Loneliness is a curse.
APRIL 20, 2021
Loneliness is a curse. And I’ll explain why on Key Life.
That was author and seminary professor Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace, because of what Jesus has done, God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it, if you will, to the fifth chapter of Galatians, we’re looking at the last part of that, and we’re still talking about freedom. That’s how that text opens.
For you were called to freedom.
How about that? And that really means you’re free. You know, there are a lot of things that Paul says in this text that would suggest well, that doesn’t sound very free to me, but you are. I think that the freedom that God has given us as Christians, is a freedom to do good and not evil, to be a obedient and not disobedient, but freedom presupposes that you have the freedom to do evil. You have the freedom to rebel. You have the freedom to be disobedient. Except, Jesus will take the fun out of it. He really will. He’ll change your wanter and your desires. And we talked about that yesterday, and we also talked about how freedom is magnified in knowledge, Galatians 5:21b.
I warn you, as I warned you before.
In other words, I told you the truth. I didn’t defend it, but it was the truth. And you know it was the truth. And if you listened. There is no excuse to devour one another. If you know the truth, you know that God wants to give you the fruit of the Spirit. If you know the truth, you know there’s certain places you shouldn’t go, and there certain things you shouldn’t do. It’s what’s been given to us, the freedom, and knowledge and freedom are always wedded together. Let me tell you something. I think by way of confession, but I know more than I do. I really do. I, you know, I’ve been doing this for very long time. I was over at the seminary where I taught for over 20 years this morning. And, one of my former colleagues was retiring and I wanted to tell him I loved him. And tell him that here at Key Life, I’m still kicking. We’re waiting for D D day, the day Steve drools or dies. But, but the truth, the knowledge that I, I really know more than I do. I taught at that seminary for years, and did other seminaries. I know more than you do, man, I’ve preached thousands of sermons. Where I dug into the Scripture to find out what the Scripture says. I know more than you do. This isn’t bragging, I’m just talking about fact. I’m a religious professional. You don’t want to go to a doctor who says, I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing. I mean, I know more than I do. You say, that’s obvious. If knowledge increased your obedience, you would be really obedient now. And you’re not. I know, that’s why I teach grace, because the flesh, as Paul said is against the Spirit and the Spirit is against the flesh, and you know it, and it’s a struggle. So deal with it. Then thirdly, as Paul talks about freedom. Not only is freedom, discerned and desire and magnified in knowledge, it is matured in relationship. Look, look at the 16th verse.
But I say, walk by the Spirit.
But if you were led by the Spirit, you’re not under the law.
Some seven times in these few verses, Paul speaks of the companion of the Christian, and that companion is the Holy Spirit. When I first went to college, there was an amazing plethora of choices. That was never true before, when I was in high school, you took what they told you to take. And you kept quiet about it. So you’d get your piece of paper and eventually get to college. Then you got to college and you had all kinds of choices. Everything was there and you could choose what court’s interested you and the direction you wanted to go in. I didn’t know what courses would help me in the field of endeavor I had chosen. I didn’t know what courses were good for me and ones that wouldn’t be, I didn’t know what courses were over my head or what courses were too easy. And I shouldn’t be bothering with those, but I had an advisor and the advisor came alongside and said, Steve, this is the the way you fulfill the direction in which you have decided to go. This is my advice to you that you take this and you don’t take this. And when I got my piece of paper and graduated, it was because of that advisor. That’s true with Christians too. We have a relationship with God’s Spirit. People get really irritated sometimes when I teach on freedom, and I say, you’re free to do evil. You really are, or it’s not real freedom. The real freedom comes, because you can do some things that are good and faithful, that you couldn’t do before, but you still have the opportunity to go in the other direction, if you should so choose. But something that I don’t often remind people of, and I just made a note to remind myself to say it more often. There’s somebody else involved in this process and it’s the third person of the Trinity and it’s called the Holy Spirit. If you check out the gospel of John, and we spent what 18 years studying John, what Jesus says is so important, I’m going to send you another comforter. I’m going to send someone to you who will teach you the truth, who will point you in the right direction, who will say go here and don’t go there. That’s the Holy Spirit. And that’s the relationship we have within the context of our freedom. The Holy Spirit is there, and there always. But there’s more than that, there’s a relationship with one another. Augustine said,
Thou hast created us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.
You’ve heard that quote a thousand times, and it’s true. But let me say a quote that is almost as important, but not quite.
Thou hast created us for each other, and our hearts are restless until we find each other.
That’s what the church is about, you know. You can’t do this by yourself. I’ve told you probably several times that I’m working on a new book, and I’m up to the eighth chapter of 10 chapters. And I believe I’m going to finish this thing. And when I started, I thought I can’t do this again. The title of the book is Laughter and Lament: The Touchstones of Radical Christian Freedom. And you know what chapter I’m working on right now, it’s titled the curse of loneliness. And it really is. You need me, even if you don’t like me. And I need you, even if I don’t like you. And within the context of freedom, that is an important thing to remember. Freedom is discerned in desire, magnified in knowledge. It is matured in relationship, a vertical relationship of a Holy Spirit, and a horizontal relationship with each other. This book is about lament and laughter, who knows, I’m a loner, you know, I want it to be me and the Holy Spirit and my wife and that’s about it. And God won’t let me do that, cause I have a joke that I want to tell. And when I’ve got a joke, I can hardly wait to tell somebody. And I’ve got tears sometimes that are painful and dark and come from a hard place. And I got to have somebody who will listen to the sound of my tears as they fall. And so people who are walking by the Spirit, become the connection with those who aren’t, because that connection reverses down the road and we all play those roles. If I’m in the light and you’re in the dark, I get to tell you what I can see in the light, and you can’t. And that’s why you need me. If you’re in the light and I’m in the dark, I got to have somebody who points to the light and encourages me that it’s there. And that’s why the relationship is so important to freedom. Freedom is discerned in desire, what do you want? It’s magnified in knowledge, what do you know? It is matured in relationship, who do you know? Now I don’t have time to spend much time on this, but we’ll talk about it tomorrow, but fourthly not only is freedom discerned in desire, magnified in knowledge, matured in relationship. It’s always secured in action, Galatians 5:18, led by the Spirit, where? Galatians 5:16, walk by the Spirit, where? At minimum, that is God saying, don’t sit around on a tack. If it hurts, get up and move it. Now I gotta move it, because I’m out of time. You think about it today. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, teaching us about freedom as he leads us through the letter to the Galatians. More good stuff tomorrow, sure hope you’ll join us again then. So I don’t know if there’s an official spectrum of hard times, but if there were on the left-hand side, it might say something like inconvenience or uncomfortable, but on the much darker right-hand side of the spectrum, that would be labeled suffering. If someone you love is sick or dying, or maybe you’re that person, maybe your child is in trouble or you’re suffering financially or in a relationship. Well, Jesus did tell us we would experience suffering, but he also gave us a promise that he would be with us in our suffering. Well, Steve wrote about his own experiences with suffering and a mini-book called When Life Falls Apart. He shares his challenges in an honest way, but also shares the hope he is found in the presence of Christ. If you’re going through it, please get this mini-book today for free 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, just send it to
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