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Self-righteousness will kill you.

Self-righteousness will kill you.

DECEMBER 8, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / Self-righteousness will kill you.

Steve Brown:
Self righteousness will kill you. Let’s talk about it 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 third chapter of Galatians, as we continue with our study in Galatians. If you were listening yesterday, I ran out of time before I ran out of words. I hate it, when I do that. I’ve got so many things. I’ll tell ya, one time I was trying to raise money for a building program. Listen to the old guy, never take advice from a pastor who’s been through more than one building program. If they’ve gone through one, it’s inexperience. If they go through two, there’s something wrong with them, if they go through three, you ought to become a Buddhist. I’ll tell you, man, it’s, it was, and I called a friend of mine who was known for raising money, and I said, John, how do you raise money for these kinds of things? And he said, you know what I do. I tell my wife and my secretary to hold all call, and I sit at my desk and I think about the project until I’m so excited about it. I can’t stand it. And then I’d go out and ask for money. Well, that was good policy, but it’s also a good policy for teaching too. It really is, you know, I really believe this stuff. And not only do I believe it, I’m passionate about it. And when I think about it and think about teaching you about it, I can hardly wait to tell you some neat stuff. And, then I look at the clock, we have a big screen in this studio and our producer, Jeremy has a computer program that time’s everything and yells at me and changes colors when I’m running out of time. And it’s irritated, when you’re just getting started on telling somebody something important and the clock cuts you off. That happened yesterday, so I’m going to start where I stopped. We were talking about self-righteousness and we were looking at the kingdom mentality. We’ve noted that the kingdom is not only moral and incarnational, it’s international, it’s cross-cultural and equal Galatians 3:28.

There’s neither Jew nor Greek. There’s neither slave nor free. There’s neither male or female.

And I pointed out, and it needs to be said often, because the church has gotten such a bum rap from shallow, empty people, who’ve never read a book. Biblical Christianity has given women dignity, equality and more intrinsic worth in this world than all of the movements in the world combined. And let me say for that much of the nonsense written today about the place of Christianity and oppression of women is simply a bum rap uninformed, shallow, childish. The truth is that freedom from slavery, freedom from oppression, of speaking of truth, the culture has been a manifestation of the church from the very beginning. And yesterday we were talking about our racial problems and I said, the people you think are going to fix it are not going to fix it. And self-righteousness certainly isn’t gonna fix it. I mean, there are a lot of reasons for instance, that my African American brothers and sisters, a lot of reasons that they ought to be angry about. I get that. And I’m so sorry for what’s been done. I have my Jewish friends, whom I love more than you can tell who have gone through more persecution and Antisemitism than you can imagine. And I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and the poor there have been used and abused and they have the right to be angry. But let me tell you something that’s really important. And it’s at the heart of the Christian faith. Every one of them, the black and the white, the Jews and the Goyam, the poor and the rich, the people in a third world country and the sophisticated elite on the top floor of a building in downtown New York, every one of them have one thing in common and they can’t get away from it, and that is, they are sinners and not just little sinners, but big sinners. Every time we talk about changing the name on a building, or tearing down a statue. I get that, you know, I really do, but who you’re going to replace it with? I mean, every time you put up a statue, when you look at the biography, you find out the reality of the feet of clay, everybody has, no exception, any place, no exception in countries, countries do bad things. They always have, and probably always will. The reason I don’t trust politicians, is because power corrupts and I’m old enough to have seen it over and over and over again. So what are we going to do? Let me tell you, you repent, you confess, you become aware of your own sin, and then you become aware of a great savior. And in that context, which is universal and deep and profound in that context, there is hope. And I don’t know where else there is, we’re killing each other out of self righteousness. We’re destroying people out of self righteousness. We’re taking countries and just corrupting them, because of self-righteous. Let me tell you something, that I want you to remember, and it’s this. If you no longer believe in the real God, you don’t then believe that nothing, you believe in anything. And if you have taken away a religion that has at its heart, redemption and forgiveness, then all you got left is you and what you think. And the only way you can react to the world, the way it is, is to say they are bad, and I am good. They are flawed, and I have it together. They are hateful, and I am loving and you become a self-righteous twit and the racial problems and the cultural divisions, become greater and greater. There’s only one way that I know, and that is, I’m a sinner. He just showed me, there are so many things I’ve thought and done and said that are so bad. And for somebody else, another ethnic background, another racial background, another class background to say, you know, me too, then, and only then can we talk. That’s the story solution. I don’t know of any other. And it has to do with Jesus, who came not for the elite, he didn’t come for the rich only, he didn’t come for one group or one culture. He came for the sick, and that would be you, certainly not me, I’m ordained, but it would be you and me as much as anybody that I know. The apostle Paul, when he wrote Galatians understood this, he didn’t just say there’s no Jew or Greek, and other things out of the blue, he understood because he said before, it is a saying worthy of full acceptance,

That Christ Jesus came to save sinners, and I am the chief of sinners.

When he talks about the treasure and he writes to the people in Corinth, he says,

We have this treasure in earthen vessels.

What does that mean? That means, that means we ain’t much. It is amazing that we have been accepted in a club that has a qualification. And the only qualification is that you not be qualified. The treasure in earthen vessels means that we recognize our sins, our failure and we cut slack for other people who are exactly like us. Maybe not in the specifics, but exactly like us. And once you know that you don’t have any trouble repenting or confessing, you don’t have anything to protect anymore. You don’t have to look for power and leverage and money. You don’t have to be looked up to by anybody. Once you get it, it becomes the solution to the racial problems that we’re facing right now and the pile of other problems. And we, we as Christians sometimes miss it. I mean, we think the church is a gathering place for good people and we’ll bring other people in, who are bad and they can become good like us. Stop it. Just stop it. Luther said, we’re great sinners. And we have a great savior. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians 3, about the dangers of self-righteousness and the importance of having a kingdom mentality. Even more good stuff tomorrow, do not miss that. So tell the truth, did you ever try to secretly open a present early? I was a good kid, so I never did that, but boy, I sure shook some presence in my day. You can believe that. Well, in that spirit, and even though Christmas is still a few weeks away, we have a present we’d like to send you. It’s a CD featuring 2019’s Christmas episode of Steve Brown Etc. Listen, if you order this, just to hear Steve read the Christmas Story, it would still be worth it. Get your copy now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to [email protected]. By mail, writer us at

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