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Let your past cure self-righteousness.

Let your past cure self-righteousness.

JANUARY 13, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / Let your past cure self-righteousness.

Steve Brown:
Let your past cure self righteousness. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth, that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher, on Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open at the 19th chapter of Acts and we’ve spent a week and a half in this particular text, talking about the past of the apostle Paul. And you’ve been with us, you’ve seen that the way you deal with the past is to remember that the past is forgiven. Yeah, that. Everything you can think of that causes you to blush, it’s forgiven, so deal with it. And we saw that you could let the past become the steel to strengthen your future. That’s what the apostle Paul did. We saw the importance of sanctifying the past and giving it to Jesus, the 22nd verse. Sanctifies means setting it apart and giving it to him and saying, I had a psychologist friend, a counselor, who said, when I became a Christian, I found 17 masks that I wore in my life. And I said to Jesus, if you can find the real me in that, he’s yours. That’s called sanctifying, it calls for looking into the past. And then there’s, \ and then we talked about scars. You can’t talk about the past without talking about scars. And the apostle Paul I had his, I mean, some of the places he had been and some of the things that he had done showed scars. That’s why he could say it’s a saying worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came in the world to save sinners. And I’m the chief of sinners. That’s why in Romans 7, he could say the good I want to do. Oh man, I can’t do it. And the evil I don’t want to do, that’s what I do. All of that is scar tissue. It’s a part of the reality of who we are. And it’s a gift from God to cure self righteousness. In the 28th and 29th verse.

So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists.

But he didn’t do it with self righteousness. You know why he didn’t do it with self righteousness because of his past. I wince, you know, what is wrong with our culture? It’s a canceled culture. I experienced that fairly recently. I have a very good friend and I’m not going to tell you his name, but he’s being used in a mighty way with God. But he says things that are controversial and a lot of politically correct people don’t like. And I had him on our talk show. And I got an old kinds of letters of criticism. One person said you might want to consider having him again, he was not a good guest. Another person said, have you checked his Twitter account? I don’t do Twitter. And I didn’t, but I could imagine. It was an effort to try to cancel my friend. We have a culture that has a tendency to do that. We cut no slack for anybody. And, we had on our talk show fairly recently, the editor of the Babylon Bee and he was talking about how people get canceled and how people who cancel others, get canceled themselves. That’s what our culture is. It is so self-righteous and so arrogant and so condemning, they sound like the worst kind of fundamentalism in the definition that the world gives it. It sounds religious. It sounds crazy, it’s utopian, it’s painful and it hurts people. And you know why? Because there’s no forgiveness, there’s no awareness of sin, there’s no facing the reality of who we are. And, whenever I see self righteousness, I want to say you don’t know anything and you’re walking in a road, that’s going to kill you. Eric Hoffer, you may know that name, Eric Hoffer was called the longshoreman philosopher and he was wonderful, a bit liberal for my taste, but, and he’s home and he knows the truth now. Don’t send me letters, I’m kidding. But he was an amazing mind and he wrote books that were very powerful and he was a longshoreman, out on the west coast. And, after Richard Nixon had been removed from office, he was being interviewed and I saw that interview and he said something that kind of astonished the interviewer and kind of astonished me too. He said to the person who was doing the interview, I’m worried about the Democrats and I’m one of them. I’m very worried about my party. And the interviewer said, what do you mean, you’re worried, you guys have all the power. You, there’s nothing for you to worry about here or to bother you here. And you know what Eric Hoffer said, this is what he said.

There is a principle. And the principle is built into the universe and it’s this, those who crucify get crucified last.

He was right about that, not only politically, but he was talking about spiritually. He was talking about, there is a lot that’s going on right now that might have some truth in it. I mean, we have some horrible racial past that we need to repent of. That goes without saying, and if you don’t know that, you don’t know history, but once you use racism and canceling people as a weapon against others, then those who crucify, get crucified last. I pray every morning for revival and you know what I pray for, I pray for the blindness to be removed and for repentance to become the mark of our civilization. And when that happens, then revival happens. I know a church that’s in terrible trouble, or was in terrible trouble. It looked like it was going to go down and do you know what happened? The leaders got together, called a congregational meeting, and they’ve said this, we want to ask your forgiveness. And everybody looked amazed because nobody had done that before. And they said, look, our heart was right. We wanted to do right, but we really messed this thing up. And we’ve hurt this church horribly, and we want you to forgive us. And if you’ll give us another chance, we’ll do it right this time. And we’ll listen to you more and more than that, we’ll listen to Jesus and we won’t be self-righteous because we can’t anymore. You know what happened? Revival happened in that church and that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing in any life. And the gift that Paul had in this particular incident of his past is that he never again was self-righteous. Well, he was, in II Corinthians. I love the apostle Paul because he’s so human. He starts bragging, then he stops in the middle of the text and he said, this is foolish, what am I doing? And then he does more of it. Then he stops again. And he said, I’m talking like a fool. What am I doing? And then he goes and brags more. He is so human. And so like us because self-righteousness is addictive. We want them to be wrong and us to be right and we want them to be evil and us to be good. And that’s what’s happened in our culture. And because of that, we’re in serious trouble as a nation and you guys in Canada are in exactly the same place. And so pray for a spirit of repentance. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean you change, it means you recognize that you need to change and you recognize what, you recognize your past. And so, there was a gift that God gave the apostle Paul in giving him this particular past, one that is dark, one that hurt people, one that is not very pretty, but it kept Paul who was very gifted from walking the road of self righteousness. And when he did, to call it what it was and to repent of it. He does that for all of us. And if he doesn’t do this in our country, we’re going to lose this thing. And if he doesn’t do it in your church, you’re going to lose your church. And if he doesn’t do it in your life, you’re gonna be miserable. It’s called repentance and it’s the power of being a Christian. We don’t just repent, we live a life of repentance. And so, Paul went into Jerusalem to preach, but he wasn’t arrogant. He went into Jerusalem to preach, but he wasn’t self-righteous because God had taken his past, gave him the medicine that changed the world. Hey, he’ll do that with you too. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown, wrapping up a dynamite week of teaching from Acts 9, about how God can use and redeem our past. If you missed any episode or if you’d just like to study further in and even read along with the transcripts, make sure you visit us at and be sure to join us tomorrow for Friday Q&A. Well, we’ve been talking about how to deal with our past, and that’s a subject always worth exploring. But here in this first month of the new year, you may also be thinking about the future, about new ventures things you want to try. If being more productive is on your list. I’d encourage you to check out the episode of Steve Brown Etc featuring author and entrepreneur, Jordan Raynor. We spoke with Jordan about a gospel centric approach to being productive. He also shared some powerful time management lessons from the life of Jesus. Grab that free CD right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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