If you’re persecuted, make sure it’s for the right reason.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
Steve Brown: If you’re persecuted, make sure it’s for the right reason. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
Matthew Porter: Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. Our host and teacher is seminary professor, Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Steve Brown: Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the fifth chapter of Acts. And we’re talking about persecution and we’ve seen that if there’s a correlation between you’re following Christ and being rejected and canceled. So, don’t act like something strange is happening to you. That’s what Peter said to the people to whom he wrote, in I Peter. Nothing strange happening to you, that’s to be expected. It goes with the turf. And then we saw yesterday, that God stands with you, when you stand. You ever been to those evangelistic meetings, I don’t think they do it anymore, when they have an invitation at the end. And when nobody comes, they say, turn to the person next to you and say to them, if you go, I’ll go with you. And you know, I did that one time and it turned out the guy next to me was a preacher and was offended that I said that to him. But, but that’s, that’s kind of a technique that people don’t practice much anymore. I can tell your stories, but I won’t, but that’s what Jesus says. He says that to us, if you go, I’ll go with you. If you don’t go, I’ll love you. But if you go, I’ll go with you. So, God helps you, when you’re willing to stand and accept the rejection that goes along with it. Let me give you another observation. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. The disciples were afraid too, Proverbs 16:18.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Jesus was afraid. Did you know that, he was afraid in the same way you’re afraid, so he could identify with your fear. The disciples, we get this idea, they were all courageous guys who, macho and got up and stood for Jesus and said to the world you deal with it. No, they weren’t. They ran. At the beginning, they just ran, cause they knew the same thing could happen to them. So, fear is a part of this thing. I do not, people think, because I put on a good facade, that I don’t mind being criticized and rejected. I do. It hurt, well it doesn’t hurt the way it used to, when you’re old, you don’t care. But it, I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve gone through realizing what I was going to have to do the next day. And I hated it. So, it’s alright to be afraid. It’s just not alright to stop. Jesus was afraid. And the disciples were afraid, a knight in the Imperial chamber of Charles the V, said to Martin Luther, little monk, you are taking a step, which neither I nor any commander in our fiercest battles would take. You think Martin Luther wasn’t afraid? Of course he was afraid, when he stood at the Diet of Worms. And no, that’s not a diet that you can lose weight on. It was a place, when he stood in the court at the Diet of Worms, he said, here I stand, I can do no other. No, he didn’t. Well, that’s what he said, but let me tell you how he said it. He went, um, uh, here, here I stand and I can’t do anything else, but stand here. He was afraid, just like everybody else. So, it’s okay to be afraid. Now, let me give you another observation. There’s no virtue in being persecuted. Did you know that under the persecution of Julian, Christians actually ran and jumped in the fire. Now, I appreciate their faith, but that’s wrong. That’s just dead wrong. I mean, there are people with a persecution complex and they think that everybody’s out to get them. And some may be, but not everybody. I had a man who came to me and said to me, you’ve got to do something, he was an unbeliever. He said, you’ve got to do something about my wife. And I said, what do you mean? He said, she won’t shut up about my being lost. That’s all she talks about. I can’t even go to the bathroom without finding a track in the bathroom. I pick up the paper and a track falls out of a paper. If you don’t do something about her, and he laughed and said, Steve, I’m thinking about being a Christian, but it’s not going to happen unless you do something about my wife. And so, she came in and she knew I loved her and he knew I loved him. And, and so I could say these things, she said, Steve, I’m being persecuted for Jesus’ sake. And I said, no, Sarah, you’re not being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, you’re persecuted cause you’re a pain. You’re being persecuted, because you’re acting in ways that Jesus wouldn’t act to your husband, you’ve got to get that fixed and then you will be persecuted less. So, sometimes Christians are persecuted, because they’re jerks. You know what my prayer, and I have a tendency to do that. My prayer has always been Jesus, you be the issue, not me. Make me winsome. And that’s hard. Make me kind and loving and compassionate and patient and gentle and generous. Father, you make Jesus the issue and not me. If they get angry, I don’t mind them being angry at me, but let them be angry, because of Jesus and not because of me. If they’re going to persecute me, make Jesus the issue. And he does that sometimes. You think about that. Amen.
Matthew Porter: Don’t be afraid to be afraid, now that’s, that’s something right there. And so encouraging. Thank you Steve. So, if you like this show Key Life, you’ll probably like our weekly talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc.. Some of our recent guests include Pat Williams, Os Guinness, Eric Metaxas and of all people Ken Starr. Yes, that Ken Starr. We spoke with him about religious liberty, legal insights and yes, even the Clinton scandal. We also talk about his new book, Religious Liberty in Crisis. Take a listen to part of that show, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.
Ken Starr: The pandemic really brought home what we are facing as people who believe. And that is an enormous amount of cultural hostility, and now official hostility. Governors, closing churches or Nyanza closing churches and so forth. So, the winds were blowing and they were blowing hard against us, but there is great hope in that time and time again, over these last, I count them as 44 oh years. When I entered the Reagan administration, really became deeply involved in issues of religious liberty, both at the policy level and in courthouses. And that is the Supreme Court time and time again has rallied to the defense of religious liberty. My call is for us to inform ourselves. Just as criminals get their Miranda rights, read to them. We need to have our rights, part of who we are, so we can give account of the hope that is within us. And we can deal with that person, maybe just at a Rotary Club or whatever, who’s got a very different perspective and to say, you know what, I’ve got a different perspective, and that is there’s six great principles of religious liberty. And this is who we are as a people. This is our culture. And let me just share with you one story of our Lord’s spoken stories, and this book speaks in stories about these great principles that vindicate religious liberty, for all persons.
Steve Brown: Do you worry that the Supreme Court will change?
Ken Starr: I’m concerned, but I’m not alarmed. I’m very concerned when the President of the United States and other leaders say, we need to take a careful look at the structure of the court. I think Americans should stand up just as they did in the time of Franklin Roosevelt and say, don’t tread on the court. The court works well. No one is saying the court is somehow overworked or not getting its job done. I worry about that, but I have every confidence that given the wisdom of the founding and giving our judges, our federal judges, our Supreme Court justices true independence from the political process, that they will, as the apostle Paul said, stand firm, they will stand firm, maybe not unanimously, but they will stand firm in terms of religious liberty.
Matthew Porter: All of a sudden, some attacks on religious liberty can kind of show up cloaked under the guise of, we need to do this to keep ourselves safe. It’s muddied the waters in a lot of ways, because a lot of believers want to do the right thing, but they’re like, well, what is the right thing? Is this where I take my stand? Or do I honor Caesar in the sense? What are believers to do with this?
Ken Starr: Right. It is keep your eye on how is Caesar treating other entities? And there’s the giveaway, when the governor of Nevada said, okay, casinos can operate at 50% capacity. But churches and synagogues and mosques can operate with only 50 people, no matter how large the religious facility is. No matter how large that sanctuary is, 50, no matter how compliant you are with all of the public health considerations and regulations, and that was just wrong. So, we have to be willing as so many pastors, religious leaders did, Caesar, this is not right. How dare you say to churches, religious institutions aren’t essential, but you say liquor stores are. It’s just so profoundly wrong and that’s what then happened. And then here’s what Americans can do, when you see coming in your school board, in your city council, or in your state house, from the governor, this kind of issue coming, you will, with this book, be informed. And you will know, aha, there is a violation of the great principle of equality and non-discrimination against religious voices. So, let’s arm ourselves in the peaceful sense, so that we can again, be effective soldiers for the culture of liberty at a time when it’s in crisis.
Matthew Porter: This was such a good show, that we put the whole thing on a CD that we would love to send to you, for free. So, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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