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Don’t you shilly-shally.

Don’t you shilly-shally.

MARCH 2, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / Don’t you shilly-shally.

Steve Brown:
Don’t you shilly shally. Okay? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown. He’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life. A program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching that’s honest, straightforward and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the first 12 verses of the fifth chapter of the book of Galatians, which we are studying on Key Life. This is a text that deals with freedom and reflects the apostle Paul’s anger. And yesterday I mentioned a side road and I’m going to talk a little bit more about it today, for my sake and for your sake. We noted that freedom is not a passive state. You just don’t accept it and say, this is wonderful. You got to hang on to it. Paul said in Galatians 5:1.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore and don’t submit again to the yoke of slavery.

One of the dangers I believe in our country, is that we honestly don’t recognize how fragile freedom really is. There’s always the danger of selling out our heritage for a mess of pottage. It’s always interesting to note the return of those who have led our country. There’s a whole new attitude and a whole new realization about the importance of freedom. It is fragile. If you just sit around and enjoy it, you’ll lose it. That’s, that’s why some of the things that are happening right now, a canceled culture, for instance. The way we want to silence people with whom we disagree and call them evil and destroy their lives. The way we look at those who were in opposition to our own political views and do everything we can to force them into our mold or to lose everything they’ve got that’s important. I don’t know about you, but it makes me angry, but it doesn’t cause me to want to back off. I will never back off. Even if they takeaway any kind of platform that I have to say what God has told me to say, I’m going to stand on a mountain top with a bull horn and I’m, good night, what’s wrong with me? I’m going off on a tangent here and I didn’t really mean to do that, but I want you to know, freedom isn’t something you just accept and say, isn’t this wonderful. You’ve got to challenge it. You’ve got to stand for it. You’ve got to be there. Garibaldi, the 19th century Italian Patriot said,

Soldiers, what I have to offer you is fatigue, danger and struggle, the chill of the cold night and death. No lodgings, no munitions, no provisions, but forced marches, dangerous watch post, continual struggle with bayonet against batteries. Those who love freedom, then may follow me.

He got it. You can’t be passive about it. You’ve got to challenge it, make sure it’s still there. You gotta stand up. You gotta speak out, no matter what it costs, because freedom is worth it. But the freedom of which Paul spoke is not the same as political freedom. It’s where we get political freedom, but that’s not what Paul is talking about. It is rather a freedom that will, if protected and nurtured, give rise to political freedom and change your lives. Whittaker Chambers, by the way, if you have never read the classic book, Witness, you to read it. You’ll cry. you’ll be amazed, some of the profound insights are something else. Whittaker Chambers, just for those of you who don’t know was the editor of Time magazine, but he looked like a, he looked like a backroom gambler. He was heavy and, you know, with a cigar who never told the truth and manipulated everybody. And he was just the opposite. He was, he had been a communist and he recanted that and stood, and it cost him a lot. You can read about it, and if you don’t want to read the whole book, just read the introduction to it. It was really kind of a sad kind of thing. He stood against some people who were trying to really destroy the freedom that we have. And when he did, they went after him, but in it, and Alger Hiss was a part of that and I don’t have time to go into it, but the book was Witness. And in that book, he says this.

Freedom is a need of the soul. And nothing else is, it is in striving toward God that the souls strives continually after a condition of freedom. God alone is the inciter and the guarantor of freedom.

When Paul spoke or freedom, he meant that a man or a woman could be free from oppressive laws and still be accepted by God. He meant a freedom that is inside and enables a man or a woman to act properly without external constraints. He meant a freedom that only comes when a man or a woman receives Christ and is saved without having the bondage of having to hustle for it. He meant a freedom of access to God without rulers who blocked the way. Jesus said,

If the son of man makes you free, you will be free indeed.

That’s John 8:36. Martin Luther, after a struggle found out only in Christ could he be free, but he didn’t just sit on it. Don’t forget Wittenberg, the political upheaval, the way he stood against oppressors. And listen carefully, there is a direct line between Luther’s discovery of freedom in Christ and the revolution in America that made us free. Jesus said,

If the son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

John Knox heard that in the 16th century. Nobody doubted his love for Scotland, he cried out to God, God give me Scotland or I die. What was the motivating force behind him? It was the freedom that he found in Christ and that freedom led to freedom for Scotland.

If the son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

But here’s the point, freedom is not passive. And if you don’t stand with it, you’re going to lose it. Real freedom begins with individual freedom and individual freedom begins with Christ. If you belong to him, you are now free. You say, what does that mean? That means you’re free. There’s an old story and a wonderful one. And I probably told it to you before. When you get as old as I am, you have a tendency to repeat yourself. It was the time when Abraham Lincoln decided to not just talk about emancipation, but to do something about it. He went down to the local slave market and he bid on the slave girl and he won the bid. And she looked at him with hatred and anger thinking another white man is gonna buy me and use me and abuse me. He walked off with his new property, this slave girl, and he turned to her and he said, young lady you’re free. And she said, yeah, what does that mean? He said, it means you’re free. Does it mean, she said that I can say whatever I want to say? And Lincoln said, yeah, you can say whatever you want to say. Does it mean that I can be whatever I want to be? And Lincoln said, yeah, that’s what freedom is, you can be whatever you want to be. And then she said, hesitantly does it mean that I can go wherever I want to go? And he said, yep, you can go wherever you want to go. And then she said with tears streaming down her face, I think I’ll go with you. Oh man. That’s what it means to be a Christian. He’s really set us free. And I want you to know. That with the kind of love with which he did that, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay here, but, but if I don’t, I’m still free and he still loves me. Let me give you a principle. And it’s a good principle.

The only people who get any better are people who know if they don’t get any better, that Jesus will love them anyway.

You’re free and you, and you can shout. Well, you can’t do that in a Presbyterian Church, but you can shout with the slave, I’m free, thank God almighty, I’m free at last. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And that was Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians 5 and reminding us that freedom isn’t passive. We have to hold onto it. So much more good truth to unpack here in Galatians. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d like to fix things. I’m not good at it at all, but I do try, but there are times when we just can’t fix it. Maybe someone has hurt you. Maybe your kids are in trouble. Maybe it’s a spouse who isn’t a believer. Well, what do we do then? Well, that’s exactly what Steve speaks about in an article appropriately titled called You Can’t Fix It. You could find that article in the new 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine, along with some other great pieces by Robin DeMurga. Chris Wachter and Chad West. Grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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