Trouble, trouble, everywhere.
JUNE 21, 2022
Trouble, trouble, everywhere. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the 14th chapter of Acts. And we’re going to look at the last part of the 14th chapter of Acts. And as I said yesterday, this was coming home to Antioch. The first, the absolute first missionary journey in the history of the world has just come to an end. And the two men mostly responsible for that missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas have come to Antioch to report to the church that months before sent them out. And it was bated breath. It was, we’ve been waiting a long time. We were afraid you died. We wondered if you had left the faith. Have you been faithful? Did God use you? And if he did, how did he use you? And before we begin, we’ve got to say that if you had a consulting firm come into the church. And by the way, if you’re inviting consulting firms into your church, don’t. They don’t know any more than you do. Pray, have a season of prayer and tell the consultants to go somewhere else, cause they cost a lot of money and very rarely does it turn out the way they say it. No, listen, I’ve got to repent of that. That’s not absolutely true, but there’s enough truth in that for you to be careful. But at any rate, these guys have come home and factually, if a consultant had looked at that first missionary journey, it would have been pronounced as a failure. It started out with three guys and one guy chickened out and went home. I mean, when a third of your army leaves, you’ve got a serious problem. And everywhere they went, they offended people. A consultant would have said, be a little bit nicer. Okay. Smile a little bit more. Don’t give them all the truth at one time and you’ll be better off, but they did and they got into trouble. There were places where they were kicked out of towns, religious people didn’t like them, the pagans didn’t like them. It was a mess. And we’ve just come off the first part of this chapter in Lystra, where they kicked him out of there. And so you would think that when they returned to Antioch to report to the people of God, what God had done in that first missionary journey, they would have said, we failed. I mean, it was a mess. We’re never going to do this again. God obviously wasn’t in it. There was trouble, trouble, everywhere. And we know that if God’s in something, it’s always successful and wonderful. So, this one, but that’s not what happened. In fact, we’re able to look at that first missionary journey through the eyes of God and in the presence of what God is doing, which is amazing in the world, and he still is. So, if you have your Bible turn to the 14th chapter and I’ll start at the 19th verse.
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the people, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up, entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. When they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Then they passed through Pisidia, came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they said, To Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how we had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples.
And I would add parenthetically with a praise and worship service every evening in the church in Antioch. That is so cool. I’m old enough to have been here when the Jesus movement took place. It was a general awakening in America that was as big as the great awakening under Whitfield. I mean, it was, those days were plain amazing. Kids were coming into the church by the hundreds of thousands, we were having mass baptisms. You were seeing God’s Spirit being poured out all over the place. In fact, we’re still running on some of that gasoline after all these years, those kids grew up and they’re still walking it and they’re still faithful. It was a hard time in some ways, but it was a wonderful time, some ways. And most of the time, during the Jesus movement, we spent time praising God and worshiping him for what he had done. And he had done some amazing things. And every day of my life, when I pray, I say, Lord, could we have another revival, another awakening. Would you do it again? Would you do it again just one more time? And frankly, as an aside, it’s gotten so bad in this country and you guys too in Canada, it’s gotten so bad that the only hope is that God intervenes, that God does something, that God pour out his Spirit on a dry and thirsty land. And he does that when it gets bad enough. So I say, and I pray, Lord, do it again, do it again. And when he does, and I believe he’s getting ready to, by the way, And a lot of other Christian leaders that I know, think that also. A lot of pastors write me and say that they sense that God is getting ready to move in a major way. And I think that’s true. Okay. Let’s go back over those verses and look at some things that happened when God grew flowers in the mud. I mean, this first missionary journey had a lot of mud, but God grew so many flowers. I have a friend who’s a missionary and she was home from Haiti. And, she’d been there for over 10 years and I thought, well, maybe it’s time for her to come home and pursue another career. And I said, when you finish, this time of being home, what are you going to do? She said, I’m going back. That’s what I’m going to do. I said, what are you going to go back for? And she said, because I want to plant flowers in hell. And that’s what Christians do. We plant flowers in the mud, in a fallen world. And that’s what Paul and Barnabas had been doing on the first missionary journey. Now, I’m going to mention a point and we’re going to talk more about it tomorrow, but I want you to note that when you go through these verses and the last part of the 14th chapter of Acts, you are able to see that when your resources are adequate for everything, God doesn’t move, but when you’re weak, God’s power is made perfect in weakness, Acts 14:23.
And when they had appointed elders for them and every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed.
They committed them to the Lord because they had learned that the Lord is sufficient for every need. Years later, and we don’t know what it was. Paul prayed about his thorn in the flesh. And I suspect that it showed up on this first missionary journey. And he said, he asked God three times, would you take this away? And God said, no, because my power is made perfect in weakness. It still is. Guys, if there’s an awakening and I believe there will be, it will be because of God and not us. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Such a cool perspective on that first missionary journey. On paper, failure. In reality, a history shaping adventure of planting flowers in hell. We’ll continue our discoveries here in Acts tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us then. Well, hard to believe, but we are zooming up on the middle day of the year. Yes, very soon, we will begin the back nine of 2022. That’s crazy, right? So, I have to ask the question, have you claimed your copy of the Key Life magazine yet? This is our annual print magazine, and I’ve got to say, I think it’s 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 [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for your free copy of the 2022 edition of Key Life magazine. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card. You could include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up your phone and join the growing number of folks who simply text Key Life to 28950. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t 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.