This is not a time to shilly-shally.
JANUARY 3, 2022
This is not a time to shilly shally. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under his fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that will make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a great week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re new to this broadcast, we’re studying the book of Acts and we started it back when Columbus came to America and we plan on continuing until Jesus returns. Not really, but it feels that way, but we are taking our time and we’re up to the ninth chapter of the book of Acts. And we’re looking at verses 10 through 18. And if you were listening last week, I introduced you to my friend Ananias. And we’ll continue to talk about him today. Before we study, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence, very surprised that we’re even here. We thought it had to do with how smart we were, how’s spiritual, how good and how much we knew. And then we realized we didn’t have any of that. And we turned away. And that’s when you said, welcome child and we came running and we never left. Father, we praise you for the acceptance, the forgiveness, the mercy, the kindness, the gentleness, and we worship you because you’re the sovereign Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of everything. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast. And you know that for some of them, it’s really hard. Come alongside, grant them a double portion of your peace and your love until it passes and they’re on the other side. Father, we as always pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins because there are many, we would see Jesus and to him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. I’m reading from the ninth chapter of Acts. And I’ll start at the 10th verse and we’ll go down through the 18th verse. This is what Luke the physician writes.
Now there was a disciple
You’ve got to remember what’s happened, the apostle Paul has been converted and it was a lot harder than walking forward in a crusade, or saying yes to the four spiritual laws, or bowing your head and saying a sinner’s prayer. That works, but sometimes if it’s a hard case and the apostle Paul was a hard case. His conversion was different. He had been knocked off his horse or camel or whatever. There was a voice from heaven. He was persecuting the Christians, many had died. He was an arrogant, self-righteous, ego centered maniac. And God decided, boy does God have some funny choices. God decided that he was going to use Paul to change the world. And he did. So now he’s blind. And now he’s scaring the spit out of the disciples because frankly they don’t trust him. And then Luke writes starting at the 10th verse.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas, the man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Ananias has come in and lay hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered,
And it’s not in the text, but I know this is what he said. Let me explain something to you Lord. He said,
Lord, I’ve heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints in Jerusalem. And here he has the authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” but the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and the kings and the sons of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on Paul he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and took food, and was strengthened.
Now, you have a tendency in this text to just say, that’s nice and move on to the next text, where there is more theology and more exposition, more insight, but don’t miss this because this is a really great text. And designed for you and me right now, we’re living in a time when Christians can’t afford to be silent anymore. We just can’t shilly shally, there are all kinds of dark things going on. And I’m an old guy and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this bad. And Christians have been bullied, we’ve been made fun of, we’ve been laughed at, we’ve been told to shut up and go back to the church and keep quiet. And we can’t do that. We just can’t do that anymore. And so, we need to be kind, we need to be loving, we need to be compassionate, we need to feed the hungry, we need to build hospitals, we need to do schools, we need to go to the world, but we need also to go with words of truth because there has never been a time when people needed the truth more than they need it now. And Ananias is a character. We don’t hear much about him in Scripture. I mean, this is pretty much it. And then he does his thing and he sort of disappears from church history. But in that short time, he taught us some things that were very, very important. Now, if you were listening last week, we looked at some of those. We noticed that Ananias illustrates for us what it means to be a Christian and to be human. That’s the 13th verse and Ananias answered.
Lord, I’ve heard a lot about this man, how much evil he has done.
And it doesn’t say it in the text, but he’s saying, are you sure about this? Have you made up your mind? Is there another way? I’d rather just stay here in the corner and read Torah, rather than go and spend time with this man because he’s killing people. Do you ever pray like that? I mean, do you ever pray, Lord, I know I’m supposed to say religious things to you. I know I’m supposed to use liturgies and stuff like that. I know I’m supposed to say thee and thou, but I’m scared spitless. And I don’t like what you’re doing to me, and I wish you would change your mind and fix it right now. Anne Lamott said she had only three prayers and the first one was, Lord, help me. The second one was, right now. And the third one was, thank you Lord. Well, that’s cool when that happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes you get pretty, you know what I do in the morning when I pray? I grade God,. You say, you’re crazy man, I bet you don’t do that in thunder storms. Actually, I do it a lot. I tell God exactly what I think. And you know what he does? He loves me. And he gives me permission because he says to me often, I knew that’s what you thought. I’m glad you’re honest enough to say it. So, Ananias is quite human and it’s okay to be human. We think Christians are something that ought to be pure and righteous and do it right and think it right and say it right all the time. Never be afraid, never have a doubt, smile all the time and manifest all the fruit of the Spirit at the same time. And if you believe that, you’ll believe something. We need to cut each other slack because we’re all very human. It’s what Aslan said to one of the children in the Chronicles of Narnia. We have to, we have to be kind to one another because this is hard. And then secondly, we saw last week, we noticed that Ananias illustrates what it means to be a Christian and want to be disobedient. That’s the 11th verse. You know why we sin? And I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this cause we did it last week. The reason we sin friend, is because we like to sin. If sin, now we get hurt by it. We get devastated by it, but we like it. And, that’s why we sin. So, not sinning is not always an easy thing to do. And once you recognize that, you know how to pray and Jesus will help. It’s how I became a spiritual giant. And if you believe that you’ll believe anything. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, teaching us from Acts 9:10 through 18 and keeping the phrase shilly shally alive. Thank you, Steve. So, wow, here we are 2022, a brand new year. And in that spirit of new, we are so pleased to tell you about the 2022 edition of Key Life Magazine. This is our annual print magazine. And may I say, our best one yet. It features a moving article from Steve called, For Heaven’s Sake, Lighten Up! It’s a freeing invitation to return to the wonder and joy of the good news of Jesus. The magazine also has pieces from some of your favorite Key Life voices like Chad West, Pete Alwinson and Kendra Fletcher. Get your free 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 to ask for the magazine. If you would like to mail a request, send it to
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