Conclusions are important.
MAY 31, 2021
Conclusions are important. I’ll explain on this edition of Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a good week-end and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’ve been with us during this study in Galatians and you were there at the beginning, you have probably had several birthdays in the interim. It feels like we’ve been here for a long time, and we have, but this week will be the final week in our study in Galatians. And next week, we’re going to start studying the book of Acts. What a wonderful book, I’ve been looking at it this morning and thinking of some of the things that I can hardly wait to tell you, as we go through Acts. But anyway, we will spend a long time in this study of Acts next week, but this week, believe it or not, some of you thought I never would, we’re going to land the plane in Galatians. And our text is the final chapter, verses 11 through the end of the book. Before we turn to that, it’s our practice to pray before we study, let’s do that. Father, as we look back over this book and what you’ve taught us, stuff so important, so helpful in our lives about grace and about freedom. We thank you. And that reminds us that we’re thankful for the Cross. We’re thankful for your love. We’re thankful for your forgiveness and we praise you, but we know that you’re God. And if you had never loved us, and if you’d never forgiven us, if you never reached out to us, you’re still God that sovereign creator, ruler, and sustainer of all that is and all that we perceive and all that we experience. And you are worthy of our worship. Father, as we study this last few verses of Galatians, put it in our heads and then drop it to our hearts and into our hands and feet, make us thoughtful Christians, make us warm Christians and make us Christians who share with the world, the reality of the good news we have found. And then Father, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, because they are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Alright, starting at that 11th verse, Paul writes.
See with what large letters I’m writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who received circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that you may glory in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God. Hence forth, let no man trouble me, for I bear on my body, the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
That’s, you know, that is so Paul. That is so Paul. I mean, he has a passion for the church, and the reason for writing the book of Galatians in the first place, is that some people had come into the church there and they’d said, well this grace thing is alright, you’re free, but don’t take it too seriously. Jesus loves you, but don’t let it go to your head. There’s some things that you need to do. And they began to lay out a new kind of legalism and that really angers Paul. And he’s still steaming at the end of the letter, as he was in the first part of the letter. And I know Paul, he’s a friend of mine. I used to say that when I got to heaven, I was going to spend time with Peter, and we’d go fishing together and have a good time. And I would listen to Paul teach. I hope he’s able to teach in heaven, but I don’t want to spend any time with him, you know, as I’ve gotten older that has reversed. I can hardly wait to spend time with Paul. He’s almost childlike. He does something, sort of like what he does in Galatians in II Corinthians, when he starts bragging. People are going after him. Then he starts saying, they think there’s something, let me tell you something. And then he goes on and starts listing all the pain he’s gone through and the suffering he has experienced and where he’s gone and how people didn’t like him. And then he stops in the middle of it and he says, what am I thinking? What am I doing? I’m talking like a fool. And then he goes and does it again. And that is so like me and I get it and I get what he was, there are places where he expresses broken heart, when he has a pastor’s broken heart and you can see it. And there are times when he’s just childlike. We have this idea of Paul the scholar, and he was that. Paul the teacher, and he was that, but Paul the human being, we sometimes forget about, he was human just as you are. And you can see it in this final he said, one more time, listen up, this is important, this is the reason I wrote you in the first place. And then he goes into the circumcision and the law and all of that, and he makes charges. And I know Paul, as soon as he sent the letter, I know this is true, Paul got on his knees and said, Lord, I went too far, didn’t I? And the Lord said, no, you were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but your flesh kind of got involved in there, even though what you said was true. But you ought to look at the final conclusion of any book that you read. Because that is the place where the author of the book, or in this case, a letter says some things that he thinks are really important. And we’re gonna, we’re gonna spend this week looking at those, kind of quickly and answering some questions that are presupposed in what Paul says in this last part of his book of Galatians. But let me go down a side observation or two. Note, if you will, Paul’s delineation of the essential gospel, as opposed to majoring in minors, Galatians 6:15.
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
The Mark, the covenant Mark, and it went from the males to the entire family and the nation was circumcision. And, that’s how you define yourself as a Jew, that was central to it. And Paul says, no it’s not, that’s not what’s important. That’s not bad, but that’s not what’s really important, he says. He says what’s really important is the gospel. Paul is saying here, that whether or not a person is circumcised is not the main thing. What is important is that that person is a new creature in Christ. Paul had said in II Corinthians 5:17.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation. The old has passed away and behold, the new has come.
Paul is saying, remember what’s important and what isn’t so important. One time, the pastor of a church that had just built a new building, the building had been designed with an altar at the chancel. As you see in church, there was a pulpit on one side, a lectern on the other. And then as you moved up, there was a big cross and there was an altar there. Well the previous pastor, even while they were building the new church, stood in that pulpit, as they were nailing nails in the wood and yelled at them. And told them, you can’t put that alter there, Presbyterians don’t have altars. Episcopalians and Catholics have altars, we don’t have altars and he offended everybody. And frankly, he didn’t last very long either. I mean, they had spent years raising the money, this was a middle-class church and they weren’t wealthy, but they built a magnificent building and God let them be proud of it for a little while. And he came in and started yelling at them about everything that was wrong. So, when I was being considered the pastor of the church, and by the way, they lied to me, they told me everything was okay and it wasn’t, but that’s another story. They asked me, they said, would you tell us what you want to do with that communion table, back against the wall, or you want it out front? And I said, what? And they said, what are you going to do at that communion table? I said, I don’t care. You can hang it from the roof, for all I care. What was I saying? I was saying Galatians 6:15, find out what’s important, and go there. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown taking us into the back nine of Galatians 6, as we start our final week in this exploration of the book, and it is going to be a great week, so make sure you join us again tomorrow. You know what the challenges of the last year and a half, there’s been a lot more talk about depression and that’s probably a good thing to talk about it. Do you ever feel depressed? Do you ever struggle with doubts? If so, you actually find yourself in the company of people like Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa. Yeah, even these so-called giants of the faith walk through dark days. That’s something we learned recently from author Diana Gruver on Steve Brown Etc. Diana wrote a fascinating new book called companions in the darkness, seven saints who struggled with depression and doubt. It’s a great reminder that struggles do not disqualify you from following Jesus. We’d love to send you that whole show on a CD for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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