It’s dangerous to wear a mask of religion.
AUGUST 23, 2023
It’s dangerous to wear a mask of religion. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation, and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the 23rd chapter of Acts. I’m not going to read it again. We’re looking at verses 12 through 24, and we’re in the place where Dr. Luke is landing the Book of Acts. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there very quickly. And the apostle Paul is on his way to Rome. Now, we’ve seen, as we’ve looked at this text, that 40 religious people have taken a vow to murder the apostle Paul. And they think they’re doing that for God. Now, they may have been good people. They have been, could have been a member of the Kiwanis Club or the Rotary Club. They could have been leaders in their local synagogue, but I don’t care. What they’re doing was wrong and dangerous. And I’m giving you a sermon that I would preach to them if I had been there. And we saw yesterday that I would say first to them that they had not considered the fact of all which is done in the name of God may not be of God. I had a friend who went to a church recently, and he said, I sat there for four weeks, and I listened to them, and then I found out they used the same words that most Christians use, but they didn’t mean the same thing by those words. It’s very easy to slip into heresy, to say things that God didn’t say, to make promises that God didn’t promise. And these guys, if I’d had a chance to talk to them, I would have said, are you crazy? God told you to kill somebody? Haven’t you read The Ten Commandments? Don’t you understand what God says about love? Don’t you get it? They wouldn’t have liked the sermon, but listen, I would have been a visiting preacher and I wouldn’t care because as soon as I preached the sermon, I would leave. In fact, I spend, still do sometimes, a considerable portion of my time traveling around. And preachers will say to me, you know why I’ve invited you? And I would say, no. And they would say because you can say some things that I can’t. You get to leave and I have to stay. So, I want you to tell them about God’s grace, how radical it is, how free it is, and the difference it makes in people’s lives. And then you can leave, and I’ll pretend that I never knew you ever in my entire life and certainly don’t agree with what you had to say. But it’s a way to preach the gospel to my congregation. Well, if I was preaching to those guys in this particular situation. I not only would have said everything that you do in the name of God isn’t God. If I’d been in Jerusalem, I would have told those men that religion can be used as a mask and hide base motives or a standard to mold pure motives. That they were engaged in the former. They were wearing a religious mask to hide something that was not of God. If you had been in Jerusalem in 60 A.D. and had asked those 40 men what they were doing, they would have said, isn’t it obvious? We are obeying God, Micah 2:11.
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, I will preach to you of wine and strong drink, he would be the preacher of this people.
I once heard a politician. who very cynically said I can’t get elected until I bow in the direction of the church. Every time I mention God’s name, I get more votes. Dear friend, that is unconscionable. I believe in our culture the way it is right now, and it’s pretty scary. And it’s pretty weird right now. The most important thing you can do is to find a solid church and support it. I can’t think of anything that I would tell people to do as we stand in a very difficult time in our nation, and I’m talking about Canada too, is to find a church. and support it. But always when you go to church, say to yourself, what am I doing here? And why have I come? And do I have vested interest in being here? Am I here because it’s good for my business? Am I here because it gives me good contacts? Am I here because the girls are beautiful? Or the boys are handsome? Am I here so I can get something out of it? Religion can become a mask you wear, and you mask motives that have nothing to do with Jesus himself. Here’s the point. How many times do we invoke the name of God to justify our hatred? How many times do we invoke the name of God to justify ourselves and make us appear righteous? How many times are we in church for the wrong reasons? I confess, you should too. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown continuing to guide us through Acts 23: verses 12 through 24. One more day of teaching from Acts ahead tomorrow. Do not miss that. Well, on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc. we always speak with interesting and insightful folks, but every now and then there’s a guest that you just wish you could actually hang out with for a whole day. Well, that was the case with author and filmmaker Jared Brock. In his new book, A God Named Josh, he explores the surprising implications of a savior who is both wholly God and wholly human. Take a listen to part of that episode, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.
It’s a God named Josh. That’s a little sacrilegious, don’t you think?
Jared Brock: Yeah. So, it’s really interesting when you realize that Jesus’s name wasn’t actually Jesus, it was Joshua. It was Yehoshua ben Yosef. And if we had just gone straight from Hebrew to English, we would be calling him Josh Josephson today. So, this book is my attempt to humanize a fellow that we’ve even got his name wrong.
I think we’ve missed something and I think you got it in this book. What started you thinking this way?
Jared Brock: So, it was actually my wife. We were cooking Mexican food. And I was tossing beans.
I love this story.
Jared Brock: I was tossing beans in lime and jalapeno juice. And she just looked at the beans and she goes, I wonder how often Jesus farted. But we just started thinking like, I wonder what Jesus’ favorite foods were. And then we had this horrific moment where we realized that he never tried tomatoes or potatoes because those were from the new world. And it just kind of sent me on this year long rabbit trail and 100,000 words later, I wrote a book about it.
That’s so good. It’s been said that familiarity crowds out curiosity. Is that about what you’re trying to accomplish with the book? To see an old story with brand new eyes in a way that we haven’t seen it before?
Jared Brock: Yeah, that would be a very lofty goal to achieve. But that is my humble attempt for sure. There’s just so much that people assume about Jesus, that’s just not true. Even something as simple as this idea that he only had 12 disciples. We know that he had significantly more disciples and we even know that some of them were women. We have five named female disciples in Scripture. We know that Jesus didn’t wear long billowy robes. He actually makes fun of people who wear these long, fancy Greek style togas. And he’s never caught in Scripture wearing one of those. He’s always in a Chiton, not a Stole. There’s just so many things, you know, Jesus obviously wasn’t this mayonnaise, white fellow that we see in the pictures. We know what the genetics of guys at his time looked like, and they’re much darker skin, they average five foot six. So Jesus is probably a lot shorter and darker than we realize. And he’s certainly in different fashion. One word unlocks so much more. So, when Jesus says the poor will always be among you, he’s not actually saying the poor will always be among all of us for all time. He’s actually head checking the Old Testament where it says verbatim.
The poor will always be in the land, but the poor will not always be among you if you hold fast to the commands I give you this day.
And then if you read the context of the passage, it’s a veritable barrage of economic policy that’s aimed at obliterating poverty from the Jewish faith. So, there’s always going to be poverty in the world because there’s always going to be sin in the world. There’s always going to be injustice and corruption, but the you that he’s speaking to, he’s speaking to a very specific group of people, is actually speaking to one person. The person who elicits that response for Jesus is Judas Iscariot. A woman has just anointed Jesus’ feet with oil and Judas, a known thief, has said, we could have given that money to the poor. He was planning on stealing it. And Jesus says, leave her alone. The poor you will always have among you, but you will not always have me. So hold on, are we in the 21st century supposed to leave her alone? Well, no, that’s clearly for one person. And then when Jesus says, You will not always have me. Well, don’t we have Jesus today?
This was a truly fun and insightful conversation that we’d love you to hear yourself, for free. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request go to keylife.org/contact For our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Jared Brock. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving. You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. How do you do that? Glad you asked. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.