God hardly ever acts in a vacuum.
DECEMBER 7, 2022
God hardly ever acts in a vacuum. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. We’re studying Acts and we’re to the last part of the 18th chapter of Acts. And I read it to you yesterday. You ought to have your Bible open cause I’m gonna be referring to it the rest of this week. But it’s the story of Apollos. And frankly, we don’t know a lot about him. In this text, and there are five other references in the New Testament, very short. We can get a fairly vivid picture of Apollos, but we don’t know much about him. We know that he was born in Alexandria from which came the Greek Septuagint, in the second and third century B.C. So, there was scholarship going on there. We know that he was born to Greek slash Jewish parents. We know that he was talented, that he was eloquent, energetic, and well versed in the Scriptures, and we know that he was deeply religious. Many, and with some justification have given Apollos a prominent place in the founding of the Christian Church at Corinth. And that may be true, but it may not be true. One of the great unsolved mysteries of the New Testament is the identity of the author of the book of Hebrews. Nowhere in the body of that magnificent letter does the writer identify himself. Now, if you’re using a very old Bible, it it would say, The Letter of Paul to Hebrews, but Paul’s name is never mentioned and it’s simply not his style. And so, some have suggested, and I have even thought that maybe Apollos was the writer of the book of Hebrews, the tremendous insight into Jewish history. The references to the ritual and the Scripture would suggest that this is a man who is eloquent, who understand, and who is a scholar, but nobody knows for sure. That mixture then of fact and fantasy is everything we know about Apollos. But God in his graciousness, in the marvelous economy of his word, has given us enough to identify with him and further to see in him the picture of how God deals with anybody that he calls to himself. Let me give you a preliminary point that will become clearer as we go along. Psychologists tell us that at the root of many, if not most of the psychological and emotional problems that we have, is the failure of the individual to deal with or grow through in a formal way stages of human psychological development. One of the reasons a therapist will take time to go back through stages of childhood is not because he has an undue case of curiosity, but because he will want, or she will want to find out the stage in which the trouble occurred, and then to help the patient deal with that stage of development, which was not handled properly the first time. You would be extremely surprised to know how much our past plays into our present and into our future. That’s why Dan Allender, my friend, wrote the book, Truth Be Told, the main thrust of that book is that God speaks in biography, and so you ought to know your biography, where you came from, what influenced you, what changed you? I have a good friend, Dr. Dan Bush, who is a great author and he’s a therapist and he is working with people in past trauma. And when I was at the Cove this past time, Dan was there and I said, Dan, come up and tell us some of the things that you’re doing. And he said, what I do is that I have patients find the places of trauma in their past, and then with music and Scripture and love, I make that not a place of destruction, but a place of building. I take away the hurt and the pain, or Jesus does and he applies his healing and his love. Let me give you an illustration. I have a friend who, when she was two years old, her mother had a lobotomy. They used to do that in those days, and she was taken, and placed because her father couldn’t take care of her and work and put food on the table, to live with two maiden aunts. And all she knew was that she had a home and now she didn’t. She had a mother and now her mother was no longer there. And she had been placed in the home of somebody who was not her parents. And all she could think because she was only two years old, is I must have done something terribly wrong. And that affected the rest of her life. She lived one of the most destructive lives I’ve ever seen. She became a prostitute. She tried to commit suicide several times, and by the time I met her and heard her story and we revisited it, she began to see that demons die in the light. They do with all of us because God doesn’t work in a vacuum. He’s working even in the hard places of your past. And so, sit down, write your biography, and then say, God, speak to me in the words I have just written and help me understand. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Who was Apollos. We don’t know much, but what we do know we like and we’ll look more at what we do know about him tomorrow, don’t miss it. Well, I’m excited in exactly 10 days, we’ll air our annual Christmas episode of Steve Brown Etc. It’s the most fun show of a show that’s, eh, pretty fun to begin with. Hope you’ll tune in for that. And in case you missed it, we put last year’s episode on a CD that we would love to send to you. Take a listen to part of that show, then I’ll be back to tell you how to get in on that offer.
But Christmas, when you get all the stuff moved away is about Jesus. It really is. And the problem is that sometimes you’re so busy that you don’t think about that much. One of the traditions that we had in our family for a long time was every evening during Advent, we would have family devotions and we had this little thing that you could put something in the creche during that time, a pig or a cow or a horse or a camel or a wise man. And we did that over and over again. And on Christmas Eve, Jesus was put in that. And our girls still to this day, remember those times as a soft and wonderful time. Christmas is that, and I don’t begrudge the vendors who sell their stuff. They’ve got to make a living. And this, if they don’t cut it at Christmas, they don’t get it. And so, I’m not upset with the commercialism or even the secular music, but I do know that at the heart of all of it, and every Christian knows this, there’s something really that happened. Why don’t you guys talk about that part of Christmas and how that’s been a part of who you are. I’m assuming that none of you were born Christians. So, did Christmas change when you came, when Jesus found you? Matthew?
Well, I got to know Jesus when I was eight, so I didn’t have a lot of, you know, I wasn’t shooting up or getting drunk too much, so it was not that dramatic of a, of a conversion. But yes, for sure, the holiday evolves as you get older, as you start to own your faith more, as you start to get little kids. And, yeah. It’s just, it’s a really special time and it’s a challenge though to extricate the good news from the stuff that you get and you don’t want to squash that cause that’s a fun little part of it, but it’s always a new challenge of how to celebrate that, enjoy that, but also impart that story. And it’s not just a nice story, it’s just this invasion. And I love it. I love that it’s such an audacious invasion of the enemy’s territory and it’s like, it’s on, it’s so on this, this war, things are about to change, but I like your idea. I go back to your idea all the time, Steve, of let’s take Jesus out of Christmas and then we’ll have like real Christmas, it’s just Jesus over here. And you guys want to have a big party with cookies and it’s all presents and everything that’s over here. We’ll just, we’ll just make them two different events.
Jinx, you had something to say.
Jinx: I grew up, you know, in the church as well. And actually came to Christ, eight or nine, like Matt. And, it didn’t change that much back then because I’d been taught all this stuff, but as I’ve gotten older and had kids, the reflection on Jesus is much more prevalent. It just becomes more, more real, it’s not that the story’s any more believable, you just, as you get older, it seems that you see his working in you and his working in the world. And his rebirth that he gives us every year when we do these Christmas celebrations. I feel it usually at least into March, before I go back to worrying about the world ending until Thanksgiving. So, definitely becoming a parent changed everything too.
All right, that was more me than I expected. But you know what? Get to CD anyway. Just call us 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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