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God's Not Mad at You
Don’t go on the road. Go into the wilderness.

Don’t go on the road. Go into the wilderness.

AUGUST 25, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t go on the road. Go into the wilderness.

Steve Brown:
Don’t go on the road, go into the wilderness. I’ll explain 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 starting. Well, I’m going to do some holdover from the text we been studying in Galatians, because it’s all a part of a theme and I’m going to start at the sixth verse. And we’re going to look at Paul’s apostleship. Was he really the real thing. And Paul says, yes, I am. Because a lot of people were saying that he was a con man and he was phony. And as we go through Paul’s justification of his own ministry, we’re going to get some help in the justification of our own ministry. And we’re going to feel assured, if you will, of our own salvation. So let me, and I know we looked at some of these verses before. Let me start at the sixth verse and read to the end of the chapter. This is what Paul wrote to his friends at Galatia.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel– not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preach to you, let him be accursed. As we’ve said before, I’m going to say it again. If anyone is preaching to you, a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Now, am I seeking the favor of men, or of God? Am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I should not be a servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And how I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my father. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and then called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia and again, I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. Then went into the regions of Syria and Cecilia. And I was not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea. They only heard it said, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.

Oh my. So the apostle Paul here, because he’s answering his critics. Have you ever heard people say don’t ever defend yourself? Don’t listen to them. Listen to me. Sometimes defend yourself. Don’t always defend yourself, but sometimes, you’ve gotta defend yourself. Because what you’re saying and doing, and the way you’re living is so important. How do I know? Because in the scriptures, Paul, on numerous occasions defends his ministry and what he’s doing. So don’t go too far or with that, because God is your defense, but don’t make an absolute absolute, that says one never, a real Christian never defends himself or herself. Oh yeah, they do. Now, before we get into Paul’s defense, I’m going to go down just one side road. I want you to note that after the conversion of the apostle Paul, he didn’t go on the road. He went to the wilderness, look at Galatians 1:17

nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia.

In other words, he went on the desert and he spent three years there and then spent a lot of time after that, being still before God ever used him, even one time. I mean, God, didn’t send him out on the mission field the day he became a Christian. And some, sometimes we miss that as new Christians. And also as old Christians. Before you go on the road, go into the wilderness. When Paul says that he received the gospel, not from men, but from Jesus Christ. He wasn’t talking about the facts of the gospel. He had heard those facts everywhere. He turned, he had encountered them in Stephen, and I’m sure he heard it from Ananias and Acts 9, when they laid hands on Paul. What Paul is talking about here is being still before you go. Or as some people say, talk to God about people before you talk to people about God. In other words, when Paul went to serve Christ, he didn’t go anywhere. If you go to the first book of Acts, Jesus is ascending. It’s the time of Ascension. It’s an amazing thing. And he gave his last message to his Apostles. You know what that message was? No, it wasn’t build a church. It wasn’t even make disciples. He said, go back to Jerusalem and do nothing. That’s it. That’s what he said. Don’t do anything. For God’s sake, don’t do anything. Be still until the power comes. That’s a lesson, all of us can learn. Uh, I have a saying that somebody gave it to me, I think this was for an Episcopal priest, but I’m not sure. I didn’t put down, when I wrote it down, when it was said,

Eternal reach of time. Give me amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting Hills. Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory. Help me to slow and to know the magical restoring power of sleep. Teach me the art of taking a minute, a minute vacation of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book. Slow me down Lord. And inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

Haven’t you hated this virus thing. Good heavens. I mean, and we’re still doing it. I mean, I, I don’t know about you, but I’m a type A personality and I don’t like sitting around. Not only do I not like sitting around, I feel guilty where I’m sitting around. I feel, I feel like ought to be doing something for the kingdom, or more often than not, I ought to be doing something for me and my family. I mean, I’m a doer, I’m a fixer, I’m a person that tries to make things happen. And all the sudden we’re locked down. Isn’t that awful? No, in fact it was a severe mercy for me. I had more days off than I’ve ever had in my entire life. I couldn’t go any place, or do anything, or be with people that I wanted to manipulate and change. I mean, I just couldn’t go out and fix anything. I just had to sit there, and I said, Lord, what are you doing? He’s saying just be still. Same thing he said to Paul. Don’t do anything yet. I’ve often said that, uh, that when somebody comes to Christ and you see that happen in your church, lock ’em up for a year. Okay? Yeah, no, no. Let them go out and give a testimony. They ought to tell people what’s happened to them. But then get a closet and lock them in it for at least a year, until the quietness settles and the reality of God’s direction, of his sovereignty, of his care. When that sets in, then you can go out and you can do what God told you to do. I’ll say it again, cause God said it to Paul. Before you go on the road, go into the wilderness. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians about when Paul went into the wilderness, instead of hitting the road. Sometimes the most important thing God asks us to do is nothing. More from Steve on Galatians tomorrow. Hope you will join us then. As Steve has touched on, previously, things started off great with the believers in Galatia. Then something, went sideways. Of course the same happens for us too. From out of nowhere, we have doubts. Now our tendency is to act like we’re fine, as we try to figure it out all on our own, but that is a recipe for disaster. Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. It’s a powerful message. That’s truly going to bless you. Get your copy of the sermon on CD for free. Right now, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the CD by emailing Steve@keylife.org. If you’re mailing us. Send your request to

Key Life Network
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Just ask for the free CD called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work.

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