Just talk about Christ and be quiet.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2023
Just talk about Christ and be quiet. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end. Hope you had fun, a lot of relaxation, time with family, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re looking at the final chapters of the Book of Acts. And I’m kind of picking and choosing, rather sometimes in these texts, I go verse upon verse, precept upon precept, and then sometimes there’s a body of material from which I like to draw, and I believe I’m led by the Holy Spirit to do this, to draw principles that are relevant to us today. And these final chapters, for the most part, deal with Paul being in trouble. He’s caused three riots, and he’s in serious trouble before the authorities. And as we examine these chapters, as the bulk of material, they are material that allow us to see how Paul defended himself. And he didn’t. That was not what he’s about. He’s about presenting Christ, and we’re talking about that. Before we dig back in, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence and we’re thankful for Paul. We’re thankful that he’s human like us, that he sins like us, that you had him tell us that he was the chief of sinners and even give his confession. We’re thankful for his humanness and his sinfulness and his faithfulness. Father, we want to be like that, and we ask that you would make us more like Paul because Paul was more like Jesus. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast, and you know the hard places and the soft places, and you’re in charge of both and sufficient for both. Father, we praise you and we worship you. We’re thankful that you found us in the dark. We’re thankful that you promised to get us home. We’re thankful that you have been faithful at every point in our lives. But if you had been none of that, you’re still God. And you’re the Creator and you are the Ruler, the sovereign Ruler of everything. And worthy of our worship. But then, you came, and we’re so thankful. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, that you would forgive him his sins, cause they are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in his name. Amen. Alright, you might want to have your Bible open to these final chapters of Acts. Let me make a major observation, before we dig into some of the material that we’re going to study this week and maybe a little bit into next week. The major observation is found in Acts 26:22 through 23.
“To this day I have had the hope that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both the small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to his people and to the Gentiles.”
The observation is this, as you examine these final chapters of Acts, it becomes abundantly clear, and I’ve said this before, that Paul is not defending Paul, he is presenting Christ. For a number of years visited People’s Church in Toronto, Canada. And I had the privilege of getting to know the founder of that particular church. And by the way, it’s still a great church. For you Canadians, you know that. Oswald Jeffrey Smith had come from California and he founded the church, People’s Church in Toronto. It was, and it may still be, the largest giver to world missions of any church in the world. But I love to go there, and I love to be around Dr. Smith. And I loved some of the principles that he taught. If you ever want to read a great book, and it may still be in print. It’s Douglas Hall’s book, it’s a biography of Oswald J. Smith. In the book, he relates how Dr. Smith determined one of his guiding principles. As the people’s church began to grow In Toronto, it became quite controversial, its growth was amazing, and like any great work of God, many people began to criticize. Smith was attacked in editorials and news stories which were highly critical of him and his church. After a whole lot of prayer, he decided on something that was very important and central to that church and his particular ministry. You know what he decided? It’s four words. And it was this. No attack, no defense. That’s profound. And it is one of the reasons that People’s Church has been used by God for so many years. No attack, no defense. In other words, Oswald Smith, and he was bright, and articulate, and wise, and he could have cut the legs off and eaten the lunch of, to mix the metaphor, of a lot of his critics. But he never attacked, he never once went after them, he never once said to them, you are lying. He kept quiet. And he never once defended himself. II Corinthians 4:5 gives you an insight into the apostle Paul.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
In I Corinthians 2:2 through 5, Paul writes.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith may not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
No attack, no defense. You get angry sometimes when you watch the news. Boy, I do. We get drag queens leading our children. We get things happening in our schools that are scary. We get politicians who are saying that evil is good and good is evil. We live in a very difficult time. It’s not the first time. We’ve always lived in a difficult time, we just had a respite for a while. Now, we’re back to normal and they don’t like us. I don’t know about you, but I, you know, I want to get my gun. I want to, I want to fight and I want to attack and I want to destroy those people. I remember one time, well, I’ll have to wait and tell you that story tomorrow, but it’s a good story. But back to what I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, sometimes I get really angry, and then sometimes I think of Oswald J. Smith and how he dealt with his anger. No attack, no defense. You know something, our defense really is sure because it’s not our defense. God is our defender and that’s his business. And defending ourselves is way above our pay level. And so, as Christians, we don’t have to get our guns. We don’t have to prove how smart we are. We don’t have to tear down the arguments of everybody who’s against what we believe. We don’t have to fix anything. We don’t have to be anything, except a witness who says once I was lost and now I’m saved. Once I was blind and now I can see. Once I couldn’t dance and now I can. Once I cried, now I laugh because of Jesus Christ. And that message, and it was the message of Paul in his non defense, that message is powerful. It was powerful when he gave it and it will be powerful when you do. You think about that. Amen.
Just talk about Christ and be quiet. There’s a lot of wisdom in those seven words. Thank you Steve Brown. We’ve been working our way through the last few chapters of Acts, but today we also touched on II Corinthians 4:5 and I Corinthians 2:2 through 5. More challenges and encouragement from Acts Tomorrow, will you join us for that? Well, I think you would agree that while we as Christians may be right on the issues of salvation and theology, we do sometimes miss the less articulated truths of humility and love and forgiveness. Well, that premise was actually the basis of Steve’s book called Talk the Walk. We took a portion of that book and created a booklet that we would love to send to you for free. To claim your copy, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. And to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the Talk the Walk booklet. And one last thing, if you value the work of Key Life, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950. And if you can’t give, listen, we get it. But if you would, please do pray for us, okay? And if you want to get that booklet, it really is free. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.