We would create a God more to our liking.
OCTOBER 12, 2022
We would create a God more to our liking. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life, here to let Christians know that God isn’t mad at them. Keep listening and you’ll hear that because of what Jesus has done, you’re welcomed home into the family of God because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering.
Thank you Matthew. And we’re looking at the 17th chapter of Acts, and we’re looking at the scandal of the cross. As you read through those verses, the first 15 verses of the 17th chapter of Acts, you notice one thing is common and that is Paul’s basing his message on a Messiah dying spread eagle on cross beams, on the town garbage heap, between two thieves. And that doesn’t work. I mean, God is not supposed to do that. God is bigger than that and stronger than that, and he does not hang on crosses, He rules worlds and he creates them. And we saw yesterday that because it doesn’t fit, it becomes a scandal. It’s just not what people want. God, Zeus is more our liking, to be strong and lustful, angry and powerful. We can understand that, but God on a cross, that’s no God, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be Clovis King of the Franks said, if I had been there with my Franks, I would’ve avenged his wrong. I can get those sentiments, can’t you? God should not be on a cross, but he was. And if we accept it, it says something about God, his love and how great it was. Jesus said this.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And you are my friends.
It says something about God’s pain and his hurt, we’re in his heart and the tears of the cross are shed for us. That’s how deep and how real it is. Do you remember when Jesus stood over Jerusalem, looked down at the city just before the triumphal entry. Luke says, he wept. Well, when he wept, he was reflecting who God is, the tears of God. There’s an old Jewish prayer that I may have quoted to you. And it goes as follows, it’s from the rabbi manual.
Thou art great, and we are small. Thou art infinite, and we are finite. Thou art eternal, and we tarry, but just a little while. Thou art all powerful, and we are weak. But with all of thy power and greatness and sovereignty, thou dost bend down low and listen to the tears, our tears, as they strike the ground.
That’s beautiful, but the message of the gospel goes further than that. Not only does he listen to our tears and put them in his bottle, the writer of Psalms says, he comes and weeps with us. That’s not right. That’s not God. That’s not something that’s supposed to happen. God is supposed to be God. Pierre van Paassen said in the book That Day Alone.
The river of history moves on, but the cross remains. Now is then moving forward in stark reality when the strong torture of the weak, when the poor cry for bread, when the innocent languish in dungeons, when mothers go insane because they see their children die, when the outcast roam a vague vision that recedes in the night. In the wilderness, when the soldiers go to battle, when those who sit in darkness pray for light, the cross returns. And the head of the man on the cross sinks deeper on a tired breast.
And so, when you talk about the scandal of the cross and you have questions about it, what is it that’s so disturbing about that? Why do we want to reject it? Why is man’s religion something that has nothing to do with that? Now, you know one of the reasons. God ought not be hanging on a cross. It’s that simple. And so, that’s a reason for the scandal of the cross. Let me mention another thing and then we’ll talk more about it tomorrow. Secondly, I would suggest that the first century Jew and the 21st century American, the cross of Christ is simply not logical. I Corinthians 1 is an interesting passage and I read it to you. And in that I Corinthians 1 passage, Paul talks about the folly of the cross for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. And then he goes on and talks about that folly. Do you ever think how crazy what we say we believe really is? We’ve been doing this for so long, it seems like normal. I mean, if we’ve been Christians for a while, it doesn’t seem crazy at all. It seems logical, but think the way an believer thinks when they first hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had unbelievers say to me, Brown, that’s crazy and you’re crazy too. That can’t be true. Well, it is true. And, it’s counterintuitive. It’s counterintuitive on steroids and that’s the reason people wince when you start talking about the cross. It’s just not logical. I’ll grant you that, but it’s powerful. You think about that. Amen.
Well, it’s Wednesday and sometimes when I have time, I take some time to answer some questions. As you know, Pete will be in on Friday and we devote Friday’s program to nothing but answering questions. And that’s a fun program and we enjoy it. But occasionally on Wednesday we have a chance to do the same thing. By the way, we really do like your questions. You can pick up your phone, 24 7, and record your question. And sometimes we put your voice on the air. Or you can send your question to
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Or you can e-mail your question to [email protected]. And I can assure you the only dumb questions, the one you don’t ask. And by the way, if you can help us financially, please do. We’ll rise up and call you blessed. And so will a lot of other people who are helped by your gift. And if you can’t help us financially, we understand, do say a prayer for this ministry. We are part of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada, both organizations oversee our books to make sure that our monetary actions are ethical. So there, help us if you can, if you can’t, say a prayer for this ministry. Okay. Let’s turn to one, maybe two of these questions, if we have time. This is an e-mail. In the account where Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. What if she did go and sin again? What if she kept on sinning in exactly the same way? What would Jesus do then? He would do what he always does. He would forgive her. We sometimes, in Jesus’ comment when he said, go and sin no more. He was making a simple statement, like, look at the trouble you’ve got into. These guys were really angry. They were going to kill you. Don’t do that again. And maybe she didn’t, maybe she did. In the seventh chapter of Luke, you will remember a prostitute breaks into the dinner party of Pharisees. Now that was a dumb lady. I mean, that’s not the place where you want to crash a party, but she did because she wanted to get to Jesus. And you remember, and it’s a radical text. Jesus forgives her because her sins are many. And he says he who loves little, sins little, loves little and some other radical things, but he never says go out and sin no more, because the issue is forgiveness. You know, we have this idea that before you are a Christian, that God will take all of your sins that you have committed and will forgive you and you’ll be free. And after you’re Christian, you are on your own. And you better hustle and do it right or God will drop you or break your legs. That’s a lie. That’s just not true. I believe for instance, that the prodigal son went back to the pig farm. In fact, if I had been at that party they threw for him when he came home. And his father said my son was dead and now he’s alive. Let’s have a party. I think I would’ve said to that, boy, would you listen to an old man? And he would say, yeah, I’ll listen. I’d say your father really loves you, doesn’t he? He said, you have no idea. And I would say, son, let me tell you something I want you to think about. Tomorrow you’re going to the field and you’re going to work and that’s hard. And you’ll think about the pig farm. And sometimes you’ll go back. And he would say, no, I won’t. And I’m going to say, yes, you will. And you remember that when that happens and you’re in the darkness again and you come home. Exactly the same thing that happened the first time will happen the second time. And if need be, the third and the fourth time. We have this high view of human sanctification and guys, we don’t grow fast and we still do things wrong and we still fail. And we still have a God who forgives us over and over again. That’s what Jesus said to Peter, when he said, I’ve already forgiven this turkey seven times. Is that enough? And Jesus said, no, 70 times 70. And Jesus was talking about Peter and about God, Hey, I’ve got to go. But first, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.