Truth trumps heritage.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2022
Truth trumps heritage. And I’ll explain that, 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. Hope you guys had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If it was, go tell your pastor. I’m starting a movement to encourage pastors all over America cause I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I have the bloody t-shirt. So, go to your pastor, tell them you love them and you’re praying for them and you think they’re great. And you get three free sins every time you do that. And I’m kidding, so don’t send me letters, but do participate with me in my movement. If you’re just joining us, we are studying the book of Acts and we’re up to the 16th chapter of Acts. And we’re looking at Lydia. I’m not going to read that text to you again, but you might want to open your Bible to Acts 16, verses 11 through 15, where Lydia is mentioned, and she’s an unusual, great lady. And I’ve had fun in talking about her and we’re going to look at her some more today. Before we do that, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence, thankful for your word. We’re thankful for the precepts. We’re thankful for the doctrines, but we’re thankful for the stories because in the stories, you allow us to see the reality of your love and your forgiveness and the way you care. Father, you know everybody who’s listening to this broadcast, you know the hard places and the soft places, and you’re in charge of all of them. Father, help us to remember that and to run to you in our laughter and in our tears. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, forgive him his sins cause there are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, let’s go look at Lydia. If you’ve been listening, we’ve seen Lydia’s election. We’ve seen that she was a woman after God’s own heart, and that God was the one who made that so. And then we saw that Lydia was somebody who was an outsider. And that didn’t keep her from finding Jesus. And then we saw that Lydia had a lot of stuff, talked about that yesterday. And even though she had a lot of stuff, she understood that it was passing and she knew that no hearse pulls a U-Haul ever. And then, let me show you something else. I would have you note, that Lydia did not allow her roots, her heritage, her background, her parents to determine whether or not she ran to Jesus. That’s a big deal, Acts 16:14.
Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.
Now, whenever you see the title, worshiper of God, you can almost always count on the fact that this person was not a Jew. They were okay, we have seen in Jewish eyes, but they weren’t born that way. And so, it is a short jump from that truth to begin to see that Lydia was probably from a pagan background. Almost everything then was a pagan background and she was not Jewish and they were the exception. So, it’s a short trip to understand that she had a background of people who were not God worshipers, who were not people who cared a fig about the things of God, people who, and maybe that was a reason she had this successful business, who had willed to her all their money. And it was a background that assured success until she died. I remember the Jesus movement and sometimes I tell you about it, that’s what old guys do, but I was around for that great awakening. And that’s what it was, in fact it was an awakening as great and as important as the one under George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, I mean, it was, it was incredible. It was a time when hundreds of thousands of people were coming to Christ in droves. They were doing mass baptisms in the ocean. It was amazing. And I was the pastor of a very, well prestigious, Presbyterian church, near Boston. I wore a collar. We did everything decently and in order. Right down the street from this historic church was the birthplace of two American presidents. I mean, this was puffy is what it was, and then these Jesus kids started coming into our church and they changed everything. I mean, it was amazing what they did, they were so in love with Christ, so open, so authentic, so vulnerable, so it was just amazing. Sometimes I found out that God had changed their heart, but hadn’t changed their language. And I can remember sitting in the pulpit behind one of the big columns when one of them would be giving their testimony and I would say, Lord, clean up their language, please, or I’m going to get fired. And they did it. They, one time, they took over this Sunday school and started teaching kids that they had a Jesus march around our church. It was kind of like the march around Jericho and the trumpets. And I was afraid that if they blew trumpets, the church would fall down, but they were marching around the church and these Jesus people were saying to these children, give me a J and they would give them, they would shout J, give me, and they spelled out Jesus. And I would think, good heavens, what has happened to our Presbyterian, reformed way of doing things decently and in order, but it was so cool. It was so good. And I knew that God was doing something. I knew that I couldn’t control it. I knew that I couldn’t fix it. I knew that Jesus was in our midst and he had determined not to leave the building and the people began to see it too. And we saw awakening in the church that I was serving at that time. And it was amazing. You know, what really was amazing about that time? How irritated many of the parents were at their kids who had become Christians. One lady said, I wish he’d smoke pot again, at least I could understand that. I don’t understand this Jesus stuff at all. And one of the really interesting things was, how these kids, these young people who, and it wasn’t just happening in my church. It was happening in churches and universities and colleges and Bible schools all over America. And it was amazing, it really was, sometimes in the morning, I say, God, do it again, do it again. But the amazing thing was, how these young people related to the old people in the church. I’ll tell you what I think happened. And I got this from Os Guinness, there was a movement, and if you and I had an experience with God and we had touched him and seen him and we got together and started saying, let’s share it. And pretty soon we’d form a church and we’d create a liturgy and prayers and hymns. We’d create seminaries and colleges and universities and rejoice in our experience, the next generation would come along and get a little bit of that, but they weren’t in the beginning, they hadn’t experienced it all. And the next generation that came along, would say, I don’t know why we do all this, but we’ve always done it this way. And then the next generation came along and they walked, they ran as fast as they could away from the original principles of the founding fathers of the movement. And that’s what had happened. That’s why those kids related to the grandparents. Their parents didn’t understand, their parents were of the generation that said, do what I say and be quiet. We’ve always gone to church and you’ll go to church too. But the grandparents, the great grandparents, they knew the initial touch of Jesus. They knew what God had done. And when God did the same thing with those young people, they got together and sang songs of praise. Your Christian faith prompts your heritage. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, resuming our exploration of Acts 16 and our introduction to a remarkable woman named Lydia. We’ll continue from right here tomorrow, won’t you join us again then, wouldn’t be the same without you. So, what do you do for a living? I get that question on a fairly regular basis. And yet, I always seem to struggle in answering it. The rub is, defining ourselves by what we do, instead of who we know, means that our self worth is tied to our performance, instead of who we are as a son or daughter of God. Well, our good friend, Justin Holcomb wrote about this in a special mini-book called, surprise, What Do You Do for a Living? If you ever struggle to understand your identity and value apart from what you do, we would love to put this mini-book into your hands, for free. Just call us right now 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
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