Humility and how I found it.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
Humility and how I found it, on this edition of Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the 16th chapter of the book of Acts. We’re looking at Lydia and we’re looking at verses 11 through 15, which is the story of Lydia, a wealthy woman that God chose, a wealthy woman who didn’t let her wealth stand in the way of running to Jesus, a wealthy woman who didn’t let her background trump her relationship with Christ. You know, one of the, and I’m going to move on with that, but it’s in Acts 16:14.
Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.
Now, when you see those words, that means she wasn’t Jewish. And given the fact, that about only people who were worshiping the true God at that time were Jews, everybody else was pagan. She was probably from a pagan family. And we talked about how truth trumps background and heritage. And I spent probably too much time talking about the Jesus movement and my own experience with God moving into a generation, a generation that had parents who had not by and large been believers and how God used that in such a wonderful way and how those young people related to the older people because they shared a secret. And the secret was Jesus. One of the problems in our culture right now is that we don’t have any more gasoline. We don’t have a lot of heritage, roots that inform us of good and evil, of who God is, of his love and his goodness and his sovereignty. Used to be, that was an assumption. Used to be, and I’ve been here to see it all happen. Used to be, you could make Biblical references and almost everybody knew those Biblical references. If you talked about Jonah, everybody thought of a big fish. And even those who didn’t know the Bible thought of a whale. If you talked about Adam and Eve, people by and large knew who Adam and Eve was, and more important when you talked about Jesus, people knew who Jesus was. They maybe weren’t Christians, but they understood because it was a part of the heritage. It was a part of who we are in America and Canada and how we define ourself. That’s not true anymore. That’s, more often than not, you’ll get questions like who was Jonah, who was Adam and Eve and more scary, who in the world is Jesus. And so, we have a similar situation to the one that Lydia had in a pagan family heritage situation when she came to Jesus. And so, and I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on this, but we’ve got to be aware of it. You’ve got to start from scratch. You’ve got to start without using the religious words that we use all the time. We’ve got to start from the beginning and ground zero. Let me tell you something and this is a good way to start. Let me tell you something, that’ll change your life and is better than drugs. And you start from scratch because there’s no heritage gasoline there to draw from. And so, we’ve got to do it the way they did it in the first century cause by and large, everybody they associated with were people who were out of a pagan background, who simply didn’t understand the principles that had built the country. Well, enough about that. And by the way, you don’t ever shake it completely. I suspect that Lydia on occasion at Thanksgiving, when she went back home for dinner, would say, this is such a wonderful place to be, how could I have left it? So, you’ve got to be aware of it, even if you’re a Christian. Well, enough about that. And then there’s one final thing that you just can’t miss. And that is the beautiful, the winsome humility of Lydia, look at verse 15.
And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
What a wonderful statement. If it, if it’s okay with you, would you, would you come and have dinner with me? If it’s, I know that I’m a brand new Christian. I just got baptized. I don’t know dink, I haven’t walked this a long time. I don’t know a lot about what Paul was talking about, except what he said about Jesus, but would you come to my house and stay? It’s an amazing statement of humility. You know how you can tell when a person has been close to the real God and not an idol? God gets bigger and bigger and they get smaller and smaller. That’s why what I do is very dangerous. You don’t know a thing about me, you know that I know what the Bible says, that I’ve read a lot of religious books, that I was a pastor for enough years to get to heaven without grace. You know that I’m the most religious person that you know. You know all that about me and they give me a microphone and they praise me and they say good things about me. And that’s a dangerous place to be. Every time a new book comes out in my life and I have a new one out. It’s the most dangerous time of my life because that’s the time when I think how wonderful it is that God has me. And the only reason I can say that is that that’s true of you too. It’s built into our DNA, but not Lydia. You could tell she had been with Jesus because of the natural humility that took place. Mendelssohn would sometimes as a place of rest, would go to a museum. He said one time, I sought out my favorite armchair and enjoyed myself for a couple of hours.This is a place where a man feels his own insignificance and may well even learn to be humble. You know how you can tell Jacob was with God, Genesis 32:10.
I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness which thou has shown to thy servant.
Do you know how David, you know that David had been with God?
Then King David
II Samuel 7:18
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God. And what is my house that you should bless me this far?
Do you know how you can tell Isaiah had been with God, Isaiah 6.
Whoa is me for I’m a man of unclean lips. And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
You know how John, you could tell John had been with Jesus? He said.
I’m not worthy to untie his sandals.
And then John said, when his ministry was decreasing, John said this.
He must increase. And I must decrease.
That’s the natural demeanor of people who are with God. God is big and we are little. God is significant and we are insignificant. There’s an old Jewish prayer from the Rabbi’s manual that says this.
Thou art great and I am small. Thou are infinite and I am finite. Thou art, everything and I am nothing. Thou art great and I am small. Thou art eternal and I tarry, but just a little while. But with all of thy greatness and power, thou dost bend down low and listen to the sound of my tears as they strike the ground.
Oh my. That’s how you know Lydia had met the real Jesus, the humility that falls from her lips, reflecting the desire of her own heart. Ask God to do that for you. And I’ll ask him to do that for me. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? No, it’s wonderful. When you don’t have to be God, you can dance and sing and laugh before the throne of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Acts 16 and wrapping up our look at the remarkable conversion of a pagan business woman named Lydia. So much to learn in these few verses. Be sure to join us again tomorrow as we continue forward here in Acts 16. Let me ask you something, would you characterize God as unpredictable? I mean let’s face it, God doesn’t always do what we expect him to and yet there is way more to that story. Well, our friend Pete Alwinson wrote about this very subject in an article called Why is God so Unpredictable? You’ll find it in the 2022 edition of Key Life magazine, which as it happens, we would be happy to send to you, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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