At the center of human history is a cross.
OCTOBER 27, 2020
At the center of human history is a cross. Let’s talk on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straightforward and street smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the first nine verses of the third chapter of Galatians in our ongoing study of Galatians. And we saw yesterday how Paul is saying to the Galatians, you dummies, remember, quit buying into the lies. Remember what this is all about. And, we saw yesterday, you can be deceived first, Paul said, by forgetting the Cross.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.
Lawrence Converse has a story where Mr. Budget blueprint in hand decides to take down an old cross, and construct a short wave radio transmitter, where modern religion with no cross could be broadcast around the world. There’s an old man there who everybody thinks is crazy. He watches as they try to pull the cross down and they can’t dig it up. The old man says they can’t do it. It’s from the beginning, it’s at the core of all creation. It really is. You know, if you start looking at history and I think I’ve done this before, but when you start looking at the corridors of history, it is mind blowing, how everything focuses on a cross, on a hill, in Jerusalem, in the first century. You know, it started with Jews. Israel and Judah, some 1200 years before the birth of Christ and they were nomads. Hebrew, some people say the etymology of that word means wanderer. That’s what they were. They lived in their tents, they moved as they needed to move. Their animals were very close, sometimes inside. These were nobodies, I mean really nobodies. And then all of a sudden this group of nobodies came up with highest form of ethical monotheism the world has ever known, and nobody knows where they got it. They said there was one God. Just one and that that God was different than what everybody else said and what they taught and learned when they said they were God’s, people was amazing and that corridor of history began to move down the timeline of history. Some 600 or so years before the birth of Christ, there was another corridor of history, you can call it the Greco Roman one, it’s kind of cool. Alexander the Great is a part of that. And the greatest war machine the world had ever seen, great philosophy, architecture, there was a common language when the Romans came, they called that the Pax Romana, the Roman peace, there was, as I said, a common language, a common coinage, a common connection and those two corridors of history, move down the timeline, parallel to one another. And then at one time in all of human history, they crossed. And at that very moment Jesus of Nazareth was born. If he had been born 20 years later, you never would have heard his name or 20 years before, you never would have known who he was, but all of history focused on Him and on the Cross. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s what God had in mind from the very beginning, I got a phone call yesterday from an old friend of mine. He’s been reading the Bible and that’s a new thing for him. He said, I’ve read parts of the Bible all my life, but I’m taking the time to start at Genesis and to go through the entire Old Testament. And I’m almost at the New Testament now, and I have some questions. God is not what I thought, and he’s, I mean, there are a lot of innocent people dying, man. There’s a lot of anger and wrath and stuff. And can you help me? And we talked for a long time and I talked about God’s plan for history. And I talked primarily about that plan was about Jesus. Reminded me of a lawyer friend of mine, who was a very successful and mean-spirited malpractice lawyer. Made a lot of money and hurt a lot of people. And then he found Jesus, well Jesus found him and he was converted and his life changed. And he said, Steve, the first thing I’m going to do is read the Bible from beginning to end. And, I said to him, why don’t you start in John? That’s a little, that’s a little heavy, cause you’re going to have a lot of questions and he said, no, I’m going to do it the way I do any book. I’m going to start in Genesis and I’m going to go through the end of the Bible. And I saw him a few weeks later. I said, how’s your Bible reading going? And he went, Oh man, he said, God’s not what I thought he was. He’s killing everybody. And then he stopped and he started laughing and he said, don’t get me wrong, he’s my kind of guy and stuff. Yeah. Well, let me tell you, my friend, who’s reading the Old Testament was beginning to see that everything was moving to Jesus. Everything was preparing for the cross. Everything was pointing to that. And so Paul said, when these turkeys come into your church and start saying things that just aren’t true. Remember, remember the Cross. And then there’s some other things he said to remember. You can be deceived by not only forgetting their Cross, but also by forgetting the beginning, Galatians 3:2.
Let me ask you only this: Paul writes, Did you receive the spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith.
The people have God, need to stop sometimes and remember where he found you. I don’t know about you, but I remember. I was kind of a philosophy person. That was my major, along with religion, when I was in college and Albert Camus was my hero. He was the French existentialist and he said that the only question people have to deal with is suicide, because everything we see is meaningless. I remember buying into that, his myth of Sisyphus, who pushes a big rock up a hill. And has this dialogue, because every time he gets it to the top of a hill, it rolls back down again. And he has to start all over again. You get up in the morning to go to work, so you make enough money to pay the mortgage on the house, where you get up in the morning and make enough money to pay the mortgage on the house. And it gets old after a while and it gets empty. And I realized that, I saw that part. I remember the darkness. I remember trying to be good and not being able to pull it off. I remember the pain. I remember the meaninglessness and the emptiness. And sometimes, I remember. Three or four years ago, I got a call from a pulpit committee, they wanted me to become the pastor of a large church. I’ve never served a large church. I always thought that that would be a good thing to do. Sometimes they give you a membership in the country club. You get to drive a really nice car and a lot of people, well, I think, and you need to know that if I wake up in the morning and it’s raining and I’m depressed, I say to them, this could be worse. I could still be a pastor. Well, anyway, this guy called and I said, and he said, would you pray about it? I said, no, I’m not going to pray about it. I’m not doing that again. I did it for 25 years and I can’t get to heaven on the works. And he said, he said, well, at least stop for a minute and pray about it. I said, all right, I’ll get back to you. And as soon as he hung up, I said, Lord, you know, that would be a really good place to be. My books would sell better. And, you know, I’ve always wanted to be a pastor of a mega church. That would be really cool. And at that moment, God brought back memories, memories that were scary and when I wrote the note to that man on the pulpit committee, you could hardly read it. You could hardly read my handwriting anyway. But when I wrote the note to him, my hand was shaking so bad, because I had remembered the dark. And what Paul is saying here is, remember the light, remember where he found you, remember, remember when he called you to himself. Remember the joy, remember the forgiveness. Remember the freedom, remember the meaning. And so, when you start getting too religious and you start making secondary things, primary things, that’s what you should do too. You should remember the Cross, but you should also remember where he found you. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to explore the first nine verses of Galatians three. We need to remember the Cross, but also we got to remember where God found us. So much more to explore tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us then. Hey, and while you’re here, a quick programming note, our resident mega church, Pastor Zach Van Dyke, you know him, he’ll be joining us again next week. Zach did a talk a while back called Original Shame. In that talk, he exposes the power of shame, explains how to get free from it and points out the very important difference between guilt and shame. It’s powerful stuff. So if you haven’t already, make sure you get this message on CD, for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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