God can change the world through you.
NOVEMBER 11, 2021
God can change the world through you. 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 of phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. We’ve been looking at Stephen over the last few days and I’ve been showing you some good things about my friend Stephen. Now, we’re going to move into the eighth chapter of Acts in our study of Acts. And we’re going to look at some of the repercussions of a committed life. I started this program by saying, God could change the world through you. And you thought and listen, I know what you were thinking. I’ve been doing this for a long time. Oh great. Now, I’m going to be beaten over the head with guilt because of the people I’m not telling about Christ, the hungry I’m not feeding, the missions I’m not giving to, the things that I should be doing and I haven’t. No, I’m not. I’m not going to do that, but there is a plan. And you’re a part of it. And it’s kind of a go with the flow thing as God ordains the circumstances of your life. All you’ve got to do is to do what he says as he brings up the circumstances. It offends people when I do this, but I do it anyway. Poker is a great game. I quit playing it years ago when I became a pastor, but I was very good at it. I probably could have made more money playing poker than I did ever being a pastor, but I decided that’s not something that a Christian ought to do. So, I quit playing poker, but poker is kind of like what I’ve been telling you don’t deal the cards, the dealer does that. All you have to do is play the cards as best you can. And the good thing when you use that metaphor for a Christian life, is that even if you play them poorly, God will make up for the lack. So, I’m not going to send you on a guilt trip, but God does things and he does them in amazing ways. Before we turn to the eighth chapter of Acts and we’re going to see the repercussions of a committed to life. Let me tell you a story. It was London, a little boy, he was a runaway, found himself wandering into a church and there was a service going on and he gave his life to Christ. He entered the ministry and his ministry was uneventful. And it was a small church, not many people came to hear him preach. And he died with that, now his name is Thomas Scott. No, not his name, Thomas Scott came to that church, that small church and Thomas Scott sat under the ministry of that little boy who had been a runaway who had found Christ years before. You don’t know who Thomas Scott was either. And I don’t even know the name of the man, the runaway boy who found Christ and became a pastor. But William Cooper, a clerk in London heard Thomas Scott preach and he gave his life to Christ. William Cooper, you’ve heard of, we sing his hymns. He was a man who struggled with great clinical depression, all of his life. And yet out of that darkness of his life, God grew some absolutely magnificent flowers. So you know his name. And then there’s another name that you know, and that name is William Wilberforce. William Wilberforce, and I’ll tell you about him in a minute, was listening to William Cooper preach and he came to Christ. And then Wilberforce in 1833 began the anti-slavery movement, which would remove slavery from all of the British empire and eventually would have repercussions in America. Amazing, incredible repercussions eventually sweeping the entire world. It all started with a little boy and we don’t even know his name. That’s how God works. And that’s how he works sometimes with people like Stephen and people like you and people like me, the first verse of the eighth chapter of acts begins this way. Stephen is dying and, he says.
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” when he had said this, he fell asleep.
And then there’s a sentence that Luke puts in. And it’s the beginning of something kind of like the story I told you.
And Saul was consenting to his death.
Now, if you have your Bible open, let’s look at in the next two or three verses.
And so that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
There’s a phrase that I learned from a Bible teacher. And I don’t even remember his name, but I never forgot it. He said, Acts 1:8 never happened until Acts 8:1 happened. What does that mean? Well, Acts 1:8 is where Jesus says, go into the world, go start a Jerusalem and then go into all the world. And you know what they did, they didn’t, they sat around and sang Kumbaya. Well, they did more than that, but you know, they were staying in Jerusalem and doing religious stuff and then Acts 8:1 happened, the persecution of the church and God spewed those people out of Jerusalem. He said, get moving. And they had to get moving because they didn’t get a choice. And so, Acts 1:8 didn’t happen until Acts 8:1 happened. And as a matter of fact, just an aside, that might be happening right now. There are a number of indications that in America and Canada and other places in the world, there is an awakening that is brewing. That’s going to be as big as any great awakening the church has ever experienced, and it may be happening because we’re hated so much because Christians are canceled out so often because we are not included in the pockets of power in our nation. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. And that’s the place where Jesus begins to move.
And on that day
Luke says to read it again
a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, and they were old scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamination over him. But Saul
Yeah, that’s the one later to become Paul.
But Saul laid waste the church, and entering the house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
Oh my. So, you got Stephen, a guy who had promise gifted and bright dead. I mean, if I had been, God I’d have kept him around a while, but he was God’s. He was God’s man and his call was to die in a way that would make a difference. And we’re going to look and we’re going to see this a lot as we go through the book of Acts. We’re going to see it beginning here, but we’re going to see pieces of what happened because of Stephen’s witness to Paul. And what happened to the church because of Paul because a godly man was faithful to the death to which he had been called. And by the way, that’s how we’ve all been called, Bonhoeffer said.
When God calls a man he calls him to die.
And he really does.
I am crucified with Christ.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20, that’s where we’re called to live, to die.
Nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me.
And so, when God calls you, they didn’t tell you, but I’m telling you now. And I have to be reminded myself. He didn’t call me to shine. He called me to die. And if I’m willing to die, then out of that, God will use something that will be amazing in the world. And, as an aside, you’ll have joy you never experienced because you don’t have to be God anymore. Dead people don’t have to pretend anymore, dead people don’t have to defend anything anymore. They just live and they live in freedom and it’s the freedom that God promised all his covenant people that would be you and that would be me, that we could live in that freedom and that joy and dance and sing in the presence of God the father and God the son and God the Holy Spirit. But you have got to die. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Next week, we’ll wrap up Acts 7 and get into Acts 8, very exciting stuff. And remember to visit us at Keylife.org to listen to all of these episodes, anytime you want. Steve will be back tomorrow for Friday Q&A joined by our friend, Pete Alwinson. If you enjoy a good deep dive into challenging Biblical questions then make sure you join us. Hey, are you an early Christmas decorator? Like you’ve already decked the halls with boughs of holly or do you look at those folks like they’re a crazy. Well, wherever you land on that spectrum, we all certainly feel it approaching in our hearts. That’s why, how ever you prepare for Christmas, we want to offer you a new way. It’s a free booklet called Christmas Meditations. And it’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions to help you quietly focus and reflect on the impact of Christ’s coming. Get it right now, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433 4 3 3. 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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