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It’s not enough for you to care.

It’s not enough for you to care.

NOVEMBER 1, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / It’s not enough for you to care.

Steve Brown:
It’s not enough for you to care. I’ll explain on this edition, of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, we were looking at some, couple of preliminary thoughts that I don’t want you to miss. We saw that God stirred up Paul, and you’ll find that in the 16th verse.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him.

And that is the first step in the direction of effective evangelism, but it’s not the only step. And so, we took some time to look at something that is important in this text in the 17th chapter of Acts. Notice, not only did God stir up Paul, God also stirred up the intellectuals in the Athens. That’s versus 19 through 20.

And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you present?”

Peter said this in I Peter 3:15.

In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.

That’s stirring you up.

But always be prepared

and here it comes

to make defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.

That is stirring them up. What was Paul doing in Athens? He was on a fishing expedition. He cast out the line to see if any fish would bite, and if they didn’t bite, he would’ve been skunked. And so, two things have to go on, first God needs to stir you up. Ask him to do that because we’re here for them, but God secondly has to stir them up. This is what Watchman Nee said. I don’t agree with everything that Watchman Nee wrote, but in fact, sometimes when I read him, I feel like I’m drowning. But some of the things Watchman Nee said and did were simply astounding. And he said this.

The Lord does not set us here first of all to preach or any work for him. The first thing for which he sets us here is to create the need in others.

So true and so good. Miles Stanford said this.

One of the main reasons for so much personal work coming to nothing is that truths are forged up on the victim to be saved before he is even aware that he is lost.

Our prayer ought to be, Lord, I know that you’re stirring up the hearts of people. Let me be sensitive enough to know when to speak and when to keep quiet to keep my mouth shut. I went fishing last week, not last week, but not too long ago, and we didn’t catch any fish at first. And my friend who’s an expert at fishing said, you know the problem, the bait is too big for the little fish. And I said, alright, let’s put some little bait on this hook. And we did, and the little fish bit. Now, that’s a good illustration. Sometimes we put bait on the hook that is too big for the fish to swallow. We dump the whole load. You’ve heard that old story about the young seminary student who went out to preach at a little church in the country and it was snowing and it was awful, and only one person showed for the service. And he said to this farmer, Man, it’s just you and me. Do you? Do you think we ought to proceed with a service? And the farmer said, Son, if I only have one cow that shows up at the trough, I feed that one cow. And the young seminary student said, Fine. So, he got in the pulpit, he did the whole service, the pastoral prayer, the liturgy, the hymns, and then he preached for almost 45 minutes. And after it was over, he went to the one man that made up the congregation and said to him, How was that? And the farmer said, Son, when I have one cow that shows up to eat, I feed him, but I don’t give him the whole load. Well, Paul was aware of that and he knew that God must stir up his heart, but he also needed to stir up the hearts of those to whom Paul had sent. And that’s exactly what happened. When you are witnessing, make sure that somebody cares about the fact that you are witnessing. I can’t tell you the number of times when people have told me about problems. And I’ve said, Look, I’ve got some answers for you, but they have to do with Jesus and you’re not big on Jesus. So, when you are, when it hurts so bad that you’ll try anything, you come back and talk to me and I’ll tell you about him and the difference that he makes. And you would be surprised how often those people come back and say, All right, I want to hear about Jesus. And I get a chance to do exactly what Peter said to do in I Peter. When we’re in the world, we need to offer enough to create questions. We ought to say things they don’t expect. They’ve got us figured. We all smile the same way, and say the same words, and read the same books, and listen to the same music, and frankly we’re boring. And so, we’ve got to get outside of ourselves and create questions in the mind of pagans, so that God can stir them up in the same way he has stirred us up. And when both of those things are happening, we’ll have a revival. We’ll have an awakening. All right, enough about that. I wanted to say those things before we got into the text. The question before us is this, the apostle Paul is in Athens. He’s talking to intellectuals, and what in the world can you say to an intellectual? Well, before we begin, let me say not much. The worst kind of pride I know about is intellectual pride. It’s self righteous, it’s dismissing, it’s judgmental, judging other people and generally people who think they’re intellectuals are people who don’t want to listen to anything that has to do with Jesus and sin and repentance. And if they don’t want to hear it, then don’t say it. But if you get a chance the way Paul did, there’s some things you ought to keep in mind. And we’re going to be looking at those things. And the first thing that you need to note, that Paul was willing to bend, look at the 22nd verse.

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus.

In other words, he went to where they were. He looked at what they believed, He understood what they said, He knew where they were coming from, and he was willing to bend, Matthew 28:19.

Go into all the world and make disciples.

He didn’t say, Wait until they come to you, but with that being said, look at I Corinthians 9:19 through 22.

For though I am free from all men, I

Here it comes.

I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. To the Jews I became a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one, under the law law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became one outside the law (not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. So to the week I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Dear friend, that’s called paying your dues. It is earning the right to be heard. It’s bending and being flexible and showing in places where Christians don’t show. Stuart Brisco a number of years ago, lived in a place where there was a coffee shop across the street from where they lived. And as I remember it, that place was called The Cat’s Whispers. His wife Jill pushed him to go over there and share the gospel and he kept refusing cause his schedule was tight, he was traveling all over the United States preaching and teaching, but she pushed. And he finally went, and when he sat down at the table with his coffee, a young man asked him who he was and he told him. And told him about Jesus. And the young man said, You don’t believe it. If you really believed it, you would’ve been here a long time before now. Mm. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And thank you Steve. That’s Steve Brown continuing to unpack the truth here in Acts 17, but we also touched on Matthew 28:19. Of course, that’s the Great Commission and I Corinthians 9:19 through 22. More from Acts tomorrow. Hope you will join us then. Well, there are a bunch of words that have an original meeting, but over time kind of collect a lot of baggage. One of those words is evangelical, which raises the question, should that label be discarded or defended? Well, that’s the question we discussed with author Michael Reeves on Steve Brown Etc. as we enjoyed a fascinating conversation about the gospel at the crossroads of modern day culture and politics. Not unlike Paul speaking to the Athenians. If it’s cool with you, we would love to send you that whole show on a CD, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

Key Life Network
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Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Michael Reeves. Last thing, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely simply by texting Key Life to 28950. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. 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.

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