Sometimes God is an enigma.
NOVEMBER 28, 2022
Sometimes God is an enigma. 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, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering, that grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. Actually, we had a great time of worship. This past Sunday was communion Sunday, and our pastor talked about the Prodigal Son. And I realized that was me. And then he talked about the son who stayed there, who was a Pharisee and self-righteous and angry. And I decided, that’s me too. And so, my time was a time of repentance, great sermon, and then communion, which fixed it all. Hope your time at worship was as good as my time of worship. If you’re just joining us, we’re continuing and we’ve been here for months in the Book of Acts and we’re up to the 18th chapter Acts: versus 12 through 17. And then I’m going to skip down to the 21st verse, and we’re going to spend some time this week and probably next week talking about the weird and mysterious ways of the God that we worship, and enigma. Before we do that, let’s pray. Father, when we come into your presence, we realize that you are great and we are small, that you are infinite and we are finite, that you are very big and we are very little. Father, our boat is so small and the ocean is so big and you are God. Don’t let us forget that, but don’t let us forget too that you are our Father, kind and generous and loving and forgiving and gracious and merciful, compassionate, patient. Father, those two things coming together make us want to rejoice in your presence. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places and the soft places. You know the times when everything seems to be going well and the times when nothing seems to be going well, remind us that you’re still God, that you’re sufficient for every circumstance and that you’ve got us. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and Him. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right, I’m going to start at the 12th verse of the 18th chapter. Now, we saw the last two or three weeks, Paul’s time at Corinth, some of the problems that he faced there, and then at the 12th verse, Dr. Luke says this.
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, “This man is persuading men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, I should have reasoned to bear with you, O Jews. But since it’s a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” And he drove them from the tribunal and they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to this.
And then skip down to the 21st verse.
But taking leave of them he said, “I will return
this is Paul
to you if God wills,” and he set sail for Ephesus.
Now, that is kind of common. I mean that kind of thing happens throughout the book of Acts, but as I was reading this this week, I thought, you know, God’s ways are really crazy sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I stand absolutely scared spitless with what’s happening in our country. And I bet you guys in Canada are doing the same things. It seems like evil is called good and good is called evil. Things have been reversed that have stood the test of thousands of years of time. People who were heroes are now villains, and villains are now heroes. We’ve got a social network where you can say anything and people do, and sometimes it’s hateful and angry and divisive and very, very self righteous. Now, if you’re happy with that, there’s something wrong with you. I’m not happy with it and I’m confused. And one of the things that makes it difficult is that I’m a Christian and God’s in charge of this mess. And I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone before him early in the morning and say, God, are you sure you are here? Are you sure you are in charge of this mess? Are you sure that you are sovereign? And he is. And because he is, everything that we are experiencing right now is under his sovereign control. R.C. Sproul used to say.
If every molecule isn’t under the sovereignty of God, then nothing is.
Now, I don’t know what God’s doing. I have no his voice to my ear kind of knowledge or wisdom about these things. But frankly, I kind of think we’re heading for another great awakening. I don’t think it’s going to be like the great awakenings we’ve experienced, at least in America in the past. I think it’s going to be different. And I think it’s going to be a little bit weird. And I think the people who are going to be used by God in a major way, are probably not preachers and leaders. They’re probably going to be the people that have tattoos and look funny and with whom we would disagree about a lot of different lifestyle things. But I think that we’re coming to the end of ourselves, and I think that we’re going to see an awakening, and I think those of us who belong to Jesus are going to watch and we’re going to say, Wow, doesn’t he shine? Now, it doesn’t feel that way right now, but we’ve got to get to the bottom. That’s what the people at AA say, they say until you reach the bottom, you never get sober. Until it gets really, really bad, it never gets really, really good. And that’s what’s happening in our culture right now. And as we look at what’s going on in Corinth, one of the most successful ministries the apostle Paul ever had. Now you remember, what I taught you about Athens, you never listen to me. I, If you remember when we were in Athens, we saw that that was a major failure in the ministry of the apostle Paul, and Corinth became one of the major successes in the ministry of the apostle Paul. In fact, more pages are devoted to Corinth than hardly any other place in the New Testament. I mean, it was really an exciting time after a miserable failure. Maybe that’s what’s happening here too. But at any rate, what we’re going to talk about the rest of this week and what we’re going to be looking at is the mysterious ways of God. And there’s probably no time in our history when it’s more important to remember that we don’t have God figured. Paul had or Isaiah said, and God had him say.
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Now, we don’t think that, especially those of us who are fundamental, evangelical, orthodox Christians, I mean, we think we’ve got God figured and we’re not even close. You’ve probably heard me say before and I’ll say it again cause it’s worth it. If you’ve never stood before God and been afraid, you’re probably worshiping an idol. Not only that, if you’ve never stood before God and have been loved when you knew you didn’t deserve it, then you’re probably worshiping an idol. And finally, if you’ve never stood before God and been totally confused, you didn’t have the foggiest, you didn’t understand what was going on. If you’ve never experienced that, you’re probably worshiping an idol. God is God, and we are not. Calvin called the Bible, God’s baby talk cause that’s what we are. And he communicates and reminds us to lean on him. And to lean on him hard. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our unhurried tour through Acts, making sure we take in all the sights as we go. Today, we took a look at Acts 18:12 through 17 and then we looked at verse 21. And of course we will dig deeper into these verses throughout the rest of this week, and we sincerely hope you will join us for that. Well, the thing that mature people will say about Christmas is that it’s not all about the presents. Fine, okay, fine. That’s true. But can we also all admit that the presents are pretty cool? And that’s why we’re excited to bring you a special free gift from Key Life. It’s a booklet called Christmas Meditations. It’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions to help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ coming. Get your copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your 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. One last thing, would you prayerfully consider giving to Key Life? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.