For heaven’s sake, listen to the people.
OCTOBER 12, 2021
For heaven’s sake, listen to the people. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be here guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible and you’re in a place where you can open it, open it to the sixth chapter of the book of Acts. And we are looking at the first catastrophe to happen in the church. Division, anger, hostility and how it was dealt with. And, it’s instructive for us because we’re living in a very divisive age. I said yesterday, if you were listening and you never listen to me. I said yesterday, it’s hard to swim in a swimming pool without getting wet. And we swim in a cultural swimming pool and it’s our culture that in some ways is as evil as anything I’ve ever seen. Hateful, they’ve given microphones to the town drunks. I mean, everybody can shout at everybody and you can do it anonymously. And that kind of culture and social media has found its way into the church. And people are not as kind as they once were or as loving as they once were. And so, there’s a lot of division going on right now in the church among God’s people. Now it’s not as bad as the world. I mean, we got a swim in that swimming pool, but we can do it with grace and mercy and forgiveness and kindness and love. You know why? Because we know we need grace and mercy and kindness and forgiveness and love. And as long as we remember that we’ll get through this. But it’s a rough time and it’s a divisive time, not all together different than what was going on in the first century. Now we’ve seen the fact that the writer, Luke, the physician, mentioned it, is significant. Most religious books tell you the good things and the positive things. I have a friend, one of my closest friends, a guy with whom I’ve been in an accountable relationship for a hundred years, his name is Eddie Waxer. And he has literally, because of his efforts for Christ in the world of sports has seen the world change. And God is using him in a wonderful way. At any rate, Eddie was invited to be on a major. Christian network and he never made it. You know why? Because they had a pre-interview and Eddie was talking about his ministry and the difficulties and the failures he had experienced. And the person who did the interview said, that’s not what we do in this program. What we do is we talk about successes. And they asked Eddie to just talk about successes and he refused and they kicked him out. That’s kind of a shame because if we’re not willing to talk about the problems, we never find the solutions. If we’re not willing to face with grace, the divisions, you never have unity in the church. And Luke pointed that out. Then diversification and repentance on the part of the apostles. The reason there was a problem here wasn’t because it just happened. It’s because Peter et al had messed it up. They didn’t do it right. And so there was personal repentance and then note also, and we’ve seen all of this in the third verse, there is depth. Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit and wisdom. And when you’re going to choose the first board to oversee all of this mess, make sure that there are people of depth and wisdom. I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for leaders in the church, I want somebody first who is very close to Jesus, who really understands grace and redemption and forgiveness and love, who values other people. And that’s the kind of people they picked to be the leaders in the church. And Stephen was the first chairman of the board of deacons. And when we finish talking about church division, we’re going to look at Stephen and what happened to him. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s not only my namesake, he’s a man of great courage, who was the first or among the first Christian martyr. And, that’ll remind you, those of you who would like to be the president of the board of deacons, what can happen when you take that position. But we’re going to spend three or four weeks on Stephen because he is something else. So people of great wisdom filled with the Holy Spirit. And then there is the listening part that takes place in the context of this, they told all the people, they talked to them about it, and then a miracle takes place. And if you’ve been working in the church, as long as I have, you know how big this miracle is. You can’t get the whole congregation to agree on the second coming of Christ. And that is something that God designed. That’s how we grow and we deepen, but at any rate in the fifth verse.
And what they said pleased the whole multitude.
Oh man. That’s big. That’s a big deal. You know how that happened? Cause they listened. That’s how it happened. When I was a pastor of a church, I began to realize that there were so many people that I didn’t know what they were old saying. I didn’t know which ones were heretics. I didn’t know which ones were faithful. I didn’t know which ones were, needed to be hugged and which ones needed to be kicked. I mean, I just, I got that separation and I couldn’t get to all those people. And then I talked to the elders of the church and I said, we’re going to have a new requirement to be nominated as an elder of this church. And the qualification is if you’re going to be a leader, you have to have a constituency. If the shepherd doesn’t have any sheep, then he’s not a shepherd, he could be a butcher. And so, and most of them did, but I intentionally planned the leadership of the church, amongst some other things that were important. But I planned that that leader have a constituency and it got so that every time the elders of that church met together, we were in touch with the entire congregation because every elder had a constituency, I didn’t know it then, but that was quite wise. I did a very, very wise thing and I don’t always do the wise thing, but I did that time. Why? Because of Acts 6, you can’t lead a congregation without knowing what the congregation is saying, the questions they have. Now, I’m not talking about a survey. If you, if you survey your congregation on the kind of worship you’re gonna have, you’re crazy, if you’re a pastor. Cause you’re stirring up stuff, you don’t need to stir up, but you better know where they’re coming from. You better know what they think. You better know what they pray about, where they live, where their concerns are. And this was going on in the first century. These were not just people who warmed the pew. They weren’t people who gave their tithes. They weren’t people who were trying to be nice to each other. They were real people with real thoughts and real opinions. And the apostles were smart enough to listen to the people. You know, one of the things that I’ve discovered over a lot of years is that when somebody is a con artist. They may last for a while, cause they talk good. They may last for a while because people are busy about other things, but they don’t last forever. You know why? Because of the terrible meek, the people of God, and they know eventually if they’re listening to Jesus or a bundle of ego. They know. They really know if this is the real deal or if it’s a con artist because God speaks through leaders. And we’re going to talk about that tomorrow. And he speaks clearly through strong leaders and I believe in strong leadership, but he speaks clearly through his people too. And it’s so important that you be in touch with where the people are. And then I’m going to mention today and I’m running out of time, so I don’t have any time, but the early church weren’t living in an ivory tower. There was a good deal of common sense. And we could do with that today in the church. And we could do a bit with that in our politics and our nation too. You think about that. Amen.
That is some practical wisdom right there from Acts 6. Thank you Steve. More to unpack in this chapter tomorrow. Do hope you’ll join us again, then. Hey, are you up for a pop quiz? How many chapters are there in Acts? I’ll be honest. I couldn’t remember off hand. The answer is, 28. 28 exciting chapters, and we have only now arrived at chapter 6. So, really we’re just getting started and that’s why we want to send you a special booklet for free. It’s called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. Early church leadership, the Pentecost, the fellowship of believers, persecution, all of those subjects are in there. And additionally, there is Steve’s overview of Romans. You are going to love this booklet and it is free, but you have to claim it to get it. So call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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