Lock up new Christians for a year…maybe not.
JANUARY 18, 2021
Lock up new Christians for a year…maybe not. Let’s talk on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that will make you free, welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the book of Galatians, if you’re just joining us, that’s where we’ve been for the past few months and where we’re going to be for the next few months, taking our time going through this amazing book, which is primarily about grace. We’re up to the fourth chapter of Galatians verses 12 through 20. And we’re kind of, we’re going to talk about the proper care and feeding of new Christians. Now, if you’re in a church where there aren’t any new Christians, you ought to find another church. If you’re hanging out with other Christians and you never see new Christians, you ought to get some new friends. If you are a Christian and you never meet somebody who isn’t and have an opportunity to see them become new Christians, then you need to move it, you need to change that, because that’s why we’re here. We’re here for them. And as God does his thing, and he does despite us. And new Christians are on the horizon. What do we do with them? How do we handle them? How do we teach them? There’s some insight in this text and we’re going to look at it. Hope you had a great weekend and hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as mine. Let’s pray, and then we’ll study. Father, we come into your presence, delighted and surprised and amazed that we’re here. People told us that if we were good enough, you would accept us. And we tried. They said, if we prayed enough, that you would welcome us. And we tried. They told us if we would be obedient enough, that you would rejoice and welcome us into your presence. And we tried and we couldn’t pull it all off, and then we heard you welcome child. And we came, we came as we were, just as I am. And you received us with open arms and we worship you. And we’re here, not because we’re good or pure, but because we’re your’s. Father, you know us, you know our names and you knew us before you created the world, you knew about the pain and the loss, you knew about the darkness, you knew about the laughter and the joy and the light. And it’s all from your hand. And you do all things well. Father, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, but by faith, we come to you and praise you for every circumstance of our lives, even when it’s with tears. And then Father as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, that you would forgive him his sins, because they are many, we would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. If you’re in a place where you can, I’m going to read starting at the 12th verse in the fourth chapter of Galatians, where Paul writes as follows.
Brothers, I beseech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. You know it was because of bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the satisfaction you felt? For I hear you witnessed that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They, those that I’m talking about, they make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. For a good purpose, it is always good to be made much of, and not only when I’m present with you, my little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you! I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone., for I am perplexed about you.
What’s going on there? Well, the first thing you see is a pastor’s heart. I couldn’t remember when I got mine and as soon as I got it, I thought, I wish I didn’t have this, it’s killing me. I mean, for years I said from the pulpit, look, I’m not your mother. I’m your teacher. And I said that, because I was afraid that I would get too intimate and too close to those people. And then I was introduced by one of the members of the church to another person who had come as a visitor. And the member of the church said to me, pastor, he said, nobody spoke to him. And I said to him, we don’t come here to be loved, we come to be taught. That was like a slap in the face, man, all of a sudden, I realized something is wrong in this place, and it’s me. And I said, God, put them on my heart. Break my heart, when their hearts are broken, enable me to taste the salt of their tears. And God began to do that in my life. I got so, I really was their mother. I really stayed up at night and worried about them. I’ve found myself with them on my heart continually. I was called to be their pastor. And for the first time I was still a teacher, but I became a pastor and it almost killed me. And so when I read these words from the apostle Paul, I get it. I get what he’s saying and how important it is and how broken his heart is. I’ll tell you something, when you’re a pastor and somebody slips into the dark, that’ll kill you. I mean, they were doing so well on walking, so close to Christ and things were happening and then they disappear into the darkness and you think, Lord, Oh Lord. I remember, and I may have told you about this, a young lady in our church sent me a note. She said, dear Steve, I love you. And I don’t want you to hear it from anybody else, I’m leaving. And she said, I just can’t be that good. I just can’t do what I’m supposed to do. And I wanted you to know, love and she signed her name. I tried to call her and her phone had been disconnected. I’ve looked for her over all these years and never found her. And even when I tell you about it, I feel so very sad. That’s the way Paul feels, as he deals with the people in Galatians. Let me mention it again, we’ll talk a little bit more about it tomorrow. We’re going to talk about new Christians and that’s what these people in Galatia were about. They were brand new Christians. I used to, I used to say that when somebody becomes a new Christian, ask them to give their testimony once, and then lock them up for a year and don’t let them out. Now, that’s kind of funny, because new Christians really do say some really silly things sometimes, and go some silly places, and do things they shouldn’t do. And it hurts the cause of Christ. So lock them up for a year, but I’ve found out that their enthusiasm, the reality of their walk with Christ, is often refreshing. In fact, for a cynical old preacher, I make a point of being around new Christians as much as I can, because they may not get the words right. They may not know the doctrines of the way they ought to know them. They may not understand the five points of Calvinism, or the 18 points of dispensationalism. They may not understand speaking in tongues. They may not do it right. But they smell like Jesus and you got to be around them before they get the disease. And it is a disease, isn’t it? It’s a, it’s something that happens in the church. And we got to watch it all the time, because as people learn the rules, they begin to think they can obey them all, and change the world, and walk in a way that will honor Christ. I had a friend who told me when he was a new Christian, he went up on a mountain and looked over the town where he lived and said, Lord, I’m the only one left. And I said, what did the Lord say? And he said, he laughed at me. You think about that. Amen.
Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians 4:12-20, about the proper care and feeding of new Christians. Yes, they have so much to learn, but also so much to teach us as well. We’ll continue from here tomorrow, sure hope you’ll join us then. So in this first month of this new year, you may be looking for something new to read. If so, may I humbly suggest the new 2021 Key Life Magazine? It features a great piece from Steve called You Can’t Fix It. It’s all about how sometimes for all of our praying and working and agonizing, there are just some things we can’t fix or change ,and that’s okay. Plus you’ll find great articles from other Key Life voices, including Chad West, Chris Wachter and Robin DeMurga. Why not grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email [email protected] and ask for the magazine. If you would like to mail your request, send it to
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