The Church of Peter…no.
FEBRUARY 1, 2022
The church of Peter…no. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straight-forward and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the ninth chapter of the book of Acts, and we’re looking at verses 32 through the end of the chapter. And we’re looking at the subject of miracles as seen through the eyes of Dr. Luke, who was writing his story of the early church. And we’ve seen first and we’ve spent a good deal of time talking about it. In fact, I went down the side roads yesterday that I hadn’t planned on going down. And I don’t know how much of that, that I taught yesterday I’m going to have to repent of, maybe some of it. We talked about Kathryn Kuhlman and most of you don’t know who she was, but she was different. And, there were those who were way in the box, thought she was way out of the box and couldn’t be used by Jesus. And we saw yesterday that God uses funny people who were in the box and out of the box. And it’s him, it’s not them. In this text, it is clear when Peter says to the man who’s paralyzed, Jesus Christ has healed you. He didn’t say, I’m healing you. You’re lucky I’m here. If I had not come, you’d be in that bed until the day you died. And that’s not what Peter said. Peter said, get up and make up your bed, Jesus Christ has healed you. That was true of Kathryn Kuhlman. It’s true of anybody that God uses. And when they stop giving credit where credit is due, then sometimes, though not always because God does as he pleases and he does it right well. Sometimes God quits using those people. Now, let me show you something else that’s really important. Miracles happen when Jesus Christ can be glorified. You will find, as you read through these verses, and I read them yesterday that Peter didn’t build a crowd. Not many people turn to Peter. Those people didn’t turn to the church. They glorified Jesus Christ. I John 4:1 says that we are to test the spirits. And one of the ways that you can test the spirits is to see who gets the credit for what was done. Throughout the book of Acts, Jesus and the Spirit of God is moving in a mighty way. And you begin to see them. We’re going to see and have seen over and over again that these people are just like you, they’re sinners. They are people who are finite. They are people who make mistakes. They are people who don’t do it right. And yet God is moving in a wonderful way. And he is today too. You know, if you’ve been doing what I do for a living, for as long as I’ve been living, you can become a major cynic. And I fight that all the time. Now, you need to know that I start with me. I’m not just looking at other people. I’m more cynical about me than I am about anybody else. But then I read the book of Acts and what God did and how he did it and the people that used when he did it. And I’m encouraged because I know that what God does will be completed. In Philippians 1:6, Paul says.
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
That’s a great promise. That means that if God has ever done anything in you, any time, any place, that action is a promise that it will be completed. And that’s a wonderful promise what God begins, he completes and its beginning is the promise of his completion. But, you know, that’s true in the church too. That’s not just an individual promise. It’s a promise that can be applied to the people of God in our time. Do you have churches in your community that have closed after the pandemic? Yesterday, I was driving down a road where there used to be a large Methodist church with a steeple. And I hadn’t been down that road in a long time and I noticed the steeple was gone. And when I looked closer, the building was gone and no reference whatsoever. And they’re building a retirement community without the name of Jesus. Now that depressed me for two days. And it does, have churches closed in your area? I know. Has your church had trouble coming back after the pandemic? I know. But don’t despair because what God completes, begins, God always completes. And that’s true with individuals and it’s true with the church. God’s not through with the church. You know, if the rotary club’s in trouble, they’re in trouble. If a college is in trouble, they’re in trouble. If the church is in trouble, it’s going to be fixed because the church is the bride of Christ. But going back to the point that I was making that’s important, miracles happen when Jesus Christ can be glorified. In the 14th chapter of Acts and we’ll get to that later in our study, you remember that Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, when Paul in the name of Christ healed or cripple. The people saw what had happened. And they thought that Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul they thought was Zeus and Barnabas Hermes. In the 13th and 14th chapters of that book, you’ll find Paul and Barnabas tearing their garments and rushing out among the multitude crying out, man, why are you doing this? We also are men of like nature with you. Boy, they understood. Don’t give credit where it’s not due, when God does something, say it, point to him, make it right. We said that one time, Robert E. Speer spoke to the general assembly of his Presbyterian denomination. And after a magnificent sermon, he was seen walking down a dark alley to avoid the praise of men. He understood it. And there’s an old story about a woman, who after a preacher had preached a great sermon, she said that’s the best sermon I’ve ever heard. And he said, madam, you don’t have to say that, the devil has already said that to me. Jesus is doing stuff, watch for it. And when he does it, give him the credit for it. And one of them, and we’ve talked about this, but one of the theological places in America, believe that miracles have ceased in the first century. They believe that supernatural gifts have ceased because we have God’s word and that is sufficient. Now, I don’t agree with that, but I understand that. And I get the reason why they say it. The reason for miracles, isn’t so cripples can dance. The reason for miracles is so people can see the love and mercy and power of the God of the universe. And so, there is a sense in which God does stuff for his own purposes and he will be glorified in all that he does. Let me show you something else, when miracles happen, they happen for a reason and that’s God’s reason. Listen, if you’re a cripple and you get killed, you’re still gonna, get healed, you’re still going to die. And what’s that old statement about people that are into health food, big and exercise and doing everything right. Somebody said there, when it comes their time to die, there’ll be like a sinking ship with nothing to throw overboard. Listen, I don’t care how much exercise you do. I don’t care whether or not you’ve been healed. I don’t care if God answers every prayer, the people who loved you prayed with a yes, you’re still going to die. And so, what’s the purpose of it all? It’s meaningless. You know, when you talk about Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by Jesus. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’d have been Lazarus, I’m not happy about death. I would have said, Jesus, why couldn’t you have just leave me alone. Now I got to do it twice. I just, you could have just left me out of this because death is the end. So, why does God do stuff? He does it for his purposes to affirm his revelation and his truth and his love for us and his action. And the fact that he is present, I will not leave you without comfort. Jesus said, I will come to you. And when you see a miracle happen, that’s an illustration of what Jesus said. When you see a baby was supposed to die and didn’t, that’s an illustration of what Jesus said. When God allows you to pay your bills when you didn’t have any money, that’s an illustration of what Jesus said. And so, take some time, look around, see what God is doing in your life. Watch the prayers for which you get wonderful, miraculous answers. Watch, remember, be glad and then praise him. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve brown there sharing more from Dr. Luke’s account of the early church. And reminding us that not only do miracles still happen, they’re done by Jesus and Jesus alone. There’s a phrase we use at Key Life and it’s pretty much become synonymous with our ministry, radical grace. And if we say that phrase a lot, it’s simply because radical grace is actually synonymous with the gospel. If you could use a reminder of how truly amazing the grace we experience really is, we have a free booklet we would love to send you. It’s called Radical Freedom: Surprising Faithfulness. It’s a newly reprinted excerpt from Steve’s classic book, A Scandalous Freedom. Get 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. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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