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Dogs bark not to become dogs, but because they are dogs.

Dogs bark not to become dogs, but because they are dogs.

MARCH 17, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / Dogs bark not to become dogs, but because they are dogs.

Steve Brown:
Dogs bark not to become dogs, but because they are dogs, Let’s talk on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer for the program and our host is author and seminary professor Steve Brown. The church has suffered under, do more, try harder religion or too long. And Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at freedom and what it’s not. And actually I’m kind of uncomfortable teaching this, but it is so clear and so important that we really need to go there. But don’t listen to what I’m teaching, if you don’t get grace and freedom. If you don’t know, for instance, what Zach’s been teaching on, it’s all about grace. If you get that part. If you get what it means to be free, it means you’re free. If you get that, then you can deal with this text. If you don’t get it, it’ll be a tool in the hands of people who will tell you that God is a child abuser. You get out of line, man, and you’re going to be lost forever. I’ve seen it happen. You know, I love the book of Hebrews and the 12th chapter. The chapter about discipline. It is so kind and gentle and right on, that God disciplines us. And then the writer of Hebrews says, because he’s our father and what father who loves his kids, won’t discipline his kids. And it is a gentle kind thing, but boy, I’ll tell you, you put that in the hands of somebody who was neurotically up tight and they’ll use it as a tool to beat you over the head. And so I don’t talk much about discipline. I don’t talk much about particular sins and go after people. Not because I don’t see that as important, because I know that people, if God gives them an inch, they’ll take a mile and they’ll take God’s word and use it in a distorted way that hurts God’s people. Anything that anybody teaches you or that you believe when you read the Bible that even suggests that God is a child abuser, is inaccurate. It’s that simple. And so when we get into this series on what freedom isn’t, you gotta, you gotta be careful, you gotta have a solid base. And if you don’t have that, turn off your radio right now, and then go find out about grace, get that right. And then come back and go into our archives. And our programs are archived back to Columbus day, just before he came to America. So you can go back and listen to what I’m teaching this week and you can then understand it in a proper way. Alright, we saw yesterday that freedom is not license, Galatians 5:13.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity or the flesh.

And we saw that the word opportunity means, it’s military, and it means a base of operations. And so your base of operation really does change when you come to Christ. I mean, God’s Spirit comes in. Things began to happen. I’ve often said to Jesus, you know, before I met you, I was doing fine. You came along and you messed up my life. And he often says to me, would you rather not have known me? And then I realize that the most important, the most significant and meaningful action of my life, is when God chased me down. CS Lewis said,

To say I was looking for God, was like saying a mouse was looking for a cat.

When God found me, everything changed. And I, and I can’t tell you, how thankful I am for that. And so, in essence, what Paul is saying is this, dogs do not bark so they can become dogs, they bark because they are dogs. Our base of operations has changed. It’s about Jesus. And that base of operations does things in our lives. Doesn’t make us perfect, not even close, but it does good stuff that is good, in how it deals with people and with our actions and our walk with Christ. And that brings me to another something that freedom isn’t. Freedom is not license, but secondly, freedom is not independence. Look at Galatians 5:13 through 15.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,

and here it comes.

but through love, be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another.

A friend of mine was telling me the other day that when he was on the staff at Campus Crusade, they used to send out a monthly prayer letter. And in those letters, he was always positive. He was trying to raise the money. One time, he decided to say something about the way he was feeling at that time. He was frankly, depressed and down and he said something like this. Sometimes I’d just like to leave, but a strange man on the Cross won’t let me, and then he started getting letters from his supporters. And they said, we will let you either. That’s it. Freedom is not something that happens within the context of a lone ranger. We’re connected to each other. And Paul makes that clear. You can’t say I don’t, leave me alone, I’m not your mother. You may not be. And there’s something to be said about saying something like that, but it’s wrong.

Because everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to everybody who belongs to Jesus. And everybody who belongs to Jesus is free.

You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Galatians 5, about our freedom in Christ, what it is and what it isn’t. We’ll pick up our guided tour right here tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us. We’ll recently on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc, we spoke with author Dane Ortlund about his book called Gentle and Lowly. In that conversation, we explored what the Bible actually says about Jesus’ heart towards sinners and sufferers. Dane shared some really inspiring and thought provoking insights with us. Take a listen to part of that conversation. Then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.

Zach Van Dyke:
I watched a movie called A Hidden Life. It’s a true story about an Austrian farmer who is being called to be part of the Nazi regime. And he’s struggling with his faith in joining the Nazi party. And, he goes in this church and there’s an artist painting a mural, and the artist says, here I paint their comfortable Christ with a halo, one day I’ll paint the true Christ. Ever since I saw that movie, and that phrase, like during all this kind of pandemic and as everything seems to fall apart, I keep thinking about how comfortable sometimes our view of Jesus is, and if we were to encounter the real Jesus, it would be disruptive. So as you write a book about Jesus, and as you dig into a God that you love, a Savior that has meant so much to you, where did you find the most disruption? Like where did it disrupt you this time?

Dane Ortlund:
Wow. I love that image from the movie Zach. And, I mean, for sure, I have lived most of my life and if I’m honest, continue to viewing intuitively viewing Jesus as still having that halo and he’s way over there. I’m certainly not living a halo kind of life. And, I think, here is where for me, the rubber meets the road the most with this book, which I wrote to me as much as anyone. Jesus Christ ongoing, persevering patience with me. I mean, Steve said, earlier in the show, most of the Christian life isn’t being taught something new, it’s remembering, being reminded what we already know. That’s so true. I know enough theology to get by, at this point, you know, I’ve done the seminary classes and so on, read the Bible through many times. I should know, when I sin, the Puritans would say I’m sinning against light. I’m sitting against, I know better, it’s one thing for a total pagan to sin. So, I have a lot of trouble believing that Jesus is infinitely patient with me. I tend to view him as, okay Dane, I’m giving you a thousand mulligans, but at some point, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, you’re gonna run out. And that mountain of mercy will be the stockpiles getting less than less. And because, at this point, you should know better. And I think what is so, so, so hard Zach, for me to push into my heart, but which is staring at me right there in black and white in the pages of Scripture, is that you’d never actually get to that point with him. On the contrary, Dane, as you go through life, sinning and doing stupid things, that stockpile of mercy grows with every pen passing sin. I think that’s what Romans 5:20 and 21 means. So, his enduring perseverance with me, his patience with me. I’ve sinned a lot since the publication of that book. I mean, this is, I need this. So, I, I just really, really want to believe myself and tell other believers, he’s not going to run out of mercy. He’s not going to finally throw in the towel. He’s with you, to the end. And I will never do those things with a heart softened and transformed and loved, if Jesus isn’t like this, it’s only in the wake of being struck by the wondrous heart of Christ that I will ever, a little bit, in a healthy way, not a legal way, begin to do what you just said Steve, love others and obey the Lord, which I want to do.

Matthew Porter:
Again, that was just part of our conversation with author Dane Ortlund. We would love for you to hear that whole show, so we put it on a CD that we would be happy to send to you, for free. So just give us a call right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for the CD. If you would like to mail your request, just send it to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

If you’re in Canada, send your request to

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the CD featuring Dane Ortlund. Finally, would you please give to support the work of Key Life? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or if you prefer, just text Key Life to 28950 on your smartphone, that’s Key Life, one word, two words, doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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