Is there something in your life you’re willing to die for?
JULY 13, 2023
Is there something in your life you’re willing to die for? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious clichés. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, and I’m not going to take the time to read that text to you again. We spent some time in the 20th chapter of Acts in our study in Acts, and we have seen what happened at a very long sermon that Paul preached when Eutychus fell out of a window and got, and Paul prioritized the Scripture over the death of that young man. But the young man was healed and was alive and was fine. And then Paul proceeded to Miletus, and this is the rest of that 20th chapter of Acts.
And at Miletus he called the leaders of a church that he loved a lot, the church at Ephesus, to come and meet him. And on the dock at Miletus, the apostle Paul said goodbye to his beloved friends, his colleagues, the covenant leaders of God.
And it is quite moving, the things that he says, what he reminds them of, the goodbye. And Luke makes a point of saying there were tears and there was great sadness because saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow and it really is. And so, I thought that during this broadcast, and then next week, we’re going to pause for a while in Miletus. And during our time at Miletus, we’re going to be observers of what happened on that dock and we’re going to see some very, very important things that took place. And the first thing you ought to see about Miletus is that when Paul preached, he had something he was willing to die for and he was giving his life he knew for that. Is there something in your life that you’re willing to die for? When I ask you that question, I stop and think, well, I don’t know? I’ve got to think about that for a minute. I was reading a novel not too long ago, and the leading character in the novel said that she thought she couldn’t deal with being a martyr unless they killed her fast. But if they killed her fast, she thought she could pull that off. Well, maybe that’s that way. If they’re going to torture me, I’m not sure. If I’m going to die, there’s some things I’m willing to die for. I would die for my family, I would die for my friends, I would die for Jesus. I mean, I’m totally at the end of my life, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I have given my life doing stuff for Jesus, and I’ve told him often, I wouldn’t do this for anybody but you, but I think I’d be willing to die and I would use the apostle Paul and his willingness to die for Jesus as an example of where every Christian ought to be. As we speak right now, there are Christians all over the world that are being persecuted, and I’m not talking about in a school board meeting. And I’m not talking about the mainstream media ignoring and criticizing, that’s nothing, that’s powder puff stuff. There are people in the world right now who are dying for the Christian faith, and they, and they are amazing. Every morning I pray for their faithfulness and that their witness would be a mighty witness to God’s power and his glory and his truth and his word. And that’s what’s happening, and it’s making an impact on the world. The church is grown by the blood of martyrs, and you find that happening here. And you say, I don’t see that. Well, yeah, you do, because he says in this particular text that every place he’s gone, people have said to him, Paul, you’re going to die, you’re going to face awful afflictions. It’s going to be hard for you. And we’re going to see when we get there in the Book of Acts, that that’s exactly what happened. He ends up going to Rome and he doesn’t die there, but he suffers. Most scholars believe, and we’ll talk about this, as I said, when we get to that part of the book of Acts. Most scholars though Acts doesn’t say so, think that Paul went to Rome, was in prison, somehow got out, made one more Christian journey, then came back to Rome, and there he died. But nevertheless, he knew that the future was not pretty, he knew that he was going to pay a price, he knew that he could die and he was going to go to jail and it wasn’t for a parking ticket and he was willing to do that. Let me give you some Scripture cause it’ll show you the heart of the apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:13 through 14 Paul says.
This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and stranding toward what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Luke 11:33 through 34, Jesus says.
No man when he hath lighted a candle putteth in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candle stick that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye. Therefore when thine eye is single sound, the whole body also is full of light. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee is not darkness.
In other words, have a passion that consumes. Matthew 6:33.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
One time, I’ve probably told you this before, Socrates had a young man come to him and ask for truth. Socrates said, son, come with me. And they went down to the river, waded out into the water and Socrates took the young man by the hair and dunked him under the water and held him there until the young man was sure he was going to drown. And then Socrates pulled him up by the hair and said to him, son, when you want truth as much as you then wanted air, then you shall have it. Well, there’s a sense in which that kind of passion ought to be present in every Christian. What’s really important to you? What’s central in your life? What like Paul, are you willing to die for? And so, you look, when you look at Miletus you see an illustration of the fact that Paul knew that hardship was going to follow and perhaps he was going to die and he did it anyway. I’m not a particularly brave person, my granddaughter jumped out of an airplane for her birthday recently. And Courtney is unbelievable. And if I were required to jump out of that airplane for her in order to save her life, I would probably do it, but I’m not sure. But as she jumped, I was frightened because I thought that’s crazy. So, I’m not a particularly courageous person, but I pray and I pray often, God give me a passion. A passion that doesn’t make me weird, but makes me faithful. Father, make me like Paul that I’m willing to go anywhere and do anything and give anything that that passion might be fulfilled.
Woe to me
the apostle Paul said
if I preach not the gospel.
Oh, do you feel guilty? I do. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. If you don’t do that, if you don’t have that passion, if God hasn’t given that to you, if there is nothing, absolutely nothing in your life that you’re willing to die for, Jesus will still love you. And he won’t love you any less than he does right now, and he won’t love you any more, if you do all of that, then he loves you right now. But it is wise sometimes as Christians to look at our lives and say, what is really important to me? What do I care about the most? What is it that I’ll take a stand for no matter what? You can do that and I’ll do that too, and we’ll both be better for it. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And here we are, Thursday already. What a great week, plumbing the depths of Acts chapter 20. We’ll continue from here Monday, but be sure to come back tomorrow for Friday Q&A with Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson. You know, it’s funny how different questions can carry different weights, like on one end there are questions like, What will I have for dinner tonight? Answer, anything my lovely and talented wife puts in front of me. Then there are questions like, does God exist? Am I really forgiven and free? If all of this is true, then why don’t I feel different? Well, Steve is no stranger to doubts and questions. In fact, he wrote about these things in a mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief Is Hard. May we send you this mini-book, for free. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for the free mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. And finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy. You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words, either works. Text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.