If you don’t meet the devil, you’re probably going in the same direction.
JUNE 29, 2022
If you don’t meet the devil, you’re probably going in the same direction. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation. And if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the last part of the 14th chapter of Acts. And this is, homecoming is what it is. The apostle Paul and Barnabas have been on the first missionary journey and it is historic. First time it ever happened. I have already taught you, if you were listening. And you never listen to me, that Acts 1:8 never happened until Acts 8:1 happened. Acts 1:8 is where Jesus said that they should start in Jerusalem and go into the world. And they sat around and held hands and sang Kumbaya until a persecution arose in Acts 8:1. And the church was spewed out. One of the places where it grew was in Antioch. And Antioch decided that they were going to have a missions conference. I did that one time. I was a pastor of a liberal church and I was a liberal, theologically. And once Jesus began to move, we realized there were some things that we weren’t doing that we needed to do. And one of them was missions. And we decided that we were gonna have a missions conference. And people were saying, what’s that? And I said, well, I’m not sure I’ve never been to one, but we need to start being involved in world missions. And I could tell you so many stories. It was a wonderful time. We got a lot of money for missions and then we doubled it and then we tripled it. And then people in our church started going on mission journeys and becoming missionaries. Well, that had happened in Antioch. They had been seeing the church grow, God was honoring what they were doing. And somebody said we need a missions conference. And so, they looked at the leaders, primarily Barnabas and Barnabas decided I can’t do this by myself. And he went down to Tarsus and got Paul and they were the ones that went on the first missionary journey, commissioned by the church in Antioch and their missions conference. Now, we’re reading in the last part of the 14th chapter of Acts that they’ve come back home. And this happens at missions conference, when the missionaries say, this is what’s happened when I, since I last saw you and they give their testimony about what God is doing in the place where they’re serving. Well, that’s what’s going on here. This is where it started and they’re having a praise and worship service. But we see in this particular text that Paul has said, through many tribulations, you get to the kingdom of God. And they had gone through a bunch of tribulations. And the question before the house is this, why? And, we have seen a number of things about that. We have seen that the tribulations allow you to see, and come to the end of yourself, so that you’re usable by God. It allows you to see how much you need your brothers and sisters in Christ. It makes a victory very sweet. I mean, if everything was success, a success would be no big deal. But now in the darkness, when the light shines, we dance and sing and shout with great joy. Now, I’ve got one other thing from this text, and it’s pretty important. The reason for the tribulations about which Paul taught, was that they needed to know they were going in the right direction, Acts 14:27.
And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with him.
Now, what did they declare? Well, one of the things Paul declared was that he was thought to be dead after he had been stoned in Lystra. The persecution, the way they had been rejected by religious people. The people that followed them around and stirred up the crowds, they told all of that, because that was the place of praise and the confirmation that they were going in the right direction. If you didn’t meet the devil this morning, you were probably going in the same direction. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that you ought to go look for persecution. I don’t think you ought to be a jerk. We ought to be winsome. I don’t think that you ought to become a martyr because you have a martyr complex. But if you’re going to be faithful to Christ, occasionally you’re going to hit the rocks and they’re going to be really hard rocks. And that will be confirmation that you’re going in the right direction. One time John Wesley was on a circuit ride on his horse, going to preach at a church and some thugs came along and started making fun of him. And one of the thugs through rock at Wesley hit him in the head and knocked him off his horse onto the ground. And the thugs looked at Wesley and he immediately got on his knees and you know what he said? He said, Lord Jesus, thank you very much. I thought you had forgotten about me. Listen, if everything is smooth and nothing goes wrong. You’re probably doing it wrong. The great theologian and thinker, profound thinker, Mary Tyler Moore said, if it doesn’t hurt, you’re doing it wrong. Well, I don’t want to get neurotic about that, but there’s some truth to that. The truth is that the darkness is there, when you’re looking at the light. If you didn’t meet the devil today, you were probably going in the same direction. Don’t look for it. But when it comes, don’t be surprised. And thank him because sometimes you think he’s forgotten you. You think about that. Amen.
It’s Wednesday. And sometimes on Wednesdays, when we have a little extra time, I take some time to answer one or two questions. And as you know, Pete Alwinson will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole broadcast answering questions. And we love to get your questions. We really do. And we take you and your question seriously. I’ve said it often. And I mean it, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. And you can, you can ask your question anytime by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. And that’s open 24 7. You can record your question and sometimes we put your voice on the air. Or you can send your question to
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Or you can e-mail your question to [email protected]. And listen, those are good places where if the Spirit should move you, to give a generous gift to Key Life, that would be how you would do it. And if you can’t, we understand. If you can, we’ll spend every dime for the glory of God, I promise. And if you can’t, say a prayer for this ministry. Okay. Enough said, let’s get to one or two of these questions. This is an e-mail. In the tearing of the veil in the temple at Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death, is that to be understood literally or figuratively? If literally, do any extra Biblical sources refer to it? Well, maybe I, I don’t know. I’d have to do research and I’m sitting here in the studio and I’m not going to go back into my study and do a bunch of research so I can show you other literary sources. But I suspect there is some somewhere. But that’s not the point. The hermeneutical principle when you’re studying Scripture, is to say unless there is a reason to think of something as a metaphor, if it is reported as literal, then it happened and it happened literally. Now, does it mean that there aren’t some things that can come from the teaching of that? And we’re going to talk about that. The ripping of the veil is a powerful statement and an illustration of what God has done, but you start with the literal happening of how Scripture says that it happened. And so, I personally take, I haven’t always done that. You know, back years ago when I was at a graduate school in Boston and none of us believed much, we didn’t take anything literally. The creation was not literal. The resurrection was not literal. And of course we, sophisticated intellectuals knew that the virgin birth was not literal. It was a metaphor. It didn’t really happen. Virgins don’t have babies. Dead people don’t get up and walk. And God doesn’t by fiat create anything. It happens slowly over a million, well, I could go on and on, but I’ve repented and I’ve come to see that if you’re going to start messing with what’s reported in the Scripture as literal. And make it be something that it’s not, you’re going to get in trouble, because if this ripping of the veil in the temple didn’t really happen, then maybe Jesus didn’t really get out of the grave. And maybe as Paul said, we are above all people to be pitied. But the statement that was made is incredible. Aside from all that I just said, believing that that was an actual happening, when the veil was ripped between where the people were and where God was, it was God saying, I’ve come, I’m available. You can come to me. You don’t have to have a priest. You don’t have to have a pastor. You don’t have to have a religious person to stand between me and you because I’m here and you can come to me when ever you want to come to me. Is that cool or what? So, that veil though it happened was a major and awesome and amazing statement about something that changed radically. Jesus said, greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And you’re my friend. Hey, I’ve got to go. Key Life as a listener supported production of Key Life Network.