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Don’t be creative. Be Faithful

Don’t be creative. Be Faithful

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t be creative. Be Faithful

Steve Brown:
Don’t be creative, okay? Be faithful. Let’s talk on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life with our host, author and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru. He’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies. You’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the second chapter of Galatians, where Paul is, and the whole book of Galatians does this, it defines justification by faith in Christ alone. Imputed righteousness is demonstrated, the fact that God holds us and we don’t hold him is conveyed throughout this entire book. But as Paul in the second chapter of Galatians begins to define what the gospel is, he says some things that are pretty, pretty important there general about the gospel. And after we see some of these general things, I’m doing the best I can, it’s the microphone, it’s not me. As we, when we finished with these general things, we’re gonna look at some specifics of the gospel. We saw yesterday that the gospel is Catholic and we’re all Catholics. Now, we have a lot of Roman Catholics who listen to this broadcast. In fact, there are a couple of Bible studies, who meet together, Roman Catholic Bible studies. And I think that is way cool. So there are not a lot of Roman Catholics listening to us, but all of us are Catholic because the word Catholic means universal. I was telling you yesterday and didn’t finish the story that I’d gone around the world with my dear friend Jim Price and one of the great cultural translators of the universe at the time, Sam Rohan and visited missions all over the world. A dear friend of mine said, you don’t have any passion. You have the right words. And so I’m going to get the money together to send you around the world, so you can see for yourself. That was a wonderful trip. And it changed my life. I mean, we went to places that I never would have gone to on my own. I ate stuff that a southern boy from the mountains of North Carolina, felt like he should not eat. I climbed on airplanes where soldiers had guns. I went to China and tried to smuggle Bibles in, I taught at a seminary in the Philippines. I preached at little churches up in the mountains in countries, all over the place. And as I did that, I saw my family and I saw Jesus in so many different ways. In other words, it was a Catholic. But what I was going to tell you, I know I’m going a long way around the barn to get there. Sam would look at my face and every time I looked shocked, every time I looked surprised, every time I looked amazed, every time I looked offended, he would lean over to me and he would make this statement. Steve, not wrong, just different. That’s so true. Not wrong, just different. All of those of you who are engaged in the worship wars in church, stop it. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. And I don’t like any change either. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. But in this context, the gospel, isn’t something that is the perview of a particular people in a particular place. I’m an American and I’m so conservative. And I’ve told you this a long time, a number of times, I think Rush Limbaugh’s a liberal and I, you know, I get that and I’m big on America. But you need to know that the gospel is not an American product. And sometimes we pretended it was when we sent missionaries out, we tried to convert people to our way of life instead of to the way of life, even Jesus Christ. There are all kinds of cultural norms, all kinds of ways of doing things, all kinds of languages, all kinds of differences everywhere in the body of Christ. But everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to everybody who belongs to Jesus. And thus, the gospel is when you’re talking in general terms, the gospel is Catholic. It’s universal and you have to remain, let me show you something else. Secondly, Paul would have you note that the gospel is not only universal, it’s also not created. Look at Galatians 2:7-9.

When they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles) , and when they perceive the grace that was given me James and Cephas and John, were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship.

That’s good. And then Paul said, I didn’t learn this from anybody. We have seen that the last text we examined, I didn’t learn this from anybody. God gave it to me. He gave it to me whole and he said, now go tell people about it. That’s the gospel, we get into so much trouble, with secondary issues. Now secondary issues are important. Truth is important. And the Bible gives us a lot of truth, about a lot of issues. Now, the Bible won’t tell you how to make a boat. The Bible won’t tell you how to create a different summer drink. The Bible won’t tell you how to barbecue. That’s not what it’s about. But in terms of life and practice and the world, it reveals to us a meta-narrative. What is that? That is a story into which everything that you see everywhere in every place fits. But when you talk about the gospel, stick to the that. The gospel is something you can’t change. You can’t be creative with, you can’t spin so people can, it just is. You’ve heard that story a thousand times about Karl Barth and I’ve gone in some different directions than Karl Barth went, but I rise up and call him blessed. Because when I was in graduate school, I read his institutes of the Christian religion and he was far at least theologically more orthodox than I was. And I found that as a door to becoming a Christian who was evangelical, who believed every word of the Bible. So I rise up and call him blessed. And he got it. He wrote a commentary on the book of Romans when he was a young scholar. And they said it was like throwing an atomic bomb in the playground of the liberals. But at any rate, at the end of his ministry, he was in the States and a reporter asked him to summarize what he had learned over all of those years of being a scholar, maybe the finest theological mind of that century, of his generation. Asking him what he learned and all that. And Karl Barth smiled and said, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. That’s the essence of the gospel. You can’t change that. Anybody here want to be forgiven, the gospel says you can be forgiven. Anybody here want to be considered better than you are, that’s called imputation and that’s the gospel. You’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ, when you stand before a Holy God. Anybody here want to be saved, go to the cross. That’s the only place you can go. It’s the only place where it happens. It’s the only place of eternal significance. The gospel isn’t something you can be creative with. You just are faithful with it. That’s hard for me, I’m a teacher. God hasn’t given me very many gifts, but I am teacher. It takes me long time to get it, but when I get it, I can put it in a way so people can understand it. So I do that for seminary students, and I do that for conferences. And I do that when I preach sermons. I really spend a lot of time and I’m not that smart in trying to understand what this thing is all about. And then I try to get the fodder down low enough so I can understand it. And everybody else can understand it. That’s called the gift of teaching and I’m not being prideful, when I say it. It’s the gift that I have. And I’m thankful to God for it. But as a teacher, I want to straighten out everybody in every area about which the Bible speaks. I have to stop that sometimes. And I have to, with Karl Barth, to say that the people I encounter, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And that was Steve Brown, teaching us about how the gospel is universal and how it’s given not created. We will continue from here in Galatians 2 tomorrow. Make sure you join us then. Well, as we’ve been learning about the Galatians, and as we’ve learned through our own experiences, religion can sometimes become a dangerous thing. So what’s the solution? Well, this isn’t going to shock you. The solution has God’s grace. Steve spoke about this in a message called Grace In Freedom, such a great sermon. And now you can get the whole thing on CD for free just by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for the CD. If you’re mailing us, send your request to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
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If you’re in Canada, the address is

Key Life Canada
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Just ask for the free CD called Grace In Freedom. Well, if you believe in the work of Key Life and you want to help, one way is to support us financially. You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. And we always say this, I know, but it’s true. Any gift of any size really does help us keep up with the rising cost of bringing you the show over the radio. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability and as always Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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