Lord, are you sure it’s you?
SEPTEMBER 5, 2022
Lord, are you sure it’s you. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering, that grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts. And, we are up to the 16th chapter of Acts. And, we’re going to be talking as we were last week about knowing the will of God. We’re looking at a passage that demonstrates somebody who knows God’s will. And everybody wants to know if it’s the Lord or somebody else. And so, we’re going to be talking about it, and I’m glad you’re here with us. Hope you had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as mine. It’s our practice on Monday to pray before we study. So, let’s do that. Father, you are creating us to do your will. You are creating in us a heart to desire to do your will, but sometimes it’s hard to know your will. And so, as we study this bit of Acts, oversee it and apply it to our minds, that we are thinking Christians. And then put it in our hearts so that we might be Christians who feel deeply and passionately. And then father put it in our hands and our feet and our vocal chords. So, the world can hear the laughter of the redeemed. Father, you know everyone who’s listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places. Father, be the comforter, come yourself and grant healing and freedom and acceptance and meet the need as you define the need. And then Father, as always too, we pray for the one who teaches, 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. All right. Let me read to you this text from the 16th chapter of Acts. We have seen some pretty divisive and difficult times through which the church has gone. We have seen division between two of the leaders of the church. Man, if you think that’s a modern phenomenon, you are crazy. Church has been fighting from the end, beginning, and it will be until the end of the church on earth. I was with a friend yesterday. In fact, it was Matt Heard. We were having lunch and we, as you know, spent last week talking about Babette’s Feast. And, we were talking about church history and Matt loves church history and I love church history. And we were talking about how from the beginning, it has been such a mess, that any other organization conducted the way the church has conducted its business for all these hundreds of years, would’ve ended in the first 10 years. It is an apologetic point, by the way, that God exists cause the church exists and we’ve been fighting from the beginning. We’ve seen that. We’ve taken some time to examine it and to ask the question why? And now, Paul has chosen Timothy. And, Paul is setting out on his journey. And Luke, the physician who wrote the book of Acts. This is at the 6th verse of the 16th chapter, Luke writes.
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they came opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing, beseeching him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help.” And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Now, Paul is doing exactly what God told him to do. He’s being faithful to the will of God, as it was revealed to him. And you probably would. And I probably would, most of the time, if God would just be clear about what his will is. I haven’t had a vision at least in a week. If I had a vision of somebody that God sent to tell me to do something, I would do it, but it’s not as easy as that, is it? Now, we took some time last week to talk about some of the major ways, that God guides his people. And they’re five of them. And I’m just going to go over them, so you’ll remember when I give a test on this material. First, God shows his will by Scripture. You’ll find that throughout the book of Acts, when the people in the book of Acts move at God’s behest, there is always Scripture connected to it. And then secondly we’ve seen, that it’s by prayer. Sometimes you’ll be praying and you can’t get a name out of your mind. I remember one time, when I was working on a sermon, it was late at night at night. And this guy who was a member of the church, I was serving at the time, his name kept coming to my mind. And so, I said, Lord, I don’t know why I keep thinking of him, but I bring him before you. And I asked that whatever the need is, that you would meet it. Then I went back to working on the sermon and I still couldn’t get him out of my mind. And so, I said, okay. And I left my study and drove to his house and knocked on the door. And his wife came to the door and said, Steve, how did you know? And I said, know what? And she said, my husband died 20 minutes ago. And, I’m so glad you’re here cause we need to talk. God still does that sometimes. I’d like to tell you that it happens to me very often, but it doesn’t, but sometimes you’ll be praying and thoughts will be coming to your mind and God can, within the context of prayer, when you ask, Matthew 6:10, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It can get specific to you. And then God leads by circumstances. And he really does, Acts 16:1 through 5, circumstances confirmed Timothy’s leading from God. Circumstances are important because God is creating the circumstances with which you deal. Recently, we interviewed my friend Roger Parrott, who is the president of Belhaven University. He’s written a book about leadership and it’s one of the best books on leadership I’ve ever heard. And he says in effect, quit having planning meetings and do something, quit sitting around and talking about it, do something. And in his book, he illustrates that God is really sovereign. And he creates gifts. He creates circumstances. He creates opportunities. And Roger has built a university, a magnificent university on that particular principle. And the principle says, that God is sovereign. And he ordains circumstances. And for over 20 years, my friend has been running a university and it drives people nuts, by being sensitive to where God is leading and following as best he can. And the university has gone from significant failure, to one of the major universities in America. And it happens because of circumstances. Well, that works for us too. God gave you certain gifts, that’s a part of the circumstances of your life. Your biography is the place where God writes his story. And if you’re sensitive to where you are, where you’ve been planted, what you can do, you can do God’s will because he makes that a priority in your life. And then we know God’s will by other Christians, Acts 15, the Jerusalem conference. Now, we spent a long time talking about that conference, the first general assembly of the church. And it was Christians speaking to Christians that made the difference. And it is amazing what happens when we start really listening to each other and the insights that come from that. Listen to me, you may not like me, but you’re crazy not to listen to me. And I may not like you. And I’m crazy, if I don’t listen to you because that is the way God has ordained to speak his will to his people. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, leading us back into our exploration of the book of Acts, specifically Acts 16:6 through 10. And we will be camped out here for the next two days. Hope you’ll join us again, starting tomorrow. Question, is grace really as good as we think? Answer, no, it’s actually better. Recently on Steve Brown Etc, we hung out with our friend, Andrew Farley and reflected on just how good the good news really is. It was a refreshing reminder of just how amazing grace is. We put that whole conversation on a CD, and if it’s okay with you, we’d like to send it to you, 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 CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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