There is religious sin.
APRIL 13, 2021
There is religious sin. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you are just joining us yesterday, by the way, we’re looking at the fifth chapter of Galatians, verses 13 through 25. And, in that particular text, the apostle Paul talks about the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. One is plural, and one is singular. And we’ll say something about that a little later, but I’m taking the time, because Paul took the time to give a list. And then he says, you ain’t going to heaven, if you’re into all of that. And every Christian I know winces, because one or two or maybe more of that list are a part of our lives. Well, that’s an on what Paul was talking about. He’s talking about lives that are characterized by the works of the flesh. Lives that when you think of that person, you think of these lists of the works of the flesh. He’s not talking about sin, we’re all sinners. And then he opens and this should be no surprise given how big it is. He opens with a list and we saw this yesterday of sexual sin, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, disregarding the standards. And Paul says that because it’s such a big deal. And it causes so much damage to Christians and to pagans, I have a friend, and we were at dinner the other night and he said to me, you know, I’ve been really surprised of late of how much I have started to accept, as normal. I said, what are you talking about? And he said, well, there were, there was a time in my life when some things were just forbidden. You didn’t log them. You didn’t talk about them. You didn’t pretend there weren’t problems. You acted like you, you, you knew what God said, but now when I watch television, when I go to movies, when I read books, normalcy has been defined down and I’ve learned to accept it. And I said, well, what are you going to do about it? And he said, I’m repenting. I’m going to go back to the Scripture to set the standards. Now people are not going to like you, if you do that. They’re going to think you’re a neanderthal, and you don’t have to talk about it all the time. Cause that’s weird too. But, as a matter of fact, the Scriptures tell us there are dangers. And we need to be very careful about sexual matters. And Paul says when he puts the list, and he starts it with sexual things and then believe it or not, he goes to religion. He lists idolatry and sorcery, here Paul is speaking to the heart of the issue of sin, refusal to worship the God of the universe, the true God. Idolatry is the worship of false gods. And sorcery is the active worship of Satan. Good night. You know, religion, even good religion will make you weird if you’re not careful and it can turn into idolatry. I know pastors who serve the church, who eventually worship it. I know Christians, who love God and study theology, and the theology becomes a substitute for God. I know brothers and sisters in Christ, and I’m part of it, sometimes who get so caught up and toxic religion, everything about religion that we lose Jesus somewhere in the mix. Karl Barth, after his lifelong study, 13 volumes of the institutes of the Christian religion, multiple volumes of theology, was asked what he learned. He was an old man. He was asked what he learned after all of that. And he said, I’ve learned,
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
And even though I have some problems with Karl Barth and his theology, when he said that, I thought, he’s ours, and he’s right, and he’s got it. Yeah, you can actively worship Satan, and some do that. You can have idols that are far more important to you than God himself. Somebody the other day was talking about a cow, that got lost in the streets of a town in California, and three people knelt down and worshiped him. You know, we do have our idols, things that are very important to us and more important than God, and Paul, when he lists the works of the flesh begins to look, not only at sexual sin, but at religious sin. You have to be very careful. You know, there really is a God, a God you didn’t create. And, when you ignore that reality, the sovereign creator and ruler of the universe, and you start looking at other things, you don’t then believe in nothing when you don’t believe in him, you believe in anything. And that’s a dangerous place to be, and it should be no surprise to anybody that Paul, when he’s giving the list of the works of the flesh, that Paul brings up religious sin. And then Paul talks about relationships. Look at that verse,
enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy.
That part of the works of the flesh is longer than any of the others. And do you know why? Because this is the place where things go south, all the time. I one time heard Sidlow Baxter, he’s was one of the finest Bible teachers I’ve ever heard, but he said,
Satan will get you, and nine times out of ten, it will be with your brother and sister in Christ.
Now in a couple of weeks, we’re going to look at the sixth chapter, we’re, well it may be longer than that. I’m not in any hurry. We’re going to be, spend some time, detailed time, talking about this particular problem. But note that Paul here speaks of these things that destroy relationships between Christians. Jesus said this, he said, the world will know us by the fact that we don’t smoke. No, he didn’t say that. The world will know us by our purity. No, he didn’t say that. He said, the world will know us by how much theology and doctrine we get right. No, he didn’t say that. He said,
The world will know us by our love for one another.
And so, that becomes really important. And we’re going to spend some time when we get to the sixth chapter, talking about this a lot. We have over 4,000 pastors, who are on the mailing list of Key Life. And so, I talk to a lot of pastors every week. If you write to Key Life, I might not see it. Sometimes I will, but maybe not, because we get so much mail and so many e-mails and so many phone calls, that I simply can’t deal with all of them. But if you’re a pastor. And you e-mail Key Life or you call Key Life or you send a letter to Key Life, that goes immediately to my desk. And so I spend a good deal of time talking with pastors. I spoke to one this morning who had a leader in his church, resign. And he sent me the letter that this leader had written to my friend, the pastor, and I listen, I’m no longer a pastor, but I winced when I read the letter, because the leader is leaving and he’s angry, and he’s angry particularly at the pastor. I got that. And we talked and we prayed, and I told my pastor friend, when they died on me, I took it personally. Man, when somebody like this comes along, I don’t even know what to do about it, but the division and the acid that, that brings in the church, you know what I told my pastor friend? Now, I was using a metaphor and I don’t drink, I can’t. So, don’t send me letters, but I said, son, get a bottle of champagne, call the rest of the leaders and get down and have a party. And whatever you do, don’t let them see you sweat. Listen, it is so important in the body of Christ, cause, we’re going, my pastor said last week, you better learn to get along with each other, cause you’re going to be together, even if you don’t like the thought for all of eternity. And I looked around when I said, really, I don’t know if I want to do that. And Jesus said, deal with it now. That’s what Paul was saying here. Deal with it now. Become somebody, when you walk in the family of God, somebody who’s a benediction, a blessing to the soul of your brother or sister. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, continuing to guide us through Galatians. Tomorrow, the question from Tina Turner. What’s love got to do with it? Well, as we learned today, from Galatians 5:14, the answer is kind of everything. Speaking of love, you know, that on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc, we love our guests, and we’ve been blessed with some really great ones, but every now and then it’s just us, no guests. And that’s what happened back in January. On that episode, we discussed our current political and cultural climate and explored some challenging questions. Like what is a believer to do? How do we demonstrate grace in a graceless age? If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the news of the day? This is the episode for you. Get the whole thing on CD for free, just by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylire.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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