The proof is in the pudding.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
The proof is in the pudding. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and suffers. Because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. I hope you had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Galatians. This is a good news book. It really is. If you’re a legalist or a Pharisee, you won’t like it. I mean, if you like to manipulate people so you can get power, you’re not going to like this book. If you, if you’re a person who thinks that the Christian faith is basically rules and a little bit of grace, you’re not going to like this book. But if you’re normal, if you’re a great sinner and you need a great savior, this book is your book. It’s about freedom and grace and mercy. I got an email this morning from a pastor friend, actually a missionary friend, who has gotten grace in a wonderful way, that he’s forgiven and that God is merciful and that’s gotten him into a good deal of trouble. And he talked about somebody who had said that grace is not unconditional. And he wrote me and said, what’s with that? If it’s not, then I don’t have her prayer. He doesn’t and you don’t either, and this is the book and you can make it a companion, cause they’re sisters. Romans, a little bit more heady than go locations. But Romans and Galatians are the two books, if you’re on an Island and that’s all you get to bring, these are the ones that you want to bring. And we’re talking about, and we’ll get to it in a minute, Paul’s self definition. But before we do that, and by the way, if you have a Bible, you want to open it to the first chapter of Galatians, we’re going to be looking at verse six and then to the end of the chapter. Before we do that, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence, surprised we’re here. You know, nobody’s in the throne room of the universe. That’s crazy. We know we’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough. We’re not skilled enough. We’re not faithful enough. What ends world are we doing here? And then we remember you and the invitation. Welcome child, welcome. So we’re here because we’re your’s and by invitation of the King and we praise you and worship you because of it. Father, you know the people who are listening right now, you know the hard places in life, where the bumps and the cracks and the obstacles are so, so there. Grant great grace. And you know, those who are going through a good time now and things seem to be working and the sky really isn’t falling. Great grace is needed there too. And you are the provider of great grace and we thank you. And then father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, forgive him his sins, because there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Let me read the text to you one more time and we’ll finish up with this text at least this week, maybe before the end of the week, Paul writes starting at the sixth verse.
I’m astonished that you are so quickly deserted him who called you to the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel.
Now we’re going to be spending the next two or three weeks talking about the question, what in the world is the gospel? Paul says in this first paragraph of this text, that if anybody tells you different than what I told you, then may they be accursed. And then drop down to the 11th verse.
But I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I didn’t receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my father. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I’m writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still not known by site to the churches of Christ in Judea. They only heard it said, “He who was once persecuted is now preaching the faith he tried to destroy.” They glorified God, because of me.
What’s going on here? Well, Paul is defending himself is what he’s doing, but he’s not just doing that. He’s defending himself to himself. You know, if you’re serving as a Christian leader, there are times when you think, if you’re sane, what in the world am I doing? Am I crazy? I’ve got no business being here and teaching these people and leading these people. I’m not good enough and I’m not pure enough. So you’ve got to go back and you’ve got to analyze. And you got to say, is this, have I really been called? I mean, this is, is this what I’m supposed to do? And so Paul in the sense is defending himself to the Judaizers who had come into the Galatian churches, but he’s also doing some self-talk here. I know Paul, he’s a friend of mine and he’s saying to himself. Himself, you were called, you were set apart. Remember, that’s what you gotta do, sometimes, if you’re a Christian. You know, the biggest lie that Satan can tell about you. It’s the lie that if you were really saved, you wouldn’t, our producer Jeremy was kidding me before we sat down to record this broadcast and he laughed and said, you know, you got to find Jesus. Now, Jeremy was kidding about that. But some people are not, they don’t think I’m saved. And sometimes I wonder if I’m saved myself, the issue is assurance. So what do you do? Well, you do what Paul did you go back and you check and you remember, you remember where he found you, you remember what he’s done with you. You remember the changes that have taken place and the problems that he’s dealt with. You remember the reality of his presence in your life because Satan will try to cause you to forget. Satan says forget, and Jesus says remember. This is my body, this is my blood, remember. So, what Paul is doing is he’s remembering here, now we’ve seen a number of things. We see that Paul said to himself, and he said to those people, I’ve been confronted. That’s Galatians 1:11-12.
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel which preached by me is not man’s gospel. I didn’t receive it by man, nor was I taught it, but it came through revelation of Jesus Christ.
In other words, Paul, when he did some self-talk, thought to himself, I didn’t make this up. I didn’t get this from people who were whispering in my ear. This is from God himself. He was confronted, but he was also convinced, Galatians 1:8-9. We’ve seen this in Galatians 1:15-16. Totally convinced that the gospel was true. And then he was changed. Boy, was he changed, Galatians 1:13-16, he said
They don’t know about me, but they do know that the faith I tried to destroy, I’m now preaching and they praise God for it. And then he was consumed with passion.
Galatians 1:13-14 and in Galatians 1:15 and then fifthly, he was controlled, Galatians 1:15-16. He didn’t decide where he was going or what he was going to do, God decided. Now I have two or three more of these that I want to share with you. And I’ll do it tomorrow. But today as we land this plane, remember this. You didn’t dream this up. This is outside of you. You would have picked something that was a lot easier. It’s true. You’re his. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, resuming his exploration of the book of Galatians. Today, we looked at Galatians one, verse six, and through the end of the chapter, more from this important letter tomorrow, hope you will join us then. Well, as Steve touched on for the next few weeks, we’ll be answering the question. What is the gospel? A lot to unpack there, but we’re certainly on safe ground to say the gospel message is for sinners. The thing is though, sometimes we act like we no longer struggle with any sins. Maybe you’ve had some big questions. Is the Bible true? Is God really there? Why don’t I feel a certain way? If you’re looking for biblical answers to those questions, there’s a mini book we’d love to send you for free. It’s called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. Get your now, while supplies last, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the mini book by emailing St[email protected]. If you’re mailing us send your request to
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