It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. You’re kidding!
JANUARY 2, 2023
It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. You’re kidding! Let’s talk, 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. If you have your Bible, open it, if you will, to the 19th chapter of Acts as we continue with our study in Acts. And if you were listening last week when we introduced this subject, we talked about bad theology and bad doctrine. And what that can do to the believer. Getting the truth right is really important. I used to work for a radio station, and the theme of that station is get it first, but first get it right. Well, that ought to be the theme for Christians also, get it right before you speak it to anybody or apply it to your life. By the way, I hope you had a great week-end. Happy New Year. I’m going to do better this year. I really am. I’m going to be nicer and kinder and more loving and more pure. I’m going to, well, but if I don’t, Jesus will still love me. And that is the good news about New Year’s resolutions for the Christian. The only people who get better are people who know if they don’t get better, that Jesus will love them anyway. Okay, let’s pray and then we’ll get down and we’ll do some study. Father, we come into your presence and we come remembering that you are the fount of all truth, that you have revealed truth to us, that you have called us to speak truth to the world. Father, we’re thankful for that because there’s so many lies coming from so many sources, and to come to your word and to come to the truth, which is Jesus is refreshing and good and solid and right, and we praise you for that. You know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places, and you know the fun places, and you’re the God of the laughter and the tears, and we praise you for that. Always sufficient in every place. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, that you would forgive him his sins cause there are many, we would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, let me read the text to you again. It’s the first seven verses of the 19th chapter of Acts, as we continue our study in Acts.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. And he said, “Into then what were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands up on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all.
Now, if you were listening last week, and we introduced this subject, we saw that what’s going on in this particular text is that believers got it wrong and it had bad consequences to it. I can’t tell you, the change that took place in my life when I determined that the Bible would be my authority and that I would stand on it no matter what. The interesting thing was when I made that decision, I had no idea what the Bible had to say. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was religious, I had a degree in theology from a graduate school in Boston, I knew a lot about social ethics, I understood different forms of theology in metaphysics, I got a lot of it, but I didn’t know what the Bible had to say. And I remember in those days, and God brought more power to my ministry in those days than he had ever done before cause I had no ministry before. I stood in the pulpit and stayed one verse ahead of that congregation. I would read what the Bible said and tell them what I thought it meant, and then I saw what happened. Our Sunday school doubled, kids started coming from the universities around Boston, we were so crowded on Sunday nights you couldn’t find a parking place, God began to change hearts, and he changed mine because of what? Because of the truth, because of the truth of doctrine, revealed propositional truth. Now, and I want to go crazy on this, experience is important and we’re going to see that as we go along. But at the very heart of the Christian faith is the idea that this is true. It’s true truth, it’s always true, and that it always will be true. Now, if you were listening last week, we saw that doctrine is important because if you get it wrong, it leads to a knowledge problem.
He who knows not
and I gave you this quote last week, it’s an Arabian proverb
and knows not he knows not is a fool, shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not is simple, teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows is asleep, wake him. He who knows and knows that he knows is wise, follow him.
It’s important, truth. Truth is that the very heart of who we are and how we define ourselves. And knowledge can be a serious problem if we’re not very careful. Hosea 4:6 says, my people are destroyed for lack of niceness, no one doesn’t say that.
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from being a priest to me.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he is fixed a day on which you will judge the world.
How are men to call upon him whom they have believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
I Corinthians 13:12, Paul looks to the future and one of the assets of the future is knowledge.
For now we see a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, as I have been understood.
And so, there’s a knowledge problem. But we saw, and I’m going to say a little bit more about it, that a knowledge problem would be okay if it were just that. But a knowledge problem leads to a grace problem. Acts 19:3 through 4.
Paul said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance.”
In other words, you felt guilty, you felt regret, you felt sad and John called you to be baptized and you stated those things publicly, and all of those things are important, but far more important than that is the baptism of Jesus. One of the problems in the church is that we’ve done exactly the same thing. We’re living in the baptism of John, and we haven’t understood the baptism of Jesus. We’ve proclaimed the importance of the baptism of John, but we forgot the baptism of Jesus. What’s the difference? One is repentance and the other is forgiveness. True, real forgiveness forever and ever. I remember a Christmas program we had in our church and no, it was an Easter program and there was a choir Cantata where the man who had stuck the sword into the side of Jesus stands before the congregation and said, I killed him. And the choir shouts forgiven. I planted a crown of thorns on his forehead and pressed it down. And the choir shouted forgiveness. That’s at the heart of the Christian faith and what doctrine is about. You think about that. Amen.
First, get it right. Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing our unhurried tour through the book of Acts. And today we got into Acts 19:1 through 7. And then at no extra charge we touched on Hosea 4:6, Acts 17:30, Romans 10:14 and I Corinthians 3:12. So much more to discover tomorrow, hope you’ll join us then. Well, it’s a new year and we are excited to tell you about Steve’s new book. It’s called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. It’s all about how laughter and lament are often found together in unexpected places. Steve shares that speaking honestly about the ways that we have been hurt and the ways we have hurt others, opens the door to the joy of God’s presence, even as we grieve. By way of introduction, we’ve created a special Laughter and Lament booklet with excerpts from the book. Can we send you a copy? Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, just go to key life.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the Laughter and Lament booklet. Finally, a question, have you ever considered 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 just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.