Sunday, April 19, 2015
April 19, 2015
Living in the Grace of God
Liberty in Love
In today’s world we appreciate our privacy.
- We try to keep every aspect of our lives to ourselves...build up walls and don’t let anyone in.
- When someone does try to get inside we call them nosey!
While I appreciate privacy, this is not a good thing.
- There use to be a time when we would sit on our front porch and talk to our neighbors.
- Everyone knew everyone...today we likely don’t even know their names.
- How will we ever be able to help them with their deep need?
We have brought this privatization into the church.
- Often times we focus on what we can get and not on what we can give to others.
- It is time that the church saw the church as the body of Christ.
- We must stop trying to work independently from one another, but rather become committed to the work of the gospel.
- We cannot minister to one another is your life is your own and you don’t let me in.
This is essential in sharing the ‘grace of God’ to others.
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
The Problem - restring a sinful brother
- What does it take to be called a brother’?
- You will live the way God wants, and this means “living in the Spirit.”
- What if...this ‘brother’ falls in the “works of the flesh”
- ‘restore’ - to put into order
- There is a caution that the restorer not also fall away
- To properly restore a fallen brother an emphasis is placed on the attitude we should have.
- ‘gentleness’ - humbly courteous...even-tempered.
The Principle - to love one another
- There is a contrast between the ‘law of Moses’ and the ‘Law of Christ’
- The law of Christ is summed up in this...LOVE.
- It is following Christ, and living in submission of His will!
- Possibly this verse brings to mind the ‘Good Samaritan’
- In the acts of the Good Samaritan we see this love in action
The Danger of Pride
- The restorer must be watchful!
- Pride should not be allowed to take over.
- In the end we are each responsible for our own actions before God.
- We cannot look to others as grounds for judging ourselves
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Supporting One Another
- There is a responsibility to “share all good things.”
- Well, does this mean financial, physical or spiritual
- Yes, yes, and yes!
- Since we alone must stand before God, we need to help one another because sometimes we can’t always carry our own load.
- Especially when people are being looked down upon, treated differently or being disrespected.
- This is not a life that is consistent with God’s Grace or Spirit!
Our Spiritual Accountability to God
- A theme of this passage is that we will one day stand before God, but shouldn’t we LIVE before Him now?
- This is the ‘law of Christ’...the grace of God.
- Paul returns to another favorite image...sowing and reaping.
- When you sow the flesh you reap the flesh.
- In contrast when you sow the Spirit you will reap the Spirit.
- Do not grow weary.
- Grow weary of what?
- ‘doing good’ - to please the Spirit
- Especially, towards the ‘family of believers.’
What do these principles look like for a church that is trying to live in the grace God?
Bearing Other’s Burdens - vs. 1-5
There was a crisis in the church in Galatia.
- People saw themselves as one particular ‘type’ of Christian, and looked down on other types
- These groups were defined in terms of status, not detailed behaviour.
It is desperately easy for this kind of attitude to creep into the church.
- Divisions in a large society can quickly lead one group of Christians to look down on another.
- What has that got to do with the kingdom of God?
Every member should care for everyone else.
- Paul has just explained life in the spirit...apply that to the church!
- Be...live out the ‘law of Christ’
- So, as Jesus the Messiah carried the cross for others, so Christians must carry one another’s burdens.
Any church that takes these verses seriously will be on the way to the only victory that counts.
- The victory of the cross of Christ, lived out in community and under the eyes of the wider world.
Sharing Blessings - vs. 6-10
Paul’s primary illustration to the church is that of planting and harvesting.
- If church members ‘plant’ in the Spirit grace and mercy, in due course it will bring a harvest.
- However, if church members plant the ‘flesh’, then the harvest will be rich in corruption and decay.
- The ministry of the world builds up people and even communities.
- The Christian view of money is that it is a responsibility given by God.
- When used wisely, it will have a lasting benefit to individuals and the community.
Paul is eager for the church to ‘do good to everybody’!
- Specifically, those that have been ‘marked’ by their faith.
- Think about the effect that ‘doing good’ has on individuals and on...
In the wider moral life, as well as the financial, it holds true that those who persevere with patience, not growing tired or losing their enthusiasm for living the life of the spirit, will reap the true harvest.
Care for one another...carry one another’s burdens...share in the Lord’s blessings.
God’s people get weary and tired.
- We get discouraged when we don’t see results.
- We grow tired when we see people around us hindering the work.
- We grow weary from all the criticism.
There IS a way to combat this weariness!
- Focus on the reward...the life that we now live as followers of Him.
- Focus on the work...the advancement of the gospel of love and grace.
- Ultimately we should FOCUS on the example that Jesus set for us!
“let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” - vs. 10
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
April 12, 2015
Living in the Grace of God
A New Life of Fruit and Grace
(Advance Slide #1)
Once a man prayed this prayer:
(Advance Slide #2)
"So far today Lord, I've done alright. I haven't gossipped. I haven't lost my temper. I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm very thankful for that!"
"But in a moment Lord, I'm going to get out of bed and from that moment on I'm going to need your help!"
This is us right?
Generally speaking before we get out of bed we are doing pretty good.
- However, what happens when we get out of bed?
- Our lives can be disastrous!
- Sure some days we are considerate to other, loving, serving, helpful, kind and patient.
- Then there are other days.
(Advance Slide #3)
This is not how life is suppose to be.
- In Christ...because of His grace...we can have a new life filled with fruit and grace!
(Advance Slide #4)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26
(Advance Slide #5)
These 'fruits' do not appear in a particular order although some have proposed it.
- One scholar suggested that in these nine 'fruits' that there are three groups:
- Attributes to God
- Attributes to others
- Attributes to self
(Advance Slide #6)
Paul describes the 'flesh' in terms of 'works', while he sees the Spirit's work as 'fruits.'
- With this change in terms we move from human responsibility to our divine guidance.
- It's interesting that Paul shoulders the responsibility of the Spirit’s fruit onto the Christian:
- “have crucified their flesh” (v. 24)
- “let us keep in step” (v. 25)
- “let us not become conceited” (v. 26)—not to mention verses 13, 16, and 18.
(Advance Slide #7)
While “love” is not the only “fruit” of the Spirit, it is the most important to Paul.
- It summarizes the demand of God’s law (Gal. 5:14).
- It endures forever (1 Cor 13:13).
- It unites all the virtues of life (Col. 3:14).
As we look over this list, we observe the reverse of the list of the works of the flesh.
- The flesh destroys fellowship; here the Spirit creates fellowship, unity, and holiness.
In an effort to summarizing his whole point, Paul says that:
- Those who have surrendered themselves to Jesus Christ “have crucified the flesh” and so should not be involved in the works of the flesh.
- Those who have been given God’s life by the Spirit and Christ (cf. 2:20; Rom 8:9–11) should march according to the Spirit’s orders (Gal 5:25).
- Those who live in the freedom of the Spirit should not be conceited and so fight with one another (v. 26)
(Advance Slide #8)
How do we live this new life of grace?
- Paul describes it involving a conflict, a crucifixion, and conformity.
(Advance Slide #9)
The Conflict - vs. 16-23
What is the 'conflict' we have?
(Advance Slide #10)
- The truth of the matter is that there is a WAR inside each of us.
- It is a daily battle that we all fight...Paul did too!
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Romans 7:15
- We have a darkside don't we?
In vss. 19-21 Paul describes the dark side, the conflict...our 'sinful nature.'
- Just take a look at that list of sin.
- The warning in the end is that those who do "such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Paul then contrasts this 'life of sin' with a new life with the fruits of the Spirit.
(Advance Slide #11)
- Which of these lives will win?
- Which of these lives will we choose to feed?
(Advance Slide #12)
A Crucifixion - vs. 24
For this new life to happen there must be a crucifixion.
- The sinful nature of man must be put to death.
(Advance Slide #13)
Do you realize that at every baptism that we witness we are also witnessing a death.
(Advance Slide #14)
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
- Your 'buried' with Christ
- Your own wills and desires are buried too.
Before your buried what needs to take place?
- BELIEVE - in Jesus; as the Son of God; His death for our sins.
- REPENT - turn away from your old life; putting to death your wills and desire!
(Advance Slide #15)
Our Conformity - vs. 25-26
After our death there is a conformity of His ways in our life!
- The world wants us to conform, doesn't it?
(Advance Slide #16)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." Romans 12:2
I read of a road that had a bump going across it.
- Instead of fixing the bumps the roads dept. just decided to put up signs.
- Signs would fade and newer signs replaced the old ones.
- Why not just fix the bump?
We proudly show off the 'bumps' in our lives don't we.
- We don't want to rid ourselves of them...instead we make excuses for them.
- We fight with all that is within us to not conform to His will.
Do you know the difference between paint and stain?
- Paint covers while stain goes deeper!
(Advance Slide #17)
There was a young painter who became extremely unhappy with his painting.
- Somehow he talked a famous painter to let him borrow one of his brushes.
- But the brush of the famous painter didn't make a difference!
- A friend suggested to him, "Its not the Master's brush you need...it's the Master's Spirit!"
How true is that?
A brush would be nice to cover things up.
(Advance Slide #18)
- But the 'blessings' of His Spirit's fruit are far greater!
- "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"