If it doesn’t show, it’s not real.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
If it doesn’t show, it’s not real. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re looking at some general things about the gospel, you ought to know. Under the general heading as a topic, what in the world is the gospel? We’re going to the second chapter. And then Paul goes beyond the 16th verse in the second chapter and begins to define in some detail exactly what the gospel is, but before he does that, he lays a groundwork. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re looking at some general things about the gospel. And when we get there, we’ll look at the details of what exactly is the gospel and how you define it. Now, we have seen that as Paul lays out this beginning groundwork, that the gospel is universal. In other words, it’s all over. It takes a lot of different forms and a lot of different ways with people, who use a language different than yours, who have cultural practices that are different than yours. This is a universal thing. And we saw that it has to be preserved for the next generation and for the people of this generation. So the gospel needs to remain pure. If you read the first chapter of Galatians and we spent a good bit of time there. You know, when you read that, you think that doesn’t sound very Christian. Paul is not being very nice. Paul sounds really ticked. He is upset. Why is he upset? He’s upset because she can’t mess with this thing. And when you start messing with it, you can’t communicate it, because it’s no longer the truth. We’ve seen that the gospel in a general sense, it’s not something we dreamed up. Frankly, and C.S. Lewis said this.
If I were going to dream up my own religion, it would be a lot nicer than the one I believe.
And God would be a lot more like Santa Claus than he is, if I dreamed up my own religion, but you can’t do that. And let me show you something else, the gospel, you gotta be able to see, you gotta be able to define it by seeing it. Galatians 2:9,
And when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship.
comes to mind and I tell the joke and most of you don’t have a good sense of humor. So you don’t like my jokes. But I’m going to tell you anyway, did you hear about the man who lived in New York, who saved up his money for a vacation trip to Florida? He bought a $300 suit. He booked himself into the finest hotel in Miami and he ate at some of the best restaurants in Miami. One day, he came out of his hotel and he was run over by a car and as he was dying, he looked up to the heavens and he said, why me God? And a voice from heaven said to be perfectly honest with you, Sam, I didn’t recognize you. I know, sometimes we think that it’s not important, others recognize. It is important. You know, there was a time when we thought that Christians were to be different, but they were to be different because they were nicer. Jesus didn’t die to make you nicer. We thought that everything in terms of our witness was defined in rules. What we don’t do. We don’t go to movies. We don’t dance. We don’t smoke, or we don’t chew. And we don’t hang out with people who do. Now I’m not saying that lifestyle isn’t important. And that there isn’t a major witness that can be made in things that we do right. But there can be a greater witness in things that we do wrong. When we tell people, we know, but we’re forgiven, and we’re gonna see if Jesus will do something about this particular problem. That’s something people can see. We live in a universe, filled with people who have no anchor, who have no meaning. So don’t, don’t demonstrate your faith by what you don’t do. Let people see that you have a flag to follow, that you have a reason to live, that you’ve got something that gives meaning to your life. And then the authenticity of being open about who you really are. You know, we live in a time filled with more self righteous people than you can imagine. Have you ever seen so many self righteous politicians in your entire life? And the Holy spirit just convicted me and said, and you’re not, in that statement. You know, it’s hard to be critical of self righteousness without being self righteous. But it’s everywhere. It’s all over the place. And so our witness doesn’t come in telling people that we’re right and pure and good and do it the way it ought to be done all the time. Our witness is sometimes in telling people that we’re wrong and telling people that sometimes we’re not sure the direction we ought to go in, by not being a mother to the world. Sometimes our witness goes in places like that. And sometimes the witness goes to the people we love, who probably aren’t loved by a whole lot of other people. Oh my, that’s where we are. Jesus was criticized, not because he was unloving, but because he loved the wrong people. He hung out with drunks and prostitutes and that creates questions. And Jesus was the answer to all those questions. What I’m saying. And the reason I’m saying it this way is to avoid the trap of having a Christian mold into which everybody fits. I’m saying it this way, because people ought to see that you belong to Jesus, but not for the reasons that sometimes people think that ought to happen, they ought to see your kindness and your compassion. They ought to see the reality of a God who has forgiven you and enabled you to forgive others who has loved you and enabled you to love others. Now, I’ve got one more thing in terms of the general things. And then next week, we’re going to sit down and define, we’re going to get down and do a strict definition of what exactly the gospel is. But right now, just these general things, the gospel is not only universal. It’s not only something that is revealed to us. It’s not only important that it be preserved and passed along. It ought to be something you can smell and taste and feel in people, but don’t go down a rules keeping, Pharisaical direction to do that. It’s things that people really can see. And then there’s one other thing, which is kind of an expansion on the last point. Fiftly, I would have you note that, the gospel is compassionate, Galatians 2:9-10,
And they gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship that we should go to the John Gentiles and they to the circumcised, only they would have to remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do.
Why was he eager to do it? Because Jesus was eager to do it. You know, we’ve had this debate that goes on in the church periodically between those who say that the gospel has to do with feeding the hungry and visiting the prison and building hospitals and schools. And others who say, no, that’s not what the gospel is. If you start putting all of those good works as a part of it, then you’re going to dilute the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ. Let me tell you something, they go together. They are a part of one another. We’ll say more about this next week, but or now, when somebody is hungry, that being drawn, that you feel inside to get some food and feed the hungry. That’s Jesus. There’s something about the gospel that takes the blinders off, to the pain of others. You think about that. Amen.
What a week. That was Steve Brown wrapping up this week in his exploration of the book of Galatians. We’ll resume that next week, but tomorrow it’s time again for Friday Q & A. Tomorrow, Steve and our friend Pete Alwinson will answer some tough questions that listeners like you have sent in, how tough Matthew? Well, here’s one they’re going to tackle tomorrow. What do I do with my children who have left the faith? Ooh. That just got real, so hope you can join us again tomorrow. Well, speaking of questions, here’s one probably even Steve can’t answer. Why haven’t you joined the Key Life CD family yet? The Key Life CD family is the mildly clever name we’ve given to the select group of folks who get two free CDs from Steve each and every year as funds permit. Now we do give away a lot of CDs featuring content from Key Life and Steve Brown Etc, but these CDs are from talks at various events where Steve speaks throughout the year. As I said, it is free, but you do have to call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an email to Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CDs. By mail, send your request to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, mail us at
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for the free CDs from Steve. Our mission here at Key Life is to share the message of God’s radical grace to sinners and suffers. And you can help us with that mission through your giving, just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability, and we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.