God and prejudice.
FEBRUARY 3, 2022
God and prejudice. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster and seminary professor who is sick a phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been listening this week, we’ve been talking about miracles and whether they’ve happened today, God’s hand is not shortened, when Jesus said, greater works will I do, then you do. He may have been talking about individuals, may have been talking about the church, but he certainly didn’t say I’ve stopped doing neat stuff for my people. He still does because he’s a good God. And he cares for us. And he has his purpose in us, happening in the world today. I think I’ve told you the story, but it won’t hurt to tell it again. Our daughter Jennifer was born with some significant physical problems. She had a blood count that was rising rapidly and they were going to take her to children’s hospital in Boston for the transfusion and kids died of that in those days. And there was a leg that wasn’t getting in any nourishment and they called a specialist to look at it. And he said in 20 years of practice, I haven’t seen anything like this and I’m afraid her leg won’t grow. And some people and I was new at this thing, but some people prayed for our daughter, and asked Jesus to intervene. And my wife was still in the hospital and she called the next morning and she said, honey, did anybody pray? And I said, yeah, they did. And she said, the doctor came in this morning and said, this is miraculous, the blood count is normal and we’re no longer worried about the leg. Oh, I was a liberal theologically in those days. I mean, I didn’t believe God did anything. I was almost a deist, that is somebody who believes that God started everything, got it set up and then went off on vacation somewhere. And certainly isn’t involved in it. And I remember that day changing my life. It really did. That’s when I realized that God is still operating. He is still answering prayers. He is still doing miracles. And we’ve spent a long time talking about that and the importance of recognizing that by God’s people. Now, we’re moving to a different text and we’re going to talk, we’re going to talk about prejudice. If you haven’t noticed we have, if you are living in America and also in Canada. We’ve got some serious problems. There’s racial division, there’s incredible prejudice and injustice, and anybody who denies that just simply hasn’t looked. It’s pretty scary. And Christians need to be on the right side of these issues. The Bible is very clear in what it says, how it teaches, what it references that Christians ought to be doing in the context of their culture. I can remember one time when I went to serve a church, they gave a membership in a local club to the local pastor, and I had read an article in the paper that they wouldn’t accept certain people, wouldn’t accept Jews and they wouldn’t accept African-Americans. And I had this thing sitting on my desk and I didn’t want, as the new pastor to come in as Amos and start yelling at them because of that. But it would be cold in a hot place before I was going to accept a membership in a club that had that kind of discrimination to it. So, that invitation, that gift sat on my desk for days, and I didn’t know what to do about it, I honestly didn’t. You know, you’ve got to earn the right to say hard things. And I hadn’t been there long enough to earn the right to say anything, except Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Now, George Buttrick used to say, there’s certain things you can’t say to a congregation till you’ve been with them a year. And there are other things you can’t say to a congregation and until you’ve been with them 15 years. And I took that to heart, I really believe that, but it was wrong. This club that had discriminated, had done wrong and I could not in good conscience be a member of that club. And I finally got close enough to one of the elders in this church to talk to him about it. And, I said to him Jim, I’ve got an awful decision to make and I don’t know what to do about it. And then I told him what my problem was and what the issues were, and that I wasn’t going to accept that membership. And, he said, Steve, I don’t, I’m not sure that’s true. He said, I know Jewish friends who are members of that club. And I know a couple of African-American friends who are members of that club. So, I think you’ve been told wrongly or that article you read simply wasn’t true. You know what I did, I went down to the library and got a microfilm of the time when we came and started researching that article. And I found out that the article was not about the club that had offered me the membership. It was another club that had a similar name. And I was so relieved, I almost spoken tongues. And then I had another issue and the issue was, how can a pastor accept a membership in a fancy club like that? And then I realized that if I had charged for all the counseling I had done for the members of that club, I could have bought the place. So, I became at least for a while, a member of that club. Folks, we’ve got issues in this country. And, there are racial issues and there’s division, and some people are making money on making it worse. Some people are fanning the flames and in those flames they’re getting power and they’re getting rich. And that bothers me. And the only people. And we’re going to talk about this solution. I thought we were going to get to it today, but now I’m not sure I’m going to get to it. I certainly don’t have time to read the text, but the Scriptures speak very clearly. Are you being made guilty because of what others have done? Don’t let people do that to you. You’ve got plenty to feel guilty about in yourself and the Scriptures are really clear about that. And we’re going to see that as we look at this 10th chapter of the book of Acts. Only God has the right to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right. No human being has that right. Only God has the right to tell you what you’ve got to stop and what you’ve got to continue. Only God has the right to reveal to you what’s evil and what’s good and what’s right and what’s wrong. And Christians need to spend the time listening to what God says, and then with kindness and gentleness and the fruit of the Spirit to speak truth into a very, very hard and difficult situation. That’s our responsibility. And we’re going to talk about it next week, when we get into this text because something similar was going on in the early church. And this time it was the Jews persecuting the Christians. Now, that’s a switch. If you’re familiar with a story of antisemitism, it’s not a very pretty story, but they started it. My neighbor and I, we both have dogs. He has this little dog and I have this big German shepherd. And when they’re both out in the backyard, they bark at each other. And my neighbor came out the other day and he said, Brown, your dog started it. And we laughed about it, who had started the fight between the two dogs. Well, believe it or not, the Jews were not pure. There was a lot of prejudice there and they started it. And the Christians said, you know, if we ever get the power, we’re going to get those suckers. If we ever get in charge, as people in charge, we’re going to put them in their place. And the history of antisemitism is horror in the church. Even Martin Luther and you know he’s my hero, said things that were so bad that I wince. But with Luther, the point is, he was not only bad, he knew he was bad. And that’s why he taught grace so clearly and justification and imputation so clearly. And so, we’re going to find out next week when we get into this text, that Jews didn’t like Christians very much. And as soon as we got over that early period, that Christians didn’t like Jews very much. And both sides of those issues have hurt both sides of the spectrum. If you want to read about it, go into the book of Ephesians, where God broke down the dividing wall between us. God would do something, except for prejudice. And God can still do something in our culture, as long as we listen to him, are clear and speak the truth. You think about that. Amen.
And thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown landing the plane on chapter nine in our exploration of Acts. Remember, if you missed any episodes, be sure to swing by keylife.org where you can listen to those for free. And join us again tomorrow for Friday Q&A. Tomorrow, Steve and our friend, Pete Alwinson will answer this question. Does the Bible really teach election? That should be a good one. Hey, can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever felt like the church no longer meets your needs? For a lot of Christians, it’s a very relevant and timely question. It’s also a question. Kendra Fletcher explores in her article called When the Church Can’t Meet Your Needs. You’ll find that peace in the current issue of Key Life magazine, along with articles from some of your favorite key Life voices, like Chad West and Pete Alwinson and of course, Steve. 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 the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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