God is sometimes scary.
AUGUST 31, 2021
God is sometimes scary. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward, and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, I took the time to read the first part of the fifth chapter of the book of Acts up through the 16th verse. And we’re going to be looking at that this week and probably into next week. And then another fun text, thank heavens. Where, the disciples get in prison and then they’re released and then they’re brought back and it’s, that’s a funny text too, but this one’s not funny. This is pretty serious. If you’ve read this text or if you were listening yesterday, when we read the text, Ananias and Sapphira, and by the way, Barnabas had a good hand in all of this, contrary to what Ananias and Sapphara did, Barnabas, who was then called Joseph sold a piece of land and gave it to the church for the benefit of God’s people and God’s work. And so, he was thought of highly at the church in Jerusalem, the mother church, and they changed his name, from Joseph to Barnabas. And Barnabas means son of encouragement. Now, Ananias and Sapphira did just the opposite. And I know you’re irritated with me laughing about this, and I don’t want to make a joke out of it, because this is serious business, because we worship a serious God. Let me tell you something, if you’ve never stood before God and been afraid, then you’re probably worshiping an idol. I mean, God is very, very big. You don’t want to mess with God. God is, God is sovereign, the ruler, the creator, the sustainer of everything. And when you stand before God, the real God, you gotta be like Isaiah, when he was called. You remember what happened? It’s in the book of Isaiah and Isaiah was probably a worker in the temple and he was polishing the candlesticks and a whistling an old Jewish song. And then God showed, the real God and blew him away. I mean, all of a sudden, the God he had taught about, the God he had preached about, the God he had worshiped showed up and God was far bigger and more scary than anything Isaiah had ever imagined or could imagine. You remember what he said? He said, oops, no, well, that’s not in the text. He said.
Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips. And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
And then he was cleansed and sent, cleansed and sent. That’s the real God, when the real God shows up and I’m with Hosea too. You remember Hosea, who was serving as a rabbi in a church and doing quite well. When the real God came to his devotional time and said, Hosea, I’ve got something for you to do. And Hosea said, and it’s not in the text, but he’s a friend of mine and I know what he said. God, I’m your man. I mean, I’m ordained. I mean, whatever you want me to do, you know, I’ll do it. And God said, I want you to marry a prostitute. And Hosea said, really? What’s that going to do to my reputation? I mean, I mean, if I marry a prostitute and make her the first lady of the church manse, this is not going to be positive PR. And God said, I thought you said you do whatever I told you. And Hosea said, okay. And he went out and did it, but he wasn’t ever flippant again in his devotional time. If you pray regularly and you have a regular relationship with God. And if sometimes you aren’t a little bit nervous, you’re probably worshiping an idol. Now more needs to be said than that. If you have been praying and you haven’t been confused sometimes, you’re probably doing the same thing. Or if you haven’t been loved totally and completely, and without reservation, you probably, when, you know you didn’t deserve it, you’re probably worshiping an idol too. And as we study Scripture, throughout Scripture there is always the Father, who is loving and kind and gentle to his people. But there is always the reminder, don’t forget he’s God. That’s what Jesus did in the prayer that he taught us. He said, when you pray, pray
Our Father who art in heaven.
In other words, he’s your father, but he’s God, and God is big and sovereign and holy and separate. And, he lowers himself. That’s what the Christian faith is about. When God entered time and space and walked the roads we walk. Live the lives we live. Face the fears that we face. Encountered the temptations that we encounter, so that there was an amazing identification. Don’t forget, however, God, the father. Don’t forget that he’s big and he’s scary. Now we’re going to say a lot about this text as we go through it. But, at bottom, at bottom line, it reflects a God who is the real God of the universe, who is big and scary, and you don’t want to mess with him. But he is your father, don’t forget that. Now, let me give you a principle, cause we get this question a lot about Ananias and Sapphira who were killed because they lied to God to the Holy Spirit. They kept back some of the profits and they were causing all kinds of problems because of that, and they died. We get old kinds of questions and I don’t know, and I’m going to give you some answers, but I don’t know if I have all the answers for this text. My mentor, Fred Smith said that Christian maturity is defined by a high tolerance for ambiguity. And there’s plenty of that when you’re dealing with God, when the infinite communicates to the finite, if there is an ambiguity, then you haven’t been listening. So, I’m going to give you some answers and they’ll be helpful. But I don’t know if I’ve got this thing down, pat. So, I’ve got a principle. The principle is this. When you hit a text in the Bible that doesn’t seem to fit everything that you’ve learned in the Bible, don’t change your views. Don’t throw out the test. Don’t say to yourself, that must have been an invention by a writer who stuck it in the middle of the Bible. And it wasn’t in the original manuscript. But it was there in the original manuscript. And so when you read a text like this, don’t junk it, but make sure that you put it in the context of the entire Bible. Is God our father? Yes he is. Is he a child abuser? No, he’s not. Does he forgive all our sins? Yes, he does. Is grace the definition of what the Christian faith is all about? Yes. The word is forgiveness and it ought to describe what we are about. And then you hit a text like this text and it blows you away. I told you that my pastor Dan use this text as a text in a fundraising thing for a building program. And he’s, my pastor is wonderful, he really is. He’s a great preacher and he didn’t beat people over the heads with it. I mean, I think I would have picked a different text, but he exegeted it properly. And it was a great morning. And I saw things I hadn’t seen before, but when you hit a text like this don’t change, don’t change what God has taught you before you read this text. And so, all of a sudden we’re doing fine in the book of Acts. And we opened the pages and we read that God killed off Ananias and Sapphira, that they lied and cheated and died. Yeah, so there. What are you going to do with that? Well, we’re going to talk about it a lot more as we go through this, and I’ve got more to say, and that’s kind of a teaser to see if I can get you to listen tomorrow and the rest of the week, when we’ll be looking at this text. But for now, let me just give you a little bit of hint. God is not violating who he really is. And, if Ananias and Sapphira were Christians and I suspect they may have been. Christians do very sinful things sometimes, they are in heaven now. And God had something else going on besides just killing off somebody who got out of the line. He was not fixing them, he was fixing the church. And we’ll talk about that tomorrow. Meanwhile, you think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. More to learn here in Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphira and the early church. And we will pick up this thread right here again tomorrow. Sure, hope you’ll join us. So, in addition to this show Key Life, which is our Bible teaching program, we have a weekly talk radio show, it’s called Steve Brown Etc. Some recent guests include Pat Williams, Ken Starr, Os Guinness, Eric Metaxas, great guests. But some of my favorite episodes are when it’s just Steve and the rest of the gang. Well, we recently had one of those shows and we took the entire show to talk about guilt, what it means and how to overcome that. Are you struggling with guilt? If so, could you use that kind of encouragement? If so, then let us send you that whole show for free on a CD. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that show CD. If you’d like to mail a request, send it to
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