To the Jews first.
MAY 30, 2022
To the Jews first. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor, who teaches the God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
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 just joining us, we’re in the 13th chapter of Acts, which is a part of a very long study of this book. And, in the 13th chapter of Acts, I’m going back and picking up on some things that I missed when we spent so much time talking about John Mark and why he left the ministry. And so, if you were listening last week, we started doing that by way of side observations. And we noticed what Paul said to the magician who stirred up people against the message of the gospel. How Paul was strong and what he said and how the magician went blind and how all of a sudden people were astonished and were drawn to the gospel of Jesus. And we saw how we as Christians ought to astonish pagans a lot and we don’t very much. Well, that was a side observation, and I’ve got one or two others as we go through this chapter before we finally turn probably next week to the 14th chapter. But before we study, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence astonished that we’re here. You know we shouldn’t be, Father, we know who we are. We know we can’t earn our way here. We know we’re not good enough or pure enough or a obedient enough and we don’t know enough, but you welcomed us and you’re the king and we’re here by invitation and we praise you. Father, we worship you because you loved us because you sent your Son to die on a cross in our place because you promised to get us home before the dark. But if you had done none of that, you’re still God, the sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything we perceive, of everything we see, of everything we experience and of our lives. And you are worthy of worship. Father, you told us that we could bring our requests to you and we do. You know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast, the things that keep us awake at night, the fears we have, the doubts that sometimes haunt us, the sins we can’t shake and the secrets we can’t tell. But Father, you’re sufficient and we praise you and we bring those requests into your presence. And then as always Father, we pray for the one who teaches, 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. Okay. As I said, we’re looking at, we’re picking up some things that are not a part of the original outline of this chapter, that are very important. And if you’ll start at the 16th verse of the 13th chapter, Paul and Barnabas are in Antioch. Now that’s the big, not the big Antioch, but the other one and Paul is in the synagogue and he’s beginning to preach.
“Men of Israel and you that fear God, listen to me.
And then follows a very good sermon. If Paul had preached that sermon in one of my communication and homiletics classes, I would have given him an A for it, but he would have had to explain why he did some of the things that he did do. And we’re going to look at that. And the first thing that you ought to see is that he was in a synagogue and he wasn’t in a temple. Now, what was he doing? Well, if you’ll go to Romans 1 and 16 through 17, Paul is opening this great book of doctrine, incredible book. We spent weeks and weeks, a few years ago, just looking at the book of Romans. And I want you to know, that was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time. But in the first verse, he kind of lays out some very important things, in the first chapter. And in the 16th verse, he says this.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek or the Gentiles. For it is the righteousness of God revealed through faith for faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”
So, what was Paul doing? He was saying the Jews are important. They were there before we were. They had the covenant before we did. And Paul, as you move into the book of Romans spends a very long time talking about that particular theme. In fact, in one place and I didn’t look it up before I sat down in this studio to teach Acts, but in one particular place in Romans, he said the Gentiles, the Goyam, the Greeks, those of us who have become Christians, we’re called to make Jews jealous. How about that? But we haven’t, we made them scared. One of the, and I don’t want to spend forever on this, but it needs to be said that the history of the church has often been a history of anti-Semitism. Even Martin Luther, as you know, my hero, toward the end of his life wrote two or three pamphlets that are absolutely horrible, in which Jews are called pigs. Luther early in his ministry was pretty benevolent, as was not a lot of the leaders of that time. But as he got older, he started saying things that a Christian should never say. And there isn’t a direct connection between what Luther taught and Holocaust that happened later under Hitler, but there are strings there that you can follow that ought to make every Christian ashamed. Chrysostom, oh, I’m not going to go over the history, you can look it up, but it’s not very pretty. I spent some time in Jerusalem one time, because I was gonna write a book on anti-Semitism that my kids could understand. There were a lot of books written on it, but they were mostly very heavy tones that my kids wouldn’t read. And I thought there needs to be a book written about this subject so we can properly deal with Israel. Now, subsequent to my time there, a couple of others wrote those books and I didn’t have to, there really is a God. I didn’t want to, but somebody needed say it. But I learned so much and I saw so much. Let me tell you something. If you have Jewish friends, the first thing you need to know that because they’re Jewish, they’re special. Oh man. John Murray in his commentary on Romans. I don’t know what it means by all Israel will be saved, but he said it means something and God isn’t finished with his ancient people yet. And he’s not. So, the first thing you need to remember is that your Jewish friend is special. And secondly, if he’s over 25 years of age, he is experienced or she has experienced anti-Semitism from Christians who just didn’t understand. And so, the first thing you’ve got to do before you do anything is that you’ve gotta repent. If it becomes a close enough friendship for you to say this, you need to say to your Jewish friend, I know you know a lot of bad things have taken place from Christians to you guys. And I haven’t participated in that, but I’m not proud of my family. And so, I want to ask your forgiveness for what was been done, what has been done in the name of Jesus. That will blow them away. I mean, they won’t know how to handle it, but you can say you don’t have to say anything, but I did want to mention it. And I wanted you to know that I am so sorry for what you have experienced at the hands of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Why do you do that? You do it because your Jewish friends are special. They’re different. They’re connected in a way. Paul says, in Romans that we’re not connected, we’re grafted on to the tree. And they’re the natural growth of the tree. And Christians need to be very sensitive and very careful when we’re dealing with our Jewish friends. I don’t have time today cause I’m running out of time, but tomorrow I’m going to tell you a story that will absolutely blow you away. And then we’ll move on to Paul’s sermon and analyze the sermon. And you’ll get that analysis from a homiletical professor, which would be me. And we’ll see some things that the apostle Paul said that were very important, but just remember, if you have a Jewish friend, don’t tell them about Jesus until you ask for forgiveness. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Acts and reminding us about how special our Jewish friends are. Plus, Steve promised us a killer story tomorrow. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m coming back to hear that one. Hope you’ll do the same. Well, if you’ve ever asked God some big questions, you are not alone. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that asking God big questions is a sign of a healthy and growing faith. What kind of questions am I talking about? Well questions like, does God exist? Am I really forgiven and free? If all of this is true, then why don’t I feel different? Well, Steve is no stranger to doubts and questions. In fact, he wrote about these things in a mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. In it, he explores the reasons behind our doubts and explains how we can rest in faith. May we send you this mini-book, for free? Let us know at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
in Canada, mail
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for the free mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. Finally, if you’re able, would you partner in the work of Key Life through giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in you envelope. Or now you can simply text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.