God does not need your help.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2023
Hey, God does not need your help. Let’s talk about it on this edition of Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation, and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life, with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the defense of Paul in the final two or three chapters of the Book of Acts. And we’re going to spend some time on the shipwreck, and then we’re going to spend some time on some principles when we write the final chapter of the Book of Acts. And then if the plan goes right and the creek don’t rise, we’re going to move to a different series. on the Book of Proverbs. But at any rate, we’re looking at Acts now. We’re looking at the defense of Paul and how sterling it was. Clearly, he was not defending himself. He didn’t care. He was presenting Christ and he saw this as a major opportunity to do so. In fact, God had told him that he was going to go to Rome, didn’t tell him how it was going to happen, and it was not a very pleasant way to go to Rome, but he knew that his business was to be there for them. And it’s very clear as you look at his defense before kings and potentates and rulers, Paul is seeing it as an opportunity to present Christ. And I was asking the question, why don’t we do that too? And I moved the previous question, if you were listening yesterday, it was because we’re afraid of what people will think about us. Acts 26:24.
And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you’re crazy; your great learning is turning you mad.”
Festus didn’t know it, but Paul wasn’t on trial. He had already been tried and found guilty in a much larger and bigger court than the one over which Festus ruled. And his attorney, who was the best you can get, just when he was about to be condemned, Jesus came up, put his arm around Paul’s shoulder and said, Father, I took care of all of that on the cross. And so, Paul had already been tried, he had already been found guilty, and he had already been set free. So, he wasn’t being tried by Festus, Festus was being tried by him. There’s a story about a visitor in an art gallery. A young man who was criticizing many of the masterpieces. He said to the guard, I don’t care for your pictures. And the guard said, son, it is our visitors, and not our pictures, that are on trial here. That’s true with Festus. And Paul didn’t care what Festus thought. And that was really good. There’s another reason why our witness isn’t like the apostle Paul’s witness, and that is that we really think that God needs some help. We forget about a sovereign God. Let me tell you something, God doesn’t need you at all. As we’ve gone through all of this, which is essentially the witness of evangelism in the defense that we have. As we’ve gone through this particular material, it kind of sounded like it all depended on us. Listen to me, I’ve got some good news for you. Nothing depends on you. Jesus was doing fine before you were born. He’ll be doing fine if he tarries in his return long after you die. His work will be done. It will be done well. The history of what is happening in the world will take place exactly as God has ordained it. Things will be as they are and they are the way a sovereign God has determined that they be. And he doesn’t need your help, but he likes you. And so, he lets you come along and see him as he does his work in the lives of the people before whom you make your defense. As you know, I was a seminary professor for a lot of years. Still do it on occasion. And I would say some things that were fairly negative about what the students were going to be facing in the church. Church is not a safe place, and it’s not a safe place for you most of the time, and it’s hardly ever a safe place for a pastor. Unless he’s free, and then it becomes a safe place, and because he has experienced that, he or she can create a safe place for the people in the congregation. But then I would say some positive things. And I would say to the students, you are very fortunate because God has given you a front row seat. So you get to observe what he does in a whole lot of life. And in those lives as you watch him change them, you will be grateful that God would allow you to stand and watch him do Incredible things. And so, we don’t do it because we mess it up because we think God needs some help. And he really doesn’t. And then there’s a third reason, we are constantly defending ourselves and justifying ourselves because our vision is quite limited. Look at Acts 26:19, and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow.
“Therefore,, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
What’s your vision? When you look into the future, what do you see? Our prayer ought to be, Father, help me to see the future through your eyes. You think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown, and we’ve been exploring the defense of Paul, which was actually a presentation of the gospel. Well played, Paul. More to discover tomorrow. Hope you will join us then. Well, can I ask you something? Has anyone ever implied to you, maybe even said explicitly that righteous anger was good? Maybe even necessary. It could be you’ve been sold a bad bill of goods. Well, Steve and the gang recently hung out with author and radio host Brant Hansen to discuss everybody’s favorite default emotion. Take a listen to part of this surprising conversation, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.
Brant Hansen: I just did Good Morning America a few days ago on this topic. Yeah, it’s really cool. And I never saw that opportunity coming, it was really wonderful and they were great to me. And then I just did a Christian TV show yesterday and I had a bigger, I guess it won’t be shocking. I know this is a safe place for this. I have a, I had a harder time getting people to accept what Jesus was saying about forgiveness on the Christian show because they normally talk politics and stuff. So, the idea that look, forgiveness is everything, we’re supposed to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. This is, it rides on this, this is what. And they’re very dubious about it. I’m like, I, this isn’t me saying this, like, I can be confident about his own words and like, but it’s very strange, we’re so committed to still holding on to anger, it’s even Jesus words himself. I can say stuff and doubt myself, but on this one, like, I don’t know what to, I don’t know what to tell you. This isn’t even me saying this is Jesus saying this.
I know where that comes from. I’ve been there, done that and still visit on occasions. But at least I have a friend like you who in the context of a one hour program will fix me. I don’t have any other place to go but to Jesus, so if you don’t do it, he’s all I’ve got left. How do you deal with criticism, by the way? Do you, does it get to you?
Brant Hansen: I’m a lot better about it now because I’ve been practicing this and I do, I’m a big Dallas Willard guy about practicing and like, so each day I’m saying to myself, I need to be thankful for what God has done to forgive me. Like, I have to believe that what I’ve done resulted in the cross, so I can’t be sloughed off. And so, for me to go into the day with that mentality of I’m going to forgive people in advance based on what God has done for me, that becomes a daily practice. And I think that changes you over time, and you get to be a lot less easily threatened. So, and that’s where anger comes from, it’s from threat, right? So, it’s a fight or flight response, and we’re supposed to have it for 30 seconds to avoid an attack or something, but humans are capable of keeping that fight or flight response and harboring it for weeks, months, years, the rest of your life. We’re not made for that, so, it’s that daily practice that helps me deal with that. So now, you know, I’m out there in public and people are going to make comments and misunderstand me. And I have to be like, well, that’s going to happen. Even before I look at the comments, even before I read the e-mail, before I open it, like, I’m going to forgive this person in advance because people are messed up and God’s forgiven me.
Now, you’re not saying that Christians need to be weenies, are you?
Brant Hansen: No, I am. That’s what I’m saying, my next book is actually called Christians Need to be Weenies. You know, that’s the funny thing though because I have to convince people, they think they have to harbor anger in order to do the right thing. And I’m saying, actually anger throws off your judgment, anger resides in the lap of a fool, not a wise man, but we have made anger into this fruit of the spirit. It’s not, it’s in all the negative. It’s not love, joy, peace, anger, goodness, it’s not in there, but we’ve done that. So, we actually think, and I’ve heard this from I don’t know how many people. Well, if I’m not angry, I won’t do anything about it, I need to be angry. Well, that’s a problem. That’s a problem. And there’s nothing Scripturally to back up that idea. And also, you do it, whatever you do with anger, you can do better without it. You can actually address injustice. You can actually stand up for what’s right. You can, but you won’t be clouded by anger towards people. You can do it from the heart of compassion.
Can we send you that whole conversation on CD for free so that you could hear it yourself? If so, call us now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1 800 539 5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Brant Hansen. And finally, a question for you. Do you value the work of Key Life? If so, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. How do you do it? Super easy, just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.