Only a grain of sand on the endless beaches of eternity…NOT!
NOVEMBER 15, 2021
Only a grain of sand on the endless beaches of eternity…NOT! 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 the God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious you and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to, well we’re gonna look at the last part of the seventh chapter of Acts in our study of Acts. And then we’re gonna move into the eighth chapter of Acts. And I can hardly wait to get to this, I mean, this is so, this part of Acts is absolutely amazing. And we’re just going to get a touch of it as we talk about the apostle Paul and the repercussions of Stephen’s martyrdom. And then we’re going to study some other things, but we’re going to come back to Paul and we’re going to see how God used him in such a great way. So, if you have your Bible, open it to the seventh chapter of Acts and we’ll move into the eighth chapter of Acts. Before we do that, let’s pray. Father, as we come into your presence, we are amazed at our past, pleased with our future and knowing that you are God, sovereign, the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of it all, makes us filled with joy. Remind us again of your sovereignty and your kindness and your goodness. Father, as we study your word on this broadcast, as always we pray for the one who teaches that you would forgive him his sins because there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. If you were listening last week, I taught you a principle that was taught to me. Acts 1:8 didn’t take place until acts 8:1 took place. Acts 1:8 was the commission. Acts 8:1, no 1:8. Listen, I’m old. I’m doing the best I can. Acts 1:8 was the commission. Acts 8:1 was the way God accomplished the commission. He said, go into the world and they refused. And then when you get to the eighth chapter, a great persecution arose in the church and the people of God were spewed into the world. And while they were going, they were telling about Jesus and God’s plan was fulfilled. At any rate. Let me, once again, read you the last part, starting at the 54th verse of the book of Acts, and then through the first three verses of the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. This is what Luke writes.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged,
Stephen had just preached his sermon and they didn’t like it one bit.
and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together up on him. They cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning, Stephen, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting to his death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
Now, if you’re familiar with the text, at that point Luke stops talking about Saul, who later would be called Paul. I don’t want to make too big a deal out of the name change, one is Greek and the other is Hebrew. He was known later by different name because he was a different person. And we’ll see that when we get there. But right now I want to say something about the repercussions of a committed life. And I want to give you some principles that will help you in understanding those particular repercussions. And the first principle from this chapter in Acts is this. God has the plan and you fit into that plan, you would think looking at this, that this was not a good thing. This, what I just read to you is pretty dark. Isn’t it? Stephen, the leader in the early church has just been buried and they wept. Luke says that was great lamentation when they buried him and great sadness. And then you would think it would be followed by some good news, but it’s not good news. Saul, a persecution arose in the church. And I know the Christian saying, God, what are you doing? And then even to make it worse, this leader, religious leader who had the power of the state behind him was rousting Christians out of their homes and throwing them into prison. Now that’s dark. That’s not good. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. When you become a Christian, everything is supposed to be fine. Your life should start working out the way you wanted it to work out and everything will come together and you can dance and have a wonderful, well, that’s not always what happens and it’s certainly not what happened here. When you read those verses and you see what happens, it’s almost insane to say, God has a plan and you fit into that plan. I’m not gonna spend much time, talking about this, but the Scripture is clear about every person in the body of Christ, having a particular gift that will be used for the entire body of Christ. You’ll find that in I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Romans 12 and in other places in the New Testament. And it says, God has a plan and you fit into that plan. I remember the first professional football game I ever went to. I’m not a big sports fans, but somebody had given me a ticket to the Miami Dolphins. And I became a Miami Dolphin fan. Got to know Bob Griese and a bunch of other players. Some of them were coming to the church. And so, I became someone who really supported that team during that time. That was the year after the perfect season of the Miami Dolphins. It was an exciting time to be in Miami. And as I said, I got to know some of the players on the Dolphins. And one of the good things that I found was that each player had a job description and they didn’t have to do what other players were doing, they only had to do what God told them to do. Now, Bob Griese got all the praise and the acclaim and the fame because he was the quarterback. But the others who did what they were supposed to do, were a part of the perfect season. And we’re a part, as it were, of a perfect season because it is ordained by a perfect God. He has a plan and you fit into that plan. Have you ever thought about the man who carved out the tomb where Christ’s body was laid or the one who produced the ointment with which his feet were anointed? Have you ever thought about the man or the woman who made the towel with which Christ washed the feet of the disciples or the one who made the wine used in that first communion service, the Lord’s Supper? God has a plan. They’re little pieces that only fit right in the puzzle. And all you got to do is to live the life that God has ordained for you. And he will take that living of that life, being faithful to it as a mother or father or a preacher or a teacher or a garbage collector or a baker or a, oh, you get the point. The point is this, God is weaving a magnificent, unbelievable tapestry for his glory and he’s doing it with me and he’s doing it with you. And even if it doesn’t feel like it, as long as you’re faithful to the place where he put you, doing what he told you to do, then his plan and his glory will shine like the sun. I thought I would remind you. Don’t thank me, I was glad to help. You think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown continuing to teach us some Acts and wrapping up our focus on the life and martyrdom of Stephen, such a dramatic and powerful and pivotal chapter in the early church. More good stuff tomorrow. Do hope you’ll join us again then. Can I confess something to you? I love opening Christmas presents and yeah, it’s not about the gifts. I get all of that. Okay. But when you’re handed some kind of package all wrapped up, there’s just that fleeting moment where you feel like a kid again. Listen, we would love to give you that feeling by sending you an early Christmas present. It’s a free booklet called Christmas Meditations. And it’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings, some familiar and some, not so familiar on the real meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions to help you quietly focus and reflect on the impact of Christ’s coming. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for that booklet. If you would like to mail a request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
In Canada, mail
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for the booklet called Christmas Meditations. Finally, if you value what we do here at Key Life, would you prayerfully consider giving to support that work? Giving is easy. Just charge a gift on your credit card, include a gift in your envelope. Or text Key Life to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we already listened to supported production Key Life Network.