When was the last time you surprised yourself?
AUGUST 9, 2021
When was the last time you surprised yourself? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers, because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the third chapter of Acts. We’re in the process of a very long, very long study of Acts, because I’m taking my time. I have, I’ve taught this book several times and I’m learning all kinds of new things. You know, the Bible is like that. It’s like an onion, where you peel the first layer off and then there’s another and another and another, and every time you go to it, you’d think by now, I wouldn’t know everything in the Bible. I mean, I’m really old and I’ve been teaching the Bible most of my life, longer than a lot of you have even lived. And, you know, I still go there and I’m still surprised and I’m still delighted with what God teaches. Sometimes he reminds me and sometimes, sometimes I say, Lord, I haven’t seen that before. And he said, well, think about it. And I do. And then I get in front of this microphone and tell you what I’ve found. And we’re looking at the third chapter of Acts and that’s the story of the cripple who was healed. And it’s a wonderful story. I’m not going to take the time to read it again, but if you have your Bible, open it to the third chapter of Acts. Before we dig in, let’s pray. Father, thank you for your word. Thank you, that you wrote it down. If you had not written it down, we would have gotten it wrong and changed it. But you knew us, you knoweth our frame and you remember that we are dust. And so Father, you wrote it down and you gave it to us and we’re thankful for your Word. But we’re thankful for the living Word, even Jesus, for his presence, for his gift, for his sacrifice, for his promise. Father, you know the people who are listening right now and you know the hard places and the soft places, the things that are fun and the things that are not so much fun, the things that hurt and the things that cause us to laugh. Father, remind us that you’re sovereign over every molecule, that you’re God and that you’re our Father and that you care and that you’re good all the time. We praise you and we worship you. And as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. As I said, I’m not going to go back and read it. We did this a week ago. Read that entire chapter, but do it before you go to bed tonight, it’s a fairly short chapter and it’s just a delightful story about a cripple, a sermon, and a revival. And, you’ll like it, this cripple sitting at the church and we saw last week that it’s no accident that he was sitting at the church, there was the smell of God there. And where’s the cripple going to go. And that’s still true with the people of God. If you’re a Christian, you smell like Jesus, and you just can’t help smelling like Jesus, because Jesus, this is Galatians 2:20, is alive in you. That’s what happened when you became a Christian and he’s doing his thing and what he does, he does right well. And even now you’re being created in the image of Jesus, the son of God. And so all you gotta do is show, you don’t have to worry so much about being better and better every day, every way. You know, I wrote a book about that one time, called Three Free Sins. And if I had to do it over again, I would change the title of that book. But the main theme of that book is the reason we’re so bad, is that we’re trying so hard to be good. That’s really true. Don’t worry so much about it. Follow Jesus, keep your eyes on him and he’ll do stuff that you didn’t expect. So, the cripple was at the temple, because the smell of God was at the time. And then we saw that what Peter and John gave the cripple was a lot more and a lot better and a lot more exciting than what the cripple expected. He wanted money. They gave him healing, so he didn’t need the money. He could go out and work at the local factory. He could make a living on his own. He, that was the gift that Peter and John gave and the name of Jesus Christ. And God’s still doing that. He’s still doing more than we can ask or think, he really is. And that’s not a religious thing. One of my friends is Vernon Rainwater, he’s an emeritus pastor at a church here in Orlando, where Key Life is, one time I said to Vernon, how you doing? And he said, I’m doing really good. And then he stopped for a minute. And he said, you know, I’m not saying that in order to be spiritual, I’m not saying I’m good when I’m real bad, because I’ve learned to praise God, even in the bad things. I’m good, because I’m really doing good. That is so wise. That is such a good statement. And that’s the God that we worship. And then, we noticed the amazement of the people. You’ll find that in verse 10 through 11, this cripple, you know, and he’s been that way since the day he was born. I mean, this is not a good situation. A lifelong man who couldn’t walk. And, they noticed him coming in the door of the church and nobody was carrying him and he was dancing. And Sam said to Gertrude, is that, is that, that, no, that can’t, I think that’s, I, wow, the amazement, you know, God wants to do amazing things in the church. He really does. And I don’t want to say, we already spent some time on this, but I really believe that God wants to do more than we ask or think. I’m a Presbyterian, I’m a Calvinist and all of that. And you know what we think sometimes, or seem to give the impression, that God doesn’t answer any prayer, because he’s already given you the answer, so deal with it. If you’ve got cancer, suffer. If you’re depressed, the darkness is a gift from God. If you’re cripple, let it be your witness. And I, you know, I guess, you know, there’s something to be said about God’s sovereignty and bad things about that, but that’s not all that needs to be said. Sometimes God gives us far more, than we thought, and people are amazed when they see that happen. That should be the testimony of every Christian. Now, let me show you something else in this text. And it’s really important. I want you to notice that Peter knew who caused this, you’ll find out and we’re going to get to it, when we study Acts, that in some places, when God does something big through one of the apostles, that people fall down and worship the apostles, and they are horrified. It’s what are you, stop that, we’re just like you man, we put our pants on just the way you do. We eat the same things you do. And we’re scared that, this wasn’t us, this is God. What’s that old, I’ve probably told you about it, comedy album, the 5,000 year old man. I can’t remember who the comedian was. That happens when you’re old. When you’re old, you have a ship that’s filled with people and when somebody new gets on, somebody’s got to get off. And so, I’ve lost the name of the comedian, but nevertheless, he’s being interviewed, this guy, for being so, and the interviewer says, were you there when people started talking about God, he said, oh yeah. And his name was Phil. And the guy said, what do you mean Phil? He said, well, Phil told everybody he was God. And he had a big crowd following him. And one day he was out in a field and there was a big crowd and a lightning bolt came out of heaven and killed Phil, right there on the spot. And one of the guys in the crowd turned to his friend and said, you know, there’s somebody bigger than Phil. There is somebody bigger than you can imagine. And Peter knew that, and Peter gave credit, Acts 3:12.
And when Peter saw it he addressed the people. “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety, we made this man walk?”
In other words, Peter is saying, are you crazy? This is Jesus. This is God. And he did it. Man, that’s what thankfulness is, that’s why praise is at the very center of God’s people. Because we know, and we’ve discovered, and we teach that there is somebody bigger than Phil. You think about that. Amen.
The lame, not only rise, but walk and jump. That story never gets old. Thank you Steve. We will continue our exploration of Acts 3 tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us again, then.
Put down your oars, put down your swords and look to God. A God who saves not by demanding, but by dying. He has sent his son from heaven to be thrown into the storm of sin, the belly of death for you.
That’s just a small excerpt from an article titled Rowing Against Grace by Chris Wachter. And as you may have guessed, the piece has to do with Jonah, and us. You could find that article in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine, along with other great pieces from Robin DeMurga, Chad West and of course, Steve Brown. Grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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