That which costs nothing is worth nothing.
MAY 30, 2023
That which costs nothing is worth nothing. 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’re joining us, we’re talking about a chapter in a book I wrote called Called to Shine. It’s a book about lament, sadness, wretched sadness, down in the dumps depressive sadness, that is affirmed in the Bible clearly. In the Psalms of Lament, in the Book of Lamentations, even in the lament given by Jesus himself. And the laughter that comes with it. And what we’re talking about is that in the middle of all of that, the laughter, the joy, and the lament, we are called to shine. If you were listening yesterday, we were asking the question after Jesus said, you’re going to be persecuted, people will kill you and think that they’re doing something for God. You’re going to be kicked out of the synagogues and the clubs and the places of high repute. They don’t want you. And I thought I’d tell you about it so that when it happens, you won’t be surprised. And I thought, I don’t believe I’d have said that if I was looking for disciples. I believe I would’ve said, you’re going to be happy and joyous and everything’s gonna go your way, so you ought to know about that and you can leave if you want to. And Jesus in effect said that, and just like Churchill, when he said, I can promise you nothing but blood, sweat, and tears, and got a standing ovation. Jesus said something similar and got a standing ovation from millions and millions and millions of people, and I’m one of them, and why? Well, we saw yesterday there’s something to be said about the glory of the battle, something to be said about standing for a cause that nobody else will stand for. Something that’s appealing. It’s while Paul spends almost all of the 11th chapter in II Corinthians talking about suffering for Jesus and he’s proud of it. I’m an Evangelical Presbyterian who believes the Bible, every bit of it, accept the eternal verities of the Christian faith, all of them, and I believe I’m right. And those who differ with me are wrong. Now, it was hard to get here from where I was. And frankly, it cost me big. When I started moving in the direction of Biblical belief and action. I had a friend who told me that I was going to ruin my career. I remember when the pastor of the most prominent church in the city where I was serving at the time, crossed the street so he wouldn’t have to walk on the same side of the street near me. I was rejected by pulpit committees, old friends wouldn’t return my calls, and some very unpleasant things were said about me. For years, and I’m not whining. I did okay. It was good for me. For years, I served on the board and executive committee of Christianity Today, that’s an evangelical magazine founded and supported by the late Billy Graham, among others, the early and most prominent evangelical voice in America. I accepted that position because I remembered my graduate school experience, when faculty members laughed at that magazine, they were given away in the refectory of the graduate school I was attending, and nobody picked up a single copy, but I decided this is a Jesus thing and if I’m going to be rejected and persecuted and criticized. I’d rather stand on the line, the side of the line where Jesus stands. Today, the ecclesiastical and theological landscape has changed radically. And sometimes, being a part of this cause means being a part of something that God is doing in a major way, but we’ve hit a bump in the road in this country and if you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been paying attention. I heard a secular talking head who was probably a Christian say, and if I could remember his name, I would tell you who said it. But he said, if you are concerned about the cultural direction of this country, And he was talking about you guys in Canada too. He said, the best thing you can do is to join a church, to stand with it and to support it. That was a profound statement, and what we’re asking is why would you want to do that if nobody likes you for doing it because there’s something to be said. Something to be said about standing for a cause that others don’t care about. There’s something to be said by standing up and saying, I’m with Jesus and I don’t care what you think about me. I’m going to stand with him. Now, there’s a little bit of bragging in that and I’m, and I understand that, and as soon as I get through with this broadcast, I’m going to repent. But nevertheless, if you want to feel good about yourself, find a cause that’s a good one. And I can’t think of a better one than Jesus. Find a cause and stand with it, no matter what anybody says. There’s something to be said about the glory of the battle, even a personal battle with the demons of rejection and pain and loss. Almost all of the passages of lament in the Bible reflect some of that.
Though he slay me. Job said, I will hope in him.
Those passages never end with I’m out of here, they all reflect Job’s attitude and others praising God who is sovereign and responsible for the elements of even the lament. Try it, you’ll be better because of it. However, the glory Jesus prayed for us is a lot more than just the glory of the battle. And we have referenced the prayer of Jesus in John 17 where he prays that we be glorified too. And when he prays for us, it’s a lot more than the glory of the battle and standing for a cause. For instance, the glory Jesus prayed for us is a reflected glory. He is present in our lament, and the fact of his presence is, as it were, catching. Sometimes the reality of intimacy with Christ happens in profound ways, when we have expressed honest lament about where we are and how much it hurts. There are places where God shows. My late missionary friend, Dr. David Seel once wrote a book that was titled, Does My Father Know I’m Hurt? That’s a good question and the answer is Hebrews 11:5.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Michael Card writes.
We have inside of us something like a holy of holies, its shape is defined by our sorrows, though it is meant to be filled with our joy. Like the inner room in the tabernacle, in the wilderness, it is a sacred place that can only be entered by a priest, by our high priest. He is also known as the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with our grief. Isaiah 53:3. It has been the intention all along to enter into the holier of places in your life, that place that he already knows so well. It is a wilderness place. It must be so, if you and I are going to meet with him there, it must be the way of lament.
Did you know it took Handel only 26 days to write the Messiah, which in itself is something of a miracle. During those days, he was often very tired and broken. When he came out of his room, he was shining and he said.
Me thinks I saw the great God himself.
That’s what happens when you walk into the lament and it shows. It’s a part of the way God glorifies his people. I know it hurts sometimes, but when it hurts, don’t run from it. Stay and shine. You think about that. Amen.
Called to shine even in the midst of sadness and lament. Thank you, Steve. We’ve been working our way through Steve’s latest book, Laughter and Lament, and the Biblical Truths that inspired it. More to come tomorrow, hope you will join us for that. So, Steve mentioned it yesterday that we are slowly drawing close to the end of this study here on Key Life. That means the window is also closing on your chance to get your free copy of our new Laughter in Lament booklet. This is something we created that features some nice excerpts from Steve’s most recent book. The booklet explores the idea that the Bible is kind of a crazy book. It also touches on the importance of authenticity, the role of repentance, and the danger of control, something Steve calls the mother of all addictions. Claim your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet or to mail your request go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the Laughter and Lament booklet. And hey, one last thing, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy. You can charge a gift on your credit card, or you can include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that 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.