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The devil made me do it! No, he didn’t.

The devil made me do it! No, he didn’t.

JUNE 13, 2023

/ Programs / Key Life / The devil made me do it! No, he didn’t.

Steve Brown:
“The devil made me do it!” No, he didn’t. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have a Bible, we’ve gone back to our study in the Book of Acts and we’re in the 19th chapter, verses 11 through 20. And if you were listening yesterday, I said I would rather frankly just skip this particular text cause it says things with which we’re not familiar. It goes places we don’t often go. It talks about things that will cause a Presbyterian to blush because it’s really weird, and it’s really supernatural, and it’s about the devil, and it’s about demons. Now, I’m not going to take the time to read that text to you again, but you might want to read it if you weren’t listening yesterday and before you go to bed at night. So, you’ll kind of know where we’re going with this particular text. Now, if you were listening yesterday, I talked a good deal about two errors that C.S. Lewis said in his book Screwtape Letters that Christians often make. Most of the time yesterday we talked about the first of those, and that is that we have a tendency to make Satan bigger than he is. He’s a defeated enemy, don’t obsess on him. A lot of stuff that goes on among Christians now about Satan and demons and the supernatural is nothing more than superstition. Okay? And then the other error which I mentioned toward the end of the broadcast is to ignore Satan, to think that he doesn’t matter, that there isn’t a real devil. Do you know that when I was a young pastor, I was, well, I thought I was an intellectual. I was in a graduate school in Boston and theology. And whenever I would use a text that had the devil in it and preach on it, I couldn’t bring myself to say devil. And if you, for those of you in our television audience, you can see that I’m blushing, I’m not bragging, that was awful. Every time the word devil was in my sermon, I called it quote, the metaphorical personification of evil, and I’m not proud of that. I remember, and I may have told you this story, then I get into this text. I may have told you this story. I was a pastor on Cape Cod at a little church in East Dennis there. And that was my first church. And I didn’t, I still don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but then I knew even less than I know now, and I had been going to getting my training and pastoral psychology, I did my clinical work at the Harvard Experimental Hospital, that wasn’t any big deal, it was just one semester. That’s where I discovered that the therapists were as weird and probably as sick as the patients in the hospital, but that’s another subject altogether. But I knew the words, I was learning them in my academic life in Boston. And one night, a young man who had a wife and two children came into my study and I’m not making this up. It was raining outside, there was thunder and lightning, and he sat across from me and you need to know something about this young couple. They were really mixed up. Their lawn was never mowed, their house was dirty, their kids were ragamuffins. I mean, everything was wrong and he wanted to talk to me. And we talked about a number of things, and then all of a sudden in the middle of our conversation, he began to curse. Now, I’m familiar with cussing. I’m not shocked by anything, and I wasn’t in those days, but he began to curse and it caused me to wince. And at the end of the cursing, this is what he said. If there’s a God, I hate him. And I remember, the twit that I was, thinking when he said that, my, my, he has some serious problems. He’s probably psychotic. He needs to get therapy from a good psychiatrist. This is not good, but something was happening that night in my study when I talked to him. And it, the heart does know truth sometimes that the head doesn’t get, and that was certainly true because in my heart I knew something evil and something dark and something horrible was there in my study. It was demonic and it was satanic. And so, C.S. Lewis says you can’t avoid this kind of thing. When you hit a text like this that has some solid teaching, you’ve got to be aware. And throughout Scripture there is an obsession with Satan, but throughout Scripture there is over and over very clear teaching on the supernatural in general and on Satan in particular. And this text does that very clearly. Now, in short the text simply says that Paul was casting out demons and some exorcist who didn’t believe in Jesus or anything, said that’s cool. And they were making money on their exorcism. And so, they tried some of the tricks that Paul or they thought were tricks, that Paul was using and they used the name of Jesus. And then the text, and it’s really kind of funny when you read it. The demons said, we know who Jesus is, but who in the world are you? And then they came out and attacked those exorcists, took off their clothes, and they ran from the house stark naked. Now, that’s funny. I mean it really is, and I think when Luke included it in Acts, he thought maybe I shouldn’t tell this story. And then he said, no, and I’ve done this in sermons. And then Luke said, nah, that’s too good not to tell. It was really a funny incident. And so, these people ran away and that stirred up the city of Ephesus, a lot of people came to know Christ, and Luke says at the end of that text, that all the people who were messing with the occult and with magic and with demonology brought all of their books and they had a big fire and they burned them. Now, I’m not big on book burning, any kind of book burning, but this was a good one. And you’ll notice in the last verse of that text that they counted how much it was worth, all of those books on magic and the occult, and it was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Now, that’s a lot of books. And it’s a wonderful text unless you have to teach it. If you have to teach it, I’d rather just go somewhere else. But C.S. Lewis said, that the other great mistake Christians use, or get involved in, or make is thinking that I’m sophisticated, I am educated, that kind of nonsense went out with my grandfather’s spats. It’s not, it’s not, it’s silly. Those of us who are part of the cool kids, we understand that. Let me tell you something, you have that an attitude and you’re a Christian, you’re going to get into trouble. And you know why? Because Satan’s biggest trick is to make us not believe in him. His most effective tool is to go after people who thought he didn’t exist. And so, I’m going to try to maintain some kind of balance as we look at this particular text in the 19th chapter of Acts and look at some things that are important. First, look at the danger of Satan himself. Acts 19, and then 12b.

And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs and aprons were carried away from his body to the sick,

We worship a supernatural God.

and diseases left them and evil spirits came out of them.

Whoa, what is that? And then Acts 19:16.

And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on him, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

And then the 18th verse.

Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.

What were the practices? The practices were the practices of the occult. Now, I’m running out of time and so we’re going to cover this later as we go through this particular text. But for now, let me just suggest if you like to read and indulge yourself with mediums and the occult, for God’s sake and for yours, just stop it. Okay? And burn the Ouija board. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Powerful stuff.  Thank you, Steve.  We’ve been picking up our exploration of the Book of Acts after taking a break for a bit to discuss Steve’s new book. And we will continue from here tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us for that. Hey, are you suffering right now? Maybe someone you love is sick. Maybe it’s you who’s sick. Maybe your child is in trouble. Or the money problems keep piling up. Or your spouse left you. You don’t need me to elaborate. Jesus did tell us that in this world we will suffer, but he also promised he would be with his people, us, in that suffering. Well, Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called When Life Falls Apart. And if I could reach out through the radio and put it in your hands right now, I surely would. But in lieu 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 that mini-book or to mail your request go to to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for your free copy of the mini-book called When Life Falls Apart. And one last thing, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? It’s easy to do. You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely by text. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t even matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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