When you see truth, you can’t unsee it.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2021
When you see truth, you can’t unsee it. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer for the program and our host is author and seminary professor, Steve Brown. The church has suffered under do more, try harder religion for too long. And Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the fifth chapter of the book of Acts, a wonderful chapter where a great miracle took place that nobody understood, and the disciples were freed from prison. If you’re ever, if you’re ever freed from prison, or you’re ever in prison, don’t worry about it. If God wants you there you’ll stay. And if he doesn’t want you there, he’ll get you out. And whether you live or die, to paraphrase Paul, whether I live or die, whether I’m in prison or out of prison, I’m the Lord’s. So, so it’s okay. Well, this is a good chapter and a good illustration on why Christians couldn’t be canceled. Now, if you’ve been listening, we’ve been talking about the two reasons that the religious leaders and this always happens with people in power, whether it’s religious power, whether it’s church power, whether it’s political power and explains a whole lot, frankly. I know I’m cynical, a cynical old preacher, but I think what I just told you is true, but we saw that they were jealous. And secondly, they knew that if these apostles were right, they were wrong and everything they held dear, would be destroyed. And so, they were gonna cancel them and they cancel Christians today for the same reason. Now, there’s another question, that we need to address from this chapter, and it is this. Why would the apostles do this, when they knew what it was going to cost them? Court, maybe even death, certainly persecution. Eventually all of the apostles died as martyrs, except one old guy, who was sent to a prison island, and got the vision of Revelation and learned so much that we’ve been taught from him. And he died on an old man, but everybody else, Bartholomew was run through with a sword. One of the disciples was hacked to pieces. Peter was crucified upside down. And we could go down the whole list. Why in the world would they refuse to be canceled, when they knew that if they weren’t canceled, they could die. That’s a good question. And you can find some answers here too. First, the apostles had gotten a hold of the truth. And once you see truth, you can’t unsee it. Trust me. I’ve tried. I can remember in the early days when I was young pastor, I thought I was an intellectual. I was a graduate of a graduate school, where everybody was an intellectual. I used very big words. And I didn’t believe squat. I mean, I really didn’t. I mean, it was all humanism. It was all a higher criticism. It was all social ethics. And then Jesus messed up my life. I was doing good. I was on a track to someday serve a big church, big liberal church. I was on track to write great books, liberal books. And by the way, I’m talking about theology, not politics. Christians differ on that sort of thing, but on the truth of the Christian faith. And as I began to realize, and it happened because some brothers loved me enough, to tell me the truth. I remember a young man, Jim Yerkes, who later became a professor of apologetics at a major Christian college. Jim and I went out to lunch. This has been a hundred years ago, and I did my liberal act with him and you know what he did, I paid for the lunch and he ate mine. I mean, he, he had read all the books I had read, and all of a sudden this stuff started coming together. And I was thinking, this scares me to death. I’m being taken places, where I don’t want to go, to do things I don’t want to do, to say things and believe things that I don’t want to say and don’t want to believe. Nevertheless, once Jesus got me, I couldn’t get away from him. C.S. Lewis said it, and I agree with it. He said, to say that I was searching for God was like saying a mouse was searching for a cat. That was my experience too, man. And I wasn’t happy about it. Cause I knew what it was gonna cost me. I knew that it was going to cost me a career, but once you start seeing truth, a little bit here and a little bit there, it begins to grow. And then you, no matter how much you want to deny it and avoid it and get away from the implications of it, it starts eating at you. And pretty soon you’re sunk, and that’s what happened to the disciples. Good heavens, they had seen a dead man walking, that ought to do it. I mean, they really had, a dead man they saw die on a cross had gotten out of the grave. How do you quit thinking about that? And they had been loved when they had run, when they had betrayed, when they had sinned, when they had been so weak, they had been loved and accepted beyond anything they could imagine. How do you get rid of that? They had in fact seen the truth, the real truth. And once you see it, you can’t get away from. And so, they actually didn’t have a lot of choice and you don’t either, if you’ve seen the truth, you don’t have to yell about it, but you can’t be canceled, because once you see truth, you simply can’t unsee it. So, deal with it. And think about it. Amen.
It’s Wednesday, and sometimes on Wednesdays, when I have a little time, I answer some of the questions that you guys send and you send so many and we value your questions and we value you when you ask the question. You just have to remember that sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong. But we try to be as faithful to Scripture as possible. And as you know, Pete will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole broadcast answering questions. You can ask a question anytime you want by dialing 1-800-KEY-LIFE and recording your question. And sometimes we put those on the air, or you can write to
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Or you can e-mail us at [email protected]. And we will take you and your questions seriously. And if you can help us financially, do include if you would a contribution to this ministry. I promise we’ll be as faithful with your gift as you were in giving it. And if you can’t, we understand, but if you can help us, you help so many others who can’t afford to. So, help if you can. And by the way, you can give on your phone. You can text Key Life at 28950. That’s 28950, and just follow the instructions. Enough said, let’s turn to one or two of these questions. Is suffering a gift from God? Well, yeah, it is sometimes and maybe all of the time, but you can’t be flippant about it. We have to be careful when we’re suffering or other people are suffering that we don’t bring up cliches. When somebody has lost a loved one. When somebody has been told they have cancer. When somebody has gone through a major tragedy in their lives, don’t quote Romans 8:28. That’s not a time for answers, that’s a time for hugs. It’s a time to taste the salt of somebody else’s tears. And so you can’t be flippant about it. But ultimately and theologically and Biblically, every circumstance that happens to any Christian and pagan too, to any Christian goes through the nailed scarred hands of Jesus, when they, when we experience it. And in that sense, God has a purpose and a plan, all things, even though I told you, don’t quote it when somebody is hurting, it’s true. All things work together for good. There’s no exception to that. And so in that sense, suffering is a gift from God. But when you say it is, the danger is that you not take suffering very seriously. I’ve just finished a manuscript by the way. And I’ll tell you when they finally get it published, but the title of a manuscript is Laughter and Lament: The Touchstones of Radical Freedom. And the flip side of laughter is lament, great sadness and brokenness in the face of a fallen world. And sometimes we Christians don’t take that very seriously. We don’t do it sometimes in our music. We don’t do it sometimes in our worship. And we don’t do it with each other. And we need to learn how to lament. There are Psalms of lament in the Scripture, there is so much there and Jesus is a perfect example on the Cross.
My God, why have you forsaken me?
That’s called lament and sadness. And Jesus knew that, but he also knew that the Cross was dark and hard and more painful than you can possibly imagine. So yeah, the answer, the short answer to the question and it’s a good one, is suffering a gift from God? Yeah, it is. But it doesn’t mean it’s fun or easy or you want to suffer. But yes, no matter what suffering one goes through, God is there and he will use it in an amazing way and ways that you may never see in your lifetime. Well, I’m out of time. I never say it, but I’m so glad that you listened to this broadcast. You are a gift. And do remember that Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.