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If it’s funny, laugh.

If it’s funny, laugh.

FEBRUARY 26, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / If it’s funny, laugh.

Steve Brown:
If it’s funny, laugh. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now. But if you’re hungry for the truth that’ll make you free, welcome to Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the Book of Proverbs, and we’ve been doing that forever. And we’re going to do it for a long time yet, and it’s different when you teach the Book of Proverbs from other books in the Bible. Maybe with the exception of Jeremiah, who needed an editor, but most books you can go to, it’s a joke. Don’t send me letters, but that really is a hard book to teach. But the Book of Proverbs is almost impossible. There’s no outline to it. It’s just a list of very wise things and a part of wisdom literature. And it is, in fact, a book to teach believers how to be street-smart. If you’ve been listening very long, we’ve talked about the difference between promises and principles. These are not promises that if you do it this way, it will come out this way, absolutely, every time you do it this way. That’s not what the Book of Proverbs is. Proverbs is, in some ways, like the Book of Ecclesiastes. It’s simply saying, this is the way the world works. Listen to what I have to say, and the world will work better from, for you, than it would have if you had not listened to what I’m teaching. And so, that’s how we’re doing it, we’re doing it by subject, and for weeks we’ve been looking at a variety of subjects, and we’re going to continue with that today. Before we do that, it’s Monday. Let’s pray and then we’ll study. Father, we come into your presence thankful that you loved us enough to communicate to us the way the world really works. Father, so many people lie to us and sometimes a it gets really confusing, until we’re here, until we open your book, until we have the truth that’s always true. Thank you for communicating that to us, but more than that, thank you for loving us, for sending your Son to die on cross in our place so that we might be free. Father, we worship you. We thank you for that, but we worship you because of you. You’re worthy of all our worship, all of our praise, all of our adoration. You are the sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything, and you’re good all the time. And now, Father, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. If you have your Bible and you’re in a place where you can open it, open it to the Book of Proverbs and we’ll be going to different places throughout that book as we look at some subjects. Let’s look at laughter. The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about laughter. For instance, in Proverbs 15:13

A merry heart makes cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22 says

A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

In other words, God’s people are to be people who laugh easily. Who when they hear a joke that’s funny, they laugh. The presence of Jesus is often seen in the laughter of God’s people. Listen, if you want to be a part of the church because there are girls there, or guys there, and you’re single, and you want to date somebody in particular, but you don’t want to be a Christian, if you’ll talk to me. I’ll teach you how to fake it. There’s certain words you’re going to have to learn, certain concepts you’re going to have to be able to articulate, certain things that you’ll have to do in the way you act that will make people think you’re a Christian, and then you can go to church, and you can thank me for helping you. But there’s one thing that I can’t fix in you. And that is, I can’t make you laugh. Free laughter is something that you can’t fake. And when I go to a church, and I go to a lot of different churches and I preach there, one of the things that I take note of is how easily they laugh. If they laugh, Jesus is present. If they don’t, Jesus has left the building. And frankly, if you’re a Christian, we’re the only people in the world that have anything about which to laugh. Man, if I weren’t a believer, I’d be sour all the time. I wouldn’t laugh at anything. I would look at the meaninglessness and the emptiness of the world, realize that my life didn’t matter, that I was going to die and go back to the dust and become fertilizer for turnips. I mean, what’s fun about that? But the truth is, God’s people know how to laugh. And you can know that God is present when God’s people laugh. I think I may have told you that in the church that I served in the Boston area for many years, they had gone through a very difficult time. The church had been divided, the Boston papers had all done articles on the bad things that happened in the church. And I think later on when we look at another precept, I’m going to tell you more about that story. But it was an interesting place to be, and frankly I was not sure whether God had sent me to that church to have an ecclesiastical funeral or a revival. And it could have gone either way. Turned out it was an awakening of major proportions, and it was something to watch. I felt like a bystander, but at any rate, early in my ministry there, I invited a professor from the graduate school I’d attended in Boston University to speak for my installation. And frankly, I asked him because I liked him, not because I agreed with anything. But I liked him, and the best thing about him is that he told wonderful jokes. And I remember that night of the installation, he said some really funny things. And nobody even smiled. Later we were taking off our clerics in my study, and he said, Stephen, that’s a sour bunch. You’ve got to be careful. And he was. And I remember one time visiting a man who had left the church because he said I told jokes and that the sanctuary of God’s temple was not a place for jokes, it was a place for seriousness. And I said, I didn’t say it, but I thought, oh man, one of the best gifts I’ve been given since I’ve been here is you’re leaving the church. If I could get a few more like you to leave, we could see God do something in this church. But he was offended that God’s people would laugh at a worship service. When Mercy had her dream, Kristana asked her, you were laughing, and she said, in my dream, I was dressed in horrible clothing and it was dirty, and then I looked down and I saw that my clothing was golden, and the sun was shining, and I heard a voice, and the voice said, Welcome, daughter, welcome. And I did laugh, and laugh, and laugh. That’s not an exact quote, but that’s what happened, and that’s what happens in your life when you meet the one who loves you without exception, who knows everything about you, who is never shocked at anything you’ve ever done. You do laugh and laugh and laugh. Because, as Proverbs says.

A merry heart makes cheerful countenance, and a merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

And so, laughter, believe it or not, is a gift of God, and as is tears. I wrote a book, in fact it’s the last book that I wrote that was published. I’m working on a new one now, because I’m speaking of laughter every time I do it. The angels laugh, and they say the old guy’s doing it again. But the title of this last book, that was just published a few months ago, is Laughter and Lament. They go together. If you belong to Jesus, you can weep, you can face the darkness and the pain and cry out to your God. But you can also laugh because his gift to his people in sad situations is laughter. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And that was Steve Brown returning us to our winding tour through the Book of Proverbs. More to discover tomorrow. Do hope you will join us then. Eschatology, it’s a fancy word. Basically means the study of the end times and what comes after. Of course, nobody has a read on dates, for all this stuff, but it certainly feels like we’re getting closer with all the darkness around us. So, how are we supposed to deal with all of that? Well, Steve spoke about this in a message called We Will Be Restored. It’s a timeless message and I know it will encourage you. Can we send you that sermon on CD for free? If so, 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 that CD or to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD called We Will Be Restored. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or, to give safely and securely by text, just text Key Life to 28950 and, as always, if you can’t give right now, or maybe you just don’t feel called to, we get it, absolutely. But if you think about it, please do pray for us, would you? Always needed and appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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