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If sheep don’t follow, there’s no shepherd.

If sheep don’t follow, there’s no shepherd.

APRIL 28, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / If sheep don’t follow, there’s no shepherd.

Steve Brown:
If the sheep don’t follow, there’s no shepherd. Let’s talk, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster and seminary professor who is sick a phony religion.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the first four verses of the 13th chapter of Acts in our study of Acts. And the question before the house and I move the previous question, is how do you know where Jesus is going if you’re going to follow him? Which direction should the church go in? Which direction should I go in? Now, if this were a general Biblical question, I would say the normal things that Bible teachers say about this issue. You ought to know what the Scripture says. There are certain things you don’t do and certain things you do do. And they’re very clear in Scripture. You’ve got to be surrounded by the people of God. And they’ve got to affirmed the direction in which you’re going. Circumstances determine it. And I could go on and on. How do you know the will of God, but this is kind of different in this fourth chapter of Acts. And we’ve seen that God, God always prepare circumstances. He doesn’t, or at least rarely acts in a vacuum. He prepares things. History is his story and what we’re experiencing right now, in our present history didn’t happen in a vacuum. You can trace it, you can see where it began, you can see what God was doing for a very long time. And that’s true in your personal history. And it’s true in the church’s history. And then we saw yesterday, when we talked about leadership, is that God generally anoints a leader. In this case, it was Paul and Barnabas. Now, they were both not Paul, but Barnabas was already a leader. He was the one to whom everybody looked for leadership and people followed him. And he had gone to Antioch because the church was exploding there. And the people in Jerusalem, the leaders there knew that if Barnabas went, the people would love him and follow him and work for God under his guidance. Because he was an anointed leader and and he knew the apostle Paul who by then was not called the apostle Paul. He was just a new Christian who was being prepared in the wilderness by God for the mission to which he had been called. And Barnabas knew it. And he went and got Paul and said, come with me and help me. And when they were sent out as the first Christian missionaries, it was clear that was the direction in which God was leading cause he had appointed the leaders. Now, you’ve gotta be careful here because there are those, for instance, when you talk about the headship of the husband in a marriage, if you’re not very careful, you can create a monster. You’ve got to know Biblically what God is talking about. I believe the man is to be the priest in the family. He should be the president of the corporation and you can’t have two presidents or you’re going to go down the tube, but in a Biblical sense because Paul said in Ephesians that the husband should love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. That means, that the husband, the leader has got to often look like a follower. Let me tell you something guys, if you’re a guy, those of you who are of the fairer sex, you don’t even have to listen to this, but let me tell you something, guys, if you’re not submitting to your wife more than she is submitting to you, then you’re not doing it right. But you’ve got to be careful when you’re talking about leaders in the church too, we’ve got dictators and that’s not a Christian leader. We’ve got people whose ego is as big as a house and they’re building an empire and that’s not Christian leadership. Those who say I’m the authority and you will do what I say are not Christian leaders. Christian leaders are servants. They’re always servant leaders. We talked yesterday about the 13th chapter of John and Jesus washing his disciples feet. That’s what it means. Look at Jesus on how he did it as the shepherd. I went through a difficult time, one time in the church and ended up having to tell one of our staff members that it was time for him to leave. I told him one of us has gotta leave and I can’t. So, you’ve got to, and I’m going to give you plenty of time to find another job, but this is just not working out. And then I felt so guilty and I always did. I hate firing people. I just hate it. And I have done a lot of it, but I never did it without losing sleep and crying some. But at any rate, I did what needed to be done for the sake of the church. And I was feeling pretty bad about it. And I had a friend in my church, his name was Pat Arnold, and he eventually was the head of World Team. He was one of the last missionaries out of Cuba before they brought down the iron trap and told them all to leave. And he was the mission pastor in our church and I loved him a lot. And in those days I was young and he was old and I leaned on him for wisdom and advice. So, I went to him and I told him what I’d done. And I said, I feel so guilty. I just want to go jump off a bridge. And he said, let me tell you something, I’ve been watching. And he named the guy I had let go. And he said, I’ve been watching him. And nobody follows him, ever. I mean, whatever he says to do, people do the opposite. And then he said something that was really important. He said, if the sheep won’t follow, then there’s no shepherd. And I thought about that. And that brings me to another point, that’s important when you’re talking about where do you move and out as the church to move. And that is, that God will prepare the hearts of his people. Man, if you’re a leader and nobody’s following you, you’re not a leader. And that’s true in the church too. I love the people of God. And I’ve always said there wasn’t anything wrong with the church, I couldn’t fix it with a few funerals. And it was a joke, but it sort of, cause you know, people, there were people that I used to pray, have them join another church. Don’t give them the hives or anything, but please get them out of our church because there was acid. But generally, you get a sense of the corporate movement of God’s spirit among his people. That’s why, when people no longer believe the Scriptures to be the word of God, become leaders in the church and begin to teach, the people of God get agitated, because they know the master’s voice and they know that the master’s voice is not found in that particular leader. And so, God prepares his people. And that goes on here in the fourth chapter or the 13th chapter of Acts that we’re studying. I mean, they were praying and fasting, corporate worship by God’s people and the decision was made by God’s people that Paul and Barnabas. Well, it was Paul and Barnabas later, right now it’s Barnabas and Paul, were to be sent out as the first Christian missionaries. The voice of God’s people, the terrible meek. Now, that doesn’t mean that we determine truth by a vote. It doesn’t mean that when the vote is taken by God’s people, it’s always right. It’s not, sometimes it’s wrong. And sometimes the truth is found in the minority, not a majority, but the way God generally works is in the hearts of his people. So, if you are a leader and you have been. I just thought of an old story of a ministerial committee who were interviewing a young man who had been a farmer. And he thought he had been called to preach and they asked him how he knew that. He said, I looked up in the sky and God gave me a vision with two letters, G P. And I knew that he was saying, go preach. And the committee talked about it and prayed about it. And they said to him, son, we don’t believe you’re called. We believe those letters you saw in the sky said, go plow. So sometime, well, I’m going down the side roads., I shouldn’t go down, but it’s really important to listen to the feeling tone of God’s people. What they sense is happening, how they feel about the direction God is leading. And that’s why individually you simply can’t decide everything that you do in God’s name by yourself. You’ve got to walk with brothers and sisters who love you enough to tell you the truth. You’ve got to listen to the corporate witness of the church. You’ve gotta be aware that this is not a John Wayne experience, that when God calls one, he calls a bunch. When God calls one, he calls a bunch. Now, there’s a lot in that, we could talk about the covenant relationship, the family covenant, the national covenant, but the point is this, that God rarely does things with one person. When God calls one, he calls a bunch. So, check on others in the church and in your life. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thanks Steve. Hey, is it really Thursday? Is it Thursday already? Boy, that just flew by. If you missed any of Steve’s teaching this week, do make sure you swing by where you can listen to those episodes for free. And of course, tomorrow is Friday Q&A. One of the questions on tap for Steve and Pete, can a Christian be depressed? Is that a timely one, or what? Be sure to tune in. Hey, by the way, have you claimed your copy of Key Life magazine yet? This issue features a moving article from Steve called For Heaven’s Sake: Lighten Up. It’s a freeing invitation to return to the wonder and joy of the good news of Jesus. The magazine also has pieces from some of your favorite highlight voices like Chad West, Pete Alwinson and Kendra Fletcher. Get your free copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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