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The name of the nameless.

The name of the nameless.

APRIL 4, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / The name of the nameless.

Steve Brown:
The name of the nameless, on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free, and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking, and if you’re just joining us and we started it on Tuesday, we’re looking at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. And we’re going to be spending a very long time talking about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit because frankly, we don’t very much. And when we do, we do it to cause a division and a fight in the church. That was never the Holy Spirit’s purpose. And so, it is good for God’s people to study this doctrine in depth. His job description is to point to the first and second persons of the Trinity. So, the Holy Spirit is kind of in the background doing amazing things. And I told you some of them yesterday and gave you Scripture. The Holy Spirit is involved in revelation, in application, in conviction, in calling and teaching, in saving, in reminding, in giving faith, in sustaining us, in unifying us, transforming us, empowering us, freeing us, comforting us. And sometimes we don’t even know his name. Now, it’s not that there isn’t a name given to God’s Spirit, it is. For instance, the Holy Spirit is referred to as oil in John 3:34. In John 1:30 through 34, the Holy Spirit is referred to as a dove. In Ephesians 1:13 as a seal. In Ephesians 1:14 as a guarantee. In Acts 2:3 as fire. And in John 3 the Holy Spirit is referred to as the wind. Okay, all of that is just kind of introduction to the direction in which we’re going. Now, let’s talk about something about which I’m an expert. Let’s talk about sin and the Holy Spirit’s involvement in sin and showing us where we’re sinning. If you have a Bible, open it to Ephesians 1:11 through 14.

In whom, Paul writes, Christ also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of his glory. In him also you trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is our guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.

Now, before we turn to the question of how the Holy Spirit sanctifies and makes us better, and points out our sin. I want to go down one side road and no matter what you hear and you think from what I’m going to be teaching about the Holy Spirit and sin, listen to me, you’re going to get better. The Westminster Shorter Catechism in answer to the question, what is sanctification says this.

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness.

I got an email from a pastor not long ago who was going through a really tough time. I dropped him a note and asked how he was doing and telling him that I was praying for him. And that those who were doing such horrible things to him and his ministry. I told him, I pray they get the hives, and you know what he wrote back? He said, thanks for your advice, and it was so good talking with you. I didn’t give him any advice. I just told him I was praying for him. And then tongue in cheek said, I’m praying that those who are doing bad things to your ministry get the hives. And yet, he thanked me for my advice. And I didn’t give him any advice. Who did, do you think, that was the Holy Spirit working alongside him and making his ministry better and better all the time. We as Christians obsess on getting better. We preach sermons on how you can get better in 10 easy steps. We write books on sanctification. We make people feel guilty and we say, If you love Jesus as you ought, you would be better. Or, after all Jesus has done for you and you’re not better, how could you? Let me tell you something, set all that aside. It doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with anything. You’re going to get better. Philippians 1:6 says this and don’t forget it cause it’s important.

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Right now, even if you don’t feel it, even if sometimes you think you’re getting worse. Right now, God, by his Spirit is working in you and you’re going to get better. Galatians 2:20 says.

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ in me.

And then Paul also said to the Corinthians.

That we have this treasure in earthen jars so that everybody will know it’s not us, but that it is Him.

And Paul also said.

If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation, and old things are passed away, and everything has become new.

Now, I would have you note, and I quoted a good bunch of Scripture to you. But none of that’s a commandment. Why is it not a commandment? Because you’re going to get better. Even if you don’t want to get better. And sometimes I don’t want to get better. You remember in the Book of Job, when Satan came into the throne room of God and God said, have you seen my servant Job? And I don’t want God ever saying that to Satan. I want to be on this side of sin. I don’t want God saying, have you seen my servant Steve? Because bad things happen to Job right after that, and I don’t want those bad things to happen to me. And even if I don’t want to get better, I’m getting better. And listen to me, in some significant ways, I am getting better significantly. You’ve heard me say on many occasions I thought I would be better by now, and that’s true. When I was a young pastor, I had heroes, and I thought, I’m going to be like them. If I study the Scriipture and pray and work at it really hard, and I never became the spiritual giant I was going to be, that’s the truth. I still struggle with some things I thought I shouldn’t be struggling with anymore. But let me tell you another truth. I’m better than I was. And as I said, in some ways, I’m significantly better than I was. And, I’m better than I was and don’t even know it. Let me tell you something that maybe you didn’t know. Did you know that self righteousness is one sin that never defines itself? In other words, people who are self righteous don’t know they’re self righteous. And unless the Holy Spirit or a friend who loves them tells them. They won’t know. Let me tell you something else. Righteous people don’t know they are righteous. And do you know why? Because God knows that true goodness can easily morph into self righteousness and arrogance and pride. And God would spare us and all of our friends and neighbors of that happening, becoming a spiritual jerk. And so, both unrighteous people and righteous people don’t know where they’re living. So, even if you don’t feel like you’re getting better, even if you don’t know you’re getting better, even if you don’t want to get any better, you’re getting better. And I don’t know about you, but that gives me a wonderful sense of comfort. It enables me to rest and not hustle so much. It enables me not to be so intentional all the time about getting better and about sanctification. It teaches me not to be obsessive about that because God has promised that once he found me, he was going to make me better. Buddy Greene used to say at our meetings when he would be leading worship.

Say to the person next to you, God loves you the way you are. Then say to them he loves you too much to leave you that way.

You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. And that wraps up the very first week in our new series on the Holy Spirit. This is going to be a good one. So, hope you’ll join us throughout the journey and be sure to join us again tomorrow for Friday Q&A when Steve and Pete will tackle this question. Is God through with me? Okay. You might know the answer to that one, but the why behind the answer makes all the difference.

Jesus is not surprised by my failures. Jesus is not annoyed by my quirks. Jesus is not wavering in his faithfulness to me. Jesus is not about to change his mind on me. Jesus is not regretting having a relationship with me. Jesus is not hiding from me.

That little excerpt was from an article slash poem by Alex Early and it is so good. You’ll find that piece in the latest edition of Key Life Magazine. Claim your free copy 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 the magazine. Or to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life magazine. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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