The church will get sick, but it won’t die.
JUNE 24, 2021
The church will get sick, but it won’t die. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
If you were listening yesterday, we were looking at some preliminary observations about leadership, and we saw the first and foremost and most important observation about leadership in the church, is that not them, it’s him. It’s Jesus. Jesus is the head of the church. That was what this first chapter of Acts was all about. They, the word apostles, were people who were sent, they gathered to find out who was going to take Judas place. And the word apostle means, sent ones, sent by whom, sent by Jesus himself, Ephesians 1:22, Ephesians 4:15, John 15:14 all suggest that it’s not them, it’s him. There’s an aside that I must mention since we’re here, because Jesus is the head of the church, because he’s the King of Kings, because his authority seated at the right hand of God, the father almighty, because all of that is true, because the church is his bride, because the church is his family. It will never die. I don’t know about you, but that’s hard for me to believe. I’ve seen individual churches die. The church that I attend, is in the process of buying an old church building where the church that resided in that building died. In fact, two churches that resided in that building died. And I told my pastor, you sure you want to go there. That could be a cursed place. You don’t know. But it’s not, in fact, we’re in the process now of purchasing it and remodeling it and seeing what God can do, but I’ve seen individual churches die. And I know the reasons, at least some of the reasons why they die. It’s because, my mentor, Fred Smith, and by the way, I’ve told you about this before, go to BreakfastWithFred.com BreakfastWithFred.com and you’ll find out that I didn’t make him up. I’ve been accused of making up Fred Smith, so I could say radical things and attribute them to him, but he really lived and he was the wisest man I’ve ever known. And I loved him and he was my mentor for over 30 years and I miss him a lot. Fred didn’t finish high school by the way. And he ran major business, he was a consultant with the large oil industry. They paid him big bucks to come in, and I said to him, one time, Fred, you hadn’t been to college. You, you haven’t been to graduate school. You’re not the person that, they’re paying you big money. How do you do a consultant with a, be a consultant with a large business when you don’t have a degree? He would laugh. And he said, Steve, it’s really simple. I go into a business like that and I look for the ego. And when I find the ego, then I found the problem. That’s true of the church too. And for an individual church, when ego becomes bigger than Jesus, Jesus leaves the building. There are a lot of other reasons. Jesus leaves the building and an individual church can sometimes die, but not the church, not the church. It has been here for 2000 years and probably longer if you believe the book of Hebrews about the church in the beginning as God’s covenant people, and it will be here until Jesus returns and no power on earth, no persecution, no leader who hates it will destroy it, because it his. And because he’s the King and he’s the head of the church. And so the first preliminary observation, when you talk about leadership, is don’t forget Jesus. He is the leader. It’s not what you want. It’s not the music you want. It’s not the kind of worship that you want. It’s him. I have a friend, Richard Pratt, who has a great illustration about worship. He said, if I went to a restaurant and the waiter came up to wait on me and the people at my table, and I said to the waiter, sit down and I’m gonna, and I’m gonna wait on you. You tell me what you want and I’ll go get it for you. You tell me what you want to eat and I’ll make sure your have it. He said that would be insane, because I’m the one to be served, not the waiter. And, he said, that’s what we do in the church. We think it’s about us. It’s not, we’re called to be waiters, we’re called to be the ones who serve, we’re called to be at is beckoning, we’re called to be the followers of the King. Where he goes, we go. What he says, we believe. What he commands, we try to live, because he is the head of the church. Now I always, we’ve already mentioned this, but I want to mention it again by way of preliminary observation, as we look at Acts 1. The first thing the church did was to organize an evangelistic crusade, no. Have a building program, no. Build a seminary, no. Do stewardship, no. Christian education, no. The first thing they did was to settle the problem of leadership and that ought to give us some idea of the importance of leadership. Let me tell you how God works in the church. And in the world in some ways, we have somehow gotten this erroneous idea that God just zaps the church and everything about eight loves the Lord so much that we join hands and walk off into the sunset together. No, that’s not how it works. God calls a leader, a leader who is faithful. And then he says to the church and sometimes to a nation, follow the leader. Before God does anything through the church, he always calls leaders, Exodus 3:7 and 10.
Then the Lord said, “I have seen the affliction of my people who were in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land who have good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Come Moses, I will send you.
I love that. I heard E.V. Hill preach on that text, one time. I was in Washington and we were both speaking for a conference of the Step Foundation. Listen, if E.V. Hill isn’t allowed to preach, when I get to heaven, I’m in the other place. I love that man. He, one time hugged me and I have never been hugged so thoroughly, he just engulfed me and said, son, I’m praying for you. At any rate, he was preaching on this text and he talked about when God comes, he sends us. When God gets busy, he asks us to be busy. When God does something about a problem, he sends a leader. And in this case, the text I read to you sent Moses, he’s doing that now, right now, with leaders that are ordained and scent and called by him. Incidentally, at that conference, I got so caught up in what Dr. Hill was preaching, that I forgot about an airplane flight I had to take to get back to Florida. And I missed the stupid plane and I can hardly wait to get to heaven, to tell E.V. Hill that he caused that to happen. And I’ve never forgiven him for it. Cause I wanted to get home. But when I get home, really home, it won’t matter. But E.V. Hill was preaching on this and it’s a good theme. And the theme is this, that God calls leaders, Joshua 1:1-2.
After the death of Moses
God buries his servants and he goes on with his work. Hallelujah. John Wesley said.
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses minister. “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, and go. Have I not commanded you? Be strong of good courage. Be not frightened, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Some of you are called to be leaders. That message was specifically for you. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. We’ve been on a guided tour of Acts all this week, specifically learning about leadership. It’s just as important to get right now, as it was back then. And if you missed any of Steve’s teaching this week, be sure to swing by our digital front porch at Keylife.org where you can listen to all our episodes for free. We’ll resume our tour on Monday, but tomorrow our friend, Pete Alwinson will swing by for Friday Q&A, don’t miss it. Well, we recently spoke with author Dan Kimball on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc. Dan told us that some young people are actually being led away from Christianity by the Bible itself. More specifically, they’re being led away by Scripture, intentionally taken out of context. Crazy. But true. We put that entire conversation on a CD that we would love to send to you for free. So get your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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