Archives from February 2019

A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: The Christian Life of Freedom

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 5:1-16

In most of Paul’s letters, the first part is about how we should believe and who we are, but the second half is more about how we should live and what we ought to do because of the truths in the first half.

The Christian life is freedom, not bondage. This freedom must be guarded so that we do not slide back into bondage (Galatians 5:1). … Some people think becoming a Christian is restricting. They think there’s no more partying and no more fun, but the Bible tells us differently. The Christian life is one free from the slavery of sin. There are two ditches that Christians might veer into on their walk with Christ:

There are two threats to Christian freedom:

  1. Legalism: The danger of returning to the bondage to the law (Galatians 5:2-12). … This ditch is a danger to long-term Christians and those with conservative beliefs. Here’s four signs that  you might be a legalist.

    1. If your Christian life is based more on rituals than a relationship with Christ, you might be a legalist. … That’s not to say rituals are bad--baptism and Lord’s Supper, among others are important--but if you’re Christian life is mainly focused on rituals, that is a dangerous path.

    2. If you known for what you are against instead of what you are for, you might be a legalist … Legalism focuses on what we are against and tends to forget to tell the world what we are for, for grace, love, forgiveness, and salvation of all mankind.

    3. If you focus on minor issues instead of faith and love, you might be a legalist. … Faith and love are the big things we should focus on.

    4. If you are quarrelsome and divisive, you might be a legalist. … Sometimes we get caught up on small things and start arguments over things that are of no consequence to salvation. Paul uses some hyperbole to express how

  2. License: The danger of returning to the bondage of indulgence (Galatians 5:13). … This ditch is where the more liberal crowd has a greater chance of falling into. Some take the boundless grace that God offers and abuse it. Grace is no excuse to live in sin.

How do we stay on the road of Christian freedom and avoid these two dangers?

  1. Follow the law of love (Galatians 5:14-15). … We are to serve one another in love. … Loving someone doesn’t mean always agreeing with them or letting them get away with everything. Sometimes love is tough. Sometimes love is confronting someone in their sin.

  2. Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). … When we veer into either ditch, it grieves the Spirit. One way to avoid grieving the Spirit is to be aware of Him. Have an awareness that the Spirit is with you and wants to keep you on the path.

A Defense of the Gospel by Faith in Jesus: Questions for Christians Who Are Turning Back

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 4:8-20

Once we are saved we become disciples. As disciples, we embark on a journey of discipleship. This journey is part of being saved. Sometimes people turn back to their old ways instead of continuing the journey. Paul wrote this passage for those who have turned back, which is likely all of us at some point.

Are you faithfully following Christ with Perseverance? The Galatians were on the verge of turning back, and it broke Paul’s heart. In this passage he shares a passionate plea with these churches. He asks them a series of questions:

  • Why would you turn back? Do you wish to be enslaved to sin and wors-religion all over again? (Galatians 4:8-11) … Salvation brings freedom from sin. Why go back? Salvation brings freedom from the old law, which some had added as a requirement from salvation. Why go back to having to keep all the laws and ceremonies? Paul seems to fear that some of them aren’t actually saved. They had likely professed their faith, but not everyone who makes a declaration of faith does it in sincerity, and those who didn’t do it with an honest intention, are not saved.

  • Where is your joy? Where is your blessing of me now? Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? (Galatians 4:12-18). … When Paul went to Galatia, it sounds like he may have had some type of illness that made him not a pleasant sight to behold. As a result he stayed there longer and had more time to spend with them. They treated him well and took care of him. However, as he writes this letter, there is some emotional and spiritual distance between Paul and the Galatians. Pulling away from people and sermons that are speaking truth about your situation is a sign that you are turning back.

  • Paul expresses his wish for the Galatians. This is the longing of every pastor for his church members. This is God’s desire for you: O that Christ may be formed in you (Galatians 4:19-20). … Paul, and our pastors today, desire for Christ to be formed in us. This is the goal of discipleship, that Christ shines through us, that we may become like Christ.

A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: We Have Been Adopted by God!

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 3:26--4:7

The way to be adopted by God is through faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:26). … Paul makes it clear, once again, that faith alone is what is required for salvation.

The outward sign of adoption is baptism (Galatians 3:27). … What happens in the heart needs to come to the surface and be made public.

Three benefits of being adopted by God:

  1. Adoption means we have equal standing in the family of God (Galatians 3:28). … There are no divisions between us. Race, gender, culture, etc. no longer stand in the way of us getting along. We are all one family and we all have equal standing in this family.

  2. Adoption means we inherit all God’s kingdom (Galatians 3:29--4:5, 7). … By being part of the family, we are now heirs to the promises received by Abraham and his descendants. An not only to Abraham, but we are also heirs to Jesus, the one true king of all. Before we were saved, we were slaves to sin, but as we grew and became saved, we received our standing as part of the family and no longer are slaves to sin.

  3. Adoption means we have a new relationship with God (Galatians 4:6). The Spirit of Jesus allows us to call God “abba, father”. … Jesus called God “abba” in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Abba” is the Hebrew equivalent of “da-da” in English. It is the intimate first name a baby calls their father. We get to be in a relationship so close to God that we can call him “abba”.

God wants to adopt you today. If you aren’t already part of His family, would you consider His invitation to join it?

A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus:: What Is the Purpose of the Old Testament?

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 3:19-25

Paul has said that no one was ever saved by keeping the Old Testament law. Abraham was saved by his faith (see last week’s sermon). What then is the purpose of the Old Testament law? Why didn’t God skip the Old Covenant and go straight to the New Covenant?

  1. The law establishes us as transgressors. It exposes our sinful nature (Galatians 3:19). … The law does make us transgressors or sinners, but it does reveal us as sinners. It’s impossible to understand that we need salvation without understanding why we need salvation. The law shows us why we need salvation.

  2. The law imprisons us in our sin. It cuts off any avenue of escape (Galatians 3: 21-23). … After the law reveals us as sinners, the natural reaction is to try to do better at following the law, However, we are incapable of following the law perfectly and will always fall short. There is no way to get out from under the law on our own.

  3. The law leads us to Christ. It points us to our only hope of salvation (Galatians 3:24-25). … The law, after revealing us to be sinners and imprisoning us in sin, shows us that we need salvation and that salvation can only come through Christ.

Jesus follows this process in His conversation with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-22). … Jesus starts with the Old Testament law when discussing salvation with this man, possibly with the intent to make the man realize his own transgressions. However the young ruler is convinced he has kept the law to an adequate level since he was a child. Then Jesus ups the ante and tells him to sell everything and give that money to the poor. The young ruler refuses, revealing at least one sin issue that he has, that of greed. Even when we think we’ve done everything right, there’s something in our lives that makes us sinners. The law reveals that to us. Then we realize we are imprisoned by the law and it points us to Jesus.