Stubbornness and stupidity go together.
JANUARY 10, 2023
Stubbornness and stupidity go together. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your 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. If you have your Bible, open it to the 19th chapter of Acts as we continue our study in the Book of Acts. And we’re looking in that particular text, at a question. And the question, is it appropriate ever not to share the gospel? And in Acts 19:8 through 10, you find out the answer to that question is yes. Now, yesterday I said, don’t misread me. I am not suggesting and never would suggest that you shouldn’t share the gospel. In fact, just the opposite. I said yesterday, and it bears repeating that evangelism is not a gift of the Spirit in the sense that other gifts are gifts of the Spirit. Evangelism is a call on every Christian to go into the world and make disciples. Now, you do that in a variety of ways, and you shouldn’t be a jerk about it, but every Christian is called to bear witness to the truth that he or she has discovered. So, don’t think when I’m talking about when not to share the gospel, that that means you don’t have to share the gospel. And I’ve got to be careful myself. All right. Without further chit chat, I move the previous question. When is it not appropriate to present the gospel? Well, first from this text, I would suggest that Paul shook the dust off his feet in the presence of stubbornness, acts 19:8 through 9.
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. But when some were stubborn, he withdrew from them.
If you were listening to the beginning of this broadcast, I said stubbornness and stupidity go together. And our producer Jeremy said, I said to him, do you think it’s all right to use those words? He said, of course, as long as you tell a story when you were stupid and stubborn. And I said, I don’t have those stories, I’m ordained. And he laughed and I think I heard the angels laugh too. I’ve got so many stories. I am so stubborn, I call it an authority problem. I get mad at stop signs. I mean, I can be so stubborn and it has gotten me into more trouble than you can imagine. But I’m a Christian and there’s one place where I stop being stubborn, and that is when I heard the gospel. I once baptized a 93 year old lady who refused to listen to the gospel or be baptized until that time because three generations before her birth, the people in the church had an argument with her father. Now that’s stubborn on stubborn. Another time I presented the gospel, the good news of Christ to a young lady who desperately needed the news. Her life was a mess. Things were going wrong. She had regrets, she had guilt, she was depressed. I mean, and I said, I’ve got an answer for you. I’ve got something that you need to hear. And she said, good, I’m ready. And so, I spent considerable time telling her about Jesus. And then at the end of this mini sermon that I gave her, and frankly it was a good mini sermon too, it was clear, it was crisp, it was funny, and the truth was all there. And then I said to her, is there any reason that you can think of why you shouldn’t just bow your head and ask Christ to come into your life and take control of things. She said, yes. I said, what? She said, yes, there is a reason I’m not going to do it. I said, why are you not going to do it? I’m just not going to do it, she said. And I’m leaving. And she got up and she left. And I thought, good heavens. When, the next time I had that kind of experience and they rejected it, I said, look, I’m not your mother. You, at some point in your life when you hit a wall, you can’t get over, when things are so bad that they’re not fixable, and you’re looking for something that will help you. Come back to me and talk to me. Until, until then, let’s you and I go get a milkshake. A man told me not too long ago, he didn’t want to be a Christian because he didn’t want his wife to have the satisfaction of saying, I told you so. Now listen, that’s stubbornness, and that’s the stubbornness that Paul encountered when he was talking about the gospel to the people at this synagogue. Now, some of them came to Christ and they left with him to go into the city for random evangelism, but a lot of them were just plain stubborn the text says. And Paul said to himself, he didn’t say out loud, you’re a stubborn, stiff necked bunch and I’m out of here, but he left and he decided that in the face of that kind of stubbornness it was appropriate not to share the gospel. Let me give you some Scripture, Exodus 32:9 through 10.
And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked and stubborn people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath leave me alone, that my wrath may burn against them.
II Chronicles 36:13
He also rebelled against the King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck, reached stubborn, and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel.
Psalms 78:7 through 8
They should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious people.
Matthew 11:20 through 21
Then Jesus began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. Woe to you. For if the mighty works had been done in you, been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would’ve repented long ago in sack cloth and ashes.
And then Paul said in Romans 2
Do you presume on the riches of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience. Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance, but by your heart and inpenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
If your time is limited, and it is for most of us. If God’s time is limited and it is, if there are many who need to hear stubbornness is God’s sign to just go and tell somebody else. And so, is it appropriate to share the gospel? Yes. Is it appropriate not to share the gospel? Yes. And one of the reasons you don’t have to is stubbornness. And then secondly, I want to suggest that Paul shook the dust off his feet in the presence of disbelief, Acts 19:8 through 9
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. But when some were stubborn, and here it comes, and disbelieved, he withdrew from them.
To those who believe on his name, he gave the power to become the children of God.
Acts 16:30 through 31 and we’ve studied that. The jailer said.
Men, what must I do to be saved? And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Not too long ago, a man asked me what I believed about God and I told him, and do you know what he said to me? He said, Reverend, if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. Now, after that, what did I do? I went to somebody else, that’s what I did because unbelief is a reason not to share the gospel. Now, we’re going to talk about it tomorrow, but let me mention it now. Belief isn’t something you work up. Belief is a gift that God gives. You can’t just believe. You’ve got to believe because God has given you a supernatural intervention of belief. And it has to be supernatural or as a matter of fact, nobody would believe. You think about that. Amen.
Stubbornness and stupidity go together. Boy, is that ever the truth? Thank you Steve. Again, our text today was Acts 19:8 through 10, but we also visited Exodus 32:9 through 10. II Chronicles 36:13, Psalm 78:7 through 8, Matthew 11:20 and 21, and Romans 2. Now that is a meal. More good stuff tomorrow. Do hope you’ll join us. So, have you heard about Steve’s new book? It’s called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. It’s all about how laughter and lament are often found together in unexpected places. Steve shares that speaking honestly about the ways we have been hurt and the ways we have hurt others, opens the door to the joy of God’s presence, even as we grieve. To let you get a little taste of it, we created a special Laughter and Lament booklet with excerpts from the book. Can we send you a copy? If so, just call us right now at 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, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of Laughter and Lament the booklet. And finally, a question. Have you ever considered partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give by text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. 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.