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Pronouns are important.

Pronouns are important.

JANUARY 5, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / Pronouns are important.

Steve Brown:
Pronouns are important. And I’ll tell you why on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
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.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the fourth chapter of the book of Galatians, as we continue to study this great book. And I’m not going to take the time to read that text to you again, I did it yesterday. And if you didn’t listen, you know, it’s over, unless you have a Bible, of course, but I’m going to be referring to it as we go along. Now I want to show you something, as we begin this study of praising God, a season of bragging on the father, which is the place where Christians, believe it or not find power. Now, let me, let me show you something interesting about pronouns. Incidentally, the study of pronouns in the Scripture is an amazing study, an insightful study. I don’t have time to go into it, but it really is amazing. But note the pronouns in this text, in Galatians 4:4-5.

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoptions as sons.

And then in the sixth verse.

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Do you see it? He goes from preaching to praise, you know, he’s making a theological point and an important point, and then he gets caught up in it so much that it turns to corporate praise. That’s what ought to happen with sermons. It doesn’t often, mostly, no, that’s not true. I’m being too universal with it, but sometimes you ever go to church and when you go, you feel like a wet shaggy dog, shaking yourself at the Miss America Pageant, or you, when you leave, you just think I’m going to find the nearest bridge and jump off of it. I am dirt. That’s all I am. And I’m going to eat dirt because I’m a sinner. That’s not what church is for. Church is a place where we start with the bad news and end with the good news. And then we dance and laugh. And unless if you’re a Presbyterian, you don’t do this, but if you’re not, you speak in tongues or whatever, cause it’s a joyous praise that follows. And, and an example of that is looking how Paul handles the pronouns in this text. And I thought I would point that out to you before we begin, started with preaching ended with praise, and that’s the way it ought to be. And if you think I’m throwing rocks at others, I’ve been on the wrong side of that in the pulpit myself. When I looked out and people look down and unhappy and sad and depressed. And they were leaving the church. And I wanted to say, Hey guys, come back here, sit down. I ‘ve got some more stuff I need to say to you, but you can’t do that. It’s too late. So I’m not just throwing rocks, but preaching ought to always lead to praising. Epictetus, when he was old and lame said this,

What can I, a lame old man, do then sing hymns to God.

If I were a nightingale, I would play the part of a nightingale, but I am a rational creature and I ought to praise God. This is my work, I do it, nor will I dessert this post as long as I’m allowed to keep it. And I exhort you to join me in the same song. That’s what we’re going to do. For the rest of this week and maybe into next week, we’re going to look at some of the things that made Paul into a cheerleader. What was he saying about God that was so good and needs to be remembered by God’s people? You might want to mark these 11 verses sometime and when you’re really down and when you really think that everybody thinks you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny, when you failed at something, you’ve blown it. You might want to go to these verses and remember what I taught you and what I taught myself as I read through these verses. So the first thing I want you to note that before time, the father has identified you and knows your name, look at Galatians 4:2.

But he

That would be the Christian.

is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.

Galatians 4:4-5.

When the time had fully come, God sent forth a son, so that we might receive adoptions as sons and daughters.

Galatians 4:9b

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God.

In other words, something was going on a long time ago, before you came along, you were going on a long time ago in the mind of God. Did I tell you about a former student of mine, who one of the professors at the seminary had taken him into his house. It’s a great story, and it illustrates what’s going on here. This guy, is a bit out of the box. And, one of the professors at the seminary where I was teaching at the time, his name is Jim Caufield, and he invited this young man to come and live with him. And, that was so, I mean, he needed a place to stay and that was, and he was so excited until he got to thinking about it and he thought to himself, what if I should really mess up and he has to kick me out? That’s going to affect my grade. What if, what if I do something bad and, or offensive, and I have that tendency and he kicks me out and then everybody’s gonna know I was kicked out and he’s gonna feel bad and I’m gonna feel, boy. So, my friend didn’t answer. And so Jim called him and said, did you make up your mind about whether you’re going to live with us? He said, Oh yeah, that’s so kind. I can’t tell you, but I’ve been thinking about it. What if, what if I do, what if I do something bad and you have to ask me to leave and Jim said, son, I just want you to know I made up my mind about you a long time ago. That’s what God has done. He made up his mind about you and about me before he created the mountains, before he hung the stars, before he flung the universe into existence, he made up his mind about you. How about that? He identified you and, you know, people always say, if you were the only person on the face of the earth, God would have still sent his son to die for you. And we say, oh sure, man. I don’t know if he’d go through that kind of effort for just, yeah he would. Cause he made up his mind about you a long time ago. And Jesus said, I’m the good shepherd, this is in John.

And I know my own and my own know me.

When we served in Boston, we had some friends who had adopted a Vietnamese child, through I think it was World Vision. They knew all about the little boy before he was, they went and got him and brought him back to the States and adopted him. And they became his parents. They received letters about him and his background. They had seen pictures. They knew how old he was and how much he weighed. And when after months of planning, they went and found the little boy and brought him back to the States. And they said to him or the husband did, he told him, even though the kid didn’t understand, cause he hadn’t learned English yet. Said, son we knew you, we loved you, we prayed for you, we have prayed for you and now you’re ours. Whoa. That’s what God says to us, I knew you. I made up my mind about you a long time ago. Now, as I’ve talked about this particular point that the apostle Paul brings up, if that doesn’t help you, make you feel better, make you want to praise God, to rejoice. If it doesn’t make you feel that way, there’s something wrong with you, you’re dead. They just haven’t buried you yet. I’ll tell you when it gets real bad, I think about that. And I want to pray, Lord, are you sure? And then Paul says in Galatians that his Spirit works in us and cries out “Abba! Father!” In other words, we know it’s true. That’s where praise comes from. That’s why we brag on the father. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Steve Brown there teaching us from Galatians about a season of bragging on the Father. Man, just talking about praising God, has gotten me feeling good. Let’s agree to meet here again tomorrow and we’ll keep learning from and studying the book of Galatians. Well, here we are 2021. And if I haven’t said it before Happy New Year and a new year means a new edition of our Key Life Magazine. And let me tell you, this is our best one yet. It features a dynamite article 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, there are other great articles from 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’d like to mail your request, send it to

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