Sermons from July 2017
The Appeal for Freedom: A Pastor’s Heart
Gal 4:8-20 Our deepest desire is to be transformed into the image of Christ rather than becoming a cardboard cutout of religious perfection. We don’t want to just talk about freedom. #free2live.
The Key to Freedom: Being the Beloved
Gal 4:1-7 The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 portrays God as a father who shows extravagant love to his two sons and desires to have an adult relationship with them, meaning a relationship based on total acceptance, free of judgment, fear, and control. Believe it or not this is the relationship that God wants to have with each of us. God wants us not only to know his love but to be the beloved, even as his Son. Galatians is a book that talks about gospel freedom as opposed to living under law. Christ sets us free from a rule-keeping, performance-based relationship with God where we try through our own efforts to gain his approval and love. But it is hard to break away from living as a slave to law. The key to the free life is knowing in our hearts, not just in our minds, that we are beloved daughters and sons of the Father. This incredible relationship comes as a total gift. Jesus redeems us from the law and the Holy Spirit allows us to address God as “Abba.” In preparation for our study this week I would encourage you to read Luke 15 and Galatians 3:25-4:7 and think through how you would describe your relationship with God.
The Promise of Freedom
Gal 3:15-29 Long ago God made a promise to Abraham: “In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Who is this seed and what is the blessing? The next passage in our summer series on Galatians (3:15-29) answers these questions. The seed is Jesus Christ. No matter what our identity, when we identify by faith with Jesus and his faithfulness even unto death, we receive the promised blessing, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are adopted into God’s family as the true children of Abraham, the man of faith. We have a new identity: we are “in Christ,” in whom God is bringing everything together. I encourage you to read Galatians 3 and think about your identity: How do your define yourself and what marks your identity? On Sunday evening we will have a forum to consider the implications of this new identity for our understanding of Israel and the Church.
The Gospel of Freedom: What a Gift!
Gal 2:15 – 3:9 We continue our studies in Galatians this week in chapter 2 where Paul begins his long explanation of the Gospel so that the Galatians will not resort to living under law. He begins by explaining what the authentic Gospel really is. What we find is the Gospel is a love story written by a gracious God and centered around his son Jesus, who loved us and gave his life for us (Gal 2:20). “Gracious”, “loved” and “gave” – these three words show us that the Gospel is all gift, not to be earned, but to be received in faith. The Gospel of Freedom has nothing to do with what we do, but has everything to do with what Christ has already done. Oh, what a gift! In preparation for this Sunday, I would encourage you to read Galatians 2:15-3:9, but also Ephesians 2:8-9. A question you might ask yourself is how have you experienced the love and grace of our good, good God in your life? Feel free to post a response to #free2livepbcc.
The Struggle for Freedom
Gal 2:1-13 Jesus ushered in a new era for the people of God, one where we are set free from rule-keeping and empowered by the Spirit to live a transformed life. But the free life is not easy to maintain. There are many factors that pull us back into slavery under the law. We can know intellectually that we are a new creation but the reality of our lives is often different. Freedom goes against our natural inclinations and default mechanisms. If we want the free life we are in for a battle. This week we continue the journey from law to freedom by looking at the apostle Paul and his battle for freedom against the early church leaders. We realize that if Paul had not taken such a firm stand on the gospel of freedom that was revealed to him by God the Christian life would still be defined by rules. In preparation for this week I would encourage you to read Galatians 1:11-2:14 and think about the question, why is it hard for you to live in freedom? You might even want to post a response to #free2livepbcc before Sunday.