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God's Not Mad at You
Don’t let them slip into the dark.

Don’t let them slip into the dark.

DECEMBER 17, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t let them slip into the dark.

Steve Brown:
Don’t let them slip into the dark. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown, and this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better, are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the fourth chapter of Galatians, is a part of our study in Galatians. And we’re going to spend all of next week and maybe I’ll get to it today, but we’ll see, talking about how Christians, our main job in life is to brag on the Father. It’s called worship. And there is plenty of reason for us to worship. And when you worship and you praise God, it’s like a cheap high. I mean, if you’re down, tell God where it hurts. He told you to do that, but then spend most of the time, praising him and worshiping him and you’ll feel a better. Don’t thank me, I was glad to help, but we’re going to get into that, when we get into it. But we’re looking and I mentioned it yesterday and I need to talk about it a little bit more, is Paul’s pastor’s heart. When you say what kept Paul awake at night, the people to whom God had sent him, kept him awake at night. That’s a pastor’s heart. I tell you for years, I’m a loner, I really am. I have said it a thousand times, I’d go to a monastery, if they’d let me bring my wife, but they won’t. And so, you know, if you’re going to be a pastor, you got a serious problem, if that’s your proclivity. And so I would try to distance myself from real people and real problems. And I was doing pretty good at it, until somebody pointed it out. Because they loved me enough to say some things that I needed to hear. I remember an elder in the church talking about an associate pastor in the church where I was the lead pastor. And he said, Steve, you don’t love very well. And he said, but Bill loves us and you teach us. And that works. I thought when I drove away, you know, that’s not the way it ought to be. And so I asked God to start to fix me. And I can’t tell you how many times I wish he hadn’t, because it meant sleepless nights. It meant tears. It meant that once you get out of the concrete casket, where you put yourself and you get with real people, it’s messy. And it hurts sometimes and you and you don’t sleep very well. And so that’s what happened to me and I recognize it. And the apostle Paul, Paul was doing fine. I mean, he was doing some bad things, but he was doing fine, until God put God’s people on his heart. And when God put God’s people on his heart, everything changed and it kept him awake at night, Galatians 4:11.

I’m afraid I have labored over you in vain.

And it’s everywhere, Romans 9, in I Thessalonians 3. What keeps you awake at night? You know the hardest thing when I was a pastor about being a pastor, it’s when somebody slipped into the dark. I mean, I can’t tell you how often that’s happened. You’ve got somebody in your church, you love. You seen him, you maybe even baptized them when they were babies or maybe you married them, or maybe you had been close friends with the family and loved them so much. And then all of a sudden that sister or that brother turns away. You were busy doing religious stuff and you turned around and they were gone. I remember a young lady saying to me, she said I’m leaving. And, I still hope that someday I come across her, but she just, she wrote a note and said, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t, I can’t be good the way everybody else is, and I can’t believe all the things that everybody else believes. And I didn’t want you to hear it from somebody else. So I’m leaving and I’m gone. And when I got her letter, I got on the phone and called her and her phone had been disconnected. And I have no idea where she went and that’s been years ago. And even when I tell you that, there’s something that breaks my heart, when I think about her, but it’s not just her. There’s so many others, they were walking so well. That’s what Paul said to the people in Galatians, you are doing really good. And then you slip back into slavery. Have you turned your back on the cross of Christ. What is, I know of nothing, that will break up a pastor’s heart more than somebody slipping into the darkness. And listen to me, that ought to break your heart too. I mean, we are so responsible for each other, every once in a while, I’ll hear somebody say I left the church and nobody ever contacted me. They didn’t even know that I had been there. It’s kinda like the man who went to the general store and the young man that used to wait on him, wasn’t there anymore. And he asked the boss where he was? Who took Jimmy’s place. And the boss said, Jimmy didn’t leave a place. Well, every time a Christian leaves the church, he leaves a place. Every time a Christian slips into the dark, she leaves a place. Every time, somebody turns away from the Christian faith, they leave an important place in the heart’s of God’s people. And so this isn’t just a pastoral kind of comment, it’s a comment about all of us. We got to look out for each other. As you know, my kid brother was my closest friend and he died in his forties. He was the district attorney, had the highest conviction rate in the state. He was an amazing young man. And then he died and I died. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I’ve shed more tears than I can possibly tell you. I just can’t tell you how much that broke my heart. And do you know the thing that I remember during those days? Was my mother saying, and she said it a lot and you better listen or she’ll break your face. But she said a lot, son, look after your little brother, son, look after your little brother. And I did, and then he died and I couldn’t look after him anymore. And it was a major loss in my life. It ought to be the same way every time a Christian, slips into the darkness. And so we’re responsible for each other aren’t we? I mean, you know what ought to break your heart? Well, a lot of things ought to break your heart. We pretend that things break our hearts, when they really don’t. You know, we hear about somebody in the newspaper who died and we just go, Oh. And I want to go, you don’t even know their name. Why are you saying oh for, you know, we pretend that our hearts are broken, but where it ought to really be broken is when a brother or sister slips into the darkness. That was what kept Paul awake at night. It ought to, it ought to keep us awake at night, too. Now, I don’t have much time to get into it, but let me just kind of introduce what we’re going to do next week. Tomorrow, Pete will be in and we’ll spend the entire broadcast answering questions, but next week I want to just take some time and brag on Jesus. Well, brag on the Father. I want to show you something interesting in our text about some pronouns. Incidentally, the study of pronouns in this Scripture is pretty insightful, but let me show you the pronouns in the text, Galatians 4:4-5.

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem

Here. it comes.

those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

And then Galatians 4:6

And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of a son into our hearts, crying “Abba Father!”

Note the change from you to our, why the change? Listen, I’m going to tell you, the apostle Paul started preaching to them, ended up praising them. You were under the law. And then he says, but I was too. And I have been adopted too, praise God. We might receive the adoption of sons. He started out preaching to them and ended up praising with them and that’s what we’re going to do next week when we go back to this text and we just spend some time worshiping and praising the Father. And I’ll tell you something, next week, when I do that, I’m going to feel really good. You know why? Because I was born to do that, that’s why. What’s the chief end of man? The chief end of man is the worship that God has put in our hearts. That’s why we were created to love and serve and worship him. So if you’re having a bad day, don’t blame me. If you’re having a bad day, stop right now, when you can. And just say an old guy said I should praise you and I want to do that. You’re an awesome God. And you will feel better. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians 4, and today taking a closer look at Paul and his pastor’s heart. So much more to discover in Galatians and we shall resume that exploration on Monday, but first, tomorrow, it’s Friday Q&A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson swings by and together, Steve and Pete answers the tricky questions you’ve sent in always a good time. Speaking of tricky questions, here’s one for you. If you’re trying hard to get better, why is it that it’s not working? Here’s another question to consider. What if it’s not about getting better? What if the reason we are so bad is that we’re trying so hard to be good. What if our efforts at sin management, not only don’t work, they can’t work. Steve wrote about this in a booklet called Three Free Sins. If life just seems like doing more and trying harder, instead of the freedom and grace offered by Jesus. Please check out this free booklet, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to Steve@keylife.org. By mail write us at

Key Life Network
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Just ask for the booklet Three Free Sins. And one last thing, would you prayerfully consider giving to Key Life? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope or now you can text Key Life to 28950. How cool is that? Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production up Key Life Network.

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