Identification, the key to a Christian witness.
JANUARY 21, 2021
Identification, the key to a Christian witness. Let’s talk on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give it to slavery, again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re looking at the fourth chapter of Galatians, beginning at the 12th verse and down the next few verses as we look at how Paul deals with new Christians and were able to learn from him how we can deal with new Christians. Listen, you ought to know some new Christians. In fact, if you’ll do the divine appointment, we talked about earlier this week, sometimes you’ll see new Christians, then what do you do? What do you do with them? You lock them up for a year. I used to say that, but I’ve repented. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that. So let’s look at Paul. Now, we spent a long time yesterday talking about how important it was to be a model for new Christians. And we saw what Paul means by that. And it’s not what everybody thinks he means by that. And I could talk more about that, but we got to move on. Let me show you something else. Secondly, not only are we to be a model, an illustration for new Christians, we’re to identify with new Christians. Look at that verse I gave you before, and the whole verse.
Brothers I beseech you, become as I am.
And here it comes, sports fans.
For I also have become as you are.
One of the great facts of the Christian faith is that the God of the universe. has identified with his people. He was tempted, not to keep you from being tempted, to be tempted the way you’re tempted. He was afraid, not to keep you from being afraid, but to be afraid the way you are afraid. He died, not to keep you from dying, but to die among other things, just as you are to die. He identified with his people. When, in the first chapter of John, God says.
The word became flesh and dwelt among us.
What does that mean? It means it wasn’t a game. It means that when Jesus came, he really came. In Philippians, Paul said,
Have this mind among you, which is also in Christ Jesus.
Though we was in the form of God, he didn’t count equality with God, something to be grasped to himself, but he emptied himself. What does that mean? That means he emptied himself. And if you look at the original Greek, it means he emptied himself. What does that mean? It means he identified, he identified with our suffering, with our tiredness, with our loneliness, with our fear, with our temptations. That’s amazing. And that’s wonderful. And it becomes, if you will, the key to Christian witness. When witness to the world, and Paul is talking here about the church, but it has implications for evangelism too, and for our witness in a dark world. The witness ought to have a lot of different responses, surprise, amazement, you’ve gotta be kidding kind of thing. But one of the responses, and when you get this kind of response, you know, you’ve done evangelism right. When somebody says, you too. You know, you did it right. Why is that? Because, you know, you would identified as one beggar telling another beggar, and a present beggar telling another beggar where the bread is, that’s called identification. And Jesus taught that to us. He taught that to us, that we might live our lives that way too. But what Paul is doing here is dealing with new Christians. Now that’s crazy. How can you identify with the new Christians? They don’t know nothing. How can you identify with a new Christian? They need some, they need a lot of help. How can you identify with Christians. They’re just babies. Who’s going to change their diapers. What does it mean to identify with new Christians? It’s saying, I get it. I’m there too. And sometimes I still go there. It means reaching out to new Christians and say it’s hard sometimes, isn’t it? It’s hard sometimes for me to, give me your hand and we’ll walk this dark road together. When a new Christian says, and they don’t have many doubts at the very beginning. I mean, they believe everything. Not only that, they believe anything. I mean, they are, it’s open season on new Christians, every cult in the world is after him. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit later, but now you need to recognize that you can say to a new Christian when they have their first doubt. You’re kidding? Let me tell you something, just so you know it, that may be the first doubt that you’ve had as a Christian, but it’s not the last doubt you’re going to have as a Christian. I go there sometimes and I’ve been doing this a long time and the doubts are a little bit less than they were, but it still gets dark, so give me your hand and we’ll walk this road together. Or what about the Christian, when they sin the first time after being Christian, they think, and we thought too, when we became Christians, they think from then on the Cross before me, the world behind me. Now I’m not putting down that sentiment of that hymn. That’s a great sentiment to have, but sometimes the Cross will be behind you and the world will be in front of you. And when that happens, how are we to deal with a new Christian who was devastated? Who says, who says, I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe that I sinned that way. After all the Jesus has done for me, how do you deal with a new Christian who’s at that point? Let me tell you. You say, yeah, I know. And it’s going to happen again and you’re not going to be just like Jesus till you get home, so deal with it. Last week, I did something. I’m not going to tell you because you’d be devastated, but you would be surprised. And I’ve been a Christian for 42 years and I’m still struggling at some times. Give me your hand and we’ll walk in the dark together. Paul is saying here, of course, that he had become all things to all people. He’d already said that in other places, to the Jew he became a Jew, to the Greek he became a Greek, for he en fleshed what was needed to do what God told him to do. To the Romans he became Roman, to the slave he became a slave, to the free he became the free. And he’s saying that, but he’s saying more than that, because he’s dealing with new Christians and he saying. I also have become, as you are. What was he saying? He was saying, I’m like you, I struggle. You know, you know what we do? And it’s a tragedy in the church. We pretend that there are mature Christians who have arrived and nobody has, we pretend that if you, if you stay with this thing, you’ll be like me, sanctified and pure and obedient and faithful. That’s not true. This thing is a struggle for all of us. And sometimes we fail and sometimes we’re successful. Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield. The truth is this is not an easy thing to walk, always. You’re always loved. You’re always forgiven. You’re always acceptable. You’re always His, but it’s not always easy. And if we recognize that, and recognize that we are in this together, old Christians and new Christians, when an old Christian takes a new Christian’s and says, we’ll walk it together. And we’ll be better both of us, because we’re walking this together, good things will happen. Jesus will rejoice and the angels will sing. And so, when you’re talking about the proper care and feeding of new Christians, first you’ve got to model for new Christians, something authentic and real. And secondly, you’ve got to identify with new Christians. We ought to be saying often to new Christians in the church. Hey, been there. Hey, done that. Hey, I even sometimes go there now. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us about how we’re to teach new Christians. Today, touching on the idea that just as Jesus identified with us in our temptations and loneliness and suffering, we must identify with new Christians in our lives. Steve will continue in our tour of Galatians soon, but next week he’s invited our favorite mega-church, Pastor Zach Van Dyke to join us again, that starts on Monday and tomorrow be sure to join us here for Friday Q&A. Well as Steve taught on just a moment ago, we all experienced doubts and questions, new Christians and old Christians alike. One of the biggest and most essential questions is, how can I know that I’m saved. Well, as it happens, Steve has addressed that issue in a sermon titled How to Know that You Know Him. If you have ever wrestled with this question, please get that classic sermon on CD for free, right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to [email protected]. By mail, write us at
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