THE GLOVE!

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In the Amplified Bible, Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I’ve talked about how the Christian life is Jesus’ life…period!  It’s a life of total and radical dependency on Jesus to live His life through us.  It is this phrase, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” that I would like to illustrate.

I have a leather glove sitting here on the table.  If I told the glove to pick up my Bible and move it to the other table what would happen?  Nothing!  Exactly!  No matter how much I might teach it about it’s fingers and thumb and teach it how to pick up the Bible, it is still powerless to accomplish this simple act.

This is precisely how the Christian is to live.  The hand IN the glove is indispensable to the function OF that glove.  We are the glove; Jesus is the hand.  The glove takes on the strength of the hand to do what needs to be done.  The glove as I illustrated, is absolutely useless without the hand.

We too as Christians are effective and truly alive because the life of God was put back in us when Jesus came in to take residency. Only hen we surrender to Him and by faith allow Him to live His life can we experience real living!

The glove without the hand beautifully illustrates dead religion.  No matter how “pretty” or “righteous” we may look or how many religious things we may “do”, it is all empty and dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re the preacher, elder, deacon or anyone in “church” if you are living/acting in your own power and or initiative it is for naught.

Jesus is the only one who EVER lived the Christian life and He is still the only one who can live it today…through YOU and me as we by faith allow Him to do so.  Don’t you think it’s time we display to the world what Jesus looks like by abiding in His life in us?

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Let’s Protect Our Freedom!

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Galatians 2:1-10

This week as we continue on our journey through Galatians, we see Paul once again defending his apostleship as well as the establishment of the standard for the True Gospel.

Is there something of value in your life that would upset you deeply if you lost it or had it stolen?  It might be a wedding ring or maybe family pictures.  We all have probably 2 or more items in our lives that we would consider as very valuable.

Like these valuables, the true Gospel & the freedom that comes with it must be equally prized and valued.  It is something that if “lost or damaged” would have dire consequences in our lives.  The true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is to be guarded & protected!

This I believe is the message throughout the book of Galatians.  It is a message of liberty, and our understanding of what the Gospel is will greatly effect how we live our lives – either in bondage or in freedom!

Here are the four messages found in this passage:

1. vv. 1-3 = It’s all about the message & having a clear understanding of it! The fact is that it is all about His work of grace!

2. vv. 4-5 = We must understand Satan’s two-fold strategy.

    a. To create confusion regarding our liberty

b. To bring us individually into bondage & then subsequently the whole body!

3. vv. 6-9 = There are no “big deals” in the Body of Christ.  The principle here is that it is the message & not the man that matters!!!

4. v. 10 = Someone who lives with a clear understanding of their salvation will like Paul did, be concerned for the Body & give!!!

Let me ask you this: why was this issue of circumcision (adding the law) such a huge issue in the infancy of the Church?  Why would Satan strategically target this message?  Why would Satan specifically & clandestinely seek to destroy this freedom we have?

The answer is simple: this is THE TRUTH that saves mankind & in turn truly sets them FREE…and Satan does not want YOU or anyone else FREE!!!

Are you unknowingly subjecting yourself to a yoke of slavery?  Are you demanding of yourself or of others the need to abide by a set of rules, standards or expectations?  If so, along with Paul, I plead & ask you: if we HAVE BEEN set free from the yoke of the slavery of religion, then why are you surrendering once again to that very same burden?

What a Sharp Contrast!

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I was reading a book written by Dr. Lee C. Turner entitled Understanding Grace, and how to implement it in your life and church, and came across a fabulous quote by C.I. Scofield that I knew I had to share.  Scofield wrote in his book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth the following:

“Law curses; grace redeems from that curse.  Law kills; grace makes alive.  Law shuts every mouth before Him; grace opens every mouth to praise Him.  Law puts a great and guilty distance between man and God; grace makes guilty man nigh to God…Law says, Do and live; grace, Believe and live.  Law never had a missionary; grace is to be preached to every creature.  Law utterly dondemns the best  man; grace freely justifies the worst (Luke 23:43; Rom. 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).  Law is a system of probation; grace, of favor.  Law stones an adulteress; grace says, ‘Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.’  Under law the sheep dies for the shepherd; under grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep.

Everywhere the Scriptures present law and grace in sharply contrasted spheres.

The mingling of them in much of the current teaching of the day spoils both; for law is robbed of its terror, and grace of its freeness.”

 

 

Passion for the Purity of the Gospel

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small-butterfly-flapping2    If something is pure, what does that mean?  We have purebred horses, purebred dogs, pure water, and so forth.  Even people are referred to as being “pure” or their ancestry is 100% Norwegian or Italian, etc.

    www.Encarta.msn.com gives us the following 3 definitions:

   1. not mixed: not mixed with any other substance

    2. free from contamination: clean and free from impurities

    3. complete: sheer or complete

    So, let’s say I had a purebred Arabian horse & bred it with another Arabian.  After the birth I found out that the other horse was actually ½ Appaloosa. Now, although the foal may look like an Arabian it is now considered an AraAppaloosa.  It CAN NOT now be considered an Arabian can it? No! Why? The bloodline have been mixed.  And how would you feel as a breeder? You’d probably feel cheated, be very, very upset and you’d probably want to do something about it.

    Well, let’s say I had 20 gallons of pure mountain spring water.  How many drops of grape juice would it take for it to be “unpure”? How many drops of a squeezed lemon would it take? Any tiny amount would cause it not to be purely mountain spring water….it was altered!

    Better yet, how many drops of arsenic would you allow me to put into the 20 gallons of water before drinking it? Exactly… none!!! Why, just a little would kill you.

    This is exactly Paul’s attitude in Galatians. The gospel is the gospel is the gospel! And here is the simplistic gospel: (1) Man has sinned & is therefore dead to the life of God (2) the FINALITY of the cross – He reconciled us while we were His enemies by taking our sins AWAY (3) the REALITY of the resurrection – He rose again to give us HIS life and(4) When saved we are given a NEW identity!

    So, as we learned, the good news is that salvation is being saved from the wages of sin which is death.  We have been made spiritually alive!  This is the simple gospel.

    So, like the horse and like the water any deviance from this simplistic message, ie any amount of the arsenic of legalism would make it no longer the pure gospel, but rather a whole different message. 

    We MUST exercise spiritual discernment & be vigilant to preserve the purity of the gospel.