Your’re an example…a bad one or a good one, but an example.
JANUARY 20, 2021
You’re an example…a bad one or a good one, but an example. Let’s talk on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open to the fourth chapter of the book of Galatians, as we continue with our study in the book of Galatians. And we’re looking at some of the ways that Paul illustrates that we can, now deal with new Christians or proper care and feeding of new Christians. You have to remember that Paul is writing here to those who have only known Christ and the gospel for a fairly short time. And, he says things that are really important and things about which we ought to take note as we ourselves deal with new Christians. And we saw it, and I just mentioned it yesterday, but we’re going to talk about it a little bit more today. First note, that we are to model for new Christians. We’re to be an example to new Christians we’re to let them see what a Christian is about, Galatians 4:12.
Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am.
And immediately we think, well, he’s talking about perfection and doing everything right and loving all the time and never getting angry and being sweet and being nice and being brilliant. No, that’s not what he’s talking about, if you know Paul, the way I know Paul, he’s talking about something a lot different than that. He’s talking about reality of belonging to Christ, of being free. And that’s what the book of Galatians is all about, of knowing that you’re loved and accepted and justified and adopted and that Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to you. Now don’t get me wrong. I think we are to be in the process of sanctification. And Paul was that. We ought to be better than we were, but don’t let it go to your head. We ought to grow in Christ and as new Christians see that they ought to see that as something that should be taking place in their lives. Paul said this, follow me as I follow Christ. And that’s a good thing. I can say that too, follow me as I follow Christ. But when I’m not, don’t follow me, I’m lost, follow somebody else, who’s walking it better than I am, but that doesn’t take away the responsibility to for obedience or for holiness. We’re moving in that direction. Are you moving onto perfection was the question that John Wesley asked of every person who was being ordained into the ministry. Yeah, I am. It’s slow sometimes, but I really am. And I want people to follow me as I follow Christ, but that’s not what Paul was saying here.
Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am.
Most of us think that that’s the witness we give to the world, and I suspect there’s some real truth in that, I, you know, being the kind of model who was authentic, who is real, who doesn’t pretend to be something he or she is, that’s important that we model to the world, but between you and me, well, I can’t say I don’t care, because I do, and God has made me care and I wish he hadn’t, but I care about you more than I do them. I care about my brothers and sisters in Christ. And you got to know that when Paul is writing to the Galatians, he’s talking about family, he’s talking about the church, he’s talking to people who know Christ and he’s saying to them, watch me, watch me. And I hope that you become as I am, broken, humbled and loved. We are called, to be models for new Christians. R.C. Sproul wrote a book a number of years ago, and I still miss him. He wrote a book called The Psychology of Atheism. And in that book, he reversed the tables on Freud. Freud’s, maybe he said one or two good things, but a lot of dumb things. And he was sicker than his clients. Nevertheless, you know, I have a due amount of respect for Freud, but what Sproul did was reverse the table. Freud said we created a father image and called him God. And to Sproul said, no the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. And if somebody doesn’t believe in a God, something is askew. Something’s messed up. And if you will examine their lives, you’ll find that at some place they encountered another Christian who abused them, who lied to them, who put a knife in their back, who didn’t tell them the truth. Nobody would be that way about Paul. When Paul said be as I am, he was talking about obedience. After all he was there and he did what he was supposed to do for the most part. But Paul was also talking about something that goes beyond that. And that’s the reality of Jesus that Paul had given to the people at Galatians. You know, if you know a new Christian, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Say, look, come walk with me. Look how I treat my wife or my husband. Even when I fail, how quickly I ask forgiveness, see my walk and how real it is and how free it is and how open it is, and then try to be like me. You think about that. Amen.
Of course that was Steve Brown, continuing to teach us from Galatians 4 about the proper care and feeding of new Christians, today touching on the importance of being a model to them and living out our faith in a real way. Well, not too long ago, we had author Morgan Snyder on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc. It was such a fun and energetic show, but beyond that, we really talked about some important stuff. If you’re a man trying to better understand the role God has designed for you, I think you’re going to enjoy hearing it. In fact, hang out for a few minutes right now and get a small taste of that conversation. Then I’ll be back to tell you about a free offer.
You know, my favorite letters over 22 years in this work are the letters that come in from wives who say, thank you. Thank you for giving me my husband back. That’s the man I married, I knew he was in there and story after story of men who recover their strength. And it is very reasonable for a woman to come to the really painful conclusions that strength is bad and strength is dangerous. And I need to protect myself from harm. C.S. Lewis in his brilliance said that the problem is, it’s like castrating the gelding in bidding them be fruitful. We think that by taking away the strength, we can have a man, but in fact, we take away the thing that allows him to be a man. And so the question that causes me to be curious, is what is the path of restoration? What is the path of wholeheartedness and healing? Where a man actually can become a trustworthy King, a man who’s empathetic and can come to the center of another person’s story, another woman’s story. And ultimately, Steve, a man who brings his strength in love to a woman, rather than bringing his question, always needing an answer from his world to validate himself as a man.
Hmm. Wow. That’s so good. And in chapter three, you quote, Mike Mason, who says,
That a 30 year old man is like a densely populated city, nothing new can be built without something else being torn down.
And I love how you build on that. But, what would you say is, what’s gotta be torn down so a man can be built back up into a man of strength. What are the things that have to go?
That’s a really insightful question, because what I would say for each of us, it’s unique and it’s universal. There are things that we all share in common that are themes that come as image bearers. You know, God created us as men, our souls have a masculine form, and then there’s something very particular to our story, that unique expression of God. You know, we take Genesis, this invitation to rule, created in God’s image and he hands us the keys of the kingdom. It’s like me turning the keys of my truck, my F-150 over to my 16 year old son and saying, go for it, do whatever you want. And that can go either way. He could drive it into great destruction or he can grab his friends and go out into the Colorado Rockies and have life filled adventure. And so what we do with the mandate to rule and reign says everything. And what I would suggest Pete, is we all, Renee Brown calls that engineering smallness, we manufacture a life that allows us to be in control, to minimize risk, maximize safety and require that we never have to change. You just look at old men and I love elders, but what breaks my heart most are elderly. And what I mean, the distinction is a person who’s not taken the journey of masculine initiation and the least favorite phrase I’ve ever heard spoken of a human being, is that they are set in their ways. See, we were meant to be transformed where Lewis says,
that heaven is the consummation of our earthly apprenticeship.
It was meant to be a constant path of increasing wholeheartedness and union with God, a recovery of strength, and most people get stuck in static and engineer smallness. And so the question is, what’s not working, what’s in the way, how do people experience me? How have I engineered a life that allows me to make life work apart from God? It’s that that needs to be dismantled.
See I told you it was good. Listen, we put that entire show on a CD and we would love to send it to you today for free. Get your copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to Steve@keylife.org. By mail, write us at
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