You don’t vote on God’s will.
MARCH 21, 2022
You don’t vote on God’s will. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’ve got a Bible and you’re in a place where you can open it, we’re going to be continuing with our study in Acts. And we’re up to Acts the 11th chapter, verses 1 through 18. And if you were listening last week, you know that we’re posing a question and it’s an important question. How do you know when the church is moving in the right direction? And, this particular text gives us some real insights and we’re looking at those. Let me read the text to you and then we’ll pray, then we’ll get down. This is what Dr. Luke writes.
Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. And when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision already criticized him saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with him?” 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 all kinds of birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise, Peter and eat.” But I said, “No, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” But the voice answered a second time saying, “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 Caesarea. And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his 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 your household.” As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as the Holy Spirit had fallen on us in 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 then as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should withstand God?” When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.
That is such a good story. I mean, we could spend three or four weeks just on that text, but we don’t have eternity to do that. So, we’ll dig in. Let’s pray. Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for writing it down. Thank you for the directions you give us. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your kindness and gentleness. Thank you Father, for being you. We praise and we worship you because you’re worthy. Father, you know the people who listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places and the soft places. And you’re the God of both and sufficient in every circumstance. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, forgive him his sins because there many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Now, if you were listening last week, we began to dig into that particular text. And the first thing we saw, it may seem obvious, but it’s necessary to mention it, that Peter didn’t question the right of the circumcision party to question him. Listen, one of the things I used to teach when, and please note the circumcision party were not happy with Peter. He had gone to Goyam, he had gone to the Gentiles. Unclean, common people and he was a Jew and he should not have done that. And, we need sometimes to a question, to debate, to love each other, to see what God has to say about the direction in which the church should go. A number of years ago, we taught a seminar called Born Free, taught it all over the country. And, it was an interesting time, sometimes I still teach that material and it’s about grace, but it’s about other things too. And we had a section in the seminar, it was a three-day seminar, that I called assertiveness training for Christians. And sometimes Christians say that’s a sin. You can’t teach how to sin. We’re not supposed to assert ourselves. Well, yeah, we are. In fact, I wrote a book on Christian boldness, called No More Mr. Nice Guy. Now, there are parameters, the fruit of the Spirit, being loving and kind and civil, but Christians are supposed to stand up and be bold. And I gave the people in the seminars, some homework to do. And I said, at least once every three months tell your pastor you disagree with him or with her, as the case may be. And, I just can’t tell you how often the people in the seminar would say, I can’t do that. And I would say, oh yes, you can, unless you’re worshiping at your pastor’s altar, instead of the altar of Jesus, I mean, I’ve never heard a sermon in my entire life, there wasn’t something I disagreed with. And I know, my nature is to be ornery and people shouldn’t be that way. But once every three months, if you can’t find something with which you disagree in your pastor’s sermon, then you’ve been sleeping. You haven’t been listening. You haven’t been thinking. And in the church, the place where criticism should be acceptable. We need to learn to never worship at the altar of any one person, but at the altar of Jesus alone. Now, does that mean that authority is not important? Of course not. Does that mean that you now have free reign to go after your pastor? Of course not. You don’t, he’s God’s anointed. She’s God’s anointed. And, but with that being said, a church is healthy where people can hear criticism. And then secondly, we took note, that the leaders of the church allowed the facts to speak for themselves. And they waited until all the facts were in. Look at verses one through three.
Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of the Lord.
And then in the last verse of the text, it says they praise God. So, they started out as critics, but they didn’t stay that way because they listened to the whole story of what God was doing. Now. I want you to notice that Peter didn’t argue. He didn’t get up tight. He didn’t say, how can you question my authority? I’m the rock. He said, let me tell you what God is doing. And it’s going to blow your mind. What’s God doing in your church. Listen for the stories. Listen to the places where he’s moving. Listen to the people whose lives are being changed. And you will know the direction in which a church should go. And then thirdly, we noticed that the proper direction of the church was checked out with the body of the church. Now, this program has been mostly review and that’s not a bad thing, but the body, God speaks never to just one. He always speaks to a bunch. And in the church, if you’re going, if you’re the shepherd and you’re going in the other direction, you’re not a shepherd, if the sheep don’t follow. Hmm. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Steve Brown there, ushering us into Acts chapter 11, where we will be living for at least the rest of the week. Hope you’ll join us again, starting tomorrow. So, here’s a question for you to ponder. Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus is actually alive right here and active right now? Well, Steve gave a sermon a while back called When Jesus Leaves the Building. In that talk. He teaches from Luke 4 on what happens when Jesus is in the building. And no spoilers, but here’s the gist. It’s all good. It’s all grace. It’s all quite irritating. And it’s all there is. Would it be okay if we mailed you that whole sermon on a CD, for free? If so, then give us a call right now 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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