This stuff is not easy.
APRIL 7, 2021
This stuff is not easy. I’ll explain on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life here to let Christians know that God isn’t mad at them. Keep listening and you’ll hear that because of what Jesus has done, you’re welcomed home into the family of God, because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at freedom and we’re defining it by what it’s not. And you have to be careful with this, or you. And I’m going to talk about it in a little bit. You’ve got to get grace, before you go down this road. If you don’t, the road will kill you. And we’ve seen that freedom is not license, it’s not independence, it’s not a disobedience, it’s not indulgence. Let me show you something else, freedom is not easy, Galatians 5:17.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.
Now. Paul talks about that in Romans 7, when he says, very clearly.
The good that I want to do is not what I do. And the evil I don’t want to do, that’s what I do. What’s wrong with me? Oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death.
If you don’t get that, then you haven’t been a Christian very long. This is not easy stuff. I’ve said on numerous occasions that I was doing fine before Jesus came along and messed up my life. And there’s a sense now I, more than anything, I’m glad he did. I mean, I can’t think of life bereft of the presence of Christ, I really can’t. It is the core of my being. It’s the core of who I am, but still I wanted to say, and have said on occasion, God, this is not fair. God, you shouldn’t treat your kids this way. You, you know, I know I’m free, but boy that’s hurts a lot and this is not easy. The Christian life, really isn’t, when Jesus said take up your cross, you know, he, wasn’t talking about a little cross you wear around your neck. He said, I’m going to make you free. You’ll always be forgiven. You’ll always be loved. And I’ll always be there. But if you think this is going to be easy, you’re crazy. I listened to a video sermon yesterday by a guy by the name of Voddie Baucham, I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it right. And he said, it was a video about the reason Christians have to fight, for the verities of the Christian faith. And this thing is not easy. You do, you have to stand. You have to put on the armor of God. You gotta be free. And then there’s another reason that freedom is difficult. We don’t like it. You ever notice how when a child first starts walking, they’ll go into another room, but they keep coming back to make sure that mom or dad are still there. Still safe. Still okay. Well, we’re going to like that too. You know, we get free and we get out there and we know we are genuinely free and we think of the time when all you had to do was obey a few rules, be nice and smile, and you felt fine. Now you’re free. And that can be really scary. It means big failure. And it means big success. And it means big risk. And so, freedom is not easy. He never promised us a rose garden, he really didn’t. As Bonhoeffer said, and it’s been quoted so often, it’s become a cliche.
When Jesus bids a man come, he bids him come and die.
Whoa. You didn’t say that at the beginning, but it’s true. So it’s not easy. And remember you’re not home yet. Remember that this is not easy, but you’re not home yet. That old story of the missionary who came to the New York Harbor and a band was there to greet him. And, and he found out later that they were not there to greet him after 20 years on the mission field, they had come to greet Teddy Roosevelt. And he stood on the dock alone and he said, God, he comes home and he’s got a band. I don’t have any band, nobody’s greeting me. And a voice from heaven said, son, you’re not home yet. Oh man, sometimes I say to God, I wouldn’t do this for anybody but you. I didn’t sign on for this, I didn’t mean this was, people don’t like me, and they used to. I, I didn’t, freedom’s not easy. And then there’s one other thing before we end this particular part. And that is that freedom isn’t legalism either, Galatians 5:18.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you’re not under the law.
And someone is saying, sure, it sounds to me like I’m under another kind of law. No you aren’t. Because first you were accepted no matter what you do. And that will always be true. If you’re a believer, you can’t live for him completely till you get home. But he still loves you. If you live against him completely, he will still love you. Paul says, walk by the Spirit. Don’t, fulfill the desires of the flesh, cause sanctification will take place. And you’ll find that you can be a obedient when you couldn’t before. Legalism is when a Christian tries to make the anti thesis true, and it’s not. And don’t take anything that I’ve taught you the last two or three weeks of this teaching wrong. Okay? Or you’ll get the hives. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, teaching us from Galatians and looking at freedom and what it is and what it isn’t and what it isn’t is easy. So if you know this show Key Life, you probably know our favorite megachurch pastor Zach Van Dyke. Yeah. He fills in for Steve here about once a month. What you may not know is that way back when Zach decided he didn’t believe in God any more. Why? Because he felt like he didn’t measure up. He felt like God didn’t love him. Didn’t care. But in his distress, Jesus showed up. Zach talks about what he learned in a sermon called The Addict, The Accuser and The Advocate. Take a listen to part of that talk, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Zach.
Zach Van Dyke:
About two months ago, I decided that I didn’t believe this stuff anymore. I decided I didn’t believe in God and ever since I was little, I’ve been a perfectionist. And my mom tells me that when I would come home in middle school, with the test that got it and where I got a 99, I would be crying because I didn’t get a hundred, cause I wanted to be perfect. And so I think I’ve always struggled with that. And there was part of me that when I took this job as the youth pastor here, about four years ago, that thought, you know, once I become a religious professional, I would get pretty close to perfect and my life would get a lot better and I would desire to sin less. And my sins would almost vanish. And two months ago I was sitting in my office and I was just thinking, I don’t think I’m that much better than I was. And I was thinking like, I really, my capacity to desire sin is so great. It feels even greater than it did before I took this job. And I started really feeling bad about who I was and I started feeling bad about myself and, and I just, I, I decided, I said, if, if, if it’s true and I’m acting this way and I’m feeling this way and I’m desiring these things, if it’s really true, Then, what I was hearing was that God didn’t love me, or that he was really angry with me. Or even worse, that he’s apathetic towards me. And he just, he just doesn’t care. And so I, I let the thought enter my mind. Well, what if it’s not true? What if, me feeling bad about myself. What if me never being able to measure up. Or, what if the reason I’m so tired from trying is because I’m trying to please someone who doesn’t exist. And I kind of sat in that for a little while and all of a sudden I kind of felt a weight lifted off and I thought this feels kind of good. I don’t have to please anyone anymore. And so I left work. It was a beautiful day outside. I had a blanket in the back of my car. I went and found a place outside that I didn’t think I’d run into anyone. And I laid the blanket down on the ground and I laid there for about three hours and I didn’t pray. And I didn’t talk to God because I chose to believe that he didn’t exist. And I really rested all of a sudden, I didn’t feel like I had to do anything, I had to prove anything, I had to try to be better, I could stop feeling bad about myself and who I was in the things that were inside me. And I had a great day until I went home and I told my wife, Kelly about my discovery and she was not happy about it at all. And I tried to convince her like, no, you understand, like I’m going to be a different person now. Like I can be a better husband. I can be a better father because all of a sudden I’m not going to have all these expectations and I’m not going to be depressed anymore. And so you should really be happy too, and you should stop believing. And she, she did not bite. And she actually got really upset and we had a rough couple of days. And after about two days of my unbelief, I decided I needed to come into work and, and quit. Cause I can’t be the youth pastor and not believe in God. And so, although, well, anyways, I came into the office on Wednesday, and I didn’t know if I was going to resign. I didn’t know what I was going to say. And I started getting really scared because my whole life I’ve believed this, my whole life I’ve been raised in this. And to, to walk away from it all seemed, really dramatic.
You got to hear this full sermon. That’s why we put the whole thing on a CD, that we would love to send to you for free. If you have ever struggled with believing, like Zach, then please call 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
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for your free copy of the CD from Zach called The Addict, The Accuser and The Advocate. And finally, if you are able, would you please give to Key Life? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just grab your phone and 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.