There is an earthy side of the Christian faith.
MARCH 4, 2021
There is an earthy side of the Christian faith. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
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 a phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open it to the fifth chapter of Galatians and we’re looking at a rant. And it’s, and, and it’s not mine, it’s Paul’s. Paul is in this text saying some very strong things about freedom. Now we’ve seen that freedom isn’t passive, by which we looked at a side road. And we’ve seen that you have to stand with it. And yesterday we talked about there being nothing you can do about your salvation. Nelson Bell was an acquaintance of mine. He was Billy Graham’s father-in-law, and he was never known for mincing his words. He was once asked to pray at the graduation of a college. And he asked the president, if he could say a few words about salvation. And then the president told him that he was only scheduled to pray, stick to praying. And so he prayed something like this. Oh Lord, there are two kinds of people here in this auditorium. Some are saved and some are lost. Bring the lost to the light of salvation. He was making, he was right. He was making a point, you know, you either are, or you aren’t. And if you are, deal with it. If you aren’t, try to do something about it, and you’ll be glad that you did. Did I tell you about the time I was at a church in Atlanta, and it was an evening service and they lost the electricity and everything went out. And, I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. And it was a big auditorium and I, so I felt my way down to the first row, from the platform. And, you know, people were kind of nervous, cause the thunder was going, they were afraid they were going to be tornadoes. And, I said, Hey, listen to me. And boy, did they get quiet fast. I said, I said, we’re all going to die. And, if you die in church, that’s probably a good thing. And they kinda laughed, but not a big laugh, cause we were all a little bit nervous. And then I said, listen, if you, if you’re not a Christian, if I were you I’d do something about that, like quick. I mean, you can tell Jesus, at the throne, that you died in church and it might help, but I don’t think it will much. So if I were you, this was called evangelism under the gun. If I were you, I would myself run to Jesus, like yesterday, and get this thing settled. What was I saying? The same thing that Nelson Bell was saying. And by the way, some people found Christ that night, at that church. I was saying, either you are, or you aren’t, and if you are it’s settled and you can’t do anything about it. If you’re not, you can do something about it. And if you’ll ask me, I’ll tell you. Well, I’ll better tell you now, because I might not get another chance, you never know. Go to Jesus and say, I’ve messed this thing up and I’m not good enough for you to accept me. Could you apply your Cross to me? And at that instant he will, and you will be his, and you can’t add to it and you can’t subtract from it. Let me show you, I’ve got to say something about this, so I’m going to do it, and then we’re gonna, we’re gonna spend next week. And maybe start it today, but we’re going to look at false teaching. And some things that we need to know about false teaching. But I do want you to note that 12th verse, I almost hesitate to bring it up, but it’s there. And if it’s there and I’m a Bible teacher, I ought to at least say something about it. In the 12th verse, Paul says, I wish those who unsettle would mutilate themselves. Now you need to know, that what I’m going to say here is not necessarily for delicate ears. Paul is here using some very earthy language. He’s saying that he wishes those who urged circumcision, would go ahead and complete the job. And you have to, in the English translations, you have to kind of soften it for tender Christian ears. But Paul didn’t soften it, when he said it. You know the name Clarence Jordan, he’s the founder, he’s in heaven now. He’s the founder, was the founder of Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia. And that has, that’s some of the soil out of which some really great ministries like Habitat grew out of that. He was an amazing guy and he was a Greek scholar, had a PhD in Greek. We invited him to the seminary in Boston, the graduate school, where I was then in attendance, because of his work and Americus. And you know, that place was this side of wacko liberal, but we didn’t believe anything. And, but he had done some good stuff, so they cut him slack and they invited him. And as soon as he got into the pulpit, they found out he really believed this, every word of the Greek. Not only did he know Greek, he believed in the Bible, every word that was written there and didn’t mind proclaiming it. And it was a great week for me. It was one of the, one of the reasons that I joined the opposition, after graduating from that graduate school. And, and I rise up and called Clarence Jordan blessed. But he, one of the things that he did and I’m listen, I’m getting to the point, just stay with me. One of the things that he did is that he translated the Bible and particularly the New Testament, into the common, ordinary language that really references the Koinonia Greek that was used in the New Testament. And, he didn’t mince any words. In fact, he used some words that I wouldn’t use. It was, if you want to get it, it’s called the Cotton Patch version of Scripture. And it’s an accurate translation and you’ll be offended, because, you know, sometimes Christian faith is pretty earthy. We have learned to be nice and say nice and live nice, but that’s not true of what the church is supposed to be. We’re supposed to have dirt under our fingernails. We’re supposed to be people who are bold, who know how to say it without shilly shally. And Paul did that, and we should do that too. We, we shouldn’t always watch our words and always be nice. Sometimes you gotta speak. Sometimes you got to speak truth to power. Peter Cartwright, he was one of the early circuit writers. I have a book in my library that is titled Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand, which is about circuit writers, boy they were something else. In other words, they were pretty earthy. Peter Cartwright used to say, when he would come to a new town, where he was going to preach the gospel, he would turn to his colleagues and say, gentlemen, I smell hell. Then he would proceed to proclaim the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ. Listen to me, Jesus didn’t die to make you sweet. He died to make you effective. Christ didn’t die to make you precious. He died to get you excited. So, like Peter Cartwright, you go to a hard places and you speak the hard truth that sets people free. When Jesus told us that we were to be salt, the salt of the earth in the Sermon on the Mount, what do you think he meant? That’s what he was talking about. What I was just teaching. And sometimes I’d rather just be nice and, and I’d rather be sweet and have everybody to like me, but Jesus said you’re salt and salt has some taste to it. Has some zest to it. It’s something that if you pour in a wound, it’s going to hurt. Salt and you’re salt and you’re here, because you’re salt, so don’t shilly shally. Now, I don’t have to, I don’t have the time today to go into it, but we’ll talk about it next, next week. We’re going to talk about false teaching. And we’re not only going to look at this text. We’re going to look, at a number of other texts that have to do with false teaching. Listen, that’s an important subject. The truth needs to be spoken truly. My late friend Francis Schaeffer called it true truth and it needs to be spoken clearly. False teaching, even if it sounds nice, will kill you. You think about that. Amen.
That was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Galatians 5 about freedom. If you’re free, deal with it. And if you’re not free, well, what are you waiting for? Run to Jesus. Steve we’ll continue our tour of Galatians next week, but first, tomorrow, it’s time again for Friday Q&A. That means our friend Pete Alwinson will swing by and together, he and Steve will answer the challenging questions you’ve sent in. Well, you know that every time this day we offer you a free gift and today is no exception, but there’s a gift God has offered us too, the gift of obedience. You know, responsibility to a sovereign, loving God is not a bad deal, but feeling constrained by the expectations of others, that is a bad deal. So, how can we be truly free in Christ? Well, you may be surprised by the answers, which Steve outlines in a little booklet called The Gift of Obedience. Get your copy right now, while supplies last, by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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