First Baptist Church of Minneola
Getting God's Grace
- Grace, God’s riches at Christ’s expense.We’re starting a new series called “Grace and Power” this morning. Together we’re going to explore the vast wonderful communication from God as found in the book of Galatians.Turn if you will to the very first chapter of Galatians where we will look at the first five verses.What does it say?Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.What does it mean?INTRO - I want to tell you a story. Its a story about a young man that wanted to get out into the world quickly. He demanded that his dad give him his inheritance early so he could go live the party-boy life.The fellow traveled and met lots of people who were glad to help him spend all his money on things that made him happy for the moment. Soon, the money was gone and so was his joy.You probably already know that this story in one of the Bible’s most frequently shared; the parable of the prodigal son.What to do when we really make a mess of things?Where to go when we’ve really messed up?What can we say when we hurt loved ones with our words, hurt our spouse by being stupid, or driven a wedge between ourselves and someone for whom we care?Where can we go when we’ve acted intensively, thoughtlessly, or obnoxiously?What should we do when we’ve drifted from faith, compromised the gospel, or turned our back toward God?Good questions, lets see what the Bible has to offer in regard to questions like these.Grace is in GalatiansSeems people want to hide sin; the sin our ourselves.That’s really normal; goes back to the fall. We’ve been hiding ever since.The Galatian Christians probably wanted to hide when they heard from Paul. Paul is basically saying, “You all have gone Prodigal!” The tuned their back on grace and sought justification in the Law!Paul is pretty upset with the Galatian Christians. However, he was not left speechless:I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;ANDYou foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?ANDI fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.ANDYou have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.This is a serious situation, very serious.Paul knows it and now so do the people.Note that Paul doesn’t take them to the whipping shed or vent his frustrations on Facebook.Paul takes the people back to grace:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,TRANS - Paul is saying, “You messed up, but there is hope. Go back to grace and find all that you need.”BAK - Here is the low down. After Paul left Galatia the Christians were led astray by people who discredited his apostleship. They led them astray and caused them to question the gospel. The Christians we told they needed to get circumcised if they were to be considered children of God.The stray-makers are usually called “Judaizers.” They wanted the people to embrace the Jewish law. They made lots of good arguments such as the sharing in the blessings of Abraham, securing their identity as “son of God,” and getting help to battle “desires of the flesh.”BILL - The Judaizers caused the Jesus followers to doubt Paul’s teaching could get them to where they needed to go spiritually. We might say they suffered buyer’s remorse. They had a crisis of faith and were ready to get circumcised.Paul’s Message is LegitimateSometimes we find ourselves circumstances similar to those of the Galatians. We are pumped about the Gospel; then we find ourselves thinking Christian life is not all that we expected. Then, we wonder is more is needed to get us where we want to be?This is kind of where the Galatians were. This is why Paul’s first message of grace still stands. But note he does not speak about the message, but the messenger:Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),Is Paul unsure about his credentials?No! Pauls is reasserting the legitimacy of his gospel. For if Paul is not legitimate, not an apostle, then the gospel isn’t either. The legitimacy of the gospel is why Paul insists on his God-given go ahead.In another way, this is the same reason Paul notes how he stands with others who proclaim the gospel:and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:Paul is not alone following Jesus—he is not a renegade working in isolation outside of the rest of the church. The gospel Paul is preaching is the same one the Galatians one they came to believe and the same one that Paul’s cohorts preach.Paul emphatically stresses that he is the real thing—a true agent of grace! As a fact, being a apostle of grace, extending grace to others on God’s behalf is Paul’s raison d'etre (reason for being).Paul is an apostle for grace, but so is this book. The book of Galatians exists for grace! Grace is the reason Paul writes this letter; Paul wants grace applied to the situation at Galatia.Paul for grace, Galatians for grace, yet more importantly—God for grace. It is for this reason that the church today needs Galatians (as well as all of Paul’s letters). The letters begin and end with grace.Let’s go a step more, Paul for grace, Galatians and the other letters for grace, God for grace and indeed the whole of Scripture, both OT and NT for grace. God’s wants to open the floodgate of grace on all people through the Word of the Bible!Genesis though Revelation, the inspired Word of God if slap full with grace. Countless coins of comfort, precious pearls of peace, jumping jewels of joy are discovered all through the pages of the Bible. The Bible itself reminds us the Word is written for us:For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.It is for this reason that when we muddy the waters, we must go back to grace by going back to the Bible. When we mess up, we must not forgo Scripture. Instead of closing the Word, we must open it once again. Look to it, live in it, let love teach us once again to live it.When we sin, we tend to spend less time in the Word, hide from God. Why is that? Look here:For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.The Word hits us right were we are. At the same time, the Bible has exactly what we need when we make a mess of our lives.It is in the Bible we find the message of grace—the gospel. Getting back to grace, in one way, is going back to the Bible. The message of grace is found in the Word.TRANS - We’ve noted Galatians is a book of grace and that Paul is an apostle of grace. But is this enough? Let’s ponder on that in our next section.Jesus’ Sacrifice is SufficientReestablishing the legitimacy of his gospel is not enough for Paul. It’s true, but is it enough?Paul knows his work is convincing the Galatians that the grace of God is enough to meet their needs.BAK - When Paul previously left the Galatians certain teachers came along promoting Jewish law as a way to advance spiritually. Also, we can assume the Galatians found the law appealing because of the promise of spiritual help. Undoubtedly they found themselves frustrated, just like we do, with the continuing presence of sin in our lives.Do we know we need to be rescued from the power of sin? Sin is a lordless power, a godless force. Sin is not just a one time thing, event, action, or over and done with once you do it. Sin has after effects; it lives on! The after effects affect us. Is there a way to get free from sin that entangles?Paul says, “yes” there is a way to be free from sin. However, it’s not the path of the Law; it’s the cross of Christ. Deliverance from sin and “the present evil age” comes only from the death of Jesus:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,Paul drives the people back to the fact: Christ Jesus gave himself for our sins. Only the death of Jesus explains the presence of grace in our lives. Jesus’ death alone opens the wellspring of salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification.So, when we sin, we don’t need to hide from Him. Blow it badly, don’t hide from Him. Spiritually saddened, don’t hide from Him. Don’t go to other stuff, go back to the cross of Christ, go back to grace: the sacrificial self-giving of the Son for our sins.TRANS - We’ve noted grace in Galatians, Paul the Apostle of Grace, and God’s fullness to meet our needs at the cross.But, what is the path back to grace; how do we get back to God?Let’s take a moment to consider this.“Amen” is All it TakesGetting back to grace is a pressing question. We’ve blown it big-time. All of us know what that is like. Maybe we’ve wondered is there any hope for us, any solution.“Amen” is all it takes!That is precociously where Paul leads the Galatians: utter their “Amen” to what God’s done for them in Christ. Look again to the introductory words:who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.That’s not the normal way to open a letter, is it? But with closure Paul steers the Galatians toward worship. He does this by rehearsing what God’s done for them in Christ. He invites them to agree with saying “Amen.”See, the way back to grace is super simple. We only need to say, “Amen.” But, saying that is not easy.Saying “Amen” is the hardest thing we ever can do. It’s not just said with our head. “Amen” is not “Yep” or “Sure” or “Got it.” “Amen” is something said with our heart.When we say “Amen” we are not spectators, but participants. “Amen” is how we enter in, take up, assume our roll in the story of grace called the death and resurrection of Jesus. Until that point, we’re simply sitting in the audience, out of action, away from grace.“Amen” it the entry point to the world of grace. Thats the way in. We can’t find it any other way because its only given to those who have faith; and the voice of faith is expressed in the word, “Amen.”A Letter for ProdigalsGalatians is a letter for legalist, for people who attempt to earn God’s favor by works. In a way that is what the letter is about. But, Galatians is also for prodigals—for those who’ve messed up their lives.Galatians opens by calling wayward believes back to grace—perfect for prodigals. Galatians says the message of grace still stands, grace still flows, way back is easy, just takes an “Amen” from the heart.Good news for the prodigal. It gives assurance to the drifting and disillusioned. It is the promise to the prodigal.What to do with this?Resolved: Go Back to GraceGet this, the first principle of gospel-rooted living is: “Go back to grace.” Moving forward in the Christian life sometime requires we return to where we started—again and again—to grace. In order to move forward, we must go back to grace.Our challenge when we blow it is to go back to grace. Not ignore it, hide from it, or pass the buck to someone else. It is to look misstep in the face and then go back to grace—to the cross where Jesus has already taken the blame and condemnation and guilt upon Himself.There, at the foot of the cross, let us resolve to bow down in adoration ascribing praise to God who gave Himself for us to:who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.(end)
- Just As I Am
Let us get to know you!
Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
How did you hear about us?