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The great imposter.

The great imposter.

AUGUST 16, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / The great imposter.

Steve Brown:
The great imposter. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
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.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to Acts 16: one through five. And you might not think when you first read that text, that we’re going to talk about spiritual gifts, but as you read it, you begin to see there’s some things here that every Christian ought to know. And I introduced the idea yesterday on the broadcast or last evening, when you heard it or yesterday morning. And I said that if you’re a believer, God has given you a gift and it is meant to fit in the church for the glory of God, the benefit of the church and the hope of the world. And, it’s a gift. You didn’t earn it. You didn’t work at it. You didn’t go to school to get it. It is a spiritual gift given by God. Now, you can find those gifts in a number of places, I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 are a part of that. Ephesians 4, you’ll find a list of spiritual gifts. In Romans 12, you’ll find another list of spiritual gifts. And those are not exhaustive, spiritual gifts, I think they’re probably, people say they’re 13 or 18 or 19. I think they’re two or 300 spiritual gifts. I had a lady in the church that told me one time, she agreed with me. And her gift was admonishment. And I said, what? She said, I’m supposed to fix people. And I said, no, you’re not, that’s not a gift unless it’s a gift from the devil himself, you’re nobody’s mother, but there are gifts, they’re gifts of music. And those are not mentioned by and large in the list of gifts. Some people have that gift. They’re gifts of being good at technology. Jeremy, who produces this program. And I look into the, through a glass window and he’s sitting in another room with all kinds of controls and knobs and buttons and stuff that just confuse me. Jeremy has the gift of technology. You say where’s that in the Bible? It isn’t, but the list of gifts are not exhaustive. And, Jeremy, just as an aside is an incredible musician too. Now, that irritates me, I don’t think God ought to give you more than one gift, but he’s got that and some others, he plays a bunch of different instruments incredibly. And, that irritates me too. You ought to only be able to play one instrument. And Jeremy is a fantastic musician. He has the gift of music. And as he uses that in the church, things happen that are good in the church. And the first thing you ought to know as you read this text in Acts 16:1 through 5 is that Timothy was a believer. He was a disciple, thus in determining your gift, there is a first step and you’ve got to make sure that you’re a Christian and the Bible defines Christian in a certain way. Look how the text opens.

And he came also to Derbe and Lystra. A disciple was there named Timothy.

We used to do a Born Free seminar all over the country. We did it with drama, with Peculiar People, a couple that do tremendous dramatic sketches and Buddy Greene would often lead and sing, as a part of it, and we used video and it was kind of a big deal. It was, at one time, a three day seminar. We decided that was too long. You can’t get people to sit still for three days. So, we cut it down to a day and a half, but it was good. But each time when we did the Born Free seminar, I made an introductory statement. You know what it was? I said to the people, look, if you are a believer, this seminar will change your life. If you are not a believer, it’ll be like a man wearing a bra. He may like it, but it’s not going to do any good. And so, I’m going to tell you what it means to be a believer. And then I took the time to give a plan of salvation. And I said, if you are there, this seminar is for you. If you’re not there, don’t stay, you’ll be wasting your time. And after we finish this first session, go to one of the staff members and you won’t be embarrassed and say, this isn’t what I thought it was going to be. And we’ll give you your money back and we’ll do it kindly and quickly and compassionately. And nobody will notice. Listen, you just, you’ve got to start at the right place. When I was a pastor and this was dumb advice and I believed it. We would have people that were patently, obviously not believers in our church. And somebody suggested, you know, if we get them involved, we put them in leadership, we get them participating in the vision, they’ll become believers. No, they won’t, what they will do is they’ll mess everything up because they’re trying to do something that they aren’t equipped to do because spiritual gifts are only given to disciples, to people who are believers. So, I might say kind of like what I used to say in those Born Free seminars. If you’re not a believer, even if you’re close, but if you’re not a believer, let us know and we’ll give you some help if you want to be. But if you’re not a believer, you don’t have to listen to this stuff on spiritual gifts because it doesn’t apply to you. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t gifted in some areas and trained in some areas and are good in some areas, but it’s not the same thing. And you have to be careful. So, as we go through this talk about spiritual gifts and it seems pedantic to say it, but you’ve got to say it. Spiritual gifts are something that God gives to his people. He doesn’t spread them out over the entire world. He takes his covenant people and we’re slow sometimes, we’re sinful sometimes, we mess it up sometimes. And he supernaturally gives a gift, that when, and we’re going to talk about this later, when those gifts operate together, we are a powerful force in the world, but you’ve got to start by being a Christian. There, I’ve said it. And I’m glad. So, let’s go to the next point. The second thing I want you to notice in this text, is that Timothy was chosen because of some natural talents, which were ordained by God at Timothy’s birth. And that is helpful in determining a spiritual gift. Look at the first verse.

And he came also to Derbe and Lystra. A disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.

And then in II Timothy 1:5.

I am reminded of your sincere faith,

this is Paul talking to Timothy.

a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure dwells in you.

In other words, a spiritual gift isn’t the same thing as natural gifts, but it generally doesn’t contradict it. I told you that Jeremy, the producer of this program, has a gift of technology and a gift of music. Now, if I, and I suspect that if we could read Jeremy’s biography, we would find the places where that is a natural to him, where he has a natural proclivity. I don’t have that natural proclivity. So, when Jeremy became a Christian, it is not surprising that God had been preparing for the gift that he was going to give him. One of the interesting things about Jeremy, and I was in a church for a long time where he was the worship director, is that he was not only gifted. I mean, that goes without saying, he’s incredibly gifted with music. But there was something else going on when that was going on. Something that was deeper and more profound. And in fact supernatural, but God didn’t say Jeremy, I want you to drive a truck. He doesn’t know how to drive a truck. He’d be an awful truck driver. That’s not the gift that God’s going to give Jeremy because God takes everything he’s been preparing in your life from the day you were born. And that’s why it’s important to write your own biography, to be sensitive to where God has been leading, even when you didn’t know his name and when the spiritual gift is given supernaturally to you, you can say, oh, now I understand. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Acts 16:1 through 5. We’ll continue from here tomorrow, do hope you’ll join us then. So, speaking of gifts, I’m very excited to tell you about the launch of our latest digital only magazine. We bring you a new edition every summer. And this year’s, I think it’s our best yet. It features an article from Steve called The Problem with Prayer. Plus there’s pieces from Kendra Fletcher, Alex Early, and Barry Smith. Check it out right now at And I know you’re wondering, so let me set your mind at ease. No, it is not too late to get your copy of our annual print magazine. In fact, you can claim yours 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 the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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