His hands for giving are greater than our hands for receiving.
AUGUST 5, 2021
His hands for giving are greater than our hands for receiving. Let’s talk on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth, that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the third chapter of Acts and that’s the place where the, it is a fun story, it really is. You know, we try to read Scripture, like this is serious. I’m having a season with God. I’m gonna spend time studying God’s word and you know, most people see that kind of thing and want to run. The Bible is the, you know, it’s filled with sex. Did you know that? And it’s earthy and it’s fun and it’s got jokes in it and poems that’ll move you to tears. And then you add Jesus to that. And you’ve got a book that is just amazing and wonderful. And this third chapter of Acts is one of those places, where you see that it’s funny and it’s delightful and it’s clear and it’s true and it’s encouraging. And, we saw it yesterday and I just mentioned it, but I want to show you a little bit more about it. I wanted you to notice that what this cripple expected from Peter and John, he didn’t get, but what he didn’t expect, which was so much better, he received. That’s the sixth verse, but Peter said.
I have no silver or gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!
Do you remember that old poem that was quoted so often and still is, I suppose, I looked it up. It’s called the Soldier’s Prayer. And I don’t even know who wrote it. I guess I could have Googled it and found out and given credit for it, but I didn’t have time. And let me see if I, if I’ve got,
I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for help that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for a power that I might have the praise of man. And I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing I had asked for, but everything I had hoped for, almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all people, most blessed.
That is so cool. But let me tell you something, it gives a flavor about it that ought to be better than that. You know, sometimes you are made strong, sometimes you are given riches, sometimes God gives you blessing that you never expected. I look back over my life and I can pray a prayer kind of like that, but with a less of a sad spin on it. You know, nothing I’ve ever planned turned out the way I thought it would. And I’m old. Nothing, nothing that I wanted have I been given. Nothing, I’ve always wanted to be like Billy Graham. You know, I always wanted to serve a big church. I never did. In fact, I preach in churches where the staff members are more numerous than the members of the churches that I serve. I asked for all those kinds of things and I didn’t get them, but let me tell you something, I got stuff I didn’t expect. I mean, cool stuff. I love what I’m doing. I’ve got friends that you wouldn’t believe that I love deeply and who, and it surprises me all the time, who love me. I’m living in a really nice house. My car, I finally gave up on the Honda that I was driving and I got a new one. How about that? That’s from God too, listen don’t make God into some kind of ogre, who is going to make you miserable so you can be happy. That’s a child abuser. And I love this poem that I read to you, but, God is bigger than that and kinder than that and has more compassion than that. And you can trust him. You can trust him in all of that. There’s an old story about a little boy, who was wandering in a cherry orchard and he wanted some of the cherries and the farmer came up to him and said, son, you can have all you want, take them. And he said, sir, thank you so much. But would you pick them for me and give them to me, because your hands or bigger for giving than my little hands are for receiving. That’s true about God and we make him into something he’s not. And I suspect that God gets tired of that all the time. You know, you know, what should be going on in the church all the time. And that’s what was happening in the temple in this third chapter of Acts, people were amazed and said, you know, that’s the guy, who all these years has been crippled sitting by the gate, asking us to give him money. And here he is dancing and laughing and praising God. That’s, that kind of laughter ought to be going on in the church all the time, because of the nature of the God that we worship. Listen to me. Don’t let them lie to you. God is good and he’s good all the time. And don’t read into that religion, by being good, he’s going to give you a cancer, so you’ll be wise. Or he’s going to break your legs, so you can praise him for the patience that he gives you. You know, those things happen. I know that and I don’t want to be silly and superficial about this, but God really is good. Good in the ways we think of as good, kind and generous. He’s good and he’s good all the time. And his hands for giving are bigger than your hands for receiving. Let me show you something else. And I’ve mentioned it, but I want to kind of get into it. I want you to note that the people were amazed, it’s in the 10th and the 11th verse of a third chapter of Acts.
And they recognized him as the one who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s, and they were astounded.
And that is so good. I like that. You know, when I was a young pastor, I’d get invited back to my home church, it was a Methodist church in the mountains of North Carolina, Trinity Methodist in Asheville. And, you know, they had to, invite me back, you know, I’d grown up in that church and now I was ordained. But they had an ulterior motive inviting me, because they knew they’d get a good congregation. No, no, no. Not for that reason. All the teachers I’d had in the school and the people who had known me when I was growing up, would show up at the church whenever I preached. And they were there, because they were amazed. Cause I can still see teachers, no, not him. I mean anybody but not Brown standing in a pulpit talking about God, it was amazement, because what God had done with this rebellious, kick against the goads, out of the box, afraid, sinful kid. They came to see what God had done. That’s what Wesley said. People said, why is so many people come to hear you preach? You know what he said, God sets me on fire. And people come to see me burn. There were a couple of men at a fire that was taking place at a church. Church was burning down and one of them, leaders of the church said to the other man, you know, this is the first time I’ve seen you at this church. And the man said, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen the church on fire. Maybe if we had more fires, we’d have a bigger crowd. You know, God does that for us. I love testimonies in church when people stand up and they talk about what God has done, and every testimony ought to be prefaced with these words, you’re not going to believe this, but let me tell you something that is so good that it’s going to blow you away. We all have that testimony. And we’re going to see, as we look next week at this of Acts the third chapter again, we’re going to see next week that we’re supposed to amaze people and you’ll be surprised at what amazes them, the fire, the joy, the laughter, the forgiveness, the freedom. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. A great wrap-up to a fantastic week of hanging out in Acts 3. Of course, we will resume our exploration next week, but first, tomorrow, it’s time again for Friday Q&A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson swings by and together, Steve and Pete answer the challenging questions you’ve sent in. Tomorrow, they’ll tangle with this one. “I didn’t confess my sins this morning, if I die this afternoon, am I lost?” Well, that’s an interesting question. Make sure you tune in tomorrow. Well, as you know, we’re now in the third chapter of Acts, but guess what? There are a lot more chapters in this book. So to get the most out of our guided tour, I want to send you a special booklet for free. It’s called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. Early church leadership, the Pentecost, the fellowship of believers, persecution, it’s all in there. In addition, there Steve’s overview of Romans. You are going to love this booklet and again, it is free, but you have to claim it to get it. So call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
just ask for your free copy of the booklet called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. Finally, if you’re able, would you get the Key Life? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just text key life 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.