Knowledge and freedom go together.
APRIL 19, 2021
Knowledge and freedom go together and I’ll explain on he Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers, because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you have your Bible and you’re in a place, and please don’t look at your Bible while you drive, that’s worse than texting, because that takes, that requires you use your mind, and texting obviously doesn’t. So don’t try to read your, you scare me to death anyway, but if you’re at home, or in your office, and you can open a Bible, open it to the book of Galatians, the fifth chapter, and we’re spending a long time in this particular text, verses 13 through the end of the chapter. And we’re talking about freedom, and the reason I stopped and spent so much time here and still have a long time to go to spend on this text, is because freedom is at the center of what Paul is talking about in the book of Galatians. And we’re going to talk about some definitions of freedom, continue with that today. And eventually we’re going to get to the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. Let me read the text, then we’ll pray, then we’ll study, Paul writes this.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you’re led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have been crucified in the flesh with the passions and its desires.
Alright, let’s pray, Father, thank you for writing it down. Doesn’t make us comfortable all the time, but it’s truth all the time, because you’re truth, and you have revealed the truth to us. Father, as we apply that truth to our lives, may people see Jesus, may people see the reality of the truth behind the words and actions that we give to the world. Father, make us shine like lights. And we’re thankful, because it’s so dark, only a little light will do, and we are that. Father, so often we fail, so often we rebel, so often we kick against the goads, forgive us. Father, clean us up, make us different, so that the world can hear the laughter of the redeemed. And Father, you know, everybody who’s listening right now. And you know, some are doing, dealing with some really hard stuff, come alongside. Father, be the comforter that you promised. And some are doing fine. Father mix your spirit with their laughter. And Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins, because there are many. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. As I said, we’re talking about freedom. We’ve been doing that for two or three weeks, and probably will for two or three, in this text, two or three more weeks. It opens with,
For you were called to freedom, brothers.
And you really are called to freedom. And sometimes Christians forget that. Now, if you were listening to the last time we studied Galatians, we saw that freedom is discerned by desire, look at Galatians 5:17.
For the desires of the flesh or against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.
You know, when I became a Christian, something happened to my desire mechanism. I mean, sometimes I don’t desire good stuff. Sometimes I desire to sin. Sometimes, and that’s what Paul is talking about here. He’s talking about a process, a definition of somebody in the works of the the flesh. And if you don’t find yourself in that list of the works of the flesh, you’re probably living in denial. But let me tell you something, and this is an old guy speaking, who’s been there and done that, and who knows what sanctification is all about. As I grow in Christ, as I grow in my knowledge of Christ. And we’re going to talk about that in a minute. As I grow, something happens inside of me and I, as I’ve told you a lot of times, you never met a man who wants to please God more than I do. I mean that, I really do. I don’t always. Sometimes the spirit is weak and the flesh is strong. Sometimes, sometimes my anger gets out of control, but I’m better. Jeremy who produces this program and I were talking before we turned on the microphones to talk to you and we were talking about our past lives and things that we had done and where we had gone. And I told him about a time when I was very angry with a sweet lady who tore up, who brought a petition to me that I didn’t like. And I said, let me show you what I think about the petition. And I ripped it apart and threw it in the trashcan. And I told Jeremy, I wasn’t bragging. I was confessing. I blush when I think about that. And, but I’m better. Because the desire of my heart is to please him. And that’s what Paul is talking about. And don’t go off on the deep end of legalism. Don’t go off on the deep end of entire sanctification. You’re not, and it’s not going to happen. Don’t go off the deep end of thinking that this is the reason Jesus loves you, because it’s not, there’s no reason he loves you, he just does. However, freedom is discerned in desire. What is it that you want? Somebody asked the Luther one time, I can do whatever I want? Luther said, yes, you can do whatever you want, but the issue is what do you want? And God’s Spirit works inside us. And begins to increase this desire to please him. And I want you to know that’s a true statement, been there, done that. And then secondly, not only is freedom discerned in desire, it is magnified in knowledge, Galatians 5:21b.
I warn you, as I warned you before.
Throughout his letter to the Galatians, there is a constant assumption. And that assumption is that the readers of the letter will accept what Paul says and act on it, because it’s truth. Now pay particular note that there isn’t much argumentation in Galatians. There isn’t a course in apologetics, there isn’t a professor that stands in front of a class and deals with skepticism. Paul simply assumes his readers will heed the truth that he speaks, and it’s important truth. That’s the most important thing that we have been given. Why is that? Let me tell you, because Paul was speaking in the Spirit of God, to the inside of the Christians, to which he spoke, I Corinthians 2:11-12.
No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
And freedom is of course, one of those, I had a friend who was called by Jane Fonda. And, she wanted to ask some questions. This really happened. And he told her what the Bible said about her and about faith and about the need for atonement and grace. And she said, I never knew that. And my friend said, that’s why I’m here. Jesus sent me to tell you the truth. We’re given truth and knowledge of that truth makes all of the difference in the world. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve, that was Steve Brown guiding us through Galatians 5:13-25. As he mentioned, we’ll be in this text, the rest of this week, and perhaps beyond, since there is just so much to soak up here. And we will pick up our study again, right here tomorrow. So hope you will join us then. You know, whether it’s illness or loss or disappointment, the list of troubles we experience is both uniquely difficult and depressingly similar. To be fair, Jesus did tell us there would be seasons like this, but he also promised that he would be with his people in their suffering. Well, Steve wrote a mini-book that talks very plainly about his own struggles with suffering, but also the hope he is found in the presence of Christ. If you’re going through it, we would love to send you that mini-book, it’s called Suffering: when Life Falls Apart. Get your free copy today by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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