A declaration of independence.
JULY 29, 2020
A declaration of independence on this edition of Key Life.
Key Life is a radio program for struggling believers, sick of phony religion and pious cliches. Our host and teacher is seminary professor Steve Brown. He teaches that radical freedom leads to infectious joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. Uh, today, uh, having told you everything that I know about the subject of the loss of passion of Acedia, of boredom with religion, uh, we spent weeks doing that. We’re turning to a new series and I could hardly wait to get to this place to tell you about it. It’s a declaration of independence and it’s a Biblical one. Well, that’s not good. It’s not really a declaration of independence. It’s actually a declaration of freedom. A declaration of grace. A declaration of justification, justification by faith alone. It’s a declaration that stands like a flag over the reality of Jesus and the hearts and minds and the homes of believers. And I can hardly wait to get into it. For myself. And if you get anything out of it, I’ll be really glad about that too. Let me read to you the first 10 verses of the book of Galatians. And then I’m going to say something about scripture, and then I’m going to say something about the book of Galatians itself, but this is what Paul writes to the Galatians.
Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God, the father who raised him from the dead, all of the brethren who are with me to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and father to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. I’m astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you to 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 are an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we preach to you, let him be accursed. As we’ve said before. Now I say it again. If anyone is preaching to you, a gospel contrary to that, which you received, let him be accursed. Am I now seeking the favor of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men, if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.
You want to say, well, other than the mat, what do you think about it? This is something that Paul feels very strongly about. If you read the book of Romans, it’s a more theological and detailed and line upon line, precept upon precept teaching of what he presents as a flag in the book of Galatians. And so for the next few weeks, many, many weeks, we’re going to be in this book of Galatians and I’ve got such neat stuff to show to you. I can hardly wait to get to it. This is what is really, really important about the Christian faith. And Paul says it in a way that is so real and so meaningful that you’re going to love it the way I love it. For a number of years, after I graduated from a graduate school in Boston, I was under the mistaken impression that people really wanted to hear what I wanted to say. I had a lot of great ideas. They were sociological ideas, philosophical ideas. And if I could make it fit, they became Biblical ideas. But if they didn’t fit, it didn’t matter. I was saying it and people wanted the hear, what I was saying, and I almost killed a church over that. And then God began to deal with me and, uh, deal with me in some ways, harshly, it included my daughter got very sick. It included feeling like a fool. I thought, I was an intellectual and I met some brothers who really were, and they ate my lunch. And not only, I paid for their lunch, it had to do with embarrassment. It had to do with growing up. It had to do with maturity and that dear friend is how I became this spiritual giant, who is now teaching you. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. But I’m a lot older now. And I’m a little bit wiser. And I have learned two important lessons. The first lesson I learned is this. I don’t have a thing to say. The second lesson is this. God has a whole lot to say, the 55th chapter of Isaiah, there are these verses.
My thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are my ways your ways says the Lord. For, as the heavens are higher than the earth. So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts, then your thoughts.
That’s true. And if you have a Bible in your hand, right now, you are holding a book, paper and covers written by fallible and sinful people who did fallible and sinful things. But if you will hold a Bible in your hand, you are holding the very word of God written as he intended for you. And he did it because he liked you. When I discovered that I knelt down by the desk of my study in Boston. And I said, oops, from now on, I’m going to teach what you say, cause nobody cares what I say. You think about that. Amen.
Well it’s Wednesday and on Wednesdays, when we have a little bit of time, I take the time to answer one or two of the questions and we get a whole lot of questions from you guys, and we love it. We love your question. We love you. And we take you seriously when you ask questions. And you’ve heard me say, and I mean that the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. As you know, Pete will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole broadcast answering questions. But sometimes I have a little time and I’m gonna answer one or two today. You can ask your question by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. And you can do that 24 seven. You can record your question and we’ll put it on the air sometimes. Your own voice, or you can write to.
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Or you can email [email protected] By the way, those are all touch-points, where if the spirit should move, you would help us financially. We obviously didn’t accept and could have money from the government after the crisis. The COVID-19 thing, because we thought we’ll depend on you. So don’t let us down, if you can. God will never let us down. And if you can’t, we understand. Be as generous as you can, if you can. And if you can’t do say a prayer for this ministry. All right, let’s turn to one or two of these questions. The first is an email. Is it okay to leave your church? And if it is, when is it okay to leave your church? No, it’s not okay. It’s never a good thing. So in that sense, it’s never, okay. Now, if your pastor becomes a Buddhist and it starts espousing heresy, you probably ought to go down the street. If they no longer believe in Jesus as God, that would be Christology. You probably ought to go somewhere else. If the Bible is not taught and people do not believe that they’re called to love one another. Maybe you could look for another church, but don’t do it as a dance of joy, do it with great sadness and brokenness because the name of the church is the name of the wife of Christ. And when you walk away, that’s not a little thing. That’s a big thing. Okay. One time in my entire life I’ve left a church. And it was for reasons that in some ways I’m not even proud off, part of it had to do with anger. I’m not fixed yet, okay? And so I was angry about some things. And then I found out that when I would come to worship, I came to worship angry. Now, when the scriptures and our forefathers talk about being prepared for worship, I don’t think that’s what they meant. And I’ve tried. I really tried for a long time. And eventually I left. I just couldn’t be angry. It wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t that they were bad people doing bad things. It’s just that they irritated me, frankly. And I disagreed with a lot that was going on. So what did you do Brown? Did you make an obscene gesture and walk out? Are you kidding? Of course not, I didn’t. I left with tears. I asked forgiveness. I was quiet about it. I didn’t cause division or, or anger from other people. I just moved to the back pew and then quietly slipped out the back of the church. And to this day, I’m not proud of it, but I did it. And I think that given the circumstances that I was dealing with at that particular time, I did everything that I could do as right as I could do it. So maybe you’re in that kind of situation. I don’t know? Don’t do it lightly and don’t leave with great joy. But if it is really a place where you can’t continue to worship the God who bought you on a cross. If you can no longer take communion and mean it, when you reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ, if you just can’t do it anymore. Okay. I guess you could leave then. But when you do leave, be sure and ask God for forgiveness. And the good thing him as we’re learning in the book of Galatians is that he will, I mean, I don’t know if I would, but he will always forgive you. Hey, I got to go, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.