The Personal Gospel
Sun, Nov 15, 2015
Duration:48 mins
It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! (Galatians 4:18-19 ESV) Who do you think is better off spiritually: a person stuck in Buddhism; an atheist; or a church-going, rule following Christian? You might be tempted to create a scale. On one end are the people without any kind of spiritual beliefs, and on the other end is the card-carrying Christian (and somewhere in-between is the "spiritual" person). On the other hand, we might think it's better to have nothing than to have the wrong thing. However we arrange it, I’d like to challenge you to shake up your thinking. In our upcoming passage, Paul challenges the Galatians with the thought that they are in imminent danger of worshiping the wrong thing, themselves. This week, we will explore Galatians 4:12-20. I’d encourage you to take some time to read through the passage. Listen to Paul’s personal appeal. Through it I hope we will not only understand more of the gospel, but pick up Paul’s passion for people around him to be shaped by Christ.
The Fatherhood of God
Sun, Nov 08, 2015
Duration:49 mins
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV) The Fatherhood of God is basic Christian teaching. It's fundamental. In fact, the 19th century so closely associated it with the message of the whole Bible, they felt they could reduce its teaching to two ideas--the brotherhood of mankind and the universal Fatherhood of God. While it might be a bit of an oversimplification, it points to the idea that addressing God as Father is fundamental. But it might be new to you to realize that before the New Testament, this idea was faint, if not completely absent. And, I'm guessing that while we use it often in prayers and discussions, we have done little thinking about the origin, meaning, or implications of God as our Father. I confess I was a little captured with the idea when we ran across it last week in Galatians 4. So I want to take a week to explore it a little further. This is not going to be a drive-by guilting on being a better father (there will be something there for the ladies too). But it won't be a theological elocution about Trinitarian Spiration (yes, those are theological terms--I didn't make them up). But I want us to understand, enjoy, and live as children of our Father. So plan to attend and bring someone with you.
The Family Gospel
Sun, Nov 01, 2015
Duration:50 mins
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Galatians 3:24-26 ESV) What if I told you that you had an unknown rich uncle that had recently passed away and you are the lone heir to his fortune? Would it change the way you look at life? Would it change your plans? What would you do that you can't even consider now? How would it change how you look at the future? In our upcoming text in Galatians, Paul shares the truth that our identity and future have been altered because of what Christ has done. Yet, I wonder how often I forget or fail to live with this in mind. I've changed families, my identity is different. And my future is secure. But I live in the present as if it's shaky. I want to challenge you to read through Galatians 3:23-4:7 and consider the fundamental changes that have happened if you have come to faith in Christ.
The Law-ful Gospel
Sun, Oct 25, 2015
Duration:45 mins
Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. (Galatians 3:19 ESV) How often have you done devotions in Leviticus? Have you spent time running down the laws on fabrics or what's clean or unclean? Why not? Your answer might be simple: the gospel. That's not a bad answer. We have been learning about the priority of faith in Galatians. We have learned that salvation comes by faith alone. But that still leaves some pretty big questions. Why in the world did God spend so much time giving out the Law? What in the world are we supposed to do with it now? We may not have people telling us to follow these rules (although I've recently heard about some movements within western Christendom that are eerily similar to the legalist(s) in Galatians) but we still need to know how we relate to this large portion of scripture in the Old Testament. This is especially true when it is used to support, defend, or deny several moral issues. We should have some understanding of our connection to the Law. Do you?
The Faith of the Gospel
Sun, Oct 18, 2015
Duration:53 mins
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." (Galatians 3:7-8 ESV) Immortalizing our heroes is a dangerous practice. Living or dead, we can easily build them into something they aren't. We tend to ignore their faults and exaggerate their strengths. We can even do that with characters in the Bible. Abraham is known for his willingness to leave his land or his obedience to sacrifice Issac. But we fail to remember that he lied about his wife being his sister, not once but twice. He doubted and even laughed at God's promises. And, he was an adulterer with the complicity of his wife. I love the honesty, and grittiness of the scriptures. But with all of his faults, we are called to emulate Abraham in one aspect. This week we continue in our series, Freedom, as we again look at Galatians 3. I want to encourage you to take some time to read through the passage.
The Spiritual Gospel
Sun, Oct 04, 2015
Duration:46 mins
I recently discovered Destin Sandlin. He's a scientist, a you-tube star, and a local. I was checking out his video on riding a backwards bike. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out - One of his conclusions is that knowledge does not equal understanding. This is so true and so important. We all know people that know things about the Bible and Christianity. Maybe they grew up in or around it. Maybe they even went to church, but even with this knowledge there is a lack of understanding of the realities of faith. In the spiritual realm, I would say there is one thing that makes the difference between these, or you might say there is one person that bridges this gap. This week we step into the third chapter of Galatians, and we are introduced to this important person. He will be mentioned over and over in the coming chapters. He is central to the difference between the law and the gospel, between religion and true belief, and between knowledge and faith. I want to encourage you to read through Galatians 3 and see if you can discover who I'm talking about, and then plan to join us.
The Scandalous Gospel
Sun, Sep 27, 2015
Duration:45 mins
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And 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. (Galatians 2:20 ESV) Grace. It's a word we use a lot as Christians. But do we really know what it means? And even more importantly, do we know its application to us and to the people around us? It's more than being kind. It's deeper than just God displaying favor toward us. In fact, I think my favorite way to think about God's grace is that it's scandalous. That's a crazy thought. Especially when you associate it with God. But there is something there that we must grasp. In a world where we want things to come out fair and we want our work rewarded, God's grace offends our sensibilities. It is given freely. Not to those who have earned or deserved it, but to everyone, even to those who don't deserve it. We fight against this idea and it raises questions. It's one of these questions that Paul must address to his opponents and the Galatians. And it's a question that we need to answer. And a question that will enable us to live a new life.
In Step with the Gospel
Sun, Sep 20, 2015
Duration:49 mins
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians 2:14 ESV) I get nervous around conflict. Especially when I'm a witness to it. I freeze up. I'm not sure what to do or say. And the more public it is the more incapacitated I feel. So I can't imagine what it must have been like at this meeting between Paul and Peter. Maybe it was a bible study or a church service or a meal. But right there is Peter, the preacher of Pentecost, the friend of Jesus, the bold proclaimer of the gospel, being confronted out loud by Paul, the apostle, church planter, and missionary. What would you have done? It had to be a weird scene. What could have warranted such a display? It had to be something big. It was. The gospel was at stake. Not just the preaching of it, but the truth of it lived out in the life of Peter and the rest of the church. Paul knew that the gospel had implications, important implications. And if they were ignored they would ultimately lead to the gospel being confused and distorted. So he acted quickly, loudly, and publicly. This message unpacks this passage to find out what endangered the gospel and how we might be guilty of the very same thing.
Ins & Outs of the Gospel
Sun, Sep 13, 2015
Duration:54 mins
Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in-who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery-to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:4-5 ESV) There are moments in your life that are turning points. At the time they may feel insignificant or even scary, but quite often, the weight of them is undetectable until later. On a global scale these moments exist too. We might think of them as decisive battles won in war, or we might recall later, sweeping movements culturally or politically that forever altered life. One of these moments happened in Jerusalem as the church was growing and Christianity was moving beyond being merely an offshoot of Judaism. This week we take a personal look at that meeting. They were asking the questions. What does it mean to be saved? Does God intend for Christians to be Jewish, even Gentile Christians? The answers to these questions would shape the doctrine, the church, and her mission forever. In some ways, the answers to these questions explain how and why today we can worship this Jewish teacher, Jesus. I want to encourage you to read through Galatians 1-2 before gathering for corporate worship on Sunday. It will set the scene for what we will explore. At the same time, I want to encourage you to continue to extend yourself to those who are a regular part of Hope (maybe some you haven't seen in a while due to sickness or vacations). Also, don't forget to warmly greet those that God brings through our doors. Keep on displaying God's love and grace to all!
The Transforming Gospel
Sun, Sep 06, 2015
Duration:58 mins
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12 ESV) When’s the last time you told someone your testimony or heard someone else's? As we tell our story, we get to hear the narrative of what God is doing in people’s lives. Often times, we can hear about how God was working even before someone came to faith, sometimes in ways we could never imagine. In this upcoming section of Galatians, we get to hear some of Paul’s own testimony. How did a terrorist, a killer of Christians, become one of its greatest teachers? It’s a tale of God’s immense grace. And one that further highlights the point that the gospel has nothing to do with what we do and everything to do with what God does. I want to encourage you to take a look at Galatians 1-2 as we dive into this book further.
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