If God is going to fail somebody, it won’t be a peon like me.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2023
If God is going to fail somebody, it won’t be a peon like me. Let’s talk about it, 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. If you’ve been with us this week, we’ve been talking about, or asking the question, why don’t we stand before the court of the world in the same way that the apostle Paul stood before the court of the world? We’ve looked at some significant things about the apostle Paul. And in answer to that question, we said that we defend ourselves because we’re afraid of what people will think about us. Paul in Acts 26:24.
And as thus he made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you’re crazy; your great learning is turning you mad.”
And Paul didn’t care dink about what Festus said. And then secondly, we defend ourselves and spend a lot of time doing that because we are sure that God needs help. And when we think we’re doing it, He lets us. And we make a mess out of it. And then thirdly, we are defending ourselves and justifying ourselves because our horizons are limited, Acts 26:19.
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
What is the vision that God has given you? I often pray, Lord, help me to think your thoughts after you. Help me to cry where you cry. Help me to see things that you see. Help me to look into the future in the way you look into the future. Once you pray that prayer and he answers it, a lot of things that we think are important become less important. And there’s one other answer to that question. We are constantly defending ourselves because we don’t really believe that God is capable of defending us. Look at Acts 26:30 through 31.
Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.”
What? After all of this, they, what happened? I’ll tell you what happened, God happened. Psalm 3:5 through 7 happened.
I lay down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against and round about. Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God!
Romans 12 and 19, 12:19, it’s the microphone. Romans 12:19.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.”
You know, sometimes I think that if I do what I’m supposed to do, that I’ll get in a hole so deep that even God won’t be able to get me out. That’s a lie. That’s from the pit of hell and it smells like smoke. When you need to be defended, you will be defended. God is perfectly capable of doing that. I think I’ve told you this before, but a good story is worth telling it more than once. Ken Nanfeldt is in heaven now, and I miss him. Ken was often the singer. And he recorded a number of albums for Word of Life, Jack Wyrtzen. And he used to sometimes lead the music at conferences where I would speak. And there was one evening before I was getting to speak, and we were In the green room and I became quite aware that I wasn’t prepared. And I said, Ken, pray for me. I’m not prepared. And Ken started laughing, which was not very helpful. He put his hand on my shoulder and he said, Steve, let me tell you something. If God’s going to fail somebody, he’s going to fail Billy Graham or the Pope. And he’s certainly not going to fail a peon like you. And he kept on laughing. And I was laughing when I got up to the speaker’s podium. And God didn’t fail me. God is perfectly capable of defending us, and when you know him, you know that’s true. Okay, that’s enough about defense. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of talking about it. But let’s look at a storm. This is the 27th chapter of Acts, and remember that all of this is the grand finale of the Book of Acts, and certainly the ministry of the apostle Paul. Now, in all of this trial and tribulation that Paul has gone through, he finally had had it, and he appealed to Rome. Now let me tell you about that. If you were a Roman citizen, you had the right of appeal and nobody knew that Paul was a Roman citizen. And so, when he made that appeal, all of a sudden, everything changed. In fact, we saw that they would have let him go if he had not made that appeal, but now he had to go to Rome. He got free passage and God had told him that he was going to preach there. He just didn’t tell him the way he was going to go. And the difficulties it would present. So with a Centurion who was supposed to take Paul to Rome, this is all in the 27th chapter of Acts, they go down and they get on a boat. And the apostle Paul said, you know, I perceive, and this is at the 10th verse of the 27th chapter of Acts,
“I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
A storm was brewing, and Paul knew what was going to happen.
But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advanced to put to sea from there on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, looking northeast and southwest, and winter there.
And then what happened is what you would expect to happen. It was an awful time. And, they really went through a storm, they were without food, and then if you start at the 21st verse.
And they had been long without food, Paul then came forward among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and should not have set sail from Crete And incurred the injury and the loss. I now bid you take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship. For this very night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And lo, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, Paul said, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we shall have to run on some island anyway.”
So, in the fourteenth
and this is the 27th verse
fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they sounded and found twenty fathoms. A little further on they sounded again and found fifteen. And eventually the boat hit the rocks and they were on solid land.
I don’t have time to go into it, but next week we’re going to spend some time talking about a storm. And it’s not only a storm in this particular text, it’s a metaphor. And I think it’s included in the Book of Acts because it really happened. But secondly, to teach us some important things about our storms. Are you going through a storm right now? Is it a family situation? Is it a problem at work? Have you been given a diagnosis by a doctor that wasn’t good or very positive? Have you been criticized and betrayed by friends? Have you gone through great turmoil and it feels like a whole world is against you? Listen, Jesus told you that was going to happen. And if he told you that meant he was in charge of it, but he also told you.
In this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
He has. That’s your storm and my storm. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve Brown. And with that we put a bow on this week of teaching from Acts. And don’t forget, tomorrow we have the nearly world famous Friday Q&A with Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson. So, true story. A few summers ago, we were teaching our then four year old son how to swim, but he wasn’t quite ready, so we would put him in a life jacket. Well, this led to him asking for quote, unquote floating lessons. Except that when you have a life jacket, obviously, it’s doing all the work to keep you alive. Well, it’s kind of like that with Jesus. Well, you’ll find that full story and other great pieces in the new digital edition of Key Life Magazine. Check it out for free at keylife.org/magazines and if you haven’t read our 2023 print magazine yet, not too late to claim your copy. 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. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. And finally, a question, do you value the work of Key Life? If so, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text, just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that 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.