The church is we, not me.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021
Steve Brown: The church is we, not me. I’ll explain on this edition of Key Life.
Matthew Porter: Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Steve Brown: Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the sixth chapter of the book of Acts, as we go through the book of Acts, me being the tour director, pointing out some interesting sights along, and we’re taking our time. I don’t know when we’ll finish this, but I suspect Jesus will return before I do. But we’re up to the sixth chapter and we’re just having a wonderful time until you hit this chapter and you say whoa, there’s division, even in the early church. And then you got to look at how the early church dealt with division. And we’re going to see more of that when we get to, a little bit later in Acts, maybe a good while later, we’ll get up to the 15th chapter. And I can hardly wait, cause that’s a cool passage of Scripture because it’s so incredibly honest. It’s where Paul and Barnabas get into a fight and they can’t even work together. Two of the major leaders in the church, don’t like each other. Two of the major leaders in the church who had been loved for Christ, by Christ, couldn’t love each other. And we’re going to talk about that when we get to the 15th chapter of Acts. But right now we see the division that took place and we’ve seen, we’ve seen the fact that Luke includes it, is one of the reasons the Scripture, I believe is inerrant, is true in everything it reports. And then we talked, if you were listening yesterday about diversification. Have you heard that story back in the days when the organ, when it was played, needed somebody in the background doing the pumps so they could keep the air going through the organ, so the organist would be able to play the music that would be heard by the audience. And there was a major concert by a major organist who was insufferably arrogant. And during the intermission, the little boy who was doing the pumping behind sending the air into the organ, said we did well didn’t we? And this organist said, what do you mean we? And, so when they came back for the second part of the concert, the organist hit the keys and there was nothing but silence. And, she was mortified, nothing came out of the organ. And she pushed the curtain back and looked at the little boy, like she could kill him and he smiled and said, are we ready to begin? Well, that’s called diversification. And that’s going on right now, the apostles decided that they were going to devote their time to study, to teaching, to making sure that people were discipled properly, that they were able to discern the difference between a truth and a lie. And they decided that somebody else needed to do the cooking and the waiting on tables and to make sure that things got done in order and decently. That’s by the way, and this sixth chapter is how the board of deacons got formed. And as you read this sixth chapter of Acts, and we’re going to know more about Stephen later on in Acts. Stephen was, is as it were the first president of the board of deacons in the history of the church. But at the, at the heart of this thing is diversification. Find out where people are gifted, where they’re anointed, and then give them the task that fits the gift and the anointing. If you don’t do that, then things get skewed and the church gets hurt and the movement stops. The Step Foundation, and they’ve been used in some great ways in poverty in cities in America, said that one of the dumbest things that we do is that we take a physician trained in medicine and we give him a hammer and some nails and tell him to work on a house in the ghetto. That’s crazy, they said, he’s probably not good with a hammer. He doesn’t know what to do with a nail. He doesn’t know a thing, or she doesn’t know a thing about trying to put together a house. But man, if you’ve got cancer or you’ve got a cold or pneumonia or a migraine, then that’s where you use the doctor. The physician knows about that thing and that’s an illustration of what should happen in the church. If they put me in charge of the finances of the church, the church would be bankrupt in two months. I can’t even balance my own checkbook. That’s why in our family, my wife, Anna, is the one who deals with the money. And she doesn’t use it as a weapon either. She just makes sure that we stay out of debtor’s prison because she knows what she’s doing. But I’ll tell you, she doesn’t want to stand in front of anybody and teach the Bible. She’s a great teacher. And when she does it, it’s amazing, but that’s not her gift and she knows it. But boy, you ought to see her with a checkbook and a balance sheet and a bank statement. Boy, she knows what she’s doing. And when we get our taxes done by somebody else, it takes them five minutes to do it because Anna has been so organized and so together. So, you say, take it and apply it to the church, find out what people do well, where they are knowing, where they have passion and give them a job that fits it. And then find the place where you have passion and gifts and go to it. Okay? That’s one way you avoid division in the church. And you think about that. Amen.
Well, it’s Wednesday and sometimes when I have some extra time on Wednesday, I spend some time, answering one or two questions that you have asked. And, but as you know, Pete Alwinson will be in on Fridays and we spend the entire program answering questions. And incidentally, Pete’s going to be in next week to teach and that’s going to be a gift and you’re going to love Pete’s teaching. You know, I’m old, I’ve gotta rest occasionally. So, I’m going to rest next week, and Pete will be in. By the way, we do love getting your questions. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, and record your question. And sometimes we put your question, with your voice, from our phone lines on the air. And, or you can send your question to
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Or you can e-mail your question to Steve@keylife.org. And incidentally, those are all places where you could help us financially, if you are called to do that. This is a very expensive ministry because we give so much stuff away and most people aren’t able to help us financially, about 10% of the people who benefit by this ministry help us help you. And if you would be one of those, we’ll rise up and call you blessed. And so will a lot of people and you don’t even know their names. So pray about it, and if you can help us, help us financially, if you can’t or you’re not called to do it, then we understand. Alright, let’s turn to one or two of these questions. This is an e-mail. What does Jesus look like? I have no idea. We know he wasn’t beautiful from the prophecy in Isaiah. I have a Jewish rabbi friend who says to me, in fact, we used to swim laps together at the Y. And one time at the end of the pool, I’ll never forget. He said, stop me. And he says, Steve, you know what I dislike about you Gentiles? And I said, I don’t think I want to hear it. He laughed and said, no, you make Jesus into this blue eyed, blonde haired, muscled, movie star. And he wasn’t, he was a little Jewish rabbi, okay? So, there wasn’t great beauty. I am very much, fascinated with the Shroud of Turin. That is, well it’s reported to be the shroud in which Jesus was buried, after the crucifixion. For a while, that was dismissed because of science, but more recent science has shown that’s not true. So, who knows, but it is an interesting thing. You ought to Google it, Shroud of Turin. And, it portrays Jesus kind of like the kind of pictures that we have of him. But listen, it doesn’t matter, because he was God, because he represented us, because he went to the cross in our place bearing our sin. And how he looked at that time, we’ll find out when we get home. This is an e-mail question too, will God save everybody? I hope so, but I wouldn’t count on it. In fact, if you are a Christian and you don’t hope that universalism is true, then you need to get close to Jesus. But if you’re also a Christian and you believe that universalism is true, then you haven’t read the Scriptures. The Scriptures say that, being lost, that hell, that darkness, that eternal death, all of those used with those who turn away, that they are truly lost. No, I wish he could. And, it’s not his will that any should perish. So, he would really like, but it’s not going to happen. Everybody’s not going to be in heaven. And I hate that and that keeps me up sometimes at night. Want to read a great book that will help you in this particular issue? Read C.S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce or the chapter on hell in The Problem of Pain. That’s enough. I got to go. But first, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.