Monday, November 29, 2010
Galatians Chapter 5
- Christ has set us free. Keep it that way! Don't walk back into slavery!
- Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt because they remembered all the good things and were being faced with new bad things. Completely forgot that for 400 years they'd been crying, SCREAMING, out for deliverance! And when things got a little rough, they turned right around and wanted to go back to the very place they'd been oppressed and murdered and beaten down... WHY would you go BACK!????
- Exodus 16:1-8, 17:1-7
- If we are counting on ANYTHING other than on Christ to make us right with God, then Christ cannot help us. He cannot help those who reject Him.
- If you are trying to follow one law, you must follow the whole law. Because if you're trying to be saved through the law, then you have no part in Christ. You have been cut off. You have fallen away from Grace.
- footnote- “Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free—not free to do whatever we want because that would lead back into slavery to our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what was impossible before—to live unselfishly. Those who appeal to their freedom so that they can have their own way or indulge their own desires are falling back into sin. But it is also wrong to put a burden of law-keeping on Christians. We must stand against those who would enslave us with rules, methods, or special conditions for being saved or growing in Christ”.
- footnote- “Trying to be saved by keeping the law and being saved by Grace are two entirely different approaches. “Christ will be of no benefit to you” means that Christ's provision for our salvation will not help us if we are trying to save ourselves. Obeying the law does not make it any easier for God to save us. All we can do is accept His gracious gift through faith. Our deeds of service must never be used to try to earn God's love or favor.”
- Acts 15
- John 8:31-47
- Romans 6
- Are we righteous? No. Not a bit. By faith, we wait on that righteousness provided by Christ.
- There is no benefit to following the law after Christ. The important thing is for your faith to be expressed through your love for others. Not through your actions regarding yourself.
- the law is selfish. It's all about your actions regarding YOUR life. Faith is about everyone BUT you. It's about loving regardless of actions. You can act the right way all you want... but faith requires that you not only act, but act with the involvement of your heart. Not just because you think it's right to do...
- I John 2:7-17
- What do your actions reveal about your heart? How do you respond when something unexpected happens? Is your reaction one from the heart of Christ? Or is it a reflection of the selfishness that still lives in you alive and well?
- The Galatians were making so much good forward progress... what made that change? Did God give new directions for them to go back to the old law? No!
- They fall because they were following false teaching. They allowed themselves to be drawn away from the truth they themselves had experienced first hand!
- False teaching spreads like yeast. It takes very little yeast to leaven the whole batch of bread. False teaching is much the same. It may be that at first just a word or two are different. Maybe they use the same terminology. It's so close to being exactly what you believe... and yet... it's just not quite right...
- Do you choose to follow any teaching that comes along that sounds like it will be good for your life? Or do you choose to expose even that small bit of discrepancy? Who will be your master?
- Hebrews 13:8-17
- Paul goes on to say that if he were preaching that they had to be circumcised, preaching that the law had to be followed... there would be no persecution.
- Well duh! If you just tell people what they want to hear, of COURSE they're not going to get upset with you...
- Sometimes... well... most of the time, truth is hard. No one wants to hear that they are wrong.
- But truth HAS to be spoken. Someone has to be straight with you. My pastor used to say “Sometimes you just need someone to get in your face and dance in your Co-Co Wheats.”
- Yeah. It's not always pretty, but sometimes, you have to tell them how it is. It may save their soul...
- Paul says that he wishes that those who wished to mutilate the Christians by circumcision would mutilate themselves... or castrate themselves... (cut themselves off from you...) Brings a whole new meaning to “if your hand offend thee, cut it off.” ouch... Harsh words...
- Amos 5:10-15
- John 7:16-19, 15:18-27, 16:1-15
- I Corinthians 2
- I Peter 3:13-21, 4:12-19
- When met with criticisms and persecution, what is your response? Are you willing to speak truth regardless of the friends you may lose? Regardless of public perception? Regardless of the personal pain it may bring you?
- You have been called to live in freedom. However, that doesn't give you the right to do whatever you like. Just because you have been freed from the law doesn't mean you can go break any moral law you please.
- So why have freedom if you can't use it? We are to use our freedom to love one another better and well and to the fullest extent possible.
- footnote- “Paul distinguishes between freedom to sin and freedom to serve. Freedom or license to sin Is no freedom at all, because it enslaves you to Satan, others, or your own sinful nature. Christians, by contrast, should not be slaves to sin, because they are free to do right and to glorify God through loving service to others.”
- I Peter 2:16-17
- The whole law can be summed up in one command. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Respond in love to those around you.
- The laws given in the Old Testament were basic. Love God and love each other. If you love God, you will honor and worship Him and ONLY Him. If you love your parents, you will not dishonor them. If you love your neighbor, you will not steal from him, or take his wife, or covet his property... Don't work at destroying each other!
- Romans 13:8-10
- There have been those within the church itself who sit and watch other believers... waiting for the moment that they can point out where they've failed and how much more righteous they themselves are. If you constantly point out to someone all the places they don't measure up... eventually they're going to get discouraged and fall away. We are rather to build each other up and to encourage one another. And furthermore, take the log out of your own eye before you go digging out the splinter in your brother's...
- Luke 10:27-37
- Hebrews 13:1-4
- James 2:14-26, 4
- I Peter 3:8-12
- Have you talked behind someone's back? Have you focused on others' shortcomings instead of their strengths?
- Are you a builder or a wrecking ball?
- Have you allowed God to search your own heart lately? What did He find or will He find?
- Does your walk give someone else an excuse to fall away because of hypocrisy?
- So let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. If the Spirit is guiding your life, you're not going to be doing what your sinful nature craves. Your nature (your natural response to life) craves sin. Desires evil. Longs to fulfill your flesh.
- footnote- “If your desire is to have the qualities listed in 5:22-23, then you know that the Holy Spirit is leading you. At the same time, be careful not to confuse your subjective feelings with the Spirit's leading. Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God's Word, and the sensitivity to discern between your feelings and his promptings. Live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions, and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.”
- The Spirit gives us desires to do the opposite of our sinful nature. The two constantly fight for control over our lives. Sometimes one gains more ground... like in a tug of war... but who will ultimately win the fight for your soul? Who will you fight for? Which side will you jump on the rope to help pull the other down? You can't stand on the sidelines. “You're either for me or against me”. There is no in between. You can't stand back and watch them fight it out for you. You have to pick a side.
- When you are under the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. Why? Because the same Spirit who wrote the Word of God, is living in you, directing your life.
- footnote- “Paul describes the two forces fighting within us—the Holy Spirit and the sinful nature (our evil desires or inclinations that stem from our body. Paul is not saying that these forces are equal—the Holy Spirit is infinitely stronger. But if we rely on our own wisdom, we will make wrong choices. If we try to follow the Spirit by our own human effort, we will fail. Our only way to freedom from our evil desires is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.”
- Romans 8:1-30
- John 14:6-21
- Ephesians 4:21-32, 5:1-20
- Colossians 3:1-17
- What are the results of your sin? Paul lists quite a few things here. I think there are things in that list that we are all guilty of. Envy, anger, selfishness, hostility, jealousy, quarreling... definitely selfishness... today's society makes it seem that we are SUPPOSED to be selfish. Supposed to cling to everything we want and everything we need. Supposed to fulfill all our wants regardless of the effect to those around us. If we don't WANT something out of life... we're not normal. If we don't strive to fulfill every mountaintop goal, we're strange. If we don't have ambition to succeed and blow all our competition out of the water, we're passive and uncaring.
- But if the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, we produce these good fruits: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the things that should shine through in our lives. There is no law against them. The things of Satan? There's laws against them. Laws against drunkenness, against sexual immorality, against quarreling and angry outbursts (aggravated assault, Murder committed in anger)...
- footnote- “The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit produces these character traits that are found in the nature of Christ. They are the by-products of Christ's control—we can't obtain them by trying to get them without His help. If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our life to His. We must know Him, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him. As a result, we will fulfill the intended purpose of the law—to love God and our neighbors. Which of these qualities do you want the Spirit to produce in you?
- Those who belong to Christ have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. (side note- in order to do that, we had to nail not only our sinful nature to the cross... but also Christ to the cross... there is no salvation without the blood... the sin we have committed caused Christ to be nailed to the cross for our salvation...)
- Because we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Don't become conceited (self-centered, proud, always searching for our deserved approval from others), or provoke one another (intentionally anger another), be jealous of one another (desire something another has to the point of bitterness or envy or anger at them for no apparent cause).
- footnote- “We all have evil desires, and we can't ignore them. In order for us to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance, we must deal with them decisively (crucify them). These desires include obvious sins, such as sexual immorality and demonic activities. They also include less obvious sins, such as hostility, jealousy, and selfish ambition. Those who ignore such sins or refuse to deal with them reveal that they have not received the gift of the Spirit that leads to a transformed life.”
- And notice that it doesn't say that CHRIST has nailed them to the cross... YOU have to do it. You have to decide you don't want them anymore. You have to let them be nailed up there yourself. Christ maybe helps you find the strength to do it... but just as Christ laid down His own self to do the will of the Father, we have to lay down our will for the Father's will to be accomplished in us...
- footnote- “In order to accept Christ as Savior, we need to turn from our sins and willingly nail our sinful nature to the cross. This doesn't mean, however, that we will never see traces of its evil desires again. As Christians we still have the capacity to sin, but we have been set free from sin's power over us and no longer have to give in to it. We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God's control, daily crucify them, and moment by moment draw on the Spirit's power to overcome them.”
- Will you nail your Self to the cross today? Will you put the hammer to the nail and drive it into your selfishness, your lust, your anger, your hypocrisy, your jealousy? Anything that keeps you from a full relationship with God?
- Will you strive to fight sin with every weapon you have in your arsenal? Will you daily crucify all the things that keep you from God?
- Will you fight your own sinful desires? Will you be willing to ask for help when needed, not only from God, but from fellow believers around you?
- To what lengths will you go to grow in Christ? Are you willing to sacrifice your Self to be more Christ-like?
- Romans 6 (again)
- II Corinthians 13:3-6
- Colossians 2:20-23
- I Peter 4:1-9