JUNE 16, 2022
Truth matters. And I’m going to tell you why on this edition of Key Life.
That was Steve Brown and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the 14th chapter of Acts. And we’re looking at a shallow and superficial religion and we’re asking why? Now, I’m not going to take the time to read that text to you again, but it’s an interesting story. Paul gets kicked out of two places and in fact at the end of this particular text, he’s stoned and they think he’s dead and they drag him out of the city. So, this was not a pleasant thing when he spoke truth. And today we’re going to talk about truth, just a bit. But I want to make an addendum before we do that. If you’ll notice in the book of Acts and other places in Scripture. Jews are referred to, sometimes positively, but a lot of times negatively. I spent a good bit of time and Israel, doing research on a book on anti-Semitism. I never published it because by the time I got back to the States, somebody else had written a book and they did a better job than I did. All I wanted was a book on it that my kids could read and understand, everything or almost everything that had been written on anti-Semitism, were in these theological and scholarly tones. And I wanted to write a book that people could understand about a place we needed to understand. And that is how much we owe to our Jewish friends. It is, read the book of Romans. It is an incredible gift that they have given to us. And so, some of the anti-Semitism that has been extant in the church has come from some of the references used in the New Testament to Jews. Now, in this 14th chapter of Acts, Luke tells us that both Jews and Gentiles believed, but that some of the Jews, and that’s the place where you’ve got to read the religious leaders, you’ve got to watch religious leaders. If they’re not accountable to somebody, if they’re building an empire for themselves, if they’re defending everything they do is right or proper, you’ve got to go somewhere else. So, as we read this particular chapter of the 14th chapter of Acts. And there’ll be other places we’d go along, do remember, that it is not a basis for anti-Semitism. It’s a basis for religious leaders gone sour. Gold going dim, people who are in positions of power and begin to think that it was them and not God who put them there. And so, you get something going on here that is quite unusual. When you look at Judaism, that is in it’s Old Testament form, the depository of all the truth that God had revealed to his people. It was revealed propositional truth, and it still is. And in the book of Acts because of the New Testament had not yet been written, that was the Bible, that was it. That was the truth. And the people who knew the truth were not those who worshiped Zeus or people who participated in child sacrifice or people who ran pagan, temples of prostitutes. It was not those people who had the truth. It was the Jews who had the truth, revealed propositional truth for hundreds of years, they knew God was, they knew what God was like, they knew that God was sovereign and loving, they knew that God had chosen them and they didn’t know why, but they forgot. And so, in the 14th chapter of the book of of Acts, you will find people. And this is a reason for superficiality in religion. You find people who knew the truth and ignored it, who had been brought up understanding the truth and decided to go in a different direction. Who had seen the revealed nature of the God of the universe, and then violated it. That’s why Scripture is so important, that truth be taught. And so, you ought to notice that shallow religion of Lystra was marked by people who had known the truth, but saw no relationship to truth and what was going on with Paul, the 19th verse.
(read “the leaders, the teachers, the people who knew the truth”)
came there from Antioch and Iconium and having persuaded the people.
The same people who were before wanting to sacrifice Paul and Barnabas.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of this city.
I remember the day that changed my life. As you know, I’m a Bible teacher. I say some radical things, but I don’t make them up. I say some things that are pretty, pretty amazing about grace, but I didn’t make those things up. I got those from Scripture. And it became the focal point of my life when I didn’t even know what the Bible said. I remember those days, I’d been at a graduate school in Boston and gotten a degree and I was an intellectual. And I could look down my nose at the people who needed to understand that I was smart and I was going to teach them important things. And then I began to see this thing is bigger than I thought it was. And because some brothers took some time with me. I remember a professor of apologetics at Wheaton. We went out to lunch and I was going to impress him with my ability and my insight and my intellectualism. And do you know what happened? I paid for his lunch and he ate mine. He had read all the books I had read. And then God began to intervene in some significant ways. And I remember the day that changed my life. I prayed and I said, God, my problem is, I’m my authority and I don’t have an authority. And from now on, and I don’t know where else to go, I’m going to go to the Bible and I’m gonna make that my authority in everything that I teach. Now, that was insane because I had no idea what the Bible had to say. I mean, I know about social ethics. I knew about social justice. I knew about hermeneutics. I knew about the Graf-Wellhausen Documentary Hypothesis. I knew all that, but I had no idea what the Bible had to say, but I knew that Mr. Graham told new Christians to read the book of John. So, I decided that I was going to start in the gospel of John. And you know what I did, I’d read a verse or two ahead of the congregation and tell them what I thought it meant. And then I’d read another verse and I’d tell him what I thought it meant. And we began to grow together and we saw awakening take place in that church that was amazing. Even the newspapers started noticing. And students started coming from the universities and colleges around and you couldn’t even find a parking place. And I didn’t understand it. I was just reading a verse, trying to stay ahead of the congregation and telling them what I thought it meant. That was an exciting time in my life. And I’ve never experienced that before. And I think God in his sovereignty and kindness wanted to nail it in early, that the authority we have is truth. And it’s been revealed in God’s word. And it is clear. And if you study it, it’ll keep you from being shallow and superficial. It’ll keep you walking the right road and it will get you home before the dark. And as you read through 14th chapter of Acts, now you get, you understand why the pagans thought that Paul was Zeus and tried to worship him. They didn’t know any better and they couldn’t help it. But the Jews, they knew the leaders, they understood. And it’s the same thing with us. You can find that in a lot of places and social media, where Christians become as vile and as angry and as mean as the pagans. And when we do that, we lose our witness because we forget about the truth that has been taught us on the Fruit of the Spirit. And I could go a thousand other ways in how we attack each other, how we do not love, do not understand how much we’ve been loved. Those are the truths that are ancient and real and important that our religion be something that makes a difference in the world. Go get a Bible, if you don’t have one, read it, do what it says. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And believe it or not, that wraps up another week of teaching from Acts. But wait, you say, it’s only Thursday. That’s right. That leaves us one more day of Key Life. And that would be Friday Q&A. Tomorrow, our friend Pete Alwinson will join us and together, Steve and Pete will answer the tricky theological questions you’ve sent in. Well, recently on Steve Brown Etc we spoke with author Jessica Thompson about her new devotional. It’s called How God Loves Us: 40 Days to Discovering His Character in the Fruit of the Spirit. In that devotional, Jessica poses this question, what if the Fruit of the Spirit isn’t just about us, what if it’s also the way God loves us? Boom, mind blown, but listen, to really appreciate that idea, you need to hear the whole conversation. So we put it on a CD and we would be happy to mail it to you, for free. Just let us know where to send it. Call us now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the CD by e-mailing Ste[email protected]. If you’re mailing us, send your request to
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