Galatians 3: 23-29
How was your week? I found myself running out of steam around Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday in Chrysalis and then in class. It has been a difficult week for me physically. I can feel myself beginning to wear down a bit. I know some of you have continued to deal with flooding and the rising waters, and have your own busy lives. I pray that you are staying faithful to the creator, the redeemer, and the helper. I pray that you are finding time to wrestle with Scripture, and to pray. I pray that you are finding yourself strengthened and moved to be more than you ever have been, and I pray that you are DOING something with your faith.
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
For these next two Sundays in June we are going to be looking at what the church was after Pentecost, and what it was with the knowledge that God is three persons, Father - Son - Holy Spirit. We will find ourselves walking through Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Let’s set the stage a bit. The Galatians were one of the early people that heard the message of Christ from Paul. He felt as though he was leaving them in good hands and yet begun to hear about their clinging to the law. There were Jews and Gentiles, both of which were understanding of what Christ had done for them, but most of the Gentiles were still being forced into circumcision, based on the law. This was not what saved Paul, it was merely the grace of Jesus, and so Paul is attempting to liberate them from the law and make sure they understand that they are saved by their faith.
Galatians 3: 5-7 - 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. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
Paul ends this part with an acknowledgement that those who believe in faith, are the real children of Abraham.
Then if we look at today’s text, also in chapter 3 of Galatians he explains himself a bit more on the subject of believing in faith and just what that makes us.
V 23-25. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
What Paul is telling them and us, is that before there was a Jesus, there was a law. It was put in place to keep connected with God, to be kept in a place of honor with God, all of which was simply a method of finding out who was willing to hold on till Jesus arrived. I’m paraphrasing here.
The law was designed to help people until Jesus arrived on the scene. It was the only way to be made right with God, and now Jesus arrival; his death, resurrection, and ascension have changed the covenant.
V 25-29. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 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.
You have an inheritance, and are called the children of God.
When you make the decision, to believe in faith that Jesus is the one true way to heaven, that he died for you, that he forgives you of your sins, then you welcome this inheritance. You are now a family member in this family of God. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you have or have not done. You are heirs. You are true children of Abraham.
NO this does not mean that everything is going to be great and your life is going to be perfect. What this means is that Jesus is preparing your future home for you.
Peter explains it this way. 1 Peter 1: 3-9. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This is what your inheritance looks like. There will be no glorious riches here on earth. This world is full of trouble and evil. Your inheritance is a future that is without pain, and without death, and without tears. Your very soul is yearning for this final resting place and until then, the devil is looking to steal it, confuse you, manipulate things, and simply make life miserable.
You are children of God. This world is not your final home, nor should you be worried about the things within it. Maybe, just maybe God is attempting to get your attention this morning.
Is he trying to tell you that you are spending too much time working and not enough time with your family? Is he telling you that the drinks you are taking when no one is looking, getting the better of you? Is he telling you that you need to stop hiding your depression and go speak with a counselor? Is he telling you that you have been called to set apart ministry and you have simply been hiding from him?
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!!! He has big plans for you. There is no reason for you to live in the places that you are. You cannot hide from him. He knows everything about you and STILL sent his son to die for you. It is time for us to lay claim to our inheritance and stop living in fear!
John 16: 12-15
Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
We found the Son of God during Lent and we followed him and his disciples to the cross. We watched the Son leave the Father and give his life for the salvation of the earth. He rose from the grave. He defeated sin and death when his dead body began to breathe again. He told his disciples that he had to go, and that he would send back the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort them. Jesus kept his promises and last week we saw the Holy Spirit appear and empower the disciples and the church was born.
There is so much proof in scripture of this three-in-one God that we could indeed spend more than a few minutes here this morning talking about this and learning about this.
Augustine’s definition of the doctrine of the Trinity: “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God… The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only the Father, the Son is only the Son, and the Holy Spirit is only the Holy Spirit.”
With the words of the great theologian in mind I thought we would look at some key points in scripture that speak to this like today’s text. If we go back a little bit we see that Jesus, in the upper room was attempting to provide some peace and some clarity for the disciples about what was going to happen.
John 14: 26 "But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
John 16: 12-13 - "There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future."
So Jesus is telling them that this Holy Spirit is going to come, and that it would be the Father that would send the Holy Spirit. When this Spirit comes it will be the bearer of Jesus’ words.
John 16: 14-15 - "He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’"
Jesus, who is now sitting at the right hand of God will be telling the Holy Spirit what he wants us to know. The Spirit is the very essence of God, sent to the earth to be the unseen yet obviously felt and heard presence of the Son.
Now it is true that all three were together at the creation of the world and it was even the Holy Spirit that been with Mary when she became pregnant with Jesus, the Son and that was through the will of the Father!
The apostle Paul was known for his in depth interaction with this same Spirit. Saul became Paul after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, and yet through the Spirit, Jesus was able to use words and impact Paul’s life.
2 Corinthians 13: 14 - "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
1 Corinthians 8:6 - "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit play a very big part in this world. We often times want to get caught up in what the world is and that is merely the fallen world of God’s creation. It is the truth. This world is full of death, disease, cancer, evil of all kinds like murder, hate, selfishness, and there is punishment for all of these things. While that is true, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are very much alive and are very much wanting to be a part of your journey through this fallen world.
Jesus played a very big part in all of this for you and me. The Trinity was alive and well at the creation of the earth. As this creation, which God wanted to have a free will, setting us apart from animals and other parts of creation, mankind constantly failed. When Adam and Eve disobeyed and disappointed God, it would begin the many years of mankind trying to come to a right relationship with God through many ways, and it was Jesus who was sent to earth to be a man in order that this justification might take place once and for all.
There is hope this morning.
Jesus the Son came to the earth to save us from our sins. He came to put an end to death and sin, and give us a chance to use our free will to accept this gift of grace.
Once we do that, we have a unique access to the Holy Spirit that is here and dwelling within us in order to show us, teach us, and advise us on how to live this life. I look back on my life and I wonder how I kept this undercover for so long. The more that I spend time in Scripture and in prayer the more and more that it has no choice but to spill out. This gift is available to anyone who wants to lay claim to this. Yet, so many times we do not lay claim to this strength, power, and hope that is found in having the Triune God living within us!
Jesus is alive, through the Spirit and this is our living hope! We are saved from our sinful selves, by nothing of our own doing. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lives within us.
Are we ready to embrace this and share God with the world around us? Can we put our differences, and opinions of people aside long enough to make sure that they see the Triune God that we know?
Let’s give it a shot!