You’re forgiven, okay? Deal with it.
JUNE 7, 2023
You are forgiven, okay? Deal with it. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer for the program, and our host is author and seminary professor Steve Brown. The church has suffered under do more, try harder religion for too long, and Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free.
Thank you Matthew. If you were listening yesterday, we talked about a God who wants to be close to us. I know, that doesn’t make sense. I mean, I can understand a God who’s distant. I understand the thunder and the lightning. I understand the pain that we deserve. I understand the fallen world. I understand all of that. But the truth of the Scripture, is that God wants to be close to you. And often the reason for that is our lament, the pain we suffer. I told you about a devotional where a little boy has a splinter in his thumb and his dad is called to take it out and loves being with his son because he loves his son. You’re his son. You’re his daughter. And he will do almost anything to be close to you, but there’s more than that. Radical freedom and infectious joy come from being aware of that. Like Zacchaeus and the prostitute I told you about yesterday, we are forgiven. Lament includes your repentance. As I wrote earlier, repentance is an attitude, not what you do. The Greek word for repentance means change a mind, not change. It is the awareness of God’s holiness and our lack of it. It’s knowing who we are, who God is, what He’s done, planned and thought, and going to God with it. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Actually, repentance is just the opposite. It is the surprising awareness that we are acceptable and forgiven because of the cross. Repentance is the road God created so we could experience the freedom of the forgiven and the acceptable. It’s not forgiveness if we promise to do better or acceptance based on our willingness to change, but the awareness that we are forgiven. I mean, really forgiven and acceptable, really acceptable, just as we are because of what Jesus has done for us. One of the realities that come from authentic and Biblical lament is not only the pain of it, but the sin involved in it. I have barely encountered in people, in myself or in the Bible, a lament that was divorced from personal responsibility and sin. It’s the death of someone we love, I should have. The loss of a job, I should have. A big time failure or loss, I should have done this or that. Or the fall of a nation, we should have done this or that. Even in lament over abuse, the victim often feels that he or she was responsible, even though of course that’s not the case. The guilt we feel in the pain, both legitimate and illegitimate is a part of it all. The gift of lament is repentance. The gift of repentance is forgiveness. And forgiveness is the road to freedom. Do you remember where Jesus found you? I do. I remember the meaninglessness and the darkness and the guilt. Someone told me.
Christ died for the ungodly and God shows his love to us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6 and 8. I remember the relief when I realized the Bible was talking about me. I was free. And not only that I was forgiven. What they didn’t tell me and should have was that the gospel wasn’t just for beginning my journey with Christ, but it was for the entire journey. I am still ungodly sometimes, sinful albeit maybe some better. I still need and must draw on the grace I experienced the first time I ever met Jesus. I remember the first time a retired pastor and his wife visited the church where I was the pastor. They came because their daughter had been loved there and they loved their daughter. Their daughter’s life had been radically changed because of that love, and they knew it. The church from which the pastor and his wife had retired was straight, traditional, legalistic. One Sunday the pastor’s wife detected the smell of pipe smoke on me, and her daughter said she was greatly offended and said she would never come back to the church again, but she did. Her love for her daughter, I suppose, was greater than her being offended by me. In fact, she and her pastor husband became regulars at the church, A place where sinners found God’s grace was a lot bigger than they thought it was. I’ll never forget this Sunday morning, the pastor’s wife hugged me. I was shocked. She said, Steve, you still smell like smoke. And then she said with tears streaming down her smiling face. And I feel like, I feel like I’m living a brand new life. You’re forgiven. What if you, what if you go out and do the other thing? Well, when Peter asked Jesus about it, Jesus said, it’s unlimited. If he sins against you seven times, forgive him 70 times 70. Forgive him because dear friend, that’s what God does. You are forgiven. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. More to explore tomorrow as we continue our journey through Steve’s new book, Laughter and Lament. Join us for that, won’t you? Well, I am really excited to tell you about a new offer. It’s new, but it’s old. Actually, the better word is classic. God and the Devil is a sermon based on Ephesians 6. One of Satan’s greatest strategies is to convince us that he doesn’t exist when he really does. In this message, you’ll learn why Satan exists and how to arm yourself against him using seven weapons in the Christian’s arsenal. Take a listen to part of that message, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer. Here’s Steve.
How in the world can a reasonably intelligent and reasonably educated individual still believe in a worn out concept like the devil? Not too long ago, a friend of mine was witnessing in the home of some other friends, and one of the men in the family came up to him when he heard that he was talking about God and he said, I’ll tell you something, I don’t believe in God. And my friend said, well listen, you tell me the kind of God that you don’t believe in, I may not believe in him either. I would suggest that there are a lot of people who don’t believe in the devil for the same reason, that they don’t believe in God. Their ideas are immature and worn out. Did you notice how fast the God is dead movement died? Well, I’m not so sure it should have died so quickly because you see there are a lot of gods who are already dead, who never existed, and they ought to die. I don’t believe in Santa Claus god. I don’t believe in an old, worn out, but wise man who sits in the heaven. I don’t believe in a celestial Emily Post, and I don’t believe in that kind of god for the same reason that I don’t believe in a devil who has horns, a pitchfork, and runs around in a weird red suit. This morning and two Sunday mornings from now, I want to give you a basic course for moderns on old slew foot, the devil. I want to introduce you to some information that you as a believer will ignore only to your own detriment. The information is about a personality so evil that most Christians can’t even comprehend that evil. Today, I want to introduce you to a being who is as evil as God is good, as selfish as God is unselfish, as hateful as God is loving. His name is Satan, and he cares about you. Let’s read together, Ephesians 6:10 through 12. These are the verses for the first part of this two-part series, Paul writes.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wilds of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.
All right, let’s check those few verses and see what they have to say to us this morning. The first thing which becomes immediately apparent to anyone who takes the time to read these verses and think about them is that the apostle Paul believed in the reality and the personality of evil. When I was in junior high school, a young man whom I did not know came and challenged me to a fight. My friends who did know this young man came to me and said, Steve, don’t you worry one bit. He’s a pushover. Steve, they said, you can whip him with one hand tied behind your back. And so, I didn’t worry and I got clobbered. So this morning, it would be much easier for me to say, look, you don’t have to worry about a thing. I could say, look, all of the pseudoscience that you’ve heard is true. Satan doesn’t exist. It’s a symbol of evil, metaphorical personification of evil. And you would say, well, good, at least the pastor hasn’t gone off the deep end. But ladies and gentlemen, if I should say that to you this morning, I would be lying. If I should say that to you this morning, I wouldn’t be faithful as my calling as a Bible teacher. When the battle came, when the storm would begin to whirl about your head, you would lose that battle. Somebody who said one of the finest acts that Satan has ever performed by way of strategy is to convince moderns that he doesn’t exist.
And you thought that last line was from a movie. That’s good stuff, right? So, grab your copy of this sermon on CD for free right now. Call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD or to mail your request go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD titled God and the Devil. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or gift safely and securely now by text, just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that the 28950 then follow the instructions. 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.