In order to follow Jesus, you gotta know where he’s going.
APRIL 25, 2022
In order to follow Jesus, you gotta know where he’s going. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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.
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 Acts and we’re taking our time. I have no earthly idea when we’ll finish this study, but I’m your tour director and we don’t have any hard, fast schedule. We’re just going to stop on occasion and I’m gonna point out some interesting things along the tour. And I’m glad you’re here. We’re up to the 13th chapter of the book of Acts and we’re going to be talking and continuing, we started it last week. We’re going to be talking about when Jesus goes somewhere, you’ve got to know where he’s going before you can follow him. So, how do you know when the church is moving in the right direction? And so, we’re looking at the first few verses of the 13th chapter of Acts, to determine some principles about which we ought to be aware. Before we get down and study, let’s pray. Father, thank you for writing it down cause we would have gotten it wrong. Thank you for being wise with us in every way. You knew we were sinners and you worked out sufficient and finished forgiveness. You knew we were lonely and you said you would be our friend. You knew we were afraid and you told us about heaven. Father, we’re glad to call you Father, a good Father, a Father who is good all the time. And we praise you. Father, you know the people who are listening to these broadcasts. For some, it’s a joyous and good time. And for others, dark and painful. You’re the God of both and sufficient for both. And then Father as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Let me read these verses to you, the first few verses of the 13th chapter of Acts. And then we’ll look carefully at them. This is what Luke writes.
Now in the church in Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. And they were worshiping the Lord and fasting. And the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the word to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
The question before the house is, how do you know? Now, if you were listening last week, we looked at the first thing that is very important. And it is this, that God will prepare circumstances and he never acts in a vacuum. God will prepare circumstances and he will never act in a vacuum. We think he does, especially those of us who are Bible believers. We believe in instantaneous conversion. We believe that when God acts, he moves it. And we’re always surprised, but that’s generally not the way that God moves. Recently we interviewed Jason Baxter and he’s a delightful guy. He’s a professor at Wyoming Catholic College, by the way. And he loves C.S. Lewis and Dante too. And I told him, listen, if you’re going to be academic in this interview, nobody’s going to know what you’re talking about. So, kind of keep the fodder down low, so we can understand. But the title of his book was The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis. And the point that he makes about C.S. Lewis is that Lewis didn’t just spring full blown on the cultural landscape with new ideas and new stories and new theorems and new principles. He was rooted in something that God had been preparing throughout the middle ages. And even before that, and even after that, in other words, he was a product of a cultural manifestation that had been ordained by the God of the universe before he created the world. Because generally that’s the way God works. I’ve been reading another book by Victor David Hanson, in fact, I was reading it just before I came here in the studio. And he’s talking about how to change culture? You know, we’re always saying, get a Christian worldview. And that of course is something we ought to do. And then we ought to involve ourselves in politics, and then we can use political power to change the culture. And, David Hanson says that’s not true, it’s a lot more complicated than that. And I’m not sure of all he said, because I haven’t finished the book, but he makes a really good point. And that is that God prepares before he acts, that God prepares circumstances before he acts. I’ve told you before that I sometimes ask people when they become Christians, is this brand new or is this something like a continuation? And they always start by saying, oh no, it’s brand new. For anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and then they stop and say, but you know, something, I kind of felt that he was there before I knew his name. I kind of felt that things in my life were arranged in a way that made my becoming a new creation possible. I kind of think it was like coming home more than going to a new country. I kind of felt like I was part of it before I was a part of it. That’s true of my own testimony. When Mr. Graham gave an invitation and I went forward. It was cool. I was forgiven. I was saved. I was going to live forever, but the more I thought about it, I thought about my mother. My mother could be mean, except when she was with her grandchildren. And I wanted to say to them, that’s not the woman I grew up with. And, but she, she was strong. I had a father who was an alcoholic and she had to be strong, but do you know what my mother did? She read Charles Spurgeon every morning and she read the Bible every evening and she made us read it too. And so, even when I didn’t want to, when the last thing I wanted to do was hear Bible, my mother, who was strong and you didn’t go against her, except on penalty of your life. My mother who was strong was a part of that. And so, even if I didn’t know his name, even if I wasn’t a part of his family, even if it seemed like when I went forward, at a Graham Crusade, even when those things happened seem new and bright and starting from scratch, they weren’t because God was preparing circumstances. God does that in churches too. And you find that happening here in Antioch. Antioch was one of the centers of early Christianity. Now it wasn’t Jerusalem, but it was kind of second in line in terms of what God was doing with people. And Barnabas went down to help because the church was growing so fast. Then Barnabas realized I can’t do this all by myself. I need some help. And so, we remembered Paul, who was out in the wilderness and got whacked and was learning all kinds of stuff. And he went and got him and asked him to come and help. And then these two leaders were sent by the church because what God had done was amazing in the circumstances that he had prepared. Oh man. That’s true of churches and it’s true of individuals. The Step Foundation was and is, I guess, if it’s still around, an amazing organization in how they work in the inner cities. And they say, one of the problems that we make is that we get a doctor and we give him a hammer to help build a house in the inner city. And the doctor can’t even hit a nail straight. And so, the important thing was to look how he was prepared and then once you understand how he was prepared, let him do medicine. God is doing that in your life. And we’re going to talk more about it tomorrow, but God always prepares. He doesn’t just do things in a vacuum. What is it that you like? Where do you feel a passion? What are you good at? What about your church and your mission statement? That is important and that’s because God created the circumstances. You think about that. Amen.
God prepare circumstances before he acts. Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown teaching us today from Acts chapter 13. And of course we’ll continue from here tomorrow and through the rest of the week. Hope you will join us for all of that. Well, if you were listening two weeks ago, during Holy Week, you heard five days of great teaching from Steve and our friend Justin Holcomb. If you were as blessed by that, as I was, then you’ll want to check out Justin’s episode of Steve Brown Etc from a few months ago. On that show, we discussed the new book that he has edited, something Justin refers to as the anti devotional devotional. What in the world is an anti devotional devotional? Listen, Justin explains it better than I can. And we would love to send you that whole conversation from Steve Brown Etc on a CD, for free. Claim your 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 CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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