When you know you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a good first step.
MARCH 3, 2022
When you know you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a good first step. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. Well, I’m finished with Acts 10. When I say we’re taking our time to go through the book of Acts, I really meant that, but I think I spent way too much time on the 10th chapter of Acts because probably it’s needed for me and for you, for us to talk about racial and cultural and ethnic barriers. And so we did, it has an amazing message to us in the 22nd century, as we deal with these particular matters. Don’t listen to the experts, they don’t know, listen to God. And that brings us to the 11th chapter of Acts. We’re going to be talking about, how to know when your church is doing right, but at any rate, let me read this to you. This is starting at the first verse of the 11th chapter of Acts.
Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
That was a surprise. And that’s the 10th chapter of Acts.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” but Peter began and explained to them in order. “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something descending like a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” But I said, “No, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But the voice answered a second time from heaven, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and all was drawn up into heaven. At that very moment three men arrived. At the house in which we were, sent to me from Cesarea. And this Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brethren and also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in the house and saying, “Send to Joppa and bring Simon called Peter; he will declare you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.” as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, “John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?” When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto them.
Now that’s a good story and it actually happened and God used it in an amazing way. I could use that by tagging it on to the 10th chapter and we could spend some more time talking about race and culture and ethnicity, but I’m not going to do that. We’re going to look at another way you can see this particular text. The other way you can see it is how the church knew they were going in the right direction. You know, it’s important to know that, we have committees on future church development, committees on how we go about doing what we have decided is our mission statement. I, one time sat in a denominational meeting and they appointed me as a committee member of future development of the Presbytery. And that was a, that was an interesting meeting. The committee meeting, I didn’t know why I was there, but I was there. And so, they sat down and started talking. First thing we need to talk about, they said, is what are we going to talk about? And I raised my hand, and I said, we’re a committee to decide what to do, and we don’t even know what we’re going to talk about. We’ve got a problem and it seems to me that the place you solve that problem, is going to Scripture and see what God has to say on future Presbytery development. You know, he might have something to say about the direction in which we’re supposed to go. Well, he does. And he does for the church, the church may have just wonderful social dances and wonderful parties and all kinds of knitting classes and classes on how to be healthier and classes. And that’s cool. I’m not against those kinds of things, but that’s not what we’re about. God has been pretty clear about what we’re about and the people in Jerusalem knew that. I remember one time, my wife was out of town and some friends of mine who had a small plane decided, I was on Cape Cod at the time. And they decided to fly over to Martha’s Vineyard and have dinner. And they asked me to go with them. Now, if you know anything about me, you know, I’ve never put all of my weight on an airplane. I don’t like airplanes, they’re not safe and that’s not the way I want to die. But you know, at least in, I had a little bit more control. I was sitting next to the pilot. And I don’t know what I was going to do if something bad happened, but at least I felt like I could see him. I wasn’t on a big plane, you never know what pilots are doing up there in the cockpit. They may be drinking. They may be flirting with a flight attendant, you just don’t know. And you’re in the dork, in the back and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I could see him and that was helpful. So, I got in the plane and we flew to Martha’s Vineyard, and he said, and my friend bill said, why you want to fly this plane? I was so afraid and so shocked that I didn’t say anything. And he took it for a yes. He said, alright buddy, it’s yours. And I, you know, this was not my favorite thing in the world. And I said, Bill, let me tell you something, if you don’t take control of this plane, we’re going to die. And I know you’re a Christian, but on the way down, I’m going to go over a plan of salvation with you just in case. And he said, and he said, okay. And he took the controls of the plane. You know what the best thing about that trip was? The fact that I didn’t know what I was doing. And didn’t know how to do what I was supposed to do and knew that we were going to be in trouble, if I tried. I have a friend in a church here, that was growing. I mean, they were up to 15,000. They were giving everything away. They had more money than they knew what to do with. And so, they just gave it away. They gave away anything that anybody wanted. And one of the pastors there told me, Steve, it looks like we planned this, but we didn’t, we don’t know what we’re doing. And then, and then this particular church built a gigantic building and all of a sudden they were in debt and they had to get organized and they had to bring in the experts and they had to work at it. And I said to my pastor friend, when you get this thing paid for, I hope you go back to not knowing what you’re doing cause when you didn’t know what you were doing, you trusted God and that’s not a bad thing to do. And if you trust God, he’ll do things. So, pay it off and then go back to where you were at the beginning. That would be, being confused. Now, that was true in the early church. You know, there have been thousands of books written on ecclesiology. I mean, we know more, far more than anybody in the early church about theology, about exegesis, about plans, about what works and what doesn’t work. We know more, far more than the early church knew about anything. I mean, after all we’ve been doing this for 2000 years, And we’ve learned a thing or two, actually, we really haven’t. And if we could go back to the way it was, confusion and doubt and wondering what we’re going to do next, we would be surprised at what God would do. Now, I’m not saying be stupid about it. I mean, there some things, one simply does, but the basic stuff of doing church is important and we don’t have committees to decide that, that’s God’s job. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. So great to break into a new chapter of Acts. And today it was Acts 11. Of course we’ll resume our exploration next week, so join us for that. And do be sure to join us tomorrow for Friday Q&A. And this is where I would normally tease one of the questions here for tomorrow, but you’re just going to have to tune in. You have definitely never heard this question before. Say, have you claimed your copy of the 2022 edition of Key Life magazine yet? This of course is our annual print magazine. And if I may say, it’s our best one yet. It features a moving article from Steve called For Heaven’s Sake, Lighten Up! It’s a freeing invitation to return to the wonder and joy of the good news of Jesus. The magazine also has pieces from some of your favorite Key Life voices like Chad West, Pete Alwinson and Kendra Fletcher. 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 Steve@keylife.org to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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