The hand that rocks the cradle.
JUNE 13, 2022
The hand that rocks the cradle. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open into the book of Acts and the 14th chapter. Hope you had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts and we’re taking our time and we’re up to the 14th chapter of Acts. Before we have seen how the apostle Paul speaks truth and they kick him out. Then he speaks truth somewhere else and they kick him out. And we’re going to find in the 14th chapter of Acts, that it happens again. We have 4,000 pastors on our mailing lists at Key Life. And that means that I spend a lot of time talking to pastors. We cry together and we laugh together and we talk. And some of them are in some really hard places. And I tell them, look, whatever you do, if you’re kicked out, go out on a blaze of glory. And if you’re faithful, it might be that God’s going to honor that and you’re going to see something really wonderful happening, but sometimes you just don’t make it in ministry. And if you’re looking for a model, that would be the apostle Paul. Man, he spoke truth. He didn’t shilly shally, he never backed off. And he was reasonably civil and kind, but everywhere he went, he got into trouble and they ended up kicking him out of that particular town. That happened in the 13th chapter of Acts, as we have seen. And we’re going to see that it’s going to happen in the 14th chapter of Acts too. Listen, it’s our practice on Mondays to pray before we study. Let’s do that. Father, as we come into your presence, we are sometimes overwhelmed with your kindness and the truth you have revealed to us. In every situation your word speaks clearly. In the places of our sin, when we failed your word speaks forgiveness clearly. When we’re afraid your word speaks courage. And it speaks it clearly. And Father, when it’s not working and we’re doing the best we can and it’s not going to work. Your word speaks clearly there too. Thank you for the Scriptures, for the wisdom and the profound nature of the truth that you have given us. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast, some are going through some really hard times. And some of us are doing just fine, thank you. You’re the God of both. Come alongside those who are walking a dark road, grant your light and your presence and your comfort and your love and Father be a part of our laughter, when things go well and remind us that all of it is under your sovereign loving hand. And then Father as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, that you would forgive him his sins, because there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Alright. Let’s look at the first 19 verses of the 14th chapter of Acts. And what we’re going to talk about this week and probably next week is the shallowness and silliness of religion. Boy, there isn’t a, as you listen to this text or you read it yourself at home, you can see it in this particular chapter. We’re going to talk about it. This is what Luke writes.
Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke that a great company believed both Jews and Greeks. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time speaking boldly for the Lord who bore witness to the word of grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When the attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to molest them and stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities in Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they also preached the gospel. Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was a cripple from birth who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles, oh yeah, Barnabas and Paul heard it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, “Men, why are you doing this? We also are of men of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without a witness, for he did good and gave you from heaven rain and faithful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” With these words they scarcely restrain the people from offering sacrifice to them. But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the people, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
Oh my. I’ll tell you. We are persecuted as Christians in Canada and in the U.S., but it hasn’t come to that yet. Now, there’s a lot in that, and we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about the shallowness of most religion. Religion will make you weird, and there’s some reasons that it makes you weird if you’re not careful. So, if you’re religious, you’ve got to get into the Scripture for balance and wisdom and depth. But there’s one thing that I want you to see about this particular text, just in passing. It was in Lystra that a woman by the name of Eunice first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Eunice was the mother of a young man by the name of Timothy. Yeah. That Timothy. And Timothy was the companion of Paul and his protege in later life. What’s the point? The point is this, the hand that rocks the cradle, rocks the world. And it’s a reality in this case. We have done a number of programs on our talk show. It’s called Steve Brown Etc. It’s on a couple of hundred radio stations and it’s also a YouTube with several thousand people who subscribe to it, but we over the last two or three months have done a number of programs on gender. And they’ve been profound programs. We’ve talked to authors who talk about the problem of patriarchy, of how sometimes men believe that they are ordained to tell everybody else to submit to them. And it’s been an interesting and important group of programs as we’ve talked about gender. But there’s a danger in that, sometimes. It’s sometimes, it’s dangerous because it denigrates motherhood, because sometimes we have a tendency to say, oh, you’re just a housewife or, oh, you don’t have a real job or, oh, you’re not adding anything to the income of the family? Oh, you are sending your husband out to work and you refuse to. People who say that ought to get the hives, that is so shallow and so silly. And so destructive of what our society and cultural is about that I can hardly stand it. Listen to me. If you’re a mother, that’s the most important job there is on the face of the earth. That old statement, the hand that rocks the cradle, rocks the world, is so very true. You look at the people, both men and women that God uses in a great way. And in almost every case, when they talk about what happened in their lives, they talk about their mothers, the mothers who were faithful, who gave faithfulness to their children. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, resuming our leisurely tour through Acts today, teaching us from Acts 14 about the power and significance and influence of mothers. Anytime is a good time to be reminded of that. So, in our reading today, Steve talked about a man who was crippled, couldn’t walk, and I’m willing to bet that there’s someone listening right now who’s also crippled, not physically, but crippled by addiction, but I’d love for you to look at your addiction in a different way. What about addiction as a gift? Yeah, I know, I know. I know. I know. How can that kind of failure be a gift, but listen, when our helplessness drives us to turn to God and admit our need, we experience his presence, kindness, forgiveness, and peace. And is there any better gift than that? We have a special mini-book that talks about this. It’s called The Gift of Addiction: How God Redeems Our Pain. Get your free copy now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request that mini-book by e-mailing Ste[email protected]. If you’re mailing us, send your request to
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