The Bible: the book that understands me.
APRIL 4, 2022
The Bible: the book and understands me. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches the God’s amazing grace, is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
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. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts, the beginning. I mean, Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father, a lot has happened, it’s become clear that Jesus is more than a little preacher preaching sermons. It becomes quite clear when the cripples or throwing their crutches away and blind men are able to see and the dead get up and walk, that something’s going on here that’s really big. And they began to see, man, this is important, the most important thing that ever happened. And then they crucified Jesus. And then he got up out of the grave. And that’s a big deal. And then there is the time when Jesus was taken up into heaven and the message was, he’s going to return, just as you see him go, he’s gonna come back and he’s gonna clean up the mess. Meanwhile, the book of Acts. As God begins to take some ragamuffins, some sinners, some people who didn’t know anything, who didn’t understand what had happened to them, who didn’t get anything, God takes these men and women and begins to build the foundation of the church. And the book of Acts is a book and an exciting book about building that foundation. Now, if you’ve been listening, we’ve been looking at the 11th chapter of Acts and we’ve been looking at verses 19 through the end of that chapter. And we’ve been asking the question and I move that question. How does God build a foundation with people like this? How does he deepen Christians so that he can use them? What does God do with Christians to make them affective Christians? And we have seen, as we’ve looked at those verses that he does it first by persecution, and then he does it secondly, by the fact that they’re witnessing what they’ve experienced, and then he does it by connecting those Christians with other Christians. I’ll tell you, I look back over a very long ministry. And I think of so many people who have held up my arms, so many people where I have held up their arms, so many battles we have fought, so many places where we have stood strong together. I look back over that and I see how very important it is for us to be with other Christians. That’s called the church. And then we saw that he does it by the process of discipleship. And I went on a rant talking about how I disliked that word, discipleship or discipling, but I can’t think of another word that fits, but it’s mentoring. It’s way we come alongside other Christians and we begin to teach and to help them. We begin to engage in the pedagogy of Christianity, that is the teaching side of the Christian church, so very important. The Bible studies are sometimes boring, but they are incredibly important. The teachers that God has anointed for the church, may not be the best speakers or most charismatic speakers in the world, but what they’re doing is so very important, as we’re all brought into the reality of the depth and the reality of the faith that we’re a part of. And then let me show you something else. And it goes kind of along with the last point, and then we’ll land this plane on this particular text. God builds a foundation and he builds his people with persecution and proclamation and connection and teaching discipleship, but he does it with his word. Emile Cailliet, who was a professor at Princeton for a whole lot of years, wrote a book after he became a Christian. He said that, and his testimony was so good. And that book, and I forget that, it had to do with light, I don’t remember the name of it. But at any rate, in that book, Dr. Cailliet talked about how he spent much of his life looking for quotes from people who said profound things. And he said he was creating a book that would understand him by putting these quotes together. And somebody gave him a Bible and he had never had a Bible before. And he began to read it. And then he threw away his book of quotes. And this is what he said. I found a book that understands me. That’s why the Bible is important. And for a lot of other reasons, when there’s teaching going on and you can find that in Acts 11:26.
And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a large company of people.
What were they teaching? They were taking the Scriptures that they had in the Old Testament and showing how all of them, at the heart point to Jesus. They were beginning to pursue right and wrong reality, what’s good and what’s bad. They began to open the book they had, that understood them and understood the people. And it was also true as God began to put the New Testament together, that there was another book that would understand them. And the two of them would become the Bible. And it is a gift that has been given to us. I remember when I was a pastor and I was doing alright, until Jesus messed it up. I was a pastor and listen, one of the things pastors do is they talk. And I know how to talk. I knew how to talk when I was a pagan and that didn’t go away when I became a Christian, but I didn’t know and I didn’t understand and I didn’t believe the Bible. And then it came a place in my ministry when I had to decide to either leave or find an authority bigger than me. And I remember praying God, I don’t have an authority. I need somebody besides you, because I don’t understand you all the time. I need something I can hold on to and teach and I don’t have anything. And then I put my hand on my Bible and said, this will be my authority. This will be what I teach. And I became reluctantly, probably the most reluctant Bible teacher in the history of the Christian faith. I became a Bible teacher and I didn’t even know what the Bible had to say, but I’d get in the pulpit, I’d tell them what I discovered during the week when I studied a particular chapter of Scripture. And I thought to myself, this is boring, this is awful. And then I’d look at people and many were crying and the church began to grow and people began to change and things began to happen. We had no mission program. Our mission program was started, we didn’t even know what to do with it. And then it doubled and tripled and then it quadrupled. And then college students started coming from MIT and from a number of other places, from Harvard and from Wellesley and from some Christian colleges. And they began to fill up the church and I just kept reading a verse and telling them what I thought it meant. In those days and I’ve never had that kind of explosive growth in my ministry before, I learned a lot of things. But one of the things that I learned is that the Scripture is powerful. And that understanding and applying it and living it as best you can is what this thing is all about. I learned, that’s how God grows a foundation. So, if you’re looking for a church and they don’t believe the Bible, it’s not a church anymore. Find one that does and teaches it and watch what happens to you and to that church. Alright, that’s all I’ve got to say on those particular verses. And we’re going to move on to the next text. And I don’t really have time to read it, but I have time to tell you a little bit about what it’s about. It’s Acts 12:1 through 25, and you know what we’re going to be talking about the rest of this week and in the next week? We’re going to be talking about a God who is sovereign, the sovereign Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of everything you perceive, everything you experience, everything that you are. Once you get the sovereignty of God and that’s a part of the foundation that God built in the early church, was to show them that no matter what happened in their lives or in the church, and we’re going to talk tomorrow about some bad things that happened. No matter what happened, there is still God, he’s still in charge, he still knows what he’s doing and he still does it right well. And he’s good, all the time. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown resuming our tour through the book of Acts today, wrapping up chapter 11 and ushering us into chapter 12. We’ll delve further into that chapter tomorrow, make sure you join us then. By the way, if you look behind us, you’ll see that we are now miles down the road in our journey through Acts. But guess what? There is still more ahead of us, than there is behind. And I mention that because there’s a free booklet we would love to send you. And it is not too late to get it. It’s called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. It covers early church leadership, the Pentecost, the fellowship of believers, persecution. All of that and in addition, you’ll get Steve’s overview of Romans. You are going to love this booklet and it is free, but you have to claim it to get it. So, 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, send it to
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