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What about the past?

What about the past?

JANUARY 5, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / What about the past?

Steve Brown:
What about the past? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
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.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open to the ninth chapter of the book of Acts. We’ve just been talking about my friend Ananias and some of the lessons we can learn from him or that at least I learned. And I shared them with you and I hope it was helpful. Now we’re gonna move on. And we’re going to move on into the second part of the 19th verse of the ninth chapter of Acts. And we’re going to be talking about the past for the rest of this week and into next week. And incidentally, this is the first week of a new year, but the question before the house is, what about last year and the year before that and the year before that? You’d be surprised what this text and say about that. And so, I’m reading, starting at the 19th, the second part of the 19th verse. You remember that Paul has been converted in a not so pleasant way. God struck him blind. I’d rather use the four spiritual laws. God struck him blind, cleared up his act, put him with the disciples and changed the world. I mean, it’s a great story. And Ananias was used in that, and then he disappears pretty much from the pages of Scripture. And then Luke writes this.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is the son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is this not the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on his name? And he is come here for the purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul answered all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night to kill him, but his disciples who came by night and let him down over the wall, lowering him in a blanket. And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas

And his name means sons of encouragement. And that’s a good name.

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Cesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied.

Is that good or what, it really is, now the first thing that I want you to see, is that when you decide to follow Christ, not everybody’s going to be happy. That’s just the same. I have a dear friend in Miami, his name’s Michael, he’s a lawyer. And he had lived a pretty loose lifestyle. And he said to me, Steve, now that I’m a Christian. Am I going to lose it all, what should I do about my friends? I said, don’t do anything. Just be still and watch. And you’ll find out who your friends are. And after that, a lot of his friends wouldn’t have anything to do with him, but at least they didn’t try to kill him. In Saul’s case, after he became a Christian, he was a major threat to the religious establishment. The religious establishment sometimes is an empire building political thing, just like Washington. You’ve gotta be careful sometimes. And so, they were saying, you know, he was on our side. He was one of us. He was killing off Christians in the name of God. And now look at him, he’s joined the enemy. And he’s going to destroy everything that we’ve done. You know what happened in the graduate school of theology I attended? And it’s one of the reasons that I joined you guys, the Bible believers and the Orthodox, I was a liberal. And, during a Billy Graham crusade in Boston, I went to the Dean and said, you know, we ought to have Mr. Graham come and speak at our chapel. And do you know what the Dean said? And I couldn’t believe it. He said, we can’t do that. And I said, why not? And he said, because he could destroy everything we have worked on. I didn’t say it, but I thought to myself. Hey Dean, if he could destroy in one sermon, everything you’ve built these years, then it certainly isn’t worth much, frankly. I didn’t say it, but if I could go back, I would say it cause I’m meaner now than I was then. But the truth is the apostle Paul known now as Saul had joined the enemy and the enemy, they weren’t going to let him get away with it. And so on two occasions in this text, they decide they’re going to kill off Saul. They’re going to, you talk about cancel culture. That’s major man. Better they cancel you from Twitter, then they shoot you in the heart. And that’s what they wanted to do with Saul. And so if you’re a new Christian, be thankful for the joy and the forgiveness, but you be careful out there. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Steve Brown there, continuing to teach us from Acts 9, about the pivotal role Ananias played in the life of Paul. More to discover tomorrow. Make sure you join us then. So, with the start of a new year, our thoughts naturally turn to reflect on the past a bit and not just the past, our past. Steve spoke about this topic in one of his classic sermons called What About the Past? Take a listen to part of that talk. Then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.

Steve Brown:
That’s a problem, in the church, we don’t listen enough. If we listened enough, we wouldn’t judge quite as much, but perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned is I’ve listened to people’s confessions is this, that you don’t ever respond to a confession of the past with a cliche, a cliche is at best half truth. It’s at worst, a plain outright lie. My point is this, the Bible never use these cliches as it deals with us. Talking to Eddie Waxer not too long ago, we were looking through the Bible and studying together somewhat. And one of the things that we talked about was how God in his gracious sovereignty, has allowed us to see all of the people in the Scriptures with all of their warts. We see David lusting after another woman. We see the terrible sin of outright murder that he committed because of that lust. We see the fights that went on with the church. We see the anger and the hostility. We see the jealousies and the meanness. And God always deals with those problems at the point of our need. The Bible is, if you’re not into the word every day. Oh, shame on you. When I was a pagan, I had better words I want you to know. I could put it a lot better, but you ought to be in the word. You ought to be letting the word be the mirror that magnifies your soul so that you can see the fine print of your soul. The Bible never deals with our sins at the point of cliches. The Bible faces problems straight on. Let me tell you something. Every person here has a past. And every person here has a skeleton. I see the dear saying, not me. Oh yes you do. There’s not an exception here. If we could by some magical formula, put a television screen above every soul and have come out like they do on the ticker tapes, the record of your skeleton, you wouldn’t be here very long. You’d be under a chair or out a door because we all without exception have a past. You remember in the eighth chapter of John and Jesus dealt with a woman who was caught in adultery. You remember the dogs were after the meat ,boy they came dragging this woman in to the temple where Jesus was calmly teaching his disciples and Jesus stood there and just looked at them. They threw her down at his feet and said in the law of Moses, it says that this woman is to be stoned. What do you say, baby? We don’t have any record in the Scripture of Jesus ever writing anything except this one place. And that’s the eighth chapter of the gospel according to John, Jesus didn’t do a thing. He knelt down and begin to write in the sand. And we don’t know what he wrote, nobody does, but I would suggest, and a number of other people have suggested that he began to write the catalog of human sin. He wrote liar, and then he looked up and his dark piercing eyes fell on a man who was fumbling with a stone. Then he wrote adulterer and his eyes fell on another man. Then he wrote cheat and his eyes fell on another man. And then the perceptiveness of our Lord Jesus, when he said, let he, who was without sin among you cast the first stone. Boy, if you’d been there, it would have sounded like a thunder storm, as the stones hit the sand. Cause the men turned and fled and closed their doors and hid. And then left. There’s the woman weeping, you could have heard her sobs. Jesus said, woman, where are your accusers? She said, there are none Lord. He said, then neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more. What do you do about your past? If you had been that adulterer and you’d left Jesus right then,what would you do about it? How would you deal with it? What do you do with your past?

Matthew Porter:
Like I said, classic in every sense of the word. I know this full sermon will bless you. So if you would, let us mail it to you on a CD for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
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If you’re in Canada, send your request to

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the CD called What About the Past? Oh, and before you go, have you ever considered partnering with Key Life through giving? It’s easy to do. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or, now it’s even easier through text, simply text Key Life to 28950 then follow the instructions. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. Doesn’t even matter. Text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. 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.

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