Paul had a godly mean streak.
OCTOBER 6, 2022
Paul had a godly mean streak. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it, if you will, to the 16th chapter. Just kind of a review for those of you who weren’t listening. In this 16th chapter, I introduce you to Lydia, who’s a very good friend of mine, the first convert to Christ in Europe, and she is an amazing lady. And then we saw that Christians get into trouble. Not everybody likes Christians. And Paul and Silas and their friends were having a prayer service and they kept being interrupted by a woman who was demon possessed. And not only that, she was a slave girl and her owners were hustling bucks on what she was saying when she was demon possessed. And one of the things she did was to shout out, in the middle of the sermon, listen to these people, this is of God, this is the truth. And that was good the first time, the second time, not so much, the third time and the fourth and the fifth, Paul got irritated, stopped the sermon, confronted her, threw out the demon, and she was in her right mind and came to Christ. Now, you would think everybody would rejoice, but not the pagans cause they were making money off of her. They brought Paul and his friends before the magistrates, they were put on trial and they were thrown in jail. And then we saw the amazing things that happened in jail. We saw that theology is a lot better when it’s written in jail, instead of seminaries. Then I’m talking about myself, boy, some exciting things happen. They’re in shackles. It’s a dark place. And Paul and his friends are having a worship service and the prisoners are listening. They’re singing hymns. Now, I wouldn’t be doing that. I mean, I’d be telling God, this is not fair. If you really loved me, this would not be happening. And then God intervened in an amazing way. And just so you know, if I had been in Paul’s place and had done what he had done, I would’ve been blessed, but if I’d done what I have a proclivity to do, complain, I would be blessed too because grace doesn’t manifest itself in the face of goodness. It manifests itself in the face of goodness and disobedience and niceness and not being so nice and being religious and not being religious. So there, but at any rate, there was a major earthquake in this place. And it shook the prison in a way that all the prison doors were open and the shackles fell off of Paul and Silas and their friends. And they could have gotten up and ran, but they didn’t, they just sat there to see what God was going to do next. The jailer had been asleep. He woke up, well, an earthquake will do that for you. He woke up and he realized that the prison doors were open and he knew he had lost the prisoners and he knew he was going to be executed because of it. So, he got us sword out and he was going to commit suicide. And Paul said, wait, wait, wait, wait, we’re still here. So, he comes and checks, they’re still there. He takes them to his house. He asked him what he has to do to be saved. And they say, believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, that’s it. And you will be saved. And your household to the ripples of grace and then starting at the 32nd verse.
And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up to his house, he set food before them. And he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God. But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying,” let them go.” And the jailer reported the words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent us to let you go. Now, therefore, come out and go in peace.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I would’ve gone. I would’ve gotten out of that place as fast as possible. I would’ve said a prayer of praise to God for letting me out of the jail, for the judge declaring me innocent, for the fact that I was free, but Paul had a godly mean streak. And I’m going to show it to you. And sometimes we, as Christians need to have a godly mean streak too. In a seminar that we taught all over the country years ago, it was called Born Free. We had a section called Assertive Training for Christians. And you say that’s not godly. You can’t, yeah, it is, there, in fact, I wrote a book on Christian boldness. It’s called No More Mr. Nice Guy. And I think you could probably get a copy of it, if you checked with Key Life. And, John who runs our warehouse and our product delivery, I think there are a few of them, it’s on Christian boldness. And that’s what a mean streak is, it’s Christian boldness. And if you want to see an illustration and it’s all over the Bible, the circuit writers, Peter Cartwright would stand on a mountain and look down at a town and he would turn to his colleague and he would say, I smell hell. And then they would go into the city and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a book in my library about the circuit writers. It’s called Bible in Pocket and Gun in Hand. No, Gun in Hand and, Bible in hand and gun in the pocket. And it’s about the circuit writers and the boldness they had as they serve. But if you want to see a great illustration of Christian boldness that’s right here, the judges have sent the police to let the Christians go and tell them to go in peace and be blessed. And then starting at the 37th verse.
But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now cast us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they exhorted them and they departed.
Is that cool or what? And we have a tendency to think when you read something like that, that’s not very Christian. People get so angry at me when I tell them, that if you’re persecuted for the sake of Christ, you have to take it, whatever it is. But if it’s random violence, you can shoot those suckers. Okay, I don’t mean that literally, but sort of, we are called to be bold. We’re called to be kind, but cool, as Thomas Pynchon said.
We are called to be strong and bold in the truth.
And there was never a time in the history of our country when that is more called for, when they try to cancel you. And that’s what happened here in the 16th chapter of Acts, they tried to cancel Paul. They tried to silence him. They tried to do in secret, what they were doing and letting them out. And Paul said, I’m not letting you get away with that. I love you. And you know, I want you to come to Christ, but I am not a snowflake. You cannot cancel me. If you want us to get out of jail, you come yourself, apologize publicly and do it. Now, that’s Christian, doesn’t sound like it, but it is. Sometimes you’ve got to stand up and you’ve got to speak truth. Sometimes it gets you in jail. Sometimes it gets you in serious trouble. Sometimes people won’t like you. Sometimes the people you thought were your friends will walk away. Sometimes your neighbors will hope that you move, but don’t, don’t shilly shally. We interviewed Ken Harrison the other day on our talk show. He’s the new president of Promise Keepers. And he talks, and he’s a get it done guy. And, he offends everybody and I said, Ken, I say to most people, don’t shilly shally. I don’t have to say it to you. And I hope I don’t have to say it to you either. You think about that. Amen.
And thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown wrapping up our exploration of the story of Paul and Silas in jail, found here in Acts 16. Good stuff. And remember if you missed any of this week’s episodes, you can stream them for free, anytime you want at Keylife.org. So, I’m really excited to tell you about a new feature we have at Keylife.org. If you go to key life.org/magazines you’ll find not only the current issue of our digital magazine, but the whole archive going back years. It’s really cool. Again, that’s key life.org/magazines. Speaking of magazines, we still have copies available of our 2022 print magazine. That’s completely different content, to claim your free copy of that, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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