first century, sometimes confused, sometimes wrong, always sinful, sometimes afraid, sometimes marginalized, but belonging to you. Come to us the way you came to them, give guidance and understanding and wisdom that you might be glorified. You know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast and you know how hard it is for some, bad finances, difficult family, difficult problems and marriages that are on the rocks. You know all of that, the diagnosis from the doctor. Father, come, come yourself, give healing and wholeness, give your presence and remind them of your sufficiency. And for others Father, we’re doing fine, remind us that you’re the God of doing fine too. And that you’re a part of our laughter, that you’re a part of our lives in every facet. And now Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins for there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Interesting thing about the verses I just read to you, is that to their aid eternal credit, the early Christians had learned three things that are very important, first that God, the God of the universe had called them. The German philosopher Schopenhauer, one time was sitting on a park bench contemplating, I suppose his existence. And a policeman came up to him and said, who are you? And Schopenhauer looked up and said to the policeman, I wish to God, I knew. Well, they didn’t have to do that in the first century, they knew they were, I mean, God had come. A dead man had got up and walked. They had seen the fire fall from heaven, they had seen the miracles, they were learning truths they never saw before, and they had met Jesus and they knew who they were. That would be a good idea for us too, as we talk about how do you know, when the church is doing the right thing. And then secondly, they knew they didn’t know what they were doing. You know, as you read this text, you get, Peter’s kind of confused too. He goes to Jerusalem where the leaders are, and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later on, but he talks to the church and he says, you’re not going to believe this, but I’m going to tell you what happened to me. And he was confused and they were confused and they didn’t know what to do. I mean, this was new, there was no manual for the church. There was nothing written down. They didn’t have any bishops who had been there and done that. They didn’t have any old guys who had experience and wisdom enduring this, this was brand new. And at the beginning, they honestly didn’t know what they were doing and they knew it. But, and that wouldn’t be bad for us too. One of the most dangerous things that can happen in the church is for leaders to think they know what they’re doing when they don’t. There’s an old police comedy television show and I don’t even remember, Barney Miller, I think was the name of it, where the commissioner had required that the detectives put on police uniforms. And one of the detectives said, we can’t do that, if we put on a uniform, we’ll think we know what we’re doing and we don’t know what we’re doing. Well, that happened in the early church, but let me tell you something else they knew. They knew that God was in charge of all of this. They knew that God knew what he was doing. They knew that not one molecule was gonna happen any place, anytime that wasn’t under the control of the God they had come to know. And so, they decided not a bad practice to stay very close to him. You know, broadcast engineers are a breed unto themselves. Jeremy who produces this program is a breed unto himself. I’m in this studio and he’s in the control room with all of the equipment and the buttons and the things that he does and the computer screens and all of that. And, and he’s a breed unto himself. Do you know the one place I don’t go in this building? I don’t go into that control room because it’s, and that’s been true with me. I’m just technologically disadvantaged. I wouldn’t know how to do stuff like that. And that’s always been true. And I’ve been doing this longer than most of you have been alive. I’ve been in commercial broadcasting for years and years, and now I’m doing it for Jesus. And the pay isn’t as good, but the retirement plan is outstanding. But I remember the first radio station I worked was in the mountains of North Carolina and our transmitter went out and the engineer came to fix it. And he said, Steve, do exactly what I tell you to do or you’ll die. This is dangerous business. And I did because he knew. And I didn’t know. The church knew that God knew what he was doing and they decided they were going to let him make the plans, set the goals and do the hard work. And God honored it. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Acts 11, that even if we don’t know what we’re doing and we don’t, that God does know what he’s doing. I don’t know about you? That eases my mind a lot. More from Acts tomorrow. Be sure to join us then. By the way. Do you know the name, Dan Allender. If you do, you’re probably smiling right now. And if you don’t, boy, we would sure love to introduce you. Dan Allender and Cathy Loerzel are both authors and counselors, and we spoke with both of them a few months ago on Steve Brown Etc. Their new book explains how healing from past hurts can actually be the path forward. It is such an encouraging message and we would love to send you that whole conversation on a CD, for free. Call us right now 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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