Posts in the "Series" Category

Galatians: A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: Faith in Jesus Is Sufficient to Save

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 3:1-14

  1. Faith in Jesus was sufficient to save you (Galatians 3:1-5). … Paul reminds the people of Galatia that they were saved by faith in Jesus. Paul was there; he was the one who planted the church there and led many of them to become followers of Christ. Last week we saw one extreme in licentiousness, that grace is a ticket to do anything we want. That’s not what grace is for. This week we see the ditch on the opposite side: legalism. Those who are legalistic believe that works are more important than faith in salvation, that keeping the law is required for salvation.

  2. Faith in Jesus was sufficient to save people in the Old Testament (Galatians 3:6-9). … Paul, writing to people who have started to think the law is what saves them, points out that even Old Testament characters, the fathers of the Jewish faith, were saved by faith. Abraham was saved because he had faith in God (Genesis 15), which occurred before circumcision (Genesis 17).

  3. Works are not sufficient to save because you would have to continually do everything written in the law (Galatians 3:10-14). … If you’re going to make up for everything you’ve done wrong, then you need to do everything in the law all the time. If you slip up just once, you have failed. We are all cursed because none of us are capable of keeping the entire law for our whole lives.
    Christ redeemed us from the law by becoming a sacrifice for us! He took our curse and gave us His righteousness and the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is accept this trade, this offer, this gift by faith.

Galatians A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: Faith in Jesus is the Only Way to Be Right with God

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 2:16-21

We are all guilty of sin. We are all under the condemnation of a just God. How does a person move from condemnation to justification? How does a person become right with God?

“A person is not justified by works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16). … This is the verse that best sums up the book of Galatians. Paul tells us three times that we are saved by faith in Jesus and not by works or by the law.







Not Guilty

What goes in the blank?

  • Works? All other major religions tell us we have to do something to achieve righteousness/Nirvana/Paradise/Heaven, but Christianity is the only one that has God doing the work. In all other religions its humankind reaching up to God, but Christianity is God reaching down to humankind.

  • Faith? Only Christianity tells us that all we need is faith to be right with God.

  • Works + Faith? Cults tend to add works as a requirement alongside faith, but that taints the Gospel and the news that was good is no longer good when works are also required. Rather, as Christianity teaches, works are the result of faith.

If salvation is a free gift received by faith alone, does this encourage sin? (Galatians 2:17-18) … Paul either anticipated this question or had already been asked it and addressed it. Keep reading.

No, because when we believe Jesus, we are reborn. We die to our old life and now Jesus lives in us (Galatians 2:19-20). … When we receive the gift of salvation through faith, we are joined with Jesus and spiritually take part in the crucifixion. This experience of being reborn has the power to completely change a life.

In Galatians 2:21 Paul states that if there were other ways to obtain righteousness and salvation than Jesus died for nothing. There is no other way. Rituals don’t please God. Works don’t please God. Self-suffering doesn’t please God.

Throughout the history of the church, we have had to keep coming back to the truths in Galatians, that salvation is by faith alone. In fact, this is how the Reformation started. A young monk named Martin Luther tried to do whatever he could think of to be right with God, but he sensed none of it working. Eventually he was assigned to be a Bible teacher and as he studied and taught more he began to realize some truths that the church had strayed from, including salvation is by faith in Christ alone. He posted his findings hoping to start productive conversations and it led to the reformation, producing the protestant churches many of us worship at today. If you don’t know much about the reformation, I encourage to look it up because it is a major part of church history.

Galatians: A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: How Do We Know the Gospel Is True? Paul Defends His Apostleship

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 1:11-2:14

This letter is about defending the Gospel, but before Paul can defend the Gospel, he must first defend himself and his apostleship. What does this have to do with us and why is Paul’s credibility important even today? Paul wrote much of the New Testament and his teaching have been important to Christians ever since he wrote them down. If Paul’s credibility is no good, then neither are his teachings. He understood this and defended himself as an apostle.

  1. Paul’s apostleship came by revelation from Jesus (Galatians 1:11-24). … Paul, who was originally Saul, persecuted Christians before his conversion. Then Jesus appeared to him on the road and called Paul to serve Him. Paul’s apostleship wasn’t simply granTed by some man or woman. He had a miraculous meeting with Jesus.

  2. Paul’s apostleship was affirmed by the leaders of the twelve apostles (Galatians 2:1-10). … The apostles recognized that Paul was an apostle like them and was called by Christ like they were.

  3. Paul’s apostleship was asserted in a confrontation with Peter (Galatians 2:11-14). … Peter, also called Cephus, feared some of the Jewish believers who thought every believer should be circumcised and started to draw away from the uncircumcised gentiles. Peter already knew God didn’t show favoritism between circumcised and uncircumcised, but still withdrew fellowship from the gentiles and comprised his faith because of peer pressure. Others noticed Peter doing this and followed suit. Paul also noticed and rebuked the leader, Peter.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you accept the whole Bible as God’s revelation to you through the apostles?

  • Will you listen to God’s call in your life? Is He calling you to salvation? To a ministry Assignment?

  • Is there an area of compromise in your life due to the pressure of other people?

Galatians: A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: Don’t Desert the One True Gospel

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 1:1-10

This week we start a series of sermon going through the book of Galatians. It’s going to take a while to get through it, but the goal is to know what Galatians is about by the end of this series. That way we know where to look when we struggle with something that relates to it. Galatians is primarily “a defense of the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus” as the title suggests. The background for Galatians comes from Acts 13-15 and is in modern day Turkey. Certain teachers were instricting believers among the gentiles that they must also be circumcised to be saved. Paul didn’t like this because it added a required work to the free gift of salvation, which is obtained by faith alone.

Paul opens the letter defending his own apostleship, which gives him more authority on the subject in the letter. Then he states who the letter is for and greets them with a summarisation of the Gospel. The next part is typically where the thanksgiving goes, but Paul foregoes that here because he is apparently ticked off. He jumps straight into the issue.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7).

Paul expresses his astonishment at how quickly the people have turned from what he had taught them. Scholars believe that this letter was written just a year after Paul was at the church he’s writing to. It took only a short time for them to be led astray by false teachers, and Paul has to write to them in an attempt to turn them back.

Paul really finds the perversion of the Gospel to be a truly horrible thing. He says that they shouldn’t listen to anyone who preaches a different gospel, even if it is him or an angel, going so as far as saying to let them be damned to Hell. Sometimes people change the gospel to please people; however, we aren’t here to please people; we’re here to please God. Changing the Gospel does not please God.

Questions to consider:

  • Have you embraced the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus?

  • In what direction is your life trending?

  • Are you allowing anyone to lead you astray?

  • Do you have friends or relatives who are trending away from the Gospel for whom you need to pray? (James 5:19-20)

The the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Saves Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Christmas

The main theme of the whole Bible is God’s intention to save us. The Christmas story reveals some things about God’s salvation that we did not clearly see before then.

  1. Christmas reveals the nature of God’s salvation:
    God saves us from our sins (Matthew 1:20-21; John 3:17-18). … The very name of Jesus means “God saves”. The angel tells Joseph to name the baby Jesus to show the character of God. The angel also told Joseph whose sins the people needed to be saved from: their own, not their oppressor’s sins. Our biggest problem is ourselves. My biggest problem is me and your biggest problem is you. Our sins, not others’, are what condemn us to Hell, but Christ came to save us from our own sins so that we may have a way into to Heaven.

  2. Christmas reveals the method of God’s salvation:
    God saves us through His Son (1 John 4:14; Matthew 20:28). … It was possible to keep the law and make it to Heaven before. God tried to reach the world through the Israelites. They failed Him over and over again. Eventually God decided to go Himself, to send His Son. They used to teach “reach, throw, row, and go” in lifeguard classes. The first option to reach in and help is the safest but isn’t always possible. The last one, going out to the person who needs help, is the most dangerous and can result in the deaths of both the original person in need and the one who went to help. God sent His Son knowing that He would have to die to save us all.

  3. Christmas reveals the scope of God’s salvation:
    God extends His off of salvation to the whole world (Luke 2:10-11, 29-32; John 4:42). … Luke emphasizes in his Gospel that Jesus is the savior for all, not just the Jews. Jesus is the Savior of the World, not just the savior of the Jews or the savior of my family or your family. He is the Savior of the World. What this means for us is that the best gift we can give to others is our testimony in Christ and the offer of salvation through Christ.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Loves Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays Christmas

How do we know God loves us? 1 John 4:9-10 shares two ways you know God loves you:

  1. Christmas (1 John 4:9) … The Greek word here used for “sent” is the same root word we get the word “apostle” from. The term for “one and only son” was previously translated as “only begotten” but that, while a good translation at its time, is not completely accurate. God did not “beget” or create Jesus. God and Jesus are one and the same. Jesus has existed forever. They are of the same “genetic makeup” in human terms. … Jesus was sent to the world because God loves us.

  2. The Cross (1 John 4:10) … Jesus was not only sent, but He was sent as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. … The crazy part of this is that our sins that Jesus is the sacrifice for are against His law. Our sins are against God. Yet, Jesus, who is God, has paid the price for our sins. … It’s similar to a police chief pulling over a car for speeding and the driver is his wife. The police chief writes the ticket and then pays it himself because it was for his wife. … We know God loves us because he sacrificed Himself for us.

John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world. … The term translated “so” can have two meanings. It could refer to degree (“so much” or manner (“in this way”). John is known for using phrases with double meanings, so it is likely supposed to be both.

Here is a four-part summary of John 3:16 by Max Lucado:

  1. God Loves

  2. God Gave

  3. You Believe

  4. You Live

The initiative is with God. God loves us and gives us the chance for salvation. All we do is believe and are granted eternal life.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Is with Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays Christmas

Today we look at two terms that help to describe God. They are very different terms, and both are important aspects of who God is.

Transcendent means God is far away; God is different from us, He is holy.

Immanent means God is near to us; God is present in our world, He is like us.

Which of these is emphasized in the Old Testament? Transcendent (Isaiah 55:8-9; Isaiah 6) … In general, the Old Testament gives us a sense of God’s holiness and greatness. God is a being that no human can wrap their mind around. … However, there are times that God makes his closeness known to His people in the Old Testament, such as in Isaiah 7 which also happens to be a prophecy of the birth of Jesus. The prophecy there has a fulfillment in the same chapter, but also another (and greater) fulfillment later (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18-23).

Which of these is emphasized in the Christmas Story? Immanent (Matthew 1:18-23) … This is the greater fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 6 and 9. God came to Earth. He walked with humans, ate with tax collectors, conversed with prostitutes, and forgave sinners.

God is both transcendent and immanent. If we view God as one and not the other, we get a wrong view of God. … If God is immanent and not transcendent, then we lose fear of God and start worshipping everything because God is in everything and everything is good. There is no reverence for God. … If God is transcendent and not immanent then we have no personal relationship with God and risk believing God exists without living like we believe in the God the Bible tells us about. God is just out there and doesn’t care to be involved in our lives.

The incarnation means God became a human (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:11-18; 4:15-16). … Jesus lived as a human and has gone through everything that we have or will go through. Jesus has faced the temptations that we face. Because of this, we can go to Him for help when we face issues we struggle with.

Look at the passenger side mirror the next time you get in a vehicle. It should say “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” So is God. Sometimes God can seem so far away that it feels like He couldn’t understand what we go through, but He is always near and has gone through temptations the same as us.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God is Father and Son

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays

The Christmas story has a bunch of colorful characters: a young engaged couple, an elderly couple, an evil king, angels, shepherds, and wise men. But the main character is God. This week we start a series where we will look at the Christmas story and see what it reveals about God.

The most basic thing we learn about God from the Christmas story is that God has a Son (Luke 1:26-35). … An Angel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to God’s son, Jesus.

When Jesus grew up, He spoke of God as His Father. He said there is a unique relationship between the Son and the Father (Matthew 11:27; John 3:35; 10:30). … Here we start to see what it means for Jesus to be the Son of God. They have a unique relationship where they are one and the same.

John explains in the introduction to his Gospel that the Son was with God in the beginning and the Son was and is God (John 1:1, 18). … John gives us an interpretation of what the Father and Son relationship means. They are the same and yet distinct, something that is difficult to imagine and explain. … Side note: yes, we are also sons and daughters of God, but Jesus is the unique Son of God.

The Old Testament hinted that there was some kind of multiplicity to God even though there it also states there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 6:8).

What analogy does the Bible give to help us understand this two-in-one God? Marriage (Matthew 19:5-6) … In marriage there are two individuals who work together and often function as a single entity. … Here’s a couple more: scientists regard light as waves and particles. And then there’s pants, a pair of pants. Pants are a single garment even though they are also a pair.

As the Bible continues to reveal God, we learn that He is three-in-one--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--which we call the Trinity (John 14:16-17). … Jesus Himself tells us there is a third person who is part of this one true God. The Holy Spirit first appears in the Bible in Genesis 1:2.

What analogy does the Bible give to help us understand this three-in-one God? A body (1 Corinthians 12:12) … A body has multiple parts that work independently and together at the same time. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s the best we have and it helps us to see how the church should be too. … Sometimes people try to use water as a way to explain the Trinity because it has three forms: water, ice, and gas. But this comparison falls short and leads to the error of modalism where God is only one of the three at a time instead of all three all the time. … It’s not really possible to fully understand the nature of God, but what kind of God would He be if we could fully understand who and what He is?

What does this mean for our lives? God is relational. … God wants a father-child relationship with all of us. For those of us who grew up with good fathers, this is probably easier for us to accept than for those who grew up with a bad father or no father at all.

What Christians Believe About People: All People Have a Body and a Soul

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

3 John 1:2 is a greeting that wishes good health for body and soul and is a great summary verse for this sermon.

It is wrong to have too low a view of your body (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15, 19-20). … Having a low view for the body leads to us hurting our bodies and treating them with disrespect. Doing those things leads to sin such as sexual immorality. Paul tells us to have higher views and gives reasons why we should have a higher view of our bodies. One of these reasons is that our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit resides.

It is wrong to have too high a view of your body (1 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 16:26). … Going to the other extreme is dangerous too. We like to look good and often put in time to make sure we do. We are told that physical training has some importance but that “godliness is important in all things.” Working hard to be in great shape might lead to you being the next great athlete and making millions of dollars, but that value is nothing compared to the value of your soul. Don’t forfeit your soul just for material; gains.

Materialists believe the body is all there is, but Christians believe every person has a spirit or soul (Psalm 42:1; Matthew 10:28). The Bible uses these two words interchangeably. … The Bible is clear that we have a body and soul. Jesus warns us that we should fear the One who can destroy both instead of only our body.

When you die, your soul leaves your body (John 19:30). If you have believed in Jesus, your soul goes to Heaven (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8). … Jesus “gave up His spirit” when He died on the cross. His soul left His body. The criminal who believed in Jesus also had his soul go to Paradise when he died. This tells us that the soul leaves the body upon death and does not wait for the second coming.

God will save our bodies as well as our souls (Romans 8:23; Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21). … God will resurrect our bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed. These imperfect bodies that are prone to sickness, cancer, aging, injuries, and other troubles will be raised in a glorified form. This is what happened to Jesus and is what will happen to us upon His second coming. Jesus had a physical body; He had hands and feet and He ate and drank. One day He will return and our souls will return to our bodies, now in their glorified form.

Do you find yourself on either end of the spectrum? Do you neglect your body or treat it with disrespect? Or do you make it an idol and do everything you can to perfect it at the cost of your soul? Do you fear those who can only destroy your body or the One who can destroy both body and soul more? Do you know where you will go when you die?

What Christians Believe about People: All People Are Sinners

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

Do you think people are basically good or basically bad? There was a man and woman who quit their jobs to travel the world for a year in order to prove that evil is a make-believe concept and that people are basically good. Sadly, they were killed in Isis territory.

The concept of sin is disappearing in our society and not just in secular society, but also in the church. Joel Olsteen, the most watched pastor right now, admittedly never talks about sin. The term ‘sin’ appears nearly a thousand times in the Bible. It is obviously a big deal. It is not something to be taken lightly or forgotten.

In Genesis 2:16-17 God gave a commandment, and ultimately a choice, to Adam. Adam could choose to obey God or disobey God.

What is the origin of our sin problem? Genesis 3:1-19) … A talking serpent---the fallen angel Satan--tempted Eve by questioning what God said. The devil likes to make us question what God has told us with His commands and promises. Eve gave in and Adam didn’t stop her, but also ate of the fruit. As a result, sin entered the world and broke the world. With sin came pain and suffering. With sin came evil.

What is the extent of our sin problem? (Romans 3:10-12, 23) …. Paul doesn’t mince words here. He tells us sin is a universal problem. We’re all sinners. It’s a universal problem. If this were an old western, we’d all be wearing black hats. If we were all hackers, we’d all be wearing black hats. None of us would even own a white hat.

What is the magnitude of our sin problem? (Jeremiah 7:19) … We can’t fix it. The elected officials won’t be able to put an end to sin. (But you should still vote.) We can’t even fix our own sin.

  • Our sin is internal

  • Our sin is incurable

  • Our sin is irrational

What are the implications of our sin problem? 1 Corinthians 10:12) … A Biblical understanding of sin should lead to us putting up some boundaries in our lives. If we have appropriate boundaries set up and respect them even when we are at our best, it will be easier to avoid sin.

What is the solution to our sin problem? (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Acts 3:19; Ephesians 4:22-24) … The solution is a radical change. We must repent from our sins and look to God and align our desires with His. Once we do that, our old desires for sin are replaced by the desires that God has for us. … We are always going to struggle with sin, but as we grow as Christians, our old, sinful nature should continue to shrink as our new, righteous nature takes its place.

In Psalm 51 David acknowledges his sin before God and seeks mercy. He knows he was a sinner from birth just like the rest of us and needs God’s help to get out of sin.