You didn’t do it. Jesus did.
JANUARY 27, 2022
You didn’t do it. Jesus did. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the ninth chapter of the book of Acts. And we’re beginning at the 32nd verse to the end of that chapter. Luke, the physician, the writer of this historical record of the early church has now dealt with the apostle Paul, his conversion cause that’s important, but he’s going to set him aside for 14 years as a matter of fact. And we’ll get to that. And when we do, it’s an exciting time, but Luke has done what he should do to tell us about Paul and his conversion. That’s a very big deal. But then he picks up the story of the church again and immediately, it’s like he’s drinking from a fire hydrant. He starts telling you what’s going on in the church and what’s happening. And in this chapter, there are two, and I’m not going to take the time to read it again, I read it on Monday, but in this chapter, there are two miracles. And I mean, not just a little ones, I mean, really big ones. You know, I’m pretty good at God hearing my prayers when I have the sniffles. I’m not so good if I broke my leg, you know, so God, and tells Luke to tell the story about what happens that’s really big. And so, there’s a man who’s been crippled, bedridden for years who dances. And there’s a woman, her name’s Tabitha, who’s dead. And she comes back from the dead and that’s a big deal. And we spent a good deal of time talking about miracles and some theological views with which I disagree that say that miracles and supernatural things stopped in the first century. I don’t believe that. And I don’t believe you ought to limit God about anything. I think that’s pretty dangerous. I said and said over and over again, God does as he pleases. And he does it right well. Now let me say one other thing, and then we’re going to dig in and start moving the previous question. Do miracles happen today and how do they happen and why do they happen? Miracles are not done just because God is a nice God, now he’s that in the sense that he’s loving and he cares about us and he does answer our prayers. And Paul wrote to the Corinthians that all the promises of God find their yes in Jesus Christ. But there is a point to be made by those theological views who say in the early church, things were happening in an incredible way. And they were. Or in the ministry of Jesus, miracles and signs. In fact, some of the gospels are organized around them, that was happening in a way that maybe is different than any other time in history. And there’s something to be said for that. I mean, not every day, does God enter time and space and the word become flesh? Not every day, does God come and teach himself, his people. Not every day, does God create an ecclesia, a church, the called out ones and begins to take over the entire world until it becomes the largest religion in the history of mankind, dwarfing, every other religion by any measure. Now, that always requires a little bit of emphasis. And, so there’s a sense in which a lot of things that were happening were happening to point, not just to happen. When Jesus did miracles, it was God saying and that would be Jesus and the Holy Spirit too. God’s saying, Hey, watch, shh, listen, look, see what I’m doing. And that was true in the book of Acts too. But with all of that being said, don’t limit God. Don’t make God a God who spoke and went away on vacation to Bermuda somewhere. Don’t make God into a God whose hand is shortened, who simply doesn’t act any more in those ways because he’s already spoken in his word, he’s already formed the church, he’s always done what was necessary and signs and wonders were a part of it. Well, yes, but God’s still acts. He still answers prayers. He still says, yes, people are still healed, life situations that are hopeless are given hope because God is God. And we belong to him and being his children is involved with every jot and tittle of our lives. Okay. With that being said, which I think is extremely balanced and helpful. I hope you were listening. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. Let me say something that is really important. I would suggest that miracles and supernatural events still happen, but they’re not performed by Christians, they’re performed by Jesus. You know the problem with us, Luther said, we’re great centers and we have a great savior. The problem with us is self-righteousness and it’s in our DNA and we absolutely are addicted to it. And as soon as God uses us and answers our prayers, we write a book about. As soon as God moves in a particular way, through a particular person, they build a church and thousands start coming and the money starts pouring in, and things start getting skewed. And so, it’s very important. When God answers prayers, sometimes through particular people, I had a man in a church, I served in Boston who was a dentist. And I could tell you his name, but you won’t know it because nobody knew it except his friends and his family. But I found out that when he prayed for sick people, that they got well, not all the time, but much of the time. He had this particular, and I want to say it’s a gift of healing, but I’ve gotta be careful about that. One of these days we’ll do a series on the gifts of the Spirit. And we’ll say more about that, but he did sort of have this particular thing. I think part of it was compassion. I’ve seen him weep over physical pain that people were going through. I watched him as he listened and he loved, he really cared. He cared profoundly and deeply, so he had the gift of caring. But when he prayed for sick people, they kind of got well, And, I remember one cold winter night, it was just awful. There was a snow storm in the area, and I don’t do well in snow storms or with ice on the roads. You know, those elderly ladies who slow down and get over to the side and cause accidents in in a snow storm. That would be me. I just, I mean, I didn’t, but this baby was dying and the parents asked if I would come and pray and I called my friend, his name was Ed. And I said to Ed, if you’re willing to take your life in your hand, I want you to come with me because we’re going to pray for a baby who is very sick. And he said, pick me up. I’ll go with you. And he did. And he prayed the sweetest, kindest, deepest prayer you’ve ever heard. And from that moment, that baby started getting well. And you know something, Ed never spoke of it again. He never said, did you notice pastor what God did with me? Did you notice how I place my hands on that baby and the baby started getting well? I am a powerful, mighty servant of God. And you’re fortunate to have me in your church and you ought to make me, you ought to make me an elder. He never said any of that. He was very quiet about it because he knew, he knew that it wasn’t him. He knew that it was Jesus. Do I believe that sometimes God does anoint people, to pray that way. Yeah. But if they build an empire, be very careful. God doesn’t give the glory to just anybody. You see God, is into his own glory. And when Jesus does things, Jesus ought to get the credit for it. And so, do I believe that God acts in supernatural ways? Yeah. But you, you have to be careful with that and with everything else. You have to be careful because God knows that if he gives us an inch, we will take a mile, or at least I will. So, when Jesus does something, make sure that you thank him. You think about that. Amen.
And thank you Steve. Wow, the week has flown by, that’s one more mile behind us in our unhurried journey through Acts. We’ll pick it up again right here next week. Please join us for that. And tomorrow it’s time again for Friday Q&A, when Steve and Pete will tackle this question. How can I know for sure God’s will? That’s a great question. Be sure to tune in. Well, if you didn’t know, Key Life’s mission is to get you and those you love home with radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ, as your crowning achievement. Radical grace is central to this ministry because, well, it’s central to the gospel. It is the gospel. If you’d like to learn more about what that means, we have a booklet we would love to send to you for free. It’s called Radical Freedom: Surprising Faithfulness. It’s a newly reprinted excerpt from Steve’s classic book on radical grace, A Scandalous Freedom. And I know it’s going to bless you. Get 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 that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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