Counted Worthy

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What do others expect of you as a parent, a grandparent, student, employee, friend, and neighbor?

  • Take a moment and jot down what others may expect of you and whether or not you are fulfilling those expectations.  Ask yourself whether others might come up with the same list that you did.  Take a big breath and honestly begin making a list about what Christ expects of you.  Ask yourself whether or not you are fulfilling those expectations.  WOW, SOS, OH ME!!!  
  • If we all honestly take the time to make these lists of friend’s and God’s expectations of us, we would probably find out that we come up way short. 
  • The whole reason for the exercise that we have honestly and sincerely completed is to be counted worthy.  Not worthy in our eyes, but in our friend’s eyes, and more importantly in God’s eyes.

Phil 2:12-  “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

  • Christ must be first and foremost in our lives.

Colossians 1:9-14 –  “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 –  “Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

When we talk about God’s expectations and being worthy, there is the danger that we begin to think we can somehow earn God’s love and mercy.  The Bible is clear that we are made worthy only by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

  • Worthy…not by our deeds but by His grace.
  • Worthy…by His labor of love on the cross, not by our labors.
  • Worthy… through His grace…only His grace.
  • Worthy…through placing our trust in Him.
  • Worthy…through walking in obedience to His Word.

But there is a danger of taking God’s mercy for granted.  While salvation is free, it is not without cost.  It cost Jesus his very life.

So – to think about God’s expectations of us is not to put us on a guilt trip or start down the road of trying to be good enough.

But it is rather to realize what a great gift God has given us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that should lead us to want to walk in a way that will bring glory and honor to Him. 

If we call our self a Christian let us walk in a way that honors the family name.

What’s in a Name?

1 Peter 1:1-10

1 Peter 1:1- 10 – Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

The prophecy of this grace.

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 – Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”

Grace – what does it mean?

G     It is a gift – Ephesians 2:8-10 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

O     It calls for an offering – Romans 12:1 — I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

D    It caused God to dwell among us – John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

W   This “Word” is powerful and His life on earth was verified by many witnesses – Hebrews 4:12-13 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

1 Timothy 3:16-17 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

I    Because of this “Word” we have an inheritance – Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

T   Because of what God has done, we are His temple.  – 2 Corinthians 6:16 – And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:  “I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

H    It calls for us to be holy in our lives – 1 Peter 1:16 – because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

U    It calls for faith in God.  However, it also tells us when we have doubts we can honestly cry out to God for His help – Romans 11:19-21 – However, it also tells us when we have doubts we can honestly cry out to God for His help – Romans 11:19-21 – You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Mark 9:24 – Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

S  It provides for us a Savior – Luke 2:11 – For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

What’s in a name?  Everything, if the name is the one above every name – the name by which we must be saved!  Introduce your friends to Jesus (God With Us)!!!

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

2 Peter 3:10-18

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

  • How should we grow in grace and knowledge?  The Word of God is the best place to go to find direction in all areas of our life. 
  • Growing in my prayers

Philippians 4:6-7 — Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

  • Growing in my involvement

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • Growing in my dependence

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • Growing in my fellowship

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Growing in my commitment

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

  • Growing in my maturity

Ephesians 4:11-16 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

  • How do we then grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord?  Grow in your prayers, involvement, dependence, fellowship, commitment and maturity.

Christian Liberty – What Price Freedom?

Galatians 5:1-6

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

FREEDOM AND LIBERTY

  • Christ has made us free

GRACE – UNMERITED FAVOR

GOD’S RICHES AT CHRIST’S EXPENSE

GOD’S REDEEMING ACT CONCERNING EVERYONE

In the Old Testament, Moses continually offered sacrifices.  In the New Testament, Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice once and for all time.

  • Free through His shed Blood – Freedom in Christ

Romans 10:13 – For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Freely given, freely bestowed, yet if we do not believe, we cannot receive!

John 8:32 – And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

  • Free through believing on His name

Romans 10:9 – …if you confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus…

Romans 6:18 – And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 

Acts 4:12 – Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

  • The verse above does not mention, nor does any other verse in God’s Word indicate, that there is another name whereby we can be saved.  In fact, it states emphatically there is no other name.  To whom do we confess?  God and God alone.  Since He provided the “Way” (through His selfless sacrifice), He paid the cost (His own blood) and completed the work (IT IS FINISHED), then it seems very apparent that it is to Him and only Him that we confess our sins.
  • Free through confession of sins

Romans 10:9 –  if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

  • Free through walking by faith

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

  • Do not become Entangled Again in Bondage

Romans 8:2-3 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 7:22 – For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman.  Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.  

Galatians 3:13 – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)…

I Peter 2:24-25 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes we were healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…

  • Sin is bondage

Romans 6:7 – For he who has died has been freed from sin.

  • Bad habits are bondage

We often start our list with drinking, smoking, etc., but what about envy, greed, self-righteousness, lying, gossiping…    Should I stop now?

  • Deliberate failures are bondage
  • Deliberate omission of right doing is bondage

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:1 – Christ has set us free to live a free life.  So take your stand!  Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.  The Message

THE LAW FAILS

  • Keeping a list of rules fails

Matthew 23:4 – For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Galatians 3:26-27 –“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 2:16 – …knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Acts 15:10 – Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither your fathers nor we were able to bear? 

Galatians 13:38-39  – Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified form all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 

  • Walking away from Christ fails

Romans 6:5-8 – For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

Hebrews 10:26 – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

FAITH IS THE ANSWER

FAITH – FORSAKING ALL, I TRUST HIM

Romans 5:1 –  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

I Corinthians 3:11 – For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

I Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

Hebrews 11:1 –“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

All through the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we find the beginning of verse after verse with the phrase “by faith”, “by faith”, “by faith.”   Whether individuals or circumstances…it was “by faith.” 

  • Faith in the shed blood of Jesus
  • Faith in walking in love
  • Faith in the name of Jesus
  • Faith in the Word of God
  • Faith through the power of the Holy Spirit

THANK GOD FOR THE FAITH WE HAVE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.                  

Two Covenants

Galatians 4:21-31

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written:

“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

(To fully understand this passage – read Genesis 16:1-16; 17:15-21; 18:1-15; 21:1-21)

Genesis 16:1-16 – Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.

Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.”

So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.

Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” And the Angel of the Lord said to her:

“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

Genesis 17:15-21 – Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”

Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”

Genesis 18:1-15 – Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.”

They said, “Do as you have said.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.

Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”

So he said, “Here, in the tent.”

And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”

(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.

And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”

Genesis 21:1-21 – And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”

So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned.

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs. Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.” So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept.

And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. So God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

TWO SONS

  • Ishmael

born a slave son – of the servant of Abraham

born after the natural order

born – Sarah suggested that Abraham take Hagar for his wife

  • Isaac

born a free son – of the wife of Abraham

born by miracle of God

born  because of God’s plans – God had promised that Abraham would have a son by his wife, Sarah

The one who trusts in human plans and efforts is born to be a slave.  But the one who trusts in God’s plans and miraculous intervention is born to be God’s child. 

TWO MOTHERS

  • Hagar – a type of the Law

her children are slaves

represents the religious system that teaches people to be saved by what they do or don’t do, by their own good works or good personalities 

  • Sara – a type of God’s Grace

her children will enjoy their father’s blessings

represents the truth that people are saved by accepting the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary and not by trusting in themselves for salvation

Those who trust in following the Law are doomed to live in bondage.  Those who trust in the gift of God’s Son are given spiritual birth and freedom.

Those who trust in the Law often persecute those who believe in God’s grace alone.

  • The self-righteous are trying to secure favor with God by their own works.  The believer who says self-effort will never make you acceptable to God presents a threat to them.
  • The self-righteous cannot accept the fact that they are too sinful, too helpless, and too unrighteous to receive God’s favor.  The believer threatens their sense of their own goodness.

If we trust in God for our justification, we must not be surprised if other “religious” people do not agree with us, and even slander our name, reject us or do other hurtful things to us

LEGALISM IS TO BE REJECTED BY THE CHURCH

  • The Law cannot Co-exist with God’s Grace.
  • The Law has no claim on God’s Children.

It is not enough to accept God’s righteousness for ourselves, but we must always proclaim freedom and always reject legalism in our church.

The Law and Faith

Galatians 2:11-21

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

CONFRONTATION BETWEEN PAUL AND PETER

  • Peter was hypocritical
  • Followed pressure of the crowd
  • Showed prejudice

JUSTIFICATION – FAITH VS. WORKS

  • Not by the Law

Romans 3:23 –   For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

  • By faith in Jesus Christ

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

RIGHTEOUSNESS – FAITH VS. WORKS

Question:  By teaching us to trust in faith alone for our salvation, is Christ making us sinners, encouraging us to disregard sin in our lives?

  • A man who tries to keep the Law makes himself a sinner when he breaks it.
  • A man who trusts in God for his salvation will then follow Christ – because of love and gratitude.  Love is a greater force than fear or duty.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 –  For the love of Christ compels us,  because we judge thus:  that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.   

I John 3:16 – Hereby we see the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

HOW ARE WE JUSTIFIED?

  • By dying to the Law – to any effort on our part or any dependence on our own goodness.
  • By being crucified with Christ – by identifying with Christ in death to our own self – our good and our bad.
  • By allowing Christ’s divine nature to live in us. 

John 15:4-5 – Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.    

Ephesians 3:17-19   that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.