The cross of Christ will get your attention.
OCTOBER 18, 2022
The cross of Christ will get your attention. 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. We are looking at the 17th chapter of Acts in our really long study of the book of Acts. And this is the place where Paul goes to two different cities, Thessalonica and Berea. In both places, he goes to the synagogue. In both places, he gets into serious trouble and has to flee. You know, we, as Christians think that when we become Christians, everybody will think we’re wonderful and that’s not true. You are a statement to the world that if what the world believes is true, then their being right will be copacetic. But if what you say is true, they’re in trouble and there’s no middle ground. So, if people aren’t sometimes irritated with you. And make sure it’s Jesus and not you, sometimes we’re just plain irritating as people, but make sure it’s Jesus. Then if people, sometimes aren’t a bit irritated with you and your faith, you haven’t spoken it clearly enough for them to understand the issues. So, Paul in the 17th chapter of Acts goes to two different synagogues, two different churches as it were. And the main thrust of his sermon in both places is the cross. And you begin to see, when you look at the reactions to that, you begin to see that there is a scandal connected to the cross. And the question we’ve been talking about, last week and a couple of days, we’ll do it in this week, the scandal of the cross. Why is that? Why does it irritate people so? If you were listening last week, we saw because that’s not God, God is more like Zeus. He’s big and he’s mean, and you will do what he says to do. And if you don’t he’ll break your legs or kill you. I mean, that’s the God, who’s the real God, gods do not hang on crosses. And so, there’s something kind of crazy about that. And it becomes a scandal, that was the problem with many of the covenant people of Jesus’ time. They knew Messiah was coming. They understood that there was coming an age when one man, would lead his people to victory and restore them as the leader of the nations. And they were sure that there would be a white horse involved and a sword and an army. And here comes meek and mild Jesus on a donkey. What’s with that? And going as a lamb to the slaughter, dying on a cross, between two thieves on the town garbage heap. And that is not God. And so, the cross itself becomes a scandal because it interrupts what we really believe about God. And then secondly, it’s just not logical, it’s counterintuitive. We took some time to match Acts 17 with the first chapter of I Corinthians, where Paul talk about talks about the folly of the cross, how it seems to be so illogical. And then he says, but the logic of God is greater than the logic of men. And the foolishness of God is wiser than the foolishness of men. But in fact, when you look at it and you think about it, the gospel in general, and the cross in particular is counterintuitive. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense. And then we look at I Corinthians 2:11 through 12.
No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
And then we saw that it requires a response. Somebody tells you the building is on fire, they’re either lying or telling you the truth. And if they’re lying, you need to do something about them. If they’re telling you the truth, you have to do something about you, but either way you have to do something. Don’t just sit there, do something. The cross requires a response and no response is a response to it. And then there’s one other thing. And we’ll wrap up this 17th chapter of Acts and go to the 18th chapter of Acts. And we’re going to look at intellectualism and its dangers and what can an intellectual believe. But finally, when the cross is preached to first century Jews or 20th century unbelievers, 21st century, I’m sorry, unbelievers, it speaks of the seriousness of human sin. I was talking to a pastor not too long ago. And, he was making a light of what the Bible called sin. He said, we spend all of our time talking about sin and I just don’t believe it’s that bad. And I said, well, you’ll find out. And within a year after our conversation, he did some really bad things and he called me in tears. And I wanted to say, but I didn’t say, do you see now how serious sin is? You’ve heard that old story and I’ve probably told it too about the lawyer who was in the hospital and they had told him he was going to die. And he was visited by his pastor and the lawyer was reading the Bible and flipping the pages. And the pastor said, I never saw you read the Bible before, I’m impressed. And he said, I’m looking for loopholes. And if the pastor had been smart, he would’ve said there aren’t any loopholes. Sin is pretty drastic and pretty scary and pretty destroying. As you know, because I preach radical grace, I’m often accused of being antinomian. That’s a word that was coined, by the way, by Martin Luther, it means anti, against the law. And I would have you know, that whenever anybody says that about me, they don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s just not true. I’ve been doing this for a whole lot of years and I know me. And I know you. People are my business and I am never, ever surprised or stopped being shocked at the depth of human depravity. People are not good people. And when you meet somebody who seems to be the perfect person who does everything right. There’s stuff, down deep, that is pretty scary. Recently we interviewed Allen Morris, who is the head of the Allen Morris Company. He’s one of the, one of the largest and most successful real estate development companies in the country. And, he’s been my friend for a hundred years. He lives in Miami and I love him a lot, always have. And I knew his father, who founded the company. His father was a great man too, but Allen has just written a book and we interviewed him on our talk show. You might want to check that out sometime, you can go to our website, Keylife.org and look for Steve Brown Etc. And we talked to a lot of people from a lot of different viewpoints, all about the subject of grace. But I was pleased to have Allen on cause I love him so much. And in a way that probably cost him a lot. He describes in that book, how he hit the wall. He was well known in Christian circles. He was very successful in business. He was the head of a number of, in volunteers for all kinds of ministries, very busy. And then one day he hit the wall and he found out the truth about himself. And I love him for the fact, in fact, you ought to get that book, All In. It’s an honest book, about what happens when you hit the wall and you find out who you really are. That’s what the cross does. The cross says, no, you’re not a good person. The cross says, no, you’re not wonderful. No, you are a sinner, a great sinner. And you need a great savior. And the cross says that about Jesus. If it took the blood of God’s own Son to find a solution to our sin, that we might be forgiven and given God’s mercy. If it took that, listen to me, the problem had to be really, really big. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown continuing to teach us from Acts 17 about what the cross tells us about ourselves. There is some hard news, but also some very, very good news. And as Steve mentioned, this will wrap up our exploration of the first 15 verses of Acts 17. Tomorrow, we are moving forward. Hope you’ll join us. Well, I’ve mentioned this once before, but at merits repeating, because it’s so cool. If you go to Keylife.org/magazines you’ll find not only the current issue of our digital magazine, but a whole archive going back years. First time we’ve ever done this, again, that’s Keylife.org/magazines. And speaking of magazines through the end of the year, we still have copies available of our 2022 print magazine, completely different content. To claim your free copy of that, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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