Message Archive


Trusting God’s Promises

Date: November 12, 2017 | Speaker: | Passage: Galatians 3:6-14
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The longer I’m alive the more I’ve come to understand the power of a person’s inner narrative. You have one of these and it is always talking.  Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of messages, both from your own psyche and from your world. I want to pose the question, “What messages are you listening to?” The devil makes a full assault on our minds telling us lies like: “You are no good” – “You are a complete failure” – and even “You are the greatest.” Non-gospel messages like, “You can and will never be forgiven for the accumulation of sins or even a single particular sin” enter the mind. This of course can and will riddle your mind with guilt. Martin Luther tells the sad story of a physician who ended his own life because he became convinced that Christ was accusing him before the Father. This thought that battered this man was not from God but Satan.  Christ does not accuse us before the Father but pleads for us on the basis of his shed blood.  God’s not condemning you (Romans 8:1), he’s forgiving believers by his Son’s shed blood! (Schreiner). I’m convinced that Christians need to fight the bewitching spells – false narratives of Satan with the promises of God. Satan threatens your identity and security so you will flounder – so that you will try and dig out in your own strength.  God wants you to trust him, particularly his character by trusting his promises. What’s important to see is that God’s promises are the only guaranteed promises.  And that God’s promises are...Read More

Breaking the Spell

Date: November 5, 2017 | Speaker: | Passage: Galatians 3:1-5
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For most, it’s hard to believe Halloween was just last Tuesday.  We’ve move on right?  One of my kids sighted a Christmas tree at Lowes already.  Before moving on from last Tuesday, I want to mention last week I heard Halloween is now the second most commercialized, moneyed, and celebrated holiday in our country, second only to Christmas.  Leaving Valentine’s Day and Easter way behind. This begs the question, why?  The 500 plus children who rang our doorbell seem to be out just having fun.  Halloween being on the rise has less to do with the fun and more to do with a clear fascination with what we call, “Dark.”  Darker things.  The Occult.  As dangerous as this is for our culture and our children I might add, I think the Devil is very satisfied with this kind of focus.  And probably not for why you think.  Satan wants this fascination to distract us from his primary attacks.  Satan’s schemes are far subtler but no less drastic, dire, and destructive. Paul’s first words in chapter 3 serve as an indictment.  This confrontation is clear, direct, and downright shocking.  The question, “Who has bewitched you?” is why I bring up Satan’s schemes. Paul only uses this word, “bewitched” once here and not anywhere else in the New Testament.  It literally means, to have an evil eye or to be entranced as one possessed.  Possessed with evil intent. This broad condition marks Paul’s challenge to break a very broad spell cast on these churches!  How Paul does this is interesting and serves as a clear framework for verses 1-5. Paul pulls...Read More

Justification

Date: October 29, 2017 | Speaker: | Passage: Galatians 2:15-21
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On Tuesday, October 31 the church celebrates the 500th year since the Protestant Reformation. October 31, 1517 marks when Martin Luther, the Augustinian Monk dared to confront the Roman Catholic Church and its abuses.  History tells that Martin Luther penned a document known as the 95 Theses on the castle door at Wittenberg, documenting the RCC’s control by leveraging what they called indulgences as a way to bilk money from the commoners. The offered people to stay in good graces as long as they paid. Pay to spring their loved ones from the fabled place known as purgatory.  What Luther was confronting surprisingly wasn’t the RCC’s gospel but their idea of authority.  Their authority was not grounded in the freedom of the gospel but within their power structure and control. Luther himself had been trapped in this system of self-righteousness but through the illuminating work of the Spirit came clear on the final phrase of Romans 1:17, “The righteous shall live by faith” Luther woke up. Up to this point, he had interpreted “righteousness” as “self-righteousness” something achieved through his religion of faith.  But, suddenly in his cell, like a bolt of lightning he realized that “righteousness” wasn’t “self-righteousness” but “Christ’s righteousness” – not what he could ever achieve but what he could only be given. In this light the gospel was now truly good news. Before now, God seemed to be playing a cruel joke dangling holiness out in front as a prize he wanted but can never have.  And now holiness was the robe of righteousness given to the Prodigal Son.  This was grace, true and free...Read More

Conflicts, Confrontations, and Corrections for the Sake of Truth, Pt. 3

Date: October 22, 2017 | Speaker: | Passage: Galatians 2:11-14
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This account ranks high as one of the most shocking and saddest scenes in our New Testament. In its fuller context you may scratch your head at Peter’s behavior, his bad leadership, and his hypocrisy. How bad was Peter’s fall? Martin Luther ranks this fall with some of the worsts ones in Scripture. In his Lectures on Galatians (1535), Luther’s Works he writes: Samson, David, and many other celebrated men who were full of the Holy Spirit fell into huge sins. Job (3:3ff.) and Jeremiah (20:14) curse the day of their birth.  Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Jonah (4:8) grow tired of life and pray for death.  Such errors and sins of the saints are set forth in order that those who are troubled and desperate may find comfort and that those who are proud may be afraid.  No man has ever fallen so grievously that he could not have stood up again.  On the other hand, no one has such a sure footing that he cannot fall.  If Peter fell, I, too, may fall; if he stood up again, so can I. Luther’s comfort helps but indirectly comes with a somber warning for us all. Even the greatest of men and women can and will fall and regularly.  When they do, they can stand up again!  But, far better to avoid a fall like this altogether. So, how far was this fall? How serious was Peter’s sin?  Answering this question unlocks why this story is here.  Why this story opens up Paul’s main point.  What you and I need to learn.  The gospel records Peter’s history of mess...Read More

Conflicts, Confrontations, and Corrections for the Sake of Truth, Pt. 2

Date: October 15, 2017 | Speaker: | Passage: Galatians 2:1-10
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“When is it time to stand for truth?” Doesn’t this kind of thing strain relationships and make things awkward?  Yes!  So, why do it? Look at Galatians 2:5-to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. Prop: Paul models what is necessary to stand for truth 1. Paul had a Credible Testimony (vv. 1-2) This is simple history, Paul is making his visit to the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Paul had visited Jerusalem 3 years after his conversion (cf. 1:18) and now it’s been 14 years since his conversion. Paul’s point is, a lot has happened in these 14 years and most being independent of the direct influence of the 12 Apostles. Paul’s story is embedded in these opening words – serving as prologue to the conflict he’s now commenting on in Chapter 2. This is Paul’s visit at the Jerusalem Council where the issue of Galatians is being addressed. Acts 15 matches and picks up on where we are in Galatians 2. Paul and Barnabas have completed their 1st missionary journey and come to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas had a new disciple, Titus, a “true child in the faith” (Titus 1:4). Titus was an uncircumcised Gentile, who is a new believer and he serves as exhibit A for Paul’s argument! Verse 2 makes the point that Paul was coming to this dispute based on a “revelation” – God told him to go, directly. “I went up because of a revelation” (v. 2).  Even 14 years later, after hearing from God at his conversion...Read More
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