When is it appropriate to fight or to flee?
JANUARY 11, 2023
When is it appropriate to fight or to flee? Let’s talk, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re studying the book of Acts and we’re looking at the 19th chapter. And the question before the house is this, when is it not appropriate to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus we have seen said, sometimes you shake the dust off your feet and you walk away. And those people who let you walk away are going to be in trouble. And then Acts 19 is an illustration of that where the apostle Paul comes to the city of Ephesus, spends three months talking about the gospel, about Jesus. And then because of stubbornness and because of unbelief, he decided, I’m leaving. I’m out of here. I’m not doing this anymore. And he walked away. Now, yesterday we talked about in the face of unbelief and we saw that’s in Acts 19:8 through 9.
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. But when some were stubborn
and here he comes
disbelieved, he withdrew from them.
The one place where the gospel doesn’t operate and where Grace is not doing its thing is in the face of unbelief. Why is that? Well, first the Bible tells us in Acts 19, that unbelief is the condition under which grace can operate, change lives, make a difference. And then secondly, because belief is a gift of God’s grace, it can’t be manufactured, it has to be given as a gift. The person who said to Jesus.
I believe, help my unbelief.
Prayed one of the most important and powerful prayers that anybody could possibly cause you can’t force belief. I can’t stand okra. I, I just don’t like it. It’s harry and it’s slimy, and don’t send me letters, I’m too old to change. My wife absolutely loves okra. I just can’t. In fact, I think okra, it wasn’t apples that caused the Fall, it was okra. And you said okra doesn’t grow on trees? Well it did in those days cause snakes walked around and okra grew on trees and Eve took a bite and said, Adam, taste this. This is harry and slimy. And he did, and that’s why, I’m sorry, I leave my notes and get into trouble every time. And so, but do remember that I taught you that okra was the reason. At any rate, all of that to say I don’t like okra. And my wife loves okra. Now, if my wife said, honey, if you really love me, you would eat this okra. You know something, I might do it cause I love her and you know, I don’t want to disappoint in anything that she cooks. And so, I’d get that okra down. But I’ll tell you something, I would eat it, but I wouldn’t like it. Okay. Cause you can’t force that sort of thing. And belief is that way too. Belief can’t be forced. It is a gift of God’s grace. It is the one thing that deals with doubt, and it’s the one powerful prayer you can pray. Lord, I do believe some. Would you help my unbelief? And the people in Ephesus refused to pray that prayer and because they didn’t, the apostle Paul left. Now, someone’s going to say, listen Steve, I respect your opinion, but you’re wrong. Where does it say that in the Bible? Well, a number of places. Let me show you one, Acts 18:27.
And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those
here it comes
through grace now believed.
And so, if somebody says to you, you can’t believe that stuff. Just say, yes I do, but you obviously don’t. And I’m going somewhere else because you, I understand unbelievers saying this is crazy. Because as a matter of fact, it is crazy. In I Corinthians 1 the apostle Paul says that, he calls it the foolishness of God. He said, you’ve got Greeks that demand one thing and Jews that demand another thing, and as a result they can’t believe in what’s the foolishness of God. And then he said.
The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men.
And so, the prayer is, Lord. I’m here and I’m needy and I’m sinful and I’m having trouble believing all of this. Could you help me out here? And that kind of prayer is critical and it’s important and it’s powerful because God gives the gift of belief when you are called to believe something that you just can’t believe. Now, I don’t know if God will fix my dislike of okra. I’m not sure that that isn’t too big for God to do, but I’ll tell you something. Often I prayed, Lord, I believe, and I’m here, help my unbelief, and he has answered that in ways that would blow you away. As a matter of fact, God is more real to me right now than the chair you’re sitting on. You think about that. Amen.
It’s Wednesday, and sometimes when I have time on a Wednesday, I take some time to answer one or two questions. Pete Alwinson, as you know, comes in on Friday. Pete and I spend those Fridays and we get so many kind remarks from you. We sometimes think we blow it in major ways and then we get a letter that says, I love that program when you guys sit around and talk. So, Pete will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole program answering questions. But sometimes during the week, if I have time, I’ll answer one or two questions. By the way, when I say we value you and your question, I mean that. The only question that’s inappropriate is one you don’t ask. You can ask a question by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE anytime, 24 7, record your question, and sometimes we put those on the air. Or you can send your question to
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or you can e-mail us at [email protected] and by the way, and you knew I was going to say this, if you can help us financially, please do. We recognize that most people can’t. Only about 10% of people who are touched by this ministry and helped are able to help us financially. So, if you can, when you can, you become kind of a champion for those who can’t afford it. And if you can’t, we understand, say a prayer for the ministry. And if you can be as generous as you can and I’ll rise up and call you blessed. All right. Let’s turn to one or two of these questions. In Jesus’ time, why did God show all of those people signs of his power, but today we are not permitted any signs? What do you mean today we’re not permitted any signs? I have a daughter who’s now got her own daughters, three of them, who when she was one day old, God intervened in her life. She was really sick and she was instantaneously healed. And in those days I was a liberal, just this side of whoopee. And I’ll tell you, that day changed my life. All of a sudden, there really was a God. All of a sudden that God had intervened in a supernatural way in my life. I pastored a church for 20 years, where every month on a Wednesday evening we had healing services and I saw God do stuff that you wouldn’t, I never even told the congregation cause I didn’t want them to focus on what God was doing and forget about God himself. But God did miracles and he does today, and everybody who’s listening to me can name one or two. And some of you a lot more of places where there was a supernatural intervention in your life and it could be described as nothing but God. And so, and so to the person who asked the question, why doesn’t God do that stuff today? He does a lot more than you think. In fact, that’s what Jesus promised. He said this, and I didn’t say it, he said it.
The works that I do, you will do and even greater works than I do will you do because I’m going to the Father.
That’s mind blowing and sometimes we forget, that we have a supernatural religion and a supernatural God. This is an e-mail question, because we keep sinning, do we ever quit repenting? No, you don’t. And I’ve given you that definition of repentance. It’s not what you do, it’s what you think, from a Greek word metanoia, and it means to change one’s mind. And so, what repentance is, is simply agreeing with God about who you are and what you’ve done and going to him with it. And so, in that sense, when you understand repentance, it never stops. And you know why? Because God never stops being God. And we hardly ever stop being a sinner. And repentance is an appropriate connection between a sinner and a sovereign God. That’s enough. Time for me to go, but I have to say first, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.