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When you get a lemon, make lemonade.

When you get a lemon, make lemonade.

OCTOBER 4, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / When you get a lemon, make lemonade.

Steve Brown:
When you get a lemon, make lemonade. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the 16th chapter of Matthew. Instead of building what I’m teaching around a theme, as I usually do, I’m simply reading the last part of this 16th chapter and making comments as your tour director, as we go along. Now, if you were listening yesterday and you never listen to me. If you were listening yesterday, we left Paul and his entourage in jail, and they were having a worship service. They were singing hymns. And I confessed to you that if I had been in their place, that probably would not be what I would be doing. When I read about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I’m blown away with what he did in jail. And when I read about Paul and his friends shackled in jail, I’m blown away with what’s happening with them. They’re trusting God, and they’re having a worship service. And not only that, they’re getting the other prisoners to participate in their worship service. I would’ve been off in a corner and saying to God, you don’t love me. If you loved me, I wouldn’t be here. How could you do this to me? I was doing your work. I was preaching your gospel. I was standing for you. And now I’m in jail, what’s with that? And, I think God would have done the same thing for me that he did for Paul because he doesn’t measure his grace by how much we deserve it. Paul deserved it more than I did cause he was singing. I would not deserve it cause I would not be singing and Jesus would still bless both of us. That’s counterintuitive and that’s a good thing to remember. So, Paul and Silas or Paul and his friends are in jail. They’re shackled. They’ve been thrown there because they interrupted the income stream of some con artist and the judge turned it on them and threw them in jail. And they were praying and singing hymns. And then we saw yesterday that there was an earthquake. And it shook the prison. And not only did it shake the prison, it shook the shackles off their arms and legs. And it opened all the doors in the prison. And, it’s not in the text, but I know what Paul said, even though he trusted God, even though he knew God was going to do something. He said, Wow, son of a gun. Now, what happens, now I don’t know about you, but if God supernaturally opened the jail cell where I was residing, unloosed the shackles and the door was wide open to the outside. I’m running. I’m, I’m getting out of there and I’m going to run into the woods and go as far as I can away, but that’s not what happened. And it’s amazing. You see, when you’ve got a lemon, a Christian should make lemonade.

When the jailer woke.

Now, I’m starting at the 27th verse.

When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

I don’t know if I would’ve done this, but the first thought that comes to mind is to say, well, I wouldn’t do that, but if you want to, go ahead. But Paul didn’t do that. Listen to what happened.

Paul cried out with a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, for we are all here.” He called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down in front of Paul and Silas. Brought them out and said, “Man, what must I do to be saved?”

He had some questions, legitimate questions. And he had been blown away by Christians who act in a way that he didn’t expect. That’s what we’re called to do, Peter said.

That we’re always to be prepared to give answer to those who ask.

Our problem in our culture is, they don’t ask very often. And you know it’s true. The pagans have us figured, they really do. You can pick out a Christian by how sour they look, and how religious they are, and the words that they use, and the Bible they carry, and the prayers that they pray. And we’ve been doing that forever and pagans go somewhere else because that’s boring and it’s not something they care about. So, what should you do? Go shock them. That’s what you should do. Do something that nobody expected. I’ll tell you, you know that neighbor, that you’ve never spoke to, who drives you nuts because he doesn’t take care of his yard. Let me tell you something you ought to do, have a pizza delivered to his front door and see how he responds to that. Say something that no Christian would say. Go to places where no Christian would go. Do things that Christians would not do. We don’t do that anymore. And because we don’t, people don’t listen. So, this jailer was ready to kill himself. He was at the bottom, this was a bad situation. And he was in serious trouble because the prisoners had escaped. And the prisoners said, no we haven’t, we’re still sitting here. It sounds dumb, but it’s a God thing. And so, if you will come in here and check, you are safe and you are covered. And then Luke says.

That he took them

this is the jailer

and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?”

Why did he ask that question? Cause he was amazed, because he was surprised, cause he was relieved, because he was shocked. That’s what we’re called to do in the world. We’re to do something different. Jeremy, who’s the producer of this broadcast is incredible in what he does. And the thing that’s irritating about him, is that he does other stuff too. He’s one of the best musicians I have ever met. I mean, he plays varieties of musical instruments. He teaches lessons with students who come to him, so they can learn how to play one instrument. I’ve seen Jeremy play two instruments at the same time, and I was sure he was demon possessed. And he, of course only plays in churches. He, of course only plays at Christian parties. And occasionally at Bible studies, they will invite him to come and play and sing. No, he doesn’t, he goes everywhere. Places, Christians ought to not go. He goes everywhere and plays his music and you should too. And you should too. I have a friend who in fact traveled, speaking of musicians, who traveled all over the world. He was a wonderful pianist, and he made his living by playing in bars. And I remember having lunch with him. He had been in the Middle East, in some of the major hotels playing piano and bars. And I said, you’re a Christian. Why, what are, what are you doing that for? That’s not a good witness. He said, oh yes it is. I said, how is that? He said, well, occasionally when I’m playing music, I’ll run a hymn and make it sound like jazz. And, I’ll look out over the people in the bar and the Christians will light up cause they’ll recognize it. And they’ll come over to my piano and say, you too? And they get encouraged and I get blessed and the pagans get surprised. What are you doing that nobody expects? What are you doing in your life that is surprising and amazing to the world? What are you saying in a way that Christians don’t usually say it? Who do you love, people that most Christians don’t love. Where do you go? Who do you associate with? That was one of the marks of the ministry of Jesus. And it got Him on a cross. And in our chapter that we’re studying in a book of Acts, it got them in jail, but God was there on the cross, saving the world. He was there in the jail, saving a jailer who was suicidal. The problem is you’ve got to break out of the box. The problem is you’ve got to go places that Jesus would go and love the way He loves. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Best jail break ever. Thank you Steve, for bringing to life this section of Acts 16. There’s even more to this story to explore. And that’s exactly what we’ll do, starting tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. You probably know that in addition to teaching here on Key Life, Steve is a prolific author. In fact, he has a new book coming out at the end of this month, called Laughter and Lament. But one of my all time favorites from Steve is called A Scandalous Freedom. If you haven’t read it, allow us to intrigue you by sending you a special booklet called Radical Freedom: Surprising Faithfulness. It features excerpts from A Scandalous Freedom, and I know you’ll find it to be a refreshing reminder about the radical nature of grace. Claim your 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 booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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