You’re free. Let it go to your head!
APRIL 5, 2021
You’re free. Let it go to your head! Let’s talk on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace, grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great Easter week-end and the celebration was joyous and your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. I remember a hundred years ago when I was a young pastor and a fairly new believer. I was sitting in my study, just before the Easter service. And it hit me that Jesus really came back from the dead, not, you know, I knew the text and I was in graduate school in Boston and you know, I was studying all of this, but I mean, and I think it was God’s Spirit came. And just with a, two-by-four said, dummy, this is not theology. It’s not religion. It’s Jesus. And I realized that he was in the congregation and I, you know, I would’ve said, I knew that before, but that Sunday, it was a reality to me that I hadn’t seen before. And you should have heard that sermon, man, I sounded like Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon. I mean, it made all the difference in the world. So, I hope you had a great weekend. We’re back in our study of Galatians and we’re looking to Galatians, the fifth chapter:13 through 25, and the overall theme is freedom and grace or as Zach says, it’s all about grace. But before we get down into study, let’s pray. Father, as we come into your presence, we can still smell the week-end. And the joy and the reality of the Resurrection. Father, thank you, thank you for making that so clear, to give so much evidence to remind us that Jesus is alive at this very moment. Father, don’t let us forget, because we need him so terribly. You know, everybody who’s listening to this broadcast and you know when it’s really hard and you know there are people that just don’t think they’re going to make it. Father, come alongside, the resurrected Christ, be the brother and the friend and the Spirit that is a comforter. And then others of us are doing fine. Remind us that you’re the God of the fine too. The God of the laughter that we laugh and the tears that we cry. And Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Alright, I’m reading from the fifth chapter of Galatians and we’ll be looking at this text, we’re not too far from landing the plane of Galatians. That’s a good metaphor, we’ve been flying for a very long time. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a lot. And this is what Paul writes in that fifth chapter, starting at the 13th verse.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of this Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would do. The works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
And I should add, who continue persistently to do those things.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires.
Now what we’re doing, and we’re going to continue what we started before Holy Week, we’re gonna look at freedom and what it’s not. And then when we finish that part, we’re going to center in on the fruit of the Spirit. And we’re going to see some things that are very important that you understand about that. And that I understand too. This text is difficult, but it’s not difficult because it changes the view of grace and freedom. It’s simply a reminder by Paul of what should be happening among the people of God. And I don’t like teaching texts like this, frankly. If you don’t understand grace, then stay out of these texts. If you don’t get what real freedom is, don’t study these texts. If you don’t get God’s mercy and redemption and how central it is to everything, don’t get bogged down in these texts, because they’ll kill you. You’ve got to understand, and Paul has spent a long time in the book of Galatians, to make sure that they understood before he says some of these final remarks that need to be said. And so get it right, before you get moving. Or when you get moving, you’ll go down the wrong road. What happens in the church, and it’s because of, it’s in our DNA, we’re attracted to legalism and law and doing it right and not doing it wrong and perfectionism, all of which didn’t come from God. And when you take texts out of context, and when you teach them, you can beat people over the head until they feel they’re dying. And some of what I’m teaching from this text will sound a little bit like that. And so as we go down and look at this list, I’m going to caution you as we go along. Don’t forget the grace. Don’t forget the grace. And that will be true in what we’re talking about, what freedom isn’t. And later on, when we talk about the fruit of the spirit, as opposed to those of the flesh. Okay. I hope you got that, because if you didn’t, this is going to be a rough ride. We saw the week before Holy Week, as we first got into this text in Galatians 5:13, that Biblical freedom is not license. Now, it smells like license, but it’s not license, Galatians 5:13.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.
Martin Lloyd Jones said that if what you’re preaching and teaching doesn’t sound like antinomianism, it’s not the gospel. Now antinomian means against the law. And that’s not what people who believe in grace, except. We see that there are purposes for the law and they’re important purposes. But if you don’t sound like you are saying, forget the law, then you’re not preaching the gospel. And so here, Paul says, don’t use it for license, as an opportunity for the flesh, he’s saying. In other words, when you are loved deeply and fully and unconditionally, you don’t make an obscene gesture at the person who loved you that way. You like being around them. You like doing things with them. You like the relationship, and more than anything else you want to please people like that. It’s the same with God. And then freedom is not only not license it’s not independence, Galatians 5:13-15. Now I’m not going to, well, let’s look at that.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love as servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
You know, it’s very easy for somebody like me. And I’m a loner. And you know that. I’ve often said, I’d be a monk, if they’d let me bring my wife. It’s very easy for me to use my freedom, as an opportunity to drive a wedge between people and the people of God. To go do my own thing, and say just leave me alone. That’s not what freedom is. Freedom draws you to other people who are also free, and the relationship of love becomes central in community. I’ll talk a little bit more about that tomorrow, but now, you think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, resuming our guided tour of Galatians today. Setting the table on Galatians 5:13-25. We’ll drill down into those verses the rest of the week. Hope you’ll hang out with us then. Well, if you listen to our other show, Steve Brown Etc., then you know we love of our guests and we’ve been blessed with some really great ones, but every now and then it’s just us, no guest and such was the case back in January. On that episode, we discussed our current political and cultural climate and explored some challenging questions. Like what’s 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@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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