If you want to serve Christ, don’t leave.
NOVEMBER 14, 2022
If you want to serve Christ, don’t leave. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a life-long broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible and you’re just joining us, open it to the 18th chapter of the Book of Acts, where Luke records Paul’s ministry in the city of Corinth. Now, if you’re just joining us, we’ve seen that he’s just come from Athens, and Athens was his greatest failure. I mean, the ministry bombed in Athens. And the success in Corinth is nothing but amazing. And a part of that was because Paul went to the poor and the weak and the marginalized, and they knew they had needs and they ran to Jesus. Sometimes the wealthy and the powerful, they don’t know they have those needs, and so it’s hard to get through. In fact, that was one of the problems in Athens. Paul was talking to the intellectuals. He was talking to the people who were the leaders of the thought, that was a part of the culture. And they, you know, they like to talk, but they didn’t like to commit. And that’s true today and we need to remember that. But that doesn’t explain all the Paul’s success in Corinth. And if you were listening yesterday, we saw that the reason he was successful in Corinth is that he was not alone. When he first gets there, he goes to see two Christians, Aquila and Priscilla. And then later on, Silas and Timothy come and join him, and pretty soon he’s got a team. And he needed a team because if you’re going to serve Christ, you can’t do it alone. A Quaker one time was talking to George Whitfield during the Great Awakening and the Quaker said to Whitfield, friend George, I am as thou art, I am for bringing all to the life and power of Jesus and the everlasting God. And therefore, if thou will not quarrel with me about my hat. I will not quarrel with thee about thy gown. What was going on there? It was a realization that we’re in this together. God never calls one person, he calls a bunch. And when you have a lone ranger mentality, you know, one of the things that I’ve noticed that is happening in the church, and I think it’s a good thing, is that most of the pastors of large churches don’t do all of the preaching. Now, I’m old and when I was a pastor, I did it all except occasionally when I was out of town. And I always found a preacher who was better than I was, so the people wouldn’t be upset that I left. But generally I was back in town by Saturday night. I was traveling 160 days a year. And turning out a book a year and it almost killed me. But I did all the preaching. Every Sunday morning for two services and every Wednesday night for a service, I was the one who was there and who preached. But that’s changing in the church and I love it and I think it’s a good thing. At my church, my pastor, has two others who stand with him. And you never know which one is going to be doing the teaching on Sunday morning. Now I kid my pastor, his name’s Dan. And I say to him, Dan, you’ve got a wonderful job. You can go out and play golf and these guys are doing the preaching for you. And he laughs cause that’s not true. But they share. And the ego doesn’t get in the way. And it works. You know why it works? Because that’s God’s way. God doesn’t work with John Wayne. He works with people who work with people and know that they need people. And so, when Paul went to Corinth, he was extremely successful because he didn’t go alone. He had a team. You need a team too, and I do too. Man, if you’re going out doing random witnessing, don’t go by yourself. They’re going to eat you alive. Go with a friend. If you’re going to stand up in your classroom, don’t do it by yourself, that professor is a twit, but that professor will eat you alive. Make sure that one or two others stand with you. It’s a Biblical principle and it’s an important one. Now, let me show you something else. Secondly, I would suggest, that in Athens Paul was just passing through. And in Corinth, he came to stay. Look at the third verse of the 18th chapter.
And because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and they worked by trade there, as tent makers.
The 11th verse.
And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
In other words, the apostle Paul didn’t leave. People are always asking me if I’m going to write a book on marriage. And I’m not. I know, we’ve been married over 60 years, my wife, and I. And it’s probably not going to happen that we’re going to get a divorce. Did you hear about the old couple that went to the lawyer and asked for him to oversee their divorce? He said, You’re divorce? What’s with you guys? You’ve got eight children, you’ve got 24 grandchildren, you’ve got great grandchildren coming out your ears. You’ve been married all these years. Why do you want a divorce? And they both said in union, Enough is enough. And I, you know, you never know. It’s not going to happen, I don’t think, but maybe animals say, enough is enough, and I’m going to leave. But I’m not going to write a book on marriage. Every time some Christian comes out with a book on marriage, a thousand Christian marriages go down the tube. And you know why? Because nobody can be that good. Marriage is an understanding of the fallen nature of everybody, including us. And once you’ve got that, and you can forgive, you can make it happen. Now, in marriage, if I did write a marriage book, I’d have 240 pages and all of the pages would have the same statement, on each page. It’ll be the easiest book I ever wrote. You know what those words are? Two of them. Change the world for Christ and in marriage. “Don’t leave. Don’t leave.” I might, add a separate page that just says, “For God’s sake, don’t leave.” Or, maybe for the sake of the couple, “for your sake, don’t leave.” Sometimes you leave before you get to the diamonds in all of that mud. I’ve been married a long time and my best friend is my wife, but I wouldn’t have known that after a short time of being married. We share the family secrets. We genuinely like being with each other. And we didn’t leave before we got to that point, and you shouldn’t either. Now, I’m not making, I’ve got to be careful here. I’m not making any kind of statement. I know how sometimes you’ve got to leave. I know that sometimes it’s really hard. I know the Biblical reasons where leaving is acceptable, but for the most part, don’t leave. Just stay. And it’s exactly the same way with our relationship with unbelievers. You know one of the things that we do that is wrong in the church? We will lead somebody to Christ and we’ll leave that baby at the hospital and go somewhere else to create more baby Christians. We would do well to stay at the hospital, to nurse, to work, to help, to disciple, to grow. Because when that baby grows up and has enough knowledge and maturity and closeness to Christ, they’ll lead more than you could ever lead to Christ because they’ll know when they lead them to Christ, they can’t leave. They’ve got to stay and make sure that baby grows up to be an adult serving Christ in the world. And so, Paul when he went to Corinth didn’t leave. I’m for long Pastorates for a lot of reasons. I served one church for six years, most last only one or two years. And I served another church for 20 years, and the 20 year service was the best because there are some things you can’t say to a congregation until you’ve been with them a year. And there are other things you can’t say to our congregation until you’ve been with them 10 years. And there are some things you can’t say until you’ve been 20 years. So, be engaged in evangelism, but don’t run once the job is done because it’s not done. You have a responsibility for the baby you created biologically and spiritually. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing to guide us through the crowded, teeming streets of Corinth, aka Acts chapter 18. And we will resume our exploration from right here tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us for that. So, we don’t say this enough. Thank you. Thank you for listening to Key Life. And thank you for visiting us at Keylife.org. We really do work hard to keep the website fresh with new features, and you’ll find one of those new features at key life.org/magazines. There you will discover not only the current issue of our digital magazine, but a whole archive going back years. It’s the first time we’ve ever done this. Again, that’s Key life.org/magazines. And speaking of magazines, through the end of the year, we still have copies of our 2022 print magazine. Now, that’s a completely different set of articles there. To claim your free copy of that, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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