When God gives the rest of the story, it’s a good story.
JUNE 2, 2022
When God gives the rest of the story, it’s a good story. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth that God isn’t mad at you? Keep listening, Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it up to the 13th chapter of Acts, and we’re about ready to land this plane in this particular chapter. In fact, maybe today we’ll get into some in the 14th chapter of Acts, but at any rate, you know the places we’ve been and the sites we have seen. We’ve seen John Mark, a young man who decided he couldn’t deal with this anymore and left the ministry. And we saw the rest of the story. And when God writes the rest of the story, it’s always a good story. On the part of John, after he had left, he came home, he came back and God used him in an amazing way, the early history of the church. And that says a lot to us. And then we took some time to look at the apostle Paul and the sermon that he preached at Antioch. First, he went to the synagogues. And why did he do that? Because he says in Romans 1:16 through 17, that he’s not ashamed of the gospel, but that he’s going to take it first to the Jew and then to the Greeks. The Greeks are the Gentiles and the Jews are God’s ancient people and they are very special. And I spent a good bit of time talking about how special they are and why they are and why we have to be very careful, if you’re Gentile, when you talk to your Jewish friends. I suggested that if you’re going to talk to a Jewish friend about Jesus, ask forgiveness for what’s been done in Jesus’ name because it needs to be said. And then Paul preached a sermon and it was a great sermon. It had its roots in history, and we saw what’s important about that. God doesn’t act in a vacuum ever. He prepares before he moves. And in this case, he prepared for almost, well he prepared for a lot more years than that, but 1500, 2000 years before the birth of Christ, he was preparing for the greatest act in human history, the birth of Jesus Christ. I remember one time a friend of mine was telling me about a man who was witnessing on a bus and he was going around and saying, are you a Christian? And if somebody said, yes, I am. He asked, when did it happen? Because he wasn’t going to let them out of being a church member. He wanted to make sure they were born again. So he said to one man, he said, are you a Christian? And he said, I sure am. And he said to him, when were you saved? And the man smiled and said about 2000 years ago, he was making the same point that I’m making here. And that is that history is important because God prepares, in small ways and in big ways, when he acts. Let me give you a principle that is almost always true. Satan says, do it now. God says, think about it, look at what has led to this decision and then after you pray about it and you think about it, then move it. Because God prepares before he acts. And then we saw how the apostle Paul shook the dust off his feet. Listen, I’m old, I’m doing the best I can. And we saw, by looking at Matthew 10:12 through 15, that’s what Jesus said we’re supposed to do. If there are people who want to hear the gospel and there are. And there people that can hardly wait to hear about forgiveness and eternal life and there are. And you’re spending your time with people who just don’t care, then go to the ones who do care, even if they’re not the people that you love the most. Sometimes it’s best to shake the dust off your feet. And then you got to see the rest of this story. And it starts at the, it’s the last paragraph of that chapter. And this is what Luke writes.
And when the Gentiles heard this,
Remember, Paul had shaken the dust off his feet. He had gone to the Gentiles.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord, as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord spread throughout all the region. But the Jews incited the devout
Now, those are the leaders.
The Jewish leaders incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
How about that? That’s the rest of the story. Things weren’t going well, things aren’t going well in our country right now. And that’s true for you guys in Canada who listen to this broadcast. There’s some things that are not good that make us think that nobody wants to hear, and that people are against what we believe. I know that’s true. Things have changed, but notice how this chapter ends.
And the disciples
After being kicked out, after being ignored, after being turned away, after having the failure of no longer being able to preach the gospel.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Why is that? Cause they know a secret and the secret was that God was in charge of every bit of this mess. And God was working his will in the good and the bad and the hard and the easy and the victory and in the failure. And he still does that in our lives. Paul said that we’re to praise God in all things. And in another place, he says we’re to praise God for all things I don’t know about you, but there’s some things I’m just not thankful for. There’s some things I don’t want to praise him for. There’s some things that are plain bad. But Paul says, praise God anyway. Why should we praise God anyway? Because no matter what is happening in your life right now, Romans 8:28 is true. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how often you failed, no matter how many times you messed it up, no matter how many people dislike you, no matter how much you’ve been rejected, no matter how much you have or how little you have, Romans 8:28 is still true.
All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
And the book of Acts and we’re going to see it over and over and over again is a good book to read because it reminds us that when it gets bad, it’s good. When things seem to have come to an end, they’ve just started. When God allows bad things to happen, it’s because he has prepared good things to happen. Now, I’m about at the end of this broadcast. And we’ll get into it in detail, when we move into the 14th chapter of the book of Acts. And we’ll do that next week. And as we move into the 14th chapter, I’m going to say some good things about women’s rights, because one of the stars of the 14th chapter is a woman by the name of Lydia, who’s a mother and a business woman and the first Christian convert and she makes a major difference in the church. And then we’re going to spend some time, starting next week, in this 14th chapter of Acts to talk about how God deepens our faith, how we grow in our faith, how we become stronger in our faith. Now, let me tell you something. If you’re a Christian, that’s simple, because God has prepared a small pool in which children can play, but he has an ocean where elephants can swim and we’re supposed to mature ourselves and grow in faith and it’s called sanctification. And we’re going to spend next week to study the 14th chapter of Acts and talk about how God takes somebody who is forgiven, who will live forever, who has been redeemed and loved. How God takes somebody and a child can know that, a child can understand that. And God says, now let me take you deeper. Let me show you some things that are important. Let me show you the truths that will make you dangerous in a world that simply doesn’t understand what’s happened to you. And so, we’re going to talk about shallowness next week and between now and then just don’t be. You think about that. Amen.
And thank you Steve. That’s another stellar week of teaching on Acts in the books. Remember that if you missed any episodes, you can listen to those for free at Keylife.org. And be sure to join us tomorrow for Friday Q&A, when Steve and Pete Alwinson will answer the challenging questions you’ve sent in. Speaking of questions, can I ask you a personal one? Have you ever felt like the church no longer met your needs? That’s also a question. Kendra Fletcher explores and her article called When the Church Can’t Meet Your Needs. You’ll find that piece in the current issue of Key Life magazine, along with articles from some of your favorite Key Life voices, like Chad West, Pete Alwinson and yeah, of course, Steve. Get your free copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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