Most people stay away from church…until they’re in trouble.
AUGUST 3, 2021
Most people stay away from the church…until they’re in trouble. Let’s talk on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be here guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the third chapter of Acts. And that’s a part of our study in Acts. We’re taking a number of weeks, maybe even months to go through this particular book. And I’ve taught it so several times and every time I am blown away, it is just a wonderful story. It’s delightful. And it reminds me of a God who cares, who’s involved, who’s faithful and God tells me when I read the book of Acts, I’m still here. I’m still faithful. And you can still trust in me. I’m not going to take the time to read that entire third chapter. I did yesterday, but it’s fairly long. And, but if you have your Bible open it to the third chapter of Acts and I’ll be referring to that as we go along. It’s a story about a man who was a cripple and he was at the gate of the Beautiful Gate at the temple. And he had to be carried there every day in order to beg for charity, to beg for money from the people there who would see the cripple and give him some help. And he’d been doing that forever. In fact, he was born cripple, he had been that way all of his life. You know, Mueller was famous in his orphanages for never asking for money. And people always bring that up, when I ask for money. I say to them, you know, that sounds good, but he never visited a rich business man, unless he had a skinny starving orphan with him. So, he didn’t have to say anything. Well, that’s what’s going on here. You got this cripple, his situation really is bad. You can’t get in the gate of the temple without stepping over him. And when you do, guilt begins to fall. Especially, if you’re part of the covenant people of God. You say to yourself, I can’t ignore this and then go and worship and feel good about myself. So. I’m going to give you some money. And so, he did pretty good, I suspect with the alms he got from God’s people, as they went to worship. I would’ve given him a dollar, if my friend Buddy Greene had been with me. When we travel together, Buddy is the Nashville recording artist. And he’s wonderful. He always gives beggars $10. If you give him $10, you’ve got to talk to them. If you give them a dollar, you can run. I tell him, Buddy just give him a dollar or we’re going to be here all day. But at any rate, this cripple is here at the Beautiful Gate. And, he’s asking for money. And he’s probably doing pretty well, in his asking. In fact, I have heard that beggars, those are the people that stand on the street corners and say, homeless, I’ve got a puppy dog and a child, could you help, kind of thing. And I always do. And people always jump on me, that they’re just gonna spend it on drugs. And I say, look, it’s their problem, not my problem. My problem is that Jesus said, if they ask, give, so I give, so there. But I understand, and I’ve been told this by people who know, that those people who do that begging, make big bucks by doing it. So, I don’t begrudge this cripple, making a lot of money begging, I mean, look, he’s been crippled since forever. And then Peter, John come by, and they look reasonably together and then Peter says, look at us. And he said, oh man, this is going to be big. They’re going to dig deep because they feel really, really guilty. And then Peter said, I mean, it’s just a wonderful story. Peter says, I don’t have nothing. I don’t, you’re not going to get any money from me. And you know, you know what the cripple thought. You can’t sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple all those years and not become cynical. And this guy’s cynical and he thought, oh spit, you know, they’re playing with me and they’re not even gonna give me a dime. And then when Peter says something that is just plain amazing, don’t have any silver or gold, but if you want to walk, I can help you there, get up son. Just get up. And then Peter grabs his arm and the guy said, haven’t you noticed, I’m crippled. And Peter jerks him up. And all of a sudden his muscles are strong and his legs are strong and he can’t believe he’s standing and then he can’t believe he’s walking and then he can’t believe that he’s dancing. And then he starts jumping up and down. And Luke doesn’t tell us, but I’m sure he spoke in tongues and sang. Didn’t he go and he won’t leave Peter and John man, he’s found an answer to everything and he’s sticking like glue to them as they go into the temple. Now, I want to point something out to you that I think is kind of important among some other things that we’re going to look at. He was at the temple, Peter and John were at the temple too. And the people who were at the temple were people who were needy and that’s the reason they were at the temple. You know, the church has gotten a bum rap in our time and people don’t like us very much. I read all the studies about how many people, young people are leaving the church. I don’t find that’s, in my church, we’re up to our ears with young people. They ought to be glad to have an old guy like me sitting there. I mean, they’re all over the place, but I guess the studies are right. You know, what’s happening. We’re getting down to the muscle in the church, but the church still has the smell of Jesus. I remember when I was a young pastor on Cape Cod, East Dennis on Cape Cod and President Kennedy was assassinated. And that whole winter on Cape Cod, we struggled to get just a few to attend the worship services of the church, but we had a Memorial service the day after he was shot. And you couldn’t get everybody in. I mean, people came out of the cracks to the church. Why did they come to the church, because there was still the smell of Jesus. That little church on Cape Cod, by the way, was close to the bay and the beach on Cape Cod. And we had carillons on the tower of the church and every hour it played out the hour and sometimes it would play out hymns. And you could hear those hymns down at the beach where so many people were having a good time. I remember one afternoon I was sitting in my study and these two young men walked into the church and I came out and I said, can I help you? And they said, well, no, not, yes, my brother just died and I heard the bells and I was wondered if, is there somebody here I can talk to. What was that? That’s the smell of Jesus about the church. And, there is a smell of God about the temple and no matter how much the atheists and the agnostics rag on people of faith, when they’re in trouble and they are scared, there’s the smell of Jesus. And they know where to go. We went through a hurricane, hurricane Andrew. And I’ve told you about it a number of times, and lost our house. I mean, it was an awful time. And during that hurricane, I really thought we were going to die. It was the biggest natural disaster up to that time that America had ever experienced. I mean, everything was blown away and it was scary. And after the wind was gone. And the next day when the sun was shining, all the neighbors who were still living joined out in the street in front of our destroyed houses, all of us who were Christian said, this is never going to happen again before we tell our neighbors about Jesus. But the really interesting thing is the atheist who live next door to us. He showed up in the group. And, he heard us talking and I said, gosh, that must have been really hard for you last night, since you don’t believe in God. And he said, you know what I did, I prayed all night. So, I guess I’m not the atheist that I thought, what was going on, when you’re scared enough and you’ve sinned enough and you’ve lived long enough and you’re needy enough and you’ve lost enough and you’ve hurt enough and there’s enough pain and enough loneliness. There’s the smell of Jesus about Christians and about the church. And it’s really important when they are drawn to the smell that we have something important to give. As in, I know you’re cripple. Give me your crutches. Stand up and dance. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, digging into Acts chapter three, talking about the church having the smell of Jesus. More to discover tomorrow, hope you will join us then. We just heard Steve speak about processing hard times, how we all can learn something new about ourselves when we’re pressed hard enough, and in those moments, believe it or not, Jesus identifies with you. In John 11, Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that Lazarus is dying and Jesus eventually gets there after Lazarus dies. And then he goes down to the graveyard and he. Well, why did Jesus weep? Because there was something else going on and there’s something else always going on in our pain. Well Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Tears Are All That’s Left. And if you just felt something in your heart move, when you heard that title. Please call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. And we’ll send you that sermon on CD for free. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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