Watch out for divine appointments.
JANUARY 19, 2021
Watch out for divine appointments. 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. We’re looking at Galatians and we’re in the fourth chapter of Galatians in our study of this great book. And we’re talking about the proper care and feeding of baby Christians. And there ought to be a number of those around you. And if there aren’t, you’re doing something wrong. I mean, we’re here for them. And there ought to be something so attractive, so freeing, so refreshing, so guilt-free about our lives, that when we live it, people are drawn to Jesus. My late mentor, Fred Smith, and you ought to go and, people I’ve told you, think I’ve made up Fred, so I can say weird things and blame it on them, on him. I didn’t. Fred is in heaven now, but you can get some of his wisdom by going to BreakfastWithFred.com and his wisdom, the wisest man I’ve ever known will blow you away. But one of the things he used to talk about was vacuum evangelism. He said, and he’d heard me say that there is a God shaped vacuum inside your heart and nothing will fit except Jesus. And he said, if there’s a vacuum there, we don’t have to do anything but show. And that vacuum will pull them into the reality that is ours. I always thought that was good. That ought to be happening. But what do you do when they come to Christ? How do you, do you disciple them? I don’t even like that word, but I can’t think of a better one, discipling kind of gives the impression that I’m going to create little disciples of Steve Brown. And I can’t think of anything worse. Discipling is discipling to Jesus and discipling ought not be an ongoing experience, it ought to end as quickly as possible. So, a person is not discipled, they are walking as your brother or sister in Christ, but I want to show you something before we get into all of that, that is really important. I think I mentioned it last week, but let me, let me show you. It is the supernatural working of divine appointments. You can find that in the 13th verse of the fourth chapter of Galatians.
You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first.
And then Paul goes on to say, you didn’t look down on me, you didn’t despise me.
You would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
And it’s that comment that makes people think that in Corinthians, when Paul says he has a thorn in the flesh, it’s an eye problem. Never says that, it could have, and God did that on purpose, so that whatever your thorn, would be a place of identification with the apostle Paul and with Scripture. But nevertheless, Paul was saying, I’ve got something really bad physically, and I had to come to you and you guys welcomed me with love, a divine appointment that Paul himself would not have chosen, but God did. And God used in an amazing way, still doing that. He’s still doing that in the world with his people. He has a divine appointment for you today. Tell him you’re available. He’s got a divine appointment with somebody today, who’s in need. Tell him that you’re available. As you know, Tony Campolo is one of my friends and we don’t agree about anything, but Jesus, but we love each other when we’ve been friends longer than longer than you’ve been alive. Tony’s having some physical troubles now. And if you think of it, a good prayer would be appreciated. Then Tony, we used to get about how, and we are different, man, we are so different. I mean, he’s a liberal, I used to call him my pinko commie friend, and I’m a conservative and he always called me his right wing reactionary friend. But we both love Jesus and everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to everybody who belongs to Jesus. At any rate, as somebody said of us, Tony, that Brown, when Brown gets up in the morning, he’s well, when Tony gets up in the morning, he says, good morning Lord. And when Brown gets up in the morning, he says, good Lord it’s morning. And you know what Tony did every day and still does of his life. He says, Jesus, what kind of neat things have you planned for me today? I’m not at that point, cause I’m not that spiritual. I just say, Lord, get me back in this bed tonight without messing up so bad that it can’t be fixed, but Tony’s right. And he’s right, biblically from Galatians, divine appointments. Do you know something, my wife Anna used to have, and I don’t think it’s there anymore, but it was a great thing, right above the phone, there was this little saying. And, you know what it said, it says the essence of this phone call may seem to be an interruption, but it’s really God’s opportunity. And so God directed Paul in ways Paul didn’t expect to go, with people he didn’t expect to meet. And doing things he didn’t expect to do. That’s what God does. And he does it quite well. I looked back over my life and I’m not where I thought I wouldn’t be, not even close. The late Ruth Graham was once asked, if God always said yes to her prayers, and she said, certainly not. If he said yes to my prayers, I would have married the wrong man, several times. Well, that’s true. And it’s true in my life. I never thought I would walk the road I’m walking now. I never thought that I would know the people I know now. I never thought that the ministry God has given me would be the ministry that I would have. I’m not where I thought I would be. Why is that? That’s because of divine appointments. Alright, we could talk more about that, but let’s, let’s move on. Because Paul is really letting us see behind the scenes on dealing with brand new Christians. He had gone to the church at Galatia, he had been used in an amazing and wonderful way by presenting the gospel to them. And he had seen wonderful fruit. And then when he left, some turkeys moved in and began to say, well this grace thing’s okay, but don’t overdo it. And don’t take advantage of it and be careful. And there’s some things you need to know. And they began to lay out the rules and these wonderful, excited Christians became dull Christians with the weight of all the laws that had been placed on them. Some of them told these new Christians they needed to become Jews, get circumcised and do all that was required by Judaism. And these Goyam did it, and it almost ruined their lives. And Paul was upset as a pastor about it. And so, as he speaks, you’ve got to remember that he’s speaking to brand new Christians. And once you realize that in these verses you began to see some things, actually seven things that we ought to remember when we deal with new Christians. Let me mention the first one, and then we will talk more about it tomorrow, but let me say a little bit about it. First note that we are with new Christians to model for new Christians, Galatians 4:12.
Brothers, I beseech you, become as I am.
Now immediately, because we’re neurotic, our minds go, yeah, he was so perfect and so obedient and so on fire for Jesus that he says, you be like me, that’s not what Paul was saying. What does it mean to be like Paul? It means, it means to hurt deeply. It means to be honest about the pain that you’re feeling, it means to be honest about the confession you’re making, Romans 7, it means to be vulnerable and authentic, it means to love, because you have been loved, to be rich because Christ who was rich became poor. That for your sake, you might be rich. That’s what it means to model for new Christians. It’s a reality that Paul felt. It wasn’t just his obedience, though it was that. He said, follow me as I follow Christ, but it was a lot more than that. And more profound than that. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Today we continued in Galatians 4, learning how we serve as models for new Christians. Lots more to cover tomorrow. Make sure you join us then. Well, whether you’re a new Christian or one who’s as old as Steve, you definitely desire to have a more intimate walk with God. A prayer life that’s beyond ordinary. Basically you want to go deeper in your relationship with your heavenly father. Well, there’s a booklet that Steve wrote that talks about that very thing, how to go deeper, to love more and to know more of him. Could you use that? If so, please call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to Steve@keylife.org. By mail writer us at
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