We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know freedom in Christ said … AMEN!
When I’m preaching, I’m rarely, pointing my finger at the congregation I’m in front of and saying: Hey wow! This is your problem and you really need to deal with it now! When I’m preaching I don’t want you thinking oh wow! Why’s Driskell yelling at me, I’m not involved in any of that! I’m not saying you are. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is going to come along and give you a little ping, Hey better listen up, this is for you. I’ve had that happen as a lay person listening to my pastor and Uh yea, this is definitely aimed at me. Not maliciously in terms of “wow Jim you’re a jerk”. Most of the time the pastor wasn’t aware of anything I was struggling with. But the Holy Spirit was/is and the Spirit was giving me a flick, and we all know when it’s aimed at us. We are grownups and when we’re being held responsible we know it, and like grownups “yup, you’re right, this is something I need to deal with, this is something I need to address, work on, this is something I really should be checking with the pastor for help on.” That is one of the main reasons I’m here. If you ask our confirmands, they would tell you all about the “seal of the confessional” and how I can’t discuss anything you say with me, I can’t even bring it up to you. Unlike the big-box churches, we take things like that extremely seriously. I can be defrocked if I violated anything that was said to me in that sense. So!!! My hope is that in terms of anything I might be preaching on, that you might feel some conviction on, that you come to talk to me. I’m a grown up, been around, I seriously doubt anyone here is going to say something that would shock and appall me. Having said that, a big reason I preach on these things is that I am sure that most, if not all of you, are going to encounter some situation that either you want to be informed in order to talk to someone else about, or if someone’s talking to you or you’ve heard about it, you’re not going to think it’s the first time in history it’s happened. It’s my mission to be as informative as possible to the congregation I’m speaking. Not just for your own personal benefit, but more to reach out as an informed Christian to others who need to hear positive information in a Christian context. We come to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The Galatians were another group Paul felt responsible to issue a verbal spanking to. John MacArthur writes: “Galatians is the only epistle Paul wrote that does not contain a commendation for its readers.” Worse than the Corinthians?
The issue again is people believing what Judaizers tell them as a requirement to become Christians. MacArthur writes: “…false teachers who were undermining the central New Testament doctrine of justification by faith.” The four “solas”, sola gratia, sola fide, sola Scriptura, sola Cristi. Grace, faith, Scriptue and Christ. Of all of these, do you see any “requirements”? The solas are all about what God has done for us through Jesus. The things that the Judaizers were pushing were things that had to be done in order to be identified as being Jewish. Things like circumcision, food restrictions, sacrifices don’t save you, they just put you in position to be saved. If you decided on a sea food diet that puts you out of possibility to be saved.
Paul is trying to get the Galatians, and a lot of other people to understand, it’s not what you do, it’s entirely about what God is doing through His own good grace, the faith that He gives us in order to be saved, the Scriptures that give us His good and perfect will and our all powerful Savior, Redeemer and Lord, Jesus the Christ. Nothing in there about what we do, whether we eat lobster, sacrifice a dove or are circumcised, everything entirely about what God has done, continues to do and will do to eternity for us. The Galatians along with many others were being taught according to MacArthur, they “must first become Jewish proselytes and submit to all the Mosaic Law.” We are under Law, we don’t violate the ten commandments, absolutely! But does that save us? No! We can only be in a state of grace, of salvation through our Lord Jesus. He died for us, He was the perfect sacrifice for us. None of anything we do, all that Jesus and the Father through Jesus do for our salvation. If you want to go back to a system, like Judaism, actually any other religion than Christianity, and make it all about you and what you do, you’re free to do that. Good luck with that. How far will that get you with God? Not even off the starting blocks, it’s a non-starter, won’t get you anywhere or do anything for you. That’s the point Paul tries to get to the Ephesians, Corinthians and some others. It is remarkable how many people get it when Paul lays it out for them, but so many don’t. Certainly in the United States where we’re all smart guys, and it’s all about us and our opinion and what we do; Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “ESV2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” I get it, you understand that, but frankly we need a little booster shot in our Christian walk, a reminder that it isn’t about us, it is about what Jesus does. As important to remind those around us. Sure, most people are going to pat you on the head, no it’s all about me and what I do. No, it’s what God’s grace does and what Jesus did for you. So many around us want to make sure they’re in control and that God has to accept what they do and give, but it’s not going to get them anywhere. I’ve heard tough guys tell me “I’m not going to be save by what someone else does” and yet that’s it’s exactly what’s going to happen. People who make it about themselves and not Jesus put themselves on what CS Lewis has Uncle Screwtape saying: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” We think it’s about us either busting through a castle gate, or just coasting in life until God takes us home, and it’s not, it is about Jesus, what He does, what He gave. Our slavery is never in Jesus, He is the One who freed us, who took us from the oppression and control of sin. We all love our particular gratifying sin, while we realize that it’s hurting us in the long run. Pick your sin, and now I am talking to each person here, because we all know what we’re caught up in, every human being is. The difference is that we go back to Jesus, at every worship, every time we take the Body and Blood of Jesus and we are forgiven. We don’t let our sin drive us, we lift it back up to God the Father and we know we’re forgiven in Jesus. It’s all about Him and His payment of our sin debt. But we know those around us. Those who either like to skate to the edge “well how much sin is too much sin?” Asking that means you really don’t care about God, you just want to play. Or those who are just sunk in their sin and either don’t know, or don’t care what Jesus wants for them. In the ark of the church, the Body of Christ we are provided for, we are saved from our sin. We need to continue to be fed for us to remain strong and saved from sin. We also need to take it to so many who are dying around us, who aren’t going to Jesus and who could so easily, often times it is what the Holy Spirit is pinging us for. He is prodding us to go and give the message to those sunk in the slavery of their sin in Satan and the world and could be freed from their sin and be free in Jesus.
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom Christ is risen! He has risen indeed Hallelujah