If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.
MARCH 1, 2022
If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. 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 have your Bible, open it to the 10th chapter of Acts. Great story there. I’m not going to take the time to read it to you, but it’s the basis of everything that I’m saying on Key Life last week, the week before and this week. And I’m going to land this plane this week because we’ve talked about this enough. I was just reviewing some of the things that we’ve seen. We’ve seen that you can’t assume human goodness in areas of racial matters, for anybody. They’re bad things and there’s enough bad stuff to go around that you wouldn’t believe it. And then there’s something else that we’ve seen also. And let me mention it in passing and we’ll turn to something new. I would have you notice that Acts 10 does assume the necessity of God’s intervention in the matter of prejudice, racial matters, cultural barriers, God’s got to do something, or nothing’s going to be done. What’s happening in the 10th chapter of Acts is that Peter is having a respite, on the roof of a house and he’s napping. God comes and when God intervenes things began to happen. He has a vision, unclean foods, and then God makes an obvious connection to the unclean foods. And the people that Peter thinks are unclean people. And, that’s and not only that, God came in a vision to Cornelius and says there’s a guy showing up, receive him, listen to what he says, and God begins to move beyond the barriers that had been made by the people who like to stay within those barriers. And, God has to do something, guys we’ve got some problems. Churches are divided. You would not believe the stories that I’m hearing about divided churches. We have over 4,000 pastors on our mailing list and I spend a good deal of time talking to pastors. And I have one pastor friend in Philadelphia who’s church was so divided around racial things that it looked like the church was going to go down. And he asked me, what should I do? And I said, I don’t know, but I’ll pray for you. And do you know what he did? He stood before his congregation and he confessed his sins before them, and Jesus came. He does, when we are faithful to what he says to do, we don’t have anything to protect. We don’t have anything to fix. That’s God’s business. Everything we are is his, and that brings me to the final, and God intervenes. And when he intervenes, changes happen. The problem with the talking heads, and they talk about it all the time on every television network, about what we ought to do and how bad people are really bad. And we’re part of the good people and we’ve got everything together and we’re going to, there is arrogance and self-righteousness that smell to high heaven. Arrogance and self righteous are ugly sisters and they kill people and that’s happening in our country. And I, and I don’t, and I don’t like it. And we need to pray. We need to say, God, you come, you do something. This is no time for boys. And then I want to show you something else. And this is new, Acts 10 assumes that action will follow conviction. In other words, it wasn’t that God taught Peter anything new that he had never mentioned before. And Peter would have said as do Christians say often, I believe every word of the Bible. I believe that God is the Creator of all people. I believe that people are valuable and they’re created in the image of God. Peter would have said that, he would have said, but of course, I’m Jewish. I’m a part of God’s covenant people.. God has told us that. And I know it, and I believe it with all of my heart. And then God said, now go to Cornelius. That’s what God tells us too. You know, it amazes me the number of people who say they believe in grace. We taught a Born Free seminar all over the country for a couple of years. It was hard to promote, you know why? Because people would ask what’s it about, and we’d say it’s about grace. And they would say, I already know about grace and they wouldn’t come. I wanted to say, yeah, you know about it. You just don’t do it. We’re going to teach her how to do it. We’re going to teach you how to go to Cornelius. We’re gonna teach you how to put legs to the belief that you say you have. It’s amazing to me. And I’m not excluding myself. You know, I get this too. And I do business as much as anybody else. It’s an old story about a missionary son who said, he’s a little boy said to his father, daddy, do you believe that Jesus is in control of everything? And then he said, well, son, of course I do. I’m a missionary. And the little boy said, why can’t you sleep at night? Well, you know, we say we believe it, but we really don’t til we go to Cornelius. And that’s what Peter did. God said, you believe it, value of human beings created in the image of God, now go see Cornelius. And God says exactly the same thing to us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pacifist, who taught love as a theology teacher, he taught against Hitler because he knew that action always follows conviction. And then he had to do some things that he never thought he would have to do because God said, go to Cornelius. God’s still saying go to Cornelius. In Matthew 7, Jesus said this.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them. I never knew you, depart from me, you evil doers.
Now a lot needs to be said about that text, and that’s not what this broadcast is about, and I’m not gonna exegete it or do an exposition on it, or even an explanation. It doesn’t mean exactly what you think, but at minimum it does say go to Cornelius. If you believe it, go to Cornelius. And so, if you say you believe things and we believe the right things, we really do. But believing it isn’t enough. God, didn’t say, I want to give you three stars. No, I’m going to give you four stars for what you believe, you got it right, Peter. He didn’t say that. He said, now Peter, you got the facts. Go to Cornelius. How many black friends do you have? How many white friends do you have? How many Hispanic friends do you have? Do you hang out with your kind? Because your kind is the place where you’re comfortable. God says, go to Cornelius. Go to Cornelius. Now let me show you something else. Notice that Acts 10 assumes the reality of the brotherhood of Christ. We, you know, I don’t want to be a shallow about this, but I want you to know that I grew up in the south and while my parents were less racist than most parents, my mother slapped me when I was a kid, when I used the N word. And said, son, you shall never use that word around me. And then I got a letter, a number of years later from a friend of mine, with whom I grew up. And, he said, I just want you to know one time I was on the bus and I used that word and you and your brother came after me. And so tell your mother that when she slapped you, she got two of us. I had, you know, my parents were less racist than most, but man, we had a long, long way to go. But when I came to Christ, God opened up things in my life and people, I don’t like change. I don’t like people that are different than me. I mean, it’s not just racism. I don’t like people who wear colors that I don’t wear. Who are not the way I am and politically the way, I just don’t like people that are not like me, but there’s Jesus. What about Jesus? And so, he makes a difference. Evangelism is one of the cures to racism. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Acts 10 about racial tensions and barriers, those problems aren’t new and neither is the solution, God’s love. More from Acts 10 tomorrow. Make sure you join us then. So, if you had to name one single issue that constantly hounds you, what would it be? Well for a lot of believers, it would be guilt, but here’s some great news. Jesus’ death paid the debt for all our sins, that means guilt can actually lead us back to Christ to find true and lasting forgiveness. Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. And you can get that mini-book for free right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an e-mail to Steve@keylife.org to ask for that mini-book. By mail, send your request to
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