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For heaven’s sake, be realistic.

For heaven’s sake, be realistic.

MAY 20, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / For heaven’s sake, be realistic.

Steve Brown:
For heaven’s sake, be realistic. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. This is Key Life with practical Bible teaching to get you home with radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the, the sixth chapter and that’s the final chapter in Galatians and I’ve got some final wrap up stuff I want you to see, that it’s so good that Paul uses in this book and we’ll do that over the next two or three weeks. But right now we’re talking about the church, and as it stands now, we’re going to study Acts after Galatians, and find out about some very mixed up, sinful, fighting people. And how they dealt with it, because they were closer to the source than we are. And we’re going to go back to some fundamentals as we look at the book of Acts. But now Paul was talking about some principles, that’ll make my church and your church a better church. And we spent a good bit of time talking about the principle of reliance that we need each other. But then we noted the principle of reflection, that’s the Galatians 6:3-4. And if you were listening yesterday, I said, go stand in front of a mirror and repent. Don’t repent because you’re ugly, repent because you’re a sinner and only a sinner and only saved by grace. I think it was D.T. Niles, who said it originally, and I’ve said it a lot subsequent to the time he said it.

We’re just beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.

And my late mentor said, no, we’re not. That makes it sound like we’ve got the bread and we’ll show others where we’ll find it. We’re still beggars, in need of bread. And we know the source of that bread and we’re called to tell others the same thing. I remember one time, Jack Miller, the person who said that, said to me about a church that he was pastoring. And, they were having an elder meeting, leaders of the church in one of the small rooms of the church. And there was a knock on the door and there was a lady standing at the door. Jack said to her, can we help you? And she said, these are the elders, right? And he said, yes ma’am. And she said, I’ve come to confess my sins. And he said, I mean, that doesn’t happen very often. And he said, you’ve what? She said, I want to confess my sins to the elders of the church. And he said, well, okay, come in. And so put her at the table where they were all meeting about church business. And, Jack said, this is so-and-so and she’s come to confess her sins. And she did. And in fact, they were shocked as she went through her sins and then they prayed for her and they told her about grace, and she was feeling much better. And then it was either Jack or somebody else that was an elder in that church, said to the lady, now what do you have to teach us? And she said, what? And he said, now that you’ve confessed only the repentant should be the teacher in the church. And Jack used to say, the most repentant person in the congregation should be the pastor. In other words, the pastor needs to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, repenting and being aware of his own sin or her own sin. I think I told you about a church. I attended one time. It was where one of my granddaughters was attending and she wanted me to come, because she loved the church and they were teaching grace and I sat on the back row and listened to his sermon. And he was, he was Jonathan Edwards, man. He was mad. He’s talking about all the sin that was going on in the church. And I thought, this doesn’t sound like what my granddaughter said it was. Doesn’t sound like grace. All I feel is condemned. And then to my surprise, this pastor stopped in the middle of the sermon and began to cry. And I thought, my my, what’s this about? And he said, I have to ask your forgiveness. He said, the Holy Spirit just spoke to me. And said that I was more guilty of everything I was just preaching about, than anybody in this congregation. Oh my, I almost jumped up and down and started speaking in tongues. I didn’t, because I’m a Presbyterian and that was a Presbyterian church. And, we just don’t do that sort of thing, if it’s not decent and in order. But I wanted to shout and I thought, that’s it. That’s why God is doing something that is so good in this church. And so Paul says, there’s a principle of reflection, Galatians 6:3-4. And the leaders and the people of the church need to reflect often on who they are, a sinner saved by grace. And then thirdly note, not only the principle of reflection and reliance, but note the principle of realism, Galatians 6:4-5.

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load.

And I might say parenthetically, each woman will have to bear her own load. I don’t want to correct Scripture, but Paul would be fine with what I just told you with my parenthetical expression. So what’s Paul saying? Well, in general, he’s talking about a realism that goes beyond even looking in the mirror, the Greek word for bearing one’s load, means a keepsake that our soldier would carry into battle. And what Paul is saying here is, when you judge yourself, both your strengths and your weaknesses. I have a friend when I sometimes compliment him, and he says, well, I’ve got some good parts and I’ve got some bad parts too. Don’t judge what you’re doing, Paul says, by other people, it’s up to you. It’s what you carry. It’s who you are, be realistic about who you are. Sometimes, in fact it happens a lot, when you’ve got a voice like mine, and by the way, I didn’t do a thing for it, I didn’t train it, but it’s better than yours. I get that a lot, when people will say, my, you have a wonderful voice, you should be in radio. And I often, I never know what to say, I really don’t. And so sometimes I say, did you notice how good looking I was? It gets old being a pretty voice. Did you notice how good looking I was? And then they start laughing, because that’s a long ways from the truth. I’m not good looking, but I have a wonderful voice and God has this sense of humor and he put this magnificent voice in this ugly body, and I, he thought it was funny and I didn’t think it was funny at all, but it’s been there. So, if somebody says, if we’re having a serious conversation, you have a great voice. I can say, yeah, that’s cause I have a great father who gave it to me, but it is a wonderful voice. Isn’t it? And I say, man, you know a lot about Jesus, I would say, yes I do. I’m old, I’ve been walking with him a long time and I know a lot of stuff about him. Let me tell you about him. If they want to about theology, I generally know more than they do. If you want to know about broadcasting, I’ve been in broadcasting, both for the devil and for the Lord for many, many years. I know a lot about broadcasting, and those are some good parts in me. I’m not going to tell you the bad parts, because this isn’t a confessional statement, but you know, there’s some stuff in me, that I don’t want you to know, some secrets I can’t share, some sins that cause me to blush. There’s stuff in me that is so bad. And the great thing about working at Key Life is that nobody in this place, worships at my altar, they correct me when I mispronounce words. And I’ve got a dear friend, who’s a producer of this program in the little glass booth, who takes great delight in showing me what I did wrong. And cause there’s some good parts in me and there’s some bad parts in me, and what Paul says, be realistic about both. Don’t be comparing yourself with other people, that’s irrelevant. You don’t know their story. You don’t have, you don’t know anything about their story, only you and God and be realistic, but that realism has to be everywhere. And I’ll talk some more about it next week, but that realism has got to be in the world too. You know, sometimes Christians are considered naive, and sometimes we are, sometimes people want to say to Christians, but you’re religious and you don’t understand. And sometimes we don’t, but that’s not the way it ought to be. I mean the most street-smart person on the face of the earth ought to be a Christian. You know why? Because the Holy Spirit is a lot of things, a comforter and a leader and a guider, but the Holy Spirit is extremely practical and realistic. And if you let him, he’ll make you that way. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. We will resume our journey through Galatians on Monday, but first, tomorrow, it’s time again for Friday Q&A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson swings by the studio and together Steve and Pete answer the challenging questions you’ve sent in, always a fun and informative time, don’t miss it. Well, if you listen to the show, then I’m guessing you’re probably pretty familiar with the stories in the Bible. Maybe too familiar. What? How’s that? Well, sometimes a story can become so familiar, we stop learning new things from it. For example, Jonah. Yeah. Right. The guy who ran from God and became fish food. Well, there’s more to that story. It’s it’s actually the entire story of redemption in one fell swoop. It actually, Chris Wachter explains it better in his article called Rowing Against Grace. You can find that piece and several others in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine. Can we send you a copy of that for free? Yeah? Great, then call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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