Sermon Archive

In our study of Galatians so far we have clearly seen that there is no way for the law to bring about justification. The only way to be justified and have a right relationship with God is through faith in Jesus Christ. This has always been the way, and will always be the way! The sign that we are justified and part of God’s family, is that the personal Spirit of God comes to live in our mortal bodies! These churches in the region of Galatia had experienced justification through faith, followed by the gift of the Spirit and the resulting fellowship with other believers, both Jew and Gentile alike. These legalistic false teachers had come in and claimed that when the law was given, it set up a NEW way to be justified and part of God’s family, and it replaced the old promises given to Abraham. In this section of Galatians, Paul clears up just what purpose the law does serve, and he shows us that it is a powerful one!

Paul gets straight to the problem as he addresses these churches in the region of Galatia. These Judaizers had come into these churches teaching that the Gentiles must come under the law of Moses and be circumcised in order to be Justified, aka. made right with God. It was a mixture of faith in Jesus AND following the law that would set people free, and make them part of God's family. As this teaching quickly took root in the lives of the believers, it drove a wedge between the Jews and Gentiles, and ripped at the foundation of the gospel. Paul's command is to get these false teachers out of their churches immediately!

As Paul shares the story of Peter's hypocrisy (Gal 2:11-14) to the Galatian believers, it seems like Paul is making a big deal out of something that isn't that important. Why would he oppose Peter "to his face"? Peter just made a small mistake right? It wasn’t as though he actually believed that the Law could justify, he just had a moment of cowardice and made a mistake. To Paul, this is no small mistake, it was giving approval to a message that was a direct assault on Jesus. When Peter and Barnabas broke table fellowship with the gentiles, they were giving approval to these Judaizers who were teaching that if the gentiles wanted to become part of God's family, they must come under the authority of the Law of Moses. Paul recognized this teaching was a direct attack on the authority of Christ, as it was an attempt to add the law to the gospel, so Paul puts Peter's actions on display to reveal these three implications from his false behavior.

Paul had brought the gospel message to the people of Galatia and they had been set free! But in his absence, the "agitators" had brought a two pronged attack into the Galatian churches, they took aim at the man and the message. On the one hand they were attacking Paul, his background, character, apostleship and authority. On the other, they were attacking the gospel Paul had preached, bringing doubt into its origin, authenticity, validity and authority.

Last week we saw that Paul began his letter with a tone of exceptional disapproval and shock, as the Galatian churches were being led astray by these agitators and false teachers. What we will look at this week is how Paul uses his life story to remove all doubt about his authority and the authority of the gospel he preached.

Key Truth: A Right Understanding of the Gospel will Deliver and Protect Us.

The Apostle Paul begins his letter with a brief reminder of the very heart of the Gospel.

The first verses of Galatians will begin to set the stage, or context, for what the whole letter is about. A cursory look at verses 1-7 will introduce us to the primary People as well as the primary Problem. If we keep these in mind through the duration of our study we will be sure to handle and apply God’s word accurately.

Thus far we have discovered that those becoming like Jesus will have a thought life that is centered on God; setting the mind on things above and letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. Those becoming like Jesus will also increasingly enjoy the positive feelings that accompany love, joy, and peace.

Becoming like Jesus also includes the transformation of our wills. Our will is the executive center of our lives. It is the power to choose and to create. Its primary power is to select what we think about and what we do in response to our thoughts and feelings.

The interplay between our mind (thoughts and feelings) and our will is important to understand. In the moment of choosing, our will is completely dependent upon the thoughts and feelings guiding it in that moment. The thoughts and feelings cannot be changed in that moment. Thus, our will is completely dependent upon our mind in the moment of choosing.

Direct download: 2016-0828_renovation_nelson.mp3
Category:Renovation of the Heart -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Feelings are essential to life. God made us to feel and to feel deeply. Jesus is a person of deep feeling. He was "fightin' mad" when He cleared the Temple, He openly wept at the tomb of His close friend Lazarus, and in His anxiety, He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Feelings, per se, are not the problem. There are at least two challenges with regard to feelings. One challenge is not to be ruled by our feelings. The other challenge is to learn to cultivate the feelings that ought to characterize us as followers of Jesus.

This may be a new idea for some of us: that we can and must learn to cultivate specific feelings. But this is a hopeful discovery particularly for those of us who struggle with negative or destructive feelings. With God's help, we can replace destructive feelings with the good feelings that flow from our relationships with Jesus.

In the transforming of our feelings, we must realize feelings cannot be changed by a direct act of the will.

Direct download: 2016-0821_renovation_nelson.mp3
Category:Renovation of the Heart -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Ideas rule our lives.

We are shaped and driven by our ideas of success, family, friendship, marriage, patriotism, fairness, God, freedom, happiness, "the American dream", work, self-worth.

Last week, Leo shared he was taught, "the world is out to get you". That is an idea. What attitudes and actions might flow from the notion, "the world is out to get you"? Fear and paranoia on one end of the spectrum and on the other, aggressiveness and violence.

Ideas rule our lives. Images also significantly influence our lives. Images powerfully reinforce ideas.

Direct download: 2016-0814_renovation_nelson.mp3
Category:Renovation of the Heart -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

The spirit (will), in union with and subject to God, guides the mind to seek the things above, to set the mind on the things that are above. The Godward mind, in turn, brings order and harmony to the soul. The body, energized and guided by a healthy soul, serves the other aspects to accomplish God’s will in its social and physical settings.

This order is what the Apostle Paul describes as "the mind set on the Spirit" which is "life and peace". It is important to note that in a life in union with God, the body is subservient to the other five aspects of the self. In a life away from God it is not.

Direct download: 2016-0807_renovation_nelson.mp3
Category:Renovation of the Heart -- posted at: 10:45am PDT