Archive | May 2013

LIFE UNCAHAINED: A Striking Resemblance to Your Father

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Galatians 3.26-4.7

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

INTRODUCTION:

Why don’t you look like your mom?

Josie Firstbrook and her husband had adopted their son, Eric, from Korea. When he was 5, they were having lunch at a restaurant, and Eric made conversation with a boy at the next table. At one point the boy asked Eric, “Why don’t you look like your mom?” “Cause she’s a girl,” he replied.

1. Who do you look like? Do you have a family resemblance?

2. Who do you want to look like? For us the answer should be our Father.

CONTEXT:

1. Paul is defending the essential message and application of the gospel.

2. We are discovering how God puts us in relationship with Him.

The Judaizers agreed that the relationship began through Christ’s work on the cross, but it was also absolutely dependent on what we do. Their intentions, on the surface, were not so bad. They did not want to lose the authority of the revelation of God that we find in the Old Testament. So, they were also requiring circumcision and the dietary laws that the Jews practiced. But, as Paul points out, this was a misreading of the purpose of the law. The law’s purpose was to show our sin, not prevent it. For instead of being a preventative, it aggravated it. This aggravation was to cause them and us to seek a different way.

· Paul has good news for us in all of this.

o Our situation is not hopeless.

o Because we are in Christ…

3. We are Adopted as God’s Children

We are God’s children, period.

It is not dependent on what we do. It is dependent on who we are in Christ.

· There are those who say that “we are ALL God’s children.”

· Yes, God is Father of all humanity in that He created us,

· Yes, all humans are brothers and sisters in that we share the image of God. 

· BUT spiritually speaking , we become God’s sons and daughters only through ADOPTION by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

(v. 26) You are all sons of God THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS…

It comes through faith in Christ Jesus. There is no other way.

4. We will find in our study of Galatians 3:26-4:7, three characteristics that

show how we are God’s children.

I. WE ARE AN ILLUSTRATION (3:27).

1. The person of faith is baptized…a picture of New Life in Christ

by the Spirit
in water

2. When people see us, they are to see Christ.

· We are to be clothed in Christ.

· So much so, that when we are seen, Christ is seen.

· The context of this comes from Roman culture.

o For when the Roman child came of age, he took off the garments of a child and put on the toga of the adult citizen. In the same way, in baptism the believer in Christ removes the garments of the old life–its habits, its addictions, its attitudes–and replaces those garments by putting on His attitudes, His love, His service.  We proclaim our new status as sons and daughters of God through baptism and we exhibit it through changes in our lives.

So, Baptism is a Drama.

o The old is gone; the new has come.

o The old clothes are gone; the new ones are put on.

o And now, we are true children of God that everyone can see.

II. WE ARE AN INDIVISIBLE WHOLE (3:28).

1. Cultural divisions are to have no part in the church.
2. One’s social status was irrelevant to acceptance in the church.

3. The concept of the inferiority of women and practice of sexual prejudice were to be eliminated from the church.

  • While we are not all identical, we are all equal.
  • And together, we make one unified whole. The Body.

III. WE ARE AN INHERITOR (3:29-4:7).

1. WE ARE RECEIVERS OF THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM.

When we are in Christ, we receive the promise given to Abraham.
We are the blessed ones, for we have become Abraham’s inheritance.
We become sons.
The time of slavery is done.
The time of Christ is the time of freedom.

2. WE WERE SLAVES UNDER THE LAW.

3. BUT WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT, GOD SENT HIS SON TO ADOPT

US AS “SONS.”

So, now we possess a special intimacy with the Father

Now we call Him, “Abba” (Daddy).

4. TO CONFIRM OUR INHERITANCE, WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SPIRIT!

APPLICATION:
There are benefits that come with being a “son.”

1. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SAME NATURE AS THE FATHER.
2. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN EQUAL STATUS.
3. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN INHERITANCE.

4. YOU CAN RESPOND OUT OF LOVE.
5. YOU POSSESS A BRIGHT HOPE AND FUTURE.
6. REJOICE THAT YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD!

Ancient Words for a Modern Need

“One would not believe that an ancient philosopher, such as Confucius, could contribute much to education in the modern era, however the teachings and practices that Confucius employed 2500 years ago have found new traction in the results-driven and overly competitive world of academia (Bentley, 2013).”

This is part of the impetus for an educational research project I’m working on. Who would have thought I would so enjoy studying these ancient words? The article will be coming soon.

“I Can’t Comprehend…”

 

Like most of the nation I grieve and ache today for the people of Moore, Oklahoma.  We’ve seen these images of destruction and devastation cross our television and computer screens.  I can’t comprehend of the suffering and loss that the families of that community are facing today.  At times it’s overwhelming to me, and I am hundreds of miles removed from the catastrophe. 

Like most of you I want to respond…to do something.  Here are some suggestions if you are burdened for the communities that have been ravaged by the tornados.

First, pray.  I know that many would see that as a powerless response, but I am sure that I have heard no less than a dozen times the people of that area ask for our prayers.  How selfish of us not to respond to that plea.  Ask God for comfort for those who have faced this storm.  Ask God for protection and strength for the people responding on the ground. 

Second, give.  I would like to recommend that you give to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief effort.  This is the second largest team of trained disaster responders in the nation.  100% of what is given will go directly to fund efforts at the disaster site.  You could also give to the Red Cross or Salvation Army.  For some, this is one way to be involved in helping people put things back together.

Third, go.  Some may have the resources and ability to go and serve on the scene with those impacted by the storms.  I would urge you to do this in connection with one of the agencies on location.  It is NOT a wise idea to just go running off without the guidance of the trained experts.  I am sure that your efforts would be appreciated and they would best know how to use what you can provide.

With so much destruction and loss I was growing weary of the news coverage as my heart broke with each new story and update.  However, I found this little news clip that reminds me that there is hope, even for the “least of these.” 

http://houston.cbslocal.com/2013/05/21/woman-finds-dog-lost-during-tornado-while-being-interviewed/

May God shower grace and comfort on those impacted by this tragedy.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

LIVING LIFE UNCHAINED–Message 2

unchained

Sermon Notes from Sunday, May 5, 2013

LIVING LIFE UNCHAINED

Dead-Man Walking

Galatians 2.17-21

Galatians 2:17-21
17 But if, while seeking to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are also found to be sinners, is Christ then a promoter of sin? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
18 If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker.
19 For through the law I have died to the law, that I might live to God. I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST; 20 AND I NO LONGER LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME. THE LIFE I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH, I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, WHO LOVED ME AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for IF RIGHTEOUSNESS COMES THROUGH THE LAW, THEN CHRIST DIED FOR NOTHING.

Why Grace Makes Some Grumble (17)

  • We are Saved By Grace through Faith in Christ
  • We still sin
  • Does that mean that Jesus, because of His grace in forgiving us our sins…past…present…and even future…therefore promotes a sinful life?

In other words, since faith in Jesus grace grants us freedom to live without the law of works, that means Jesus gives us freedom so that we can live in sin without consequence.

Paul’s “Subtle” Response: “NO WAY JOSE’!”

(May it never be. God forbid! Absolutely not! Not now…Not Ever!)

  • Paul uses this phrase 14 times in the New Testament
  • Each time it is in response to a false twist to His teaching.

There is No Hope Found in the Law…for a Reason (18-19a)

  • Living under the Law Means our Focus must be on What We’re Doing

o Think about this:  Why was it so easy for the Jews to miss what God was doing through…

  • The Prophets
  • John the Baptist
  • Jesus Christ

Because they were focused on what they were doing (and people around them) and not on what God was doing.

Have you ever known someone that would NEVER wave to anyone while they are driving. Why? Because they are so focused (and rightly so) on driving that they don’t take the time to see the people waving at them.

  • Living under Grace means our Focus must be on What Christ Did.

Consider

For Paul, as a once-upon-a-time Pharisee, he would have lived like everything depended on keeping the Law. The Gospel, to him, would have actually been leading people away from a connection with God. This is why he so vehemently opposed and persecuted “The Way” before he met Jesus himself. Everything was up to his own righteousness and holy living.

Illustration: A Stairway to Heaven

Picture building a stair case to heaven. You would use the very best materials you could for this project. This would represent your very best…your best behavior…your best works…your best righteousness.

Before you could use your stairs, however, they would need to be inspected, and the building inspector for projects such as these is God. Your work and craftsmanship are top-notch. The beauty of these stairs could be beyond compare. Then there is this little caveat found in the Inspector’s Manual.

Isaiah 64:6: All of us have become like something unclean, and ALL OUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS ARE LIKE A POLLUTED GARMENT; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.

All of what we can produce is like a veneer covering over rotted lumber. The moment you take your first step on the stairs they crumble away revealing nothing more than hollow, rotten, wood.

Paul realized that the purpose of the law is to reveal our hopelessness In essence, the law is there to put to death our self-righteous attempts and reveal God’s plan to impart His righteousness on us through Christ.

LIFE UNCHAINED More than a Pretty Exterior (19b-21)

Galatians 2:19b-20 – I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

  • I am Crucified With Christ
    • My SELF-EFFORT is dead
  • Christ Lives In Me
    • His grace, sacrifice, and resurrection are what I depend on
  • I Live By Faith
    • My salvation is found in faith alone
  • In the One Loved Me
  • and Who Gave Himself for Me

Notice: Paul takes it one step further and echoes what I shared briefly last week, that if “righteousness comes through the law,” essentially if we could work our way to salvation, then Christ died in vain.

So, How Should We Live this LIFE UNCHAINED?

  • If Faith in Christ is not License to Live However We Want…
  • Then what does that mean for us and how we should live?

    • Live as one who has Christ Alive in You
    • Live as a Creature who is being Made New (2 Cor. 5.17)
    • Live in New Life…a Life Unchained
    • Live In Christ…With Christ…and For Christ

 

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