You don’t have to be good to be obedient.
FEBRUARY 21, 2022
You don’t have to be good to be obedient. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a great week-end. As always, I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re in the middle and probably gonna take at least four or five more years of a study of the book of Acts. And we’re up to the 10th chapter of Acts, where we have seen Luke restarts his story of the early church. We’ve seen how he stops and says, you know there’s something that I need to tell you before we go on with this story. And then he relates to us the conversion of the apostle Paul, a conversion that changed the world. And then he says now back to my story and that’s what he does in the 10th chapter of Acts. And it’s a great chapter. I read it last week as we started looking at this chapter and I’m not going to do that again, but I’ll be referring to it as we go along. Before we turn to that, let’s pray. And then we’ll get down and study. Father,, as we come into your presence, we are overwhelmed sometimes with your revelation, with your word, both the flesh and the word becoming flesh and the written word. If you hadn’t written that down, we would have gotten it wrong. Thank you for the power of this Scripture you have given us, the insight, the wisdom, the understanding. Father, make us people of the word, people who know what you think and think your thoughts after you. Father, everybody who’s listening to this broadcast is known to you by name, you know those who are going through hard times and those who are having it pretty good, right now. Father, remind us that you’re the God of both the tears and the laughter. Remind us that you’re sufficient. Remind us that you’re awesome and you’re great. And remind us that our service to you is simple worship because you are worthy. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him, his sins cause they’re many. They call him Reverend and he’s not. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. As I said, I’m not going to take the time to read that entire chapter to you again. Maybe we’ll look at the last paragraph, but the story’s quite interesting. Peter’s on the roof taking a nap and he has a vision and the vision is amazing and astounding. It’s a vision where he is told by God to eat food. There’s a food thing prepared for him on a sheet of unclean foods. And Peter says, I ain’t eating that Lord. Listen, don’t say no and Lord in the same sentence cause they don’t go together. So, God begins to reveal to Peter something really important that God is bigger than a Jewish God, that God is bigger than Israel, that God is more than a God to a few people, that he is the God of the nations and the God of history and the God of blacks and whites and Asians and Americans and Europeans and Africans. And he is big. And in this chapter, there is some incredible teaching on the subject of racism. That’s a big deal right now. And, as you know, we have four thousand pastors on our mailing list, which means that I spend a good deal of my time talking with and praying with and laughing with pastors and you know where the central problem is right now? It’s around racial matters, churches, solid churches are being divided. Christians aren’t talking to each other because of racial things. There has been a real shattering and Satan is having a field day. So, there are a number of ways we could go with the 10th chapter of Acts, but I decided that I’m going to take God’s word and apply it, which is what we’re called to do to our present situation. And I’m going to say some things about race. Now, to begin with the first thing, and we talked about this last week is that Peter is not this wonderful, pure, good, nice, always obedient, gentle, loving Christian guy. He is a sinner, just like everybody else. And the reason he’s involved in this situation is because God told him to, not because he was good. And the end of the chapter because of Peter’s faithfulness. And this can be true of yours, is as follows. This is the 44th verse of that 10th chapter.
When Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard his word.
Now, he’s hanging out with people that Jews don’t hang out with. And he’s doing it because God told him to do it. And because God told him to do it, Luke says.
And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed.
In other words, the Jews were amazed
because of the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone for bid water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. And they asked him (that is Peter) to remain for some days.
That’s good. I mean, that’s the way it ought to be. That’s the difference that Jesus ought in certain matters. In general and certainly in the area of racism. And I said, Peter had some really strong prejudices. He was not just this good person doing good things. He was doing what God told him to do, and we should do the same thing. Let me give you a quote, from Galatians 2:11-13, that will you something about Peter.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I (and Paul’s talking) I opposed him to his face, because he stood and condemned. For before certain people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. (that would be the prejudice party) and with him, the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
Now, that’s holy word. That means that Peter had to struggle. You don’t have to be pure to be a obedient, you just have to be obedient. You have to do what God told you to do. So, it behooves all of us. And this is about as far as I go with critical racial theory, you do have to stop and you’ve got to say, where, and by the way, I do not support critical race theory. I just want you to know that, in fact, I have some serious problems with that because you fight racism with racism and that never works. And the problem never gets fixed and God doesn’t have problems that never get fixed. And he’s been very clear in Scripture about what it takes for us to get things fixed. And that’s sufficient. It’s enough. Don’t get a textbook and read it, just do as Peter did what God tells you to do. And the first thing Peter encountered was his own prejudice, when he said I’m not eating that unclean food. And then he said, I’m not going to those unclean people. I’m a Jew. I am part of the chosen of the world. I’m simply not going to associate with them. And then God sent Peter to Cornelius and God did amazing things. As it were, God is still sending people to Cornelius. And the first thing we’ve got to do is to look at our own prejudice. That’s not just racial prejudice, it’s prejudice in a lot of areas. We all bring our cultural views, our family backgrounds, our ways of judging people to the table. And the first step of fixing that, is to stop and say, good heavens, I need to repent. And if you repent of that, then Cornelius happens. When you repent of that, then God steps in and does some neat things. Hey. You can think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown, resuming our unhurried tour through the book of Acts and touching on some really timely subjects today. Of course, we will get back into that starting tomorrow. So, don’t miss it. Well, it may sound simplistic to say that the cure for racism is love, but there it is, we all need love. And when we feel like we don’t have it, nothing good happens. Well, Steve spoke about this idea in a sermon called All the World Needs is Love. It’s a tremendous sermon about what love is, how it’s expressed and the life-changing impact that it has. Get that on CD for free, 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 that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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