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God's Not Mad at You
Sometimes a war surprises the soldiers.

Sometimes a war surprises the soldiers.

MARCH 30, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / Sometimes a war surprises the soldiers.

Steve Brown:
Sometimes a war surprises the soldiers. Let’s talk on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life, with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, it’s Holy Week, and we’re speeding at least the first part of this week, looking at some of the people that were there that day when Jesus was crucified. And yesterday we looked at Simon, the guy who was whistling, a nice Jewish tune, maybe having an ice cream cone, and then all of a sudden, everything changed. He was grabbed by the soldiers and made to carry the cross of Christ. And we looked at some other Scripture yesterday and saw that that changed his life and the life of his families. And they were never the same. That happens, you know, and that’s why, that’s why it’s important that we as Christians and maybe you, if you’re not. Remember that the next minute could change your life. Jesus hugged you in the dark. He comes when you don’t expect it. The circumstances that surround you change the circumstance of your life, things will never be the same. And Jesus does that and it was with Simon. He went from a bystander to a participant, in just a moment. If you have, then you know that your life is different. The principle was this, the Providence of God is more often than not invested in those events, which are unexpected and seemingly unimportant. In other words, the next minute could change your life. But there’s somebody else there, I want you to notice, it’s the soldiers. You can read about them. I read you the description of the crucifixion yesterday in the gospel of Luke. But if you go to Matthew 27:34-35, there is a little bit more detail about the soldiers. They just nailed the son of God to a cross. It was a day’s work. It’s what soldiers do. But sometimes the war, is different than the soldiers expect. They listened to the crowd, mocking Jesus, and they joined in, they listened to the religious leaders, mocking Jesus, and they joined in, and then they cast lots, for his clothing, but very little that Jesus owns. It’s just another day’s work, you work hard, you do what your commanding officer says to do. And things are always the same. And sometimes there’s a war and sometimes there’s a surprise and that’s what happened. The world’s like that, isn’t it. The problem is not that people, that people don’t think about Jesus, they don’t think about anything. People in general never think about meaning, life and joy. People don’t I have real feelings about hardly anything, but manufactured feelings. Only the conjured feelings from television and pills and booze. All of that is a great tragedy. Once in a while though. And I don’t want you to miss this, a light goes on. You’ll find that in Matthew 27:54.

So when the Centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared, greatly saying, truly this was the son of God.

You can miss it, if you try. I mean, there is so much we can bemuse ourselves to death, with television and parties and food and fun and novels and comic books. And it goes on and on and on. You never have to think a thing that’s important, but sometimes there’s a whisper in the night. Sometimes if you’re a soldier, there’s a war you didn’t expect. Sometimes things happen that are different and that will change you forever. The Centurion said,

Truly this is the son of God.

It’s supernatural, it’s real. And it happens and I didn’t want you to miss it. And then don’t miss the robbers, who were hung on that Hill on that day. There were two of them, and somebody has said one of them was there so that we would not be presumptuous. And the other was there, so that we not despair. One of the robbers joined with the crowd and said, so you’re the son of God, why don’t you save yourself and us too, this is not a good situation. And the other said, shut up, he’s here and he hasn’t done anything wrong, but we’re here, because we’re supposed to be here. And then he turned to Jesus, and with a most powerful statement said in the whole crucifixion narrative, he said,

Oh Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.

Oh my. That’s enough. You know, we in our evangelism classes give pages and pages of instruction on how to lead somebody to Christ. I mean, we trained people for sessions that sometimes last a week in evangelism. That always seemed crazy to me. It’s kinda like gun draining. I mean, as long as it’s pointed in the right direction. And you know, where the trigger is, you can do it. It’s kinda like that with evangelism. Do you know what evangelism is? It’s simply people feeling a need and running to Jesus. And Jesus said, I will not cast them out. This man had gone to no discipleship classes. He didn’t understand the theology. He hadn’t listened to the rabbis. He was not one who could articulate a plan of salvation. He was not very smart or he wouldn’t be on the cross. And he was a thief. I mean, there’s no hope for somebody like that, but there was, and it was simple.

Jesus, remember me.

That’s enough. And if you’re listening, and not a Christian, that’s enough for you too. Jesus, my life’s a mess, remember me. I had a friend who was an atheist, and she was very loud about it, and she came to me for some help in counseling. And, you know, I told her I can’t help you, I talk about Jesus all the time. And she said to me, Steve don’t ever tell anybody I told you this, but every night before I go to sleep, I say, good night Jesus. I told her, you don’t know it, but you’re either a Christian or you’re not far from the Kingdom, because that’s enough.

Jesus, remember me.

When you don’t have the words to articulate the wonderful prayer that your preacher could make, there’s enough in saying.

Jesus, remember me.

If you’re not a Christian and you’d like to live forever, it’s enough.

Jesus, remember me.

When the family situation is beyond control, when you lost your job, when the diagnosis that was given by the doctor is not pleasant ,and in fact scary, and you’re too scared to pray.

Jesus, remember me.

That’s enough. That’s enough. Two thieves, one was given to us that we might not be presumptuous and the other that we might not despair. And then there’s the crowd and I’m running out of time. So we’ll talk about it some tomorrow. Boy, crowds can be a mess. Jeremy and I were talking before we started. He’s the producer of this broadcast and sits in the little last booth. And I can see him, we were talking about the world and the way it is. And, we were talking about the fact that it’s above our pay level, and we can’t fix it. But we agreed and where to agree, it means you’ve got a profound truth. You know the profound truth that we were sharing, the world is crazy. It is really crazy and people are crazy. There’s that country music song god is good, and people are crazy and I think I’ll have another beer kind of thing. You know, if you look at the world, it’s that way. And it’s a way, because it’s a crowd. And when crowds get together and form a narrative, people get hurt. When everybody with power gets together and they form a narrative, people get hurt. And when people get around the son of God, And decide that he’s a false Messiah, and needs to be killed, Jesus gets hurt. And we get forgiven. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us about the people found around the foot of the Cross. So much more to discover tomorrow, hope you’ll join us then. Well, Easter is on its way, now just five days away. And I don’t know about you, but in our house, as part of our celebration, we give our babies some little gifts. Of course, God is a gift giver too, the original gift giver, really. But there’s one gift we probably don’t think too much about, the gift of obedience. Well, Steve has written about this in a booklet called The Gift of Obedience. Get your copy, while supplies last, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org to ask for the booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, just send it to

Key Life Network

P.O. Box 5000

Maitland, Florida 32794

If you’re in Canada, send your request to

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the booklet called The Gift of Obedience. And finally, would you please give to support the work of Key Life? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or if you prefer just text Key Life to 28950 on your smartphone. That’s Key Life, one word, two words, doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Remember every gift matters and every gift helps. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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