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How to be qualified.

How to be qualified.

OCTOBER 13, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / How to be qualified.

Steve Brown:
How to be qualified on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
That was author and seminary professor Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace, because of what Jesus has done, God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We are now beginning, what’s going to be a fairly long trek. And the last part of the second chapter of Galatians, which we’re studying. And we’re asking the question, what exactly is the gospel? And what I have come up from the apostle Paul, of course I didn’t dream this up. These are not my ideas. In fact, I teach ideas that sometimes I disagree with. Because if God said it, it settles it and that’s enough for me. But from Paul, there are six. We can find six paradoxical statements that help us understand how radical, how incredibly radical the gospel is, let me give you the first one. To qualify is to disqualify. Galatians 2:15-16,

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners,

we’re not like them,

yet who know the man is not justified by works of the law.

Why is that? Cause you failed. That’s why. Because you failed, when you try to do it with the law. That’s bad. No, that’s good. Martin Luther said that was the only purpose of the law, was so that you failed. And once you fail and try again and fail, and I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I have the bloody t-shirt. Once you try and fail and try and fail and you realize you’re disqualified, then Jesus said, finally, you are qualified. Now in this verse, I read to you, the phrase Gentile sinners, is not in quotes. And if it’s not, you ought to put it in quotes. Paul was saying this, and he’s being facetious, but truthful. We Jews who are God’s chosen, people are good compared to those Gentiles. They don’t even know the law. We Jews, who’ve known about God for 2000 years and suffered for it. We Jews who have been persecuted by our faith, and we’ve still got it. We Jews who know who God is and what he’s like. We Jews who are good people have been discovered by a man who told us that none of that works. This is not just Jews. It’s everybody. It’s Gentiles too, to be disqualified is to be qualified. You know what you did when you joined the church? We have recently joined a church, and you know what I did when I did that? I stated publicly and to the entire world, that I’m disqualified. That’s what the church is, it’s not a gathering place for good people, who do good things and are nice. The church isn’t the place where we go, so we kind of hang out with other good people. The church is a hospital. It’s a place where people who are sick go. It’s a place where disqualified people sit in the pew, and they can sit there because they know they are disqualified. My late mentor, and I probably told you this before, used to go around and say to men, if you were arrested for drunken driving on Saturday, And your name was in the newspaper on Sunday for that particular aberration of the law, would you then go to church on that Sunday morning? And I heard Fred ask that a lot of times to a lot of people and almost always they say, no, I don’t think so. I mean, people have a tendency to forget, if you wait long enough, so I think I’d stay away from church for a few weeks. And once it all died down and people had forgotten, then I might go back to your church. And then Fred would laugh and say, that’s really smart. He said, that’s the way it is. When you get hit by a car and you got ribs that are broken in blood all over the street and they come to take you to the hospital. And you say to the people who come leave me alone, I’m a mass. Look at me. I got broken ribs and there’s blood everywhere. Let me go home and get myself cleaned up. And once I can cleaned up, then I’ll come to the hospital. Good point that, a hospital is for people who are really messed up. And so once you get that and you’re disqualified, then you’re qualified. I heard a preacher say the other day and it just blew me away. He said self righteousness is a horrible thing. And he said, I’ve got a question to ask you. And the question is this, why doesn’t God, a holy, righteous, sovereign, glorious God, why does that God tolerate you? Why doesn’t he just burn you to a crisp with a lightning bolt? Why doesn’t he just destroy you? Once you get an answer to that, then you’re asking and finding, you’re asking the right question and you’re finding the right answer. It’s Jesus. That’s all it is, is Jesus. Pagans love to point to the church and say, you know, every study they show, show that you guys have just as many divorces as we do. And just as many people going to jail, as we have going to jail. And just as many who are prejudice, as we have people who are prejudice. Just as many who fail, as we have failed. So what good’s the church? And I go, generally in a very profound and sophisticated and philosophical way, my response is always duh? Are you crazy? That’s why we’re in church. If we could be different and better and wonderful, we wouldn’t go to church, man. We’d play golf. I mean, what, let me tell you what church is, church is a place where you’ve got to go. I don’t know about you, but this pandemic thing, the quarantine thing has driven me nuts. It really has. I’ve learned a lot of things about me. I’ve learned that a lot of what I do is meaningless. I can’t do it and nobody was hurt and nobody noticed and so I’ve decided to rearrange my schedule. I have a friend who says he’s not going to hang out with anybody, who won’t cry at his funeral. That’s a good statement. Well, I’m not going to do stuff, that nobody noticed I wasn’t doing, during the quarantine. And that’s a good rubric to follow and I feel pretty good about it, but you know the hard thing? I found out that, I’m a loner. I’ve told you a thousand times that I could go to a monastery, if they’d let me bring my wife, but they won’t. And that I’m perfectly happy being by myself, reading a good book. No, I’m really not. And I’ve discovered that, I’ve discovered that I need people, but you know something else I’ve discovered? I’ve discovered that church isn’t church, when it’s online, I don’t care how good it is, and Jeremy, who is the producer of this program in the little glass booth, is a wonderful musician. And I’ve watched and I’ve watched him online during worship services. And he’s incredible, but it’s not church. It just, no matter how good he is, and he plays 300 different instruments. And he, you know, and he teaches people how to play instruments, they never thought they could play before. And he’s incredible as a worship leader. And, but I don’t care. I don’t care how good he is, it ain’t worship. It just isn’t, it’s not the same. And I don’t care what you say. And last Sunday for the first time we went to church. Now, I know some, some of you theological types, will find a real problem with my saying that, well you don’t go to church dummy. You are church. Okay? I get that. I understand the theology, the Biblical theology behind that, but I don’t care. I went to church, my wife and I went to church. We went to a place to be with God’s people, to worship the God of the universe. And you know, something? And it was weird, everybody was wearing masks. You couldn’t hug anybody. I mean, it didn’t feel right, for that reason. We looked like a bunch of thieves breaking into a bank. But let me tell you what I felt. I felt, Oh yeah. I was created for this, worship with God’s people. The reason the scripture says don’t forsake that, isn’t because they want you to go to a building and get bored out of your socks for an hour. The reason God tells us to do that, is that church is important. And not only is it important, it’s important because church is a group of disqualified people who had been qualified by Jesus Christ himself, because they are unqualified. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown teaching from Galatians two, as we attempt to answer the question, what is the gospel. More paradoxical statements from Galatians tomorrow. Please join us then. So what is the gospel, is a great question. It’s a big question. Well, here’s another one is suffering spiritual? That is the intriguing question posed by Chad West in the latest digital edition of Key Life Magazine. Find out what he’s talking about by getting your copy right now. Just go to where you can read it online or download it. Again. it’s only available at and it is free, thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you’d like to donate to Key Life, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to

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