In a few minutes we will baptize in the River. Many of you prepared and knew that you would be baptized today. Others of you will be baptized today because God is calling you now. You didn’t plan on it. Throughout the singing and the word of God going forth, he is calling you. You will have to take the cell phone out of your pocket and borrow a towel that we are going to provide. You will have to let your clothes drip dry a bit.
OH, BUT IT IS WORTH IT!!
Over thousands of years, one resource has stood the test of time. Just down this little hill to your left is one of the most biologically diverse aquatic ecosystems known in the southwestern United States.
In a few minutes, some of us will leave the sweltering heat and will descend into the refreshing cool, fresh waters of the San Marcos River. It’s a constant 72 degrees year around. It will relieve our physical bodies of the tension and toil of physical activity.
However, as refreshing and invigorating as the natural river can offer our physical bodies, there will be something happening in our unseen spiritual life.
When humans put their trust in their Creator, and then put steps of obedience after their faith, the supernatural power of God begins a work inside the heart of every believer.
One year ago, David was sitting in a lawn chair just like you. He showed up to watch his brother in law be baptized.
After almost 10 years of marriage, he and his wife had drifted apart and rarely see each other. He started to look for something or someone to fill the void. He thought he had found what he was missing. A co-worker began to give him time and affection. For eight months he had an affair with a co worker. He eventually told his wife. As you can imagine this did not go over very well. They screamed and fought for a couple of days. That weekend they were invited to the River to watch his brother in law get baptized.
“As you started to speak it was as if God was speaking to me through you. It was as if there was no one else there but me. My heart filled with joy to know that Jesus loved me and that He was what I was missing in my life. I chose to get in the river that day and give my life to God. As I rose from the water I felt free. There was no more darkness. I was filled with joy. My savior Jesus Christ had saved me. Since that day I have put God first in my life. He continues to bless me everyday. He has healed me and my marriage. He has healed my wife’s broken heart. He has forgiven me!”
I bring Good News to you Today!
Everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved. “People of San Marcos, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.
Acts 2:23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. Jesus was nailed to the cross and killed. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.
(4000 years ago) King David said this about him: ‘I see that the lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 26 No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. 27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. 28 You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.
“So let everyone (in San Marcos) know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
When people hear this message, their hearts are stirred. They are compelled to act, but often don’t know what to do. They asked this exact question to Peter in the Bible: “Brothers, what should we do?”
The answer is the same today in 2015, everyone in the park today can be set free by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Peter gave them clear steps that I will give you today in the park:
“Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
Today is the day for you to receive this salvation from Jesus. It is a free gift, but you have to accept it. I can’t do it for you. Your parents can’t do it for you. Your spouse can’t do it for you.
You can return to a right relationship with the creator this morning and it can rock you for the rest of this life and into eternity!
We believe that when we repent of our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sin and unrighteousness. Then, we have an opportunity to obey in baptism.
Baptism represents the death of the old you and the rebirth of the new you.
It is not just you getting wet. It is not magical. It is not a secret ritual or séance. However, baptism has great unseen supernatural spiritual effect on your life when you have faith in Jesus. You are obeying his word to be water baptized.
At PromiseLand San Marcos, we practice what is called ‘believers’ baptism. This means that it should be the choice of the person when they believe.
- If you got baptized before without believing in Jesus, then you were just getting wet and enjoying the cool temperatures.
- If you were baptized as a child and have not been baptized after you believed for yourself, then get re-baptized today!
- If you were baptized before and you did it for a spouse or to get married or some other legal reason, but now you trust in salvation through Jesus, then get baptized today.
Rebaptism is scriptural (Acts 19).
Let’s pray right now.
As soon as the prayer is over, we are going to stand up. Gather valuables and walk to the river. We are going to take over the river.
We will gather you into a line. And slowly/safely baptize you. If you are not being baptized, we hope that you will be a supporter. Give them space to gather at the river and everyone else find a spot to pray/sing/support.
Our leadership team first learned of this tool while reading Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen. We highly recommend that book for further study. However, the best method is to practice it with other believers.
Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….
This doesn’t mean go somewhere and then make disciples but means “as you go… Whatever you are doing… Make disciples.”
Discipleship is not something that happens because you went to a class. You don’t graduate from Bible school as a disciple.
Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The time has come. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Kairos is original Greek word used here– meaning an event, an opportunity – a moment in time when perhaps everything changes because it is the right time.
A Kairos Moment – is when the eternal God breaks into your circumstances with an event. Kairos moments signal opportunities to Grow.
Examples Good/Bad: Weddings, Graduation from School, New Babies, Losing a Job, Loved One Dying, Diagnosis of Disease.
These are the moments that are prime for making disciples. How we deal with these moments will determine how outlook of God and our faith journey.
These moments can draw us into depression, anger, and fear OR they can bring us to a new understanding of God, deepen our faith, and be a catalyst for change.
As a pastor and leader of others, the Questions I have for you are:
- How are You Ministering to People in these crucial moments?
- Do you realize when they are happening?
- Do you have the capacity to pray and walk with people through them?
- How will you DISCIPLE them in these seasons of life?
Remember what Jesus said about these moments: “…the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
I want to show you a way to work with your congregation through Kairos Moments.
We are desiring for our churches to grow in their relationship with God. To Mature. To be Disciples and then Make Disciples. In order for that to happen, there has to be a solid core faith and trust in God. So many, new believers have head knowledge of God, but the gospel has yet to be sown deeply in the heart. That is where TRUST comes in. Trust can only be earned through life’s ups and downs. Walking through these situations and then knowing on the other side that He is always in control.
- Because God is Good, I don’t have to look elsewhere for Satisfaction.
- Because God is Gracious, I don’t have to prove myself to others.
- Because God is Great, I don’t have to be in Control.
- Because God is Glorious, I don’t have to be afraid.
HOW FIRM ARE YOU ON THESE TRUTHS? They directly tie into your stress level. When these truths about God are in our heart and head, then our lives are based on faith and not worry.
These process can work in two settings. Small Groups: 3-10 people or One-on-One. We will work through this with a shape. A circle.
Through this process we are helping people answer and understand 2 Key Questions.
- What is God Saying to me in this season?
- What am I going to do about it?
Basically, those questions come from the last phrase of Mark 1:15 when Jesus said to Repent and Believe.
The first process we want people to go through is
Repentance in this Process has 3 Steps
- OBSERVE – simply discussing what is going on. What are the facts of the situation? When someone is going through a big life moment, the first thing you need to do as their mentor and discipler is LISTEN. Ask a lot of questions. Learn where they are coming from. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO FIX PROBLEM. RESIST THE FEAR AND INTIMIDATION.
- REFLECT – We reflect back on our observation. Why did we react the way we did? Why do we feel the way we feel? Why has this event brought on this emotion?
- DISCOVER – In order for repentance to have lasting change, we need others in on this process. We need to discuss our shortcomings with others and reflect back on where we did not trust God.
Take the observations and the reflections and compare them to the truth of God.
How valid are your emotions?
We do not want to rush through repentance. Taking the time to look at all angles, pray, reflect on emotions, and then discuss with a brother or sister in Christ allows God to do a thorough work in our heart. We are forced to bring our shortcomings and lack of Trust to the truth of the Gospel. True repentance happens when the Gospel of Jesus confronts the lies in our heart and head and we humbly submit to Christ.
After we have walked through repentance, Jesus says to:
Faith is not simply a belief, but it is the substance of that belief. It is a display of that belief. This is where the final three steps take place.
- PLAN – look at when or where these emotions and cravings begin. When are you tempted to feel this way? What is the catalyst to begin this cycle? Learn to recognize where the problem areas are. Through Kairos moments we realize that our core problem is that we have used something or someone in the place of God.
- ACCOUNTABILITY – If we want our plan to succeed, then we need at least one more person holding us accountable. Change doesn’t happen in private. Accountability is not going through a check list. Accountability partners are not there simply to verify that you haven’t sinned lately. They are there to help you look into your heart and go to the depths of your faith and trust in God.
- ACT – Acting is the final and natural step after repentance, planning, and accountability. Acting as a disciple of Christ is following Jesus command of repenting and believing.
Going through this circle is not a one time thing. It will happen for you and the ones you disciple multiple times. Once you get the hang of it, it is possible to work through it on your own, but make sure to always have someone there to confirm or correct where you are drifting.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Jesus!
Galatians chapter 6 shows us how a life in the Spirit brings FREEDOM in 3 Key Areas of our life. When you live life outside of God’s Spirit you may drift in and out of these freedoms randomly, but the Spirit of God brings you the power to LIVE in these freedoms.
Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
The first freedom Paul talks about is the:
The Freedom to Walk Humbly
other options would be judging and condemning people. OR Ignoring and writing off people. OR Helping people fearfully or jealously.
- Gently and Humbly (with meekness). Our kneejerk reaction is usually “WHY did you do this? This is so easy and you screwed it up!”
- We consider ourselves immune to such a problem.
2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
- Your ego is not your amigo.
- The one who toots his horn the loudest is usually in the deepest fog.
- Love is bighearted not bigheaded.
- You impress others with what you know. You impact others with how you love.
Galatians 6:4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
Social media has only exacerbated our need and ability to compare ourselves to others. Pauls says, Keep your nose down. Work Hard. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Verses 1-5 talk to us about the FREEDOM TO WALK HUMBLY.
Verses 6-10 teach a whole new FREEDOM
Galatians 6:6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. 7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
Paul teaches us here:
The Freedom to Give Freely
The New Testament teaches several ways to sow into the Spirit. All of them point to one thing. Giving money away. Not randomly. Not emotionally. Systematically giving a percentage of your money into good soil.
Our local cotton, corn, maize farmers don’t wake up and think I want corn today, I will go throw some seeds out. They don’t randomly throw some here and then some here. They don’t plant some one year and then wait 3-4 years and plant some more. They go out every year and plant seeds. They sow seed. They systematically sow seed into the ground every year and then work hard in participating with the farming of the plant.
ONLY GOD makes the seed grow, but the farmer has to part with seed.
What Paul is teaching PromiseLand this morning in verse 7 – Don’t MOCK God by thinking you can do what you want with your resources and expect to be blessed and taken care of. No, he says, “You will always harvest what you plant.” Systematically, sow money into good soil, which in verse 6 says “The local church”. Where you are fed. When you do this, YOU WILL REAP A HARVEST OF BLESSING IF YOU DON’T GIVE UP.
Those of you that have put your faith in Jesus and are learning to trust him daily, make a decision as a family, we are going to sow seed into God’s kingdom. We are thankful for this local church, we appreciate what we see and feel here. We are going to start giving every month like clockwork. We are going to automate the important.
Make it first. Before anything else can get in and steal it. Sow your seed before you eat it or send it to place where it will be destroyed.
Let’s go back to scripture:
Galatians 6:12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. 14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
The Freedom to Love Purely
Not only is our giving and our works important, but also our motives, are important.
Spiritual change is an inside job begun with the new birth and sustained by a new power—the Holy Spirit.
You can listen to the podcast of this message by clicking here.
Take your bible out and turn with me to Galatians the 4th Chapter. Every Summer we like to break from our topical sermon series and go to a specific book and look at it from beginning to end. Galatians is a letter written by a man named Paul to the churches in Galatia.
I encourage you to read Galatians once a week. It is only 6 chapters. You could read a chapter per day or the whole book in one setting (30min.) Each time you read and each Sunday you will get a fresh impartation from God’s living bread, the Bible. His Word will go forth in your life bringing abundant Life and Hope.
This is PromiseLand Church. Last week, I talked about why that name is important. We believe Paul’s message in Galatians 3… that we are standing on the same PROMISE that God gave Abraham 4000 years ago. Even though some of our life details are not the way we want them to be, we are living in the LAND of PROMISE. So, we invite ANYONE who wants to live in the God’s Promises to join us. Become a family member here at PromiseLand San Marcos. We are a community that worships together, parties together, mourns together, and builds the Kingdom together. All under the core belief that we are God’s children, that he LOVES his kids, that he saves us from the turmoil of this life and sets us up for eternity.
Chapter 4 of Galatians covers two keys words of our mission statement:
We exist to Bring People into an Intimate Relationship with Jesus Christ and Each Other.
Galatians 4 talks about 2 words in our mission: Intimate Relationship.
Galatians 4:1 Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. 2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. 3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. 4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
This is a coming of age. You have gone from some with potential to someone with inheritance. Paul writes to us in this book to remind us of the truth of the Good News. We turn things back to the legal, law so easily. Paul wants us to remember that our motivation to work should be fueled by our passion for God and come from the position of son instead of slave.
If you are Intimate with God you can say these 4 things:
If I Am Intimate with God, We talk A Lot
I talk to my wife all the time. Why? Because we are intimate. We are all up in each others business. All the time. We love to know what each other is doing. (that is normal) We like help from each other. We like to hang out together. We like to know what was good or bad about our day.
The closer you get to God, the more you talk. If you want to get closer to God, talk to him more often.
If this is a new concept to you, please go back to our podcast and get the sermon series “Talking to God” from earlier this year. Whole sermon series on how to talk to God.
If I Am Intimate with God, I Am Familiar With God
I know details about God. I know how and why God does things. To know all about the data and details. To know as much as possible. Always wanting to know more. A hunger for more.
We find all the knowledge we need of God in his written word.
2 Peter 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
We all want peace in our life. Peter says if you want peace, you need to get to know God. The more you know God, the more peace and Grace you have!
Men, if we can’t figure out women, we aren’t going to figure out God. BUT we can pursue our wife to know her more (and get counseling). We can do the same with God.
When we are intimately familiar with someone, we start taking on their traits. We start talking in that accent.
As a child of God we start loving and working just like God.
BECAUSE WE ARE. Not because we WANT TO BECOME. Because we are his kids we act like him, love like him, work like him.
3. If I Am Intimate with God, I Am Secure With God
I’m not worried about my relationship with Erica. We are good. We are tight.
I’m not faithful to my wife because of the laws of marriage. When a nice looking girl walks by, I don’t follow after her or get her number. I don’t do that because it is against the rules of my marriage and if I did that I would be divorced. Erica has told me multiple times that if I were to do that he would hit me with multiple bats, suitcases, machetes.
BUT that is not why I don’t look at other girls or chase after them. I don’t because I am in love with Erica. My intimacy with her has made me secure with her.
Galatians 4:8 Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. 9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?
I’m loyal to God. I don’t run after other lovers or other gods.
4. I Really, Really Like God A Lot
Intimate relationships have nice benefits. Know what I’m saying?
Emotional benefit. Physical benefits.
This is the part of intimacy in which most are familiar. Without a doubt, to be intimate means to be affectionate and loving. Song of Solomon reveals the potential of affectionate love.
“I am not these things.” That is why WE are here!
“How much more are you these things now, then when you first attended PSM?”
Intimacy does not just happen. It is not an emotion. Jesus gave the disciples distinct instruction before His ascension.
Intimacy is a beautiful baby of systematic discipline. That doesn’t sound very romantic or Hollywood. However, I believe many people are mistaken when they think that they will have a relationship with God by following after a mythical religious experience.
Just as intimacy with my spouse comes after vulnerability, faith, work, perseverance, and romance so does my intimacy with God. Invest. Sow seed. Reap…
Here are the sermon notes for Galatians “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Jesus!” Week 2. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.
Take your bible out and turn with me to Galatians the 3rd Chapter. Every Summer we like to break from our topical sermon series and go to a specific book and look at it from beginning to end. This is not an exhaustive look at Galatians. In fact, this series is only 5 weeks long. Lacy taught on ch 1-2 last week. Today, I will teach on 3-4 and then the next 3 weeks we will slow down some and look at ch 5-6.
So, by the time we are finished, you will have a good perspective on this book.
I encourage you to read Galatians once a week. It is only 6 chapters. You could read a chapter per day or the whole book in one setting (30min.) Each time you read and each Sunday you will get a fresh impartation from God’s living bread, the Bible. His Word will go forth in your life bringing abundant Life and Hope.
Galatians is a letter written by a man named Paul to the church of Galatia. The first several chapters talk specifically about The Real Gospel of Jesus. The Real Gospel is the Good News that you don’t have to save yourself from this world, but that God loves you so much He saves you. (period)
It is a free gift, unattached from any good or bad thing you have done.
Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked, “What is wrong with you?” Adam said he didn’t have anyone to talk to. God said he was going to give him a companion.
God said, “This person will cook for you and wash your clothes. She will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear your children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will not nag you, and she will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you’ve had a disagreement. She will never have a headache, and she will freely give love and compassion whenever needed.” Adam asked God, “What will this woman cost?”
God replied, “An arm and a leg.” Adam said, “What can I get for just a rib?”
As humans, we are always conscious of what things cost. What will that cost me. Then, we make the determination if we want to spend the effort or time or money and pay the price for whatever we are shopping for. In Galatians 1-3, Pauls tells us that God pays the full price. There is a cost and it was fully paid. Therefore, we should quit trying to make people pay for their salvation.
In order to make his point in chapter 3, the writer, Paul, goes way back in time. (over 2000 years)
God Makes a Covenant or PROMISE to Abraham
Look how Paul relates the PROMISE of Abraham to us today.
Galatians 3: 6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Righteous means clean, right before God. Ready for relationship. 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. 8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles (all of us in here today) to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
God gives the LAW to Moses through an Angel
Galatians 3: 19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham. 21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
What about Jesus Christ? Believing that He IS. He is the Son of God and that he fully paid for the cost of our sins.
Jesus came to Free Us and Get us in on the PROMISE
Galatians 3:10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” 13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.
We now stand on the PROMISE of God looking to the cross and empty grave of Jesus Christ and putting our faith in the fact that he absorbed the law. Took the punishment for breaking the law. When we put our faith in Jesus, then we are exempt from the punishment due for our sin.
This is why our church has been called PromiseLand for so long! We believe that we are living in the land of God’s Promise. He doesn’t go back on his Promise!
At the beginning of the chapter he says:
Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? 5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
WHY WOULD HE BE SAYING ALL THIS?
Paul is dealing with this issue because the Christians of Galatia are starting to add things to the Gospel, in essence contaminating the Good News. Turning it from Good News to sort of Good News or Just News.
Specifically, these people were telling Christians that if they really wanted to be saved, then they needed to be circumcised (like the law required). They had to follow the law in order to be eligible for the Good News.
People are trying to live on the right side of the cross but apply the principles of the law to people who have put their faith in Jesus.
It is in our human nature (especially those studying the Old Testament and American culture), to think that the amount of effort put into something is the amount of product gotten out. The amount of seed you sow is the amount of crop you harvest. The amount sweat equity burned is the amount of profit received. That concept works on everything in the world. It works for everything in the Kingdom except one thing.
That is precisely why it is called Good News. Because it goes against every natural thought pattern and every way of the world.
But even after we have heard it and received it, we can go back to the old ways. Once we have received it for ourselves, we can look down our noses at those who haven’t lived to the standard that we have!
That is why Paul writes this letter. He starts out the chapter:
Galatians 3:1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.
We can be foolish San Martians!
This is how it happens:
- I find Jesus, he forgives me and saves me by His Grace.
- The Holy Spirit convicts me of sinful thoughts and behaviors.
- I am discipled by other people and learn healthy/Biblical ways to live.
- I am made Holy (sanctified) slowly by the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
- This leads me to activities like gathering with other believers every Sunday and regular prayer and scripture reading. Because of my devotion and discipleship and mostly by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, I also stop doing things like getting drunk and blasting people with profanity.
- Then the CREEPER creeps!
- You elevate yourself: “Look at how you are doing! So good! You are really holy! You love God! Great effort! Great work!” You start being elevated on a pedestal. You are saved, you do these holy things and don’t do these evil things, so then the right logic is that all these people around you that aren’t doing these things aren’t saved.
- If people want to be saved, they need to do these things like you do. Or look at this theology that I know. I know all about the rapture. If you don’t believe like I do about the end times, then you aren’t saved. If you don’t believe like I do about baptism, then you aren’t saved. If you don’t believe what I do about circumcision, then you aren’t saved. If you don’t believe like I do about wearing shorts on the stage on a Sunday, then you aren’t save.
AND WE HAVE CONTAMINATED THE GOSPEL!! Oh you foolish, San Marcos people! Were you saved because you knew enough about this or that or you were perfect here or there?
NO! you were saved because you put your faith in Jesus Christ. That’s it! You believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came here to save the world and fulfill the law. We are not longer cursed because of the law but set free because of the finished work of Jesus. Believe on Him!!
Galatians 3: 26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
YOUR #1 IDENTIFYING FACTOR IS YOUR FAITH IN JESUS. YOU ARE A SON OR DAUGHTER OF GOD.
You no longer get your identity from your gender, race, hometown, college, sexual orientation…
You are not saved because you are a heterosexual. If you are gay, you are not saved by becoming heterosexual. You are saved because you place your faith in Jesus Christ. Then, what happens?
Your identity is from being a child of God. You do not need the acceptance of people to make you complete or happy. Your PRIDE doesn’t come from people agreeing with you about your sexuality. You do not need your gender or you sexual orientation to give you the acceptance you have been craving.
Let’s see what God can do with your life and the power of the Holy Ghost when you surrender to His will for your life. Let’s see what God can do with your sexuality and gender when put your faith in the one who created the world and is an expert mending broken things. God is known for not throwing things away, but loving them back to a place they were originally intended to be.
And that is our role as a church. We point people to Jesus. He is the answer. If they have no interest in Jesus, then we show them love anyway. We extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone while keeping our feet firmly planted in the truth. Showing grace and mercy to anyone and everyone that has fallen short of the law. After all, that is what Christ did for us through others when we were strung out, bitter, confused, angry, sad, despondent, sin-filled, selfish, religious.