THE MARK OF JESUS FOLLOWERS

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Galatians 3:5-14

In this week’s passage, we see illustrated in “Father” Abraham the mark if you will, of a true believer.

The Judaizers were trying to get the formerly heathen, gentile, illiterate Galatians to become “good Jews” by adopting the Mosaic Law primarily through circumcision.  As you read the passage, you’ll see the humor in Paul’s usage of Abraham, because he notes that even Abraham’s “righteousness” had nothing to do with the Law.

No, Paul points out that he was declared righteous because of his FAITH…period!  We too are of the same “stock” because we did exercise FAITH in Jesus for salvation.  Therefore, we ARE “sons” of Abraham not because of what we do or did but because of WHO we are in Jesus…true “faithers”!

Abraham illustrates for us that the vitality & excitement of the Christian life is experienced ONLY by faith!

Abraham was considered “righteous” because his will was TOTALLY & UTTERLY conformed to Jehovah’s will in his desires, his thoughts and his actions!  I wonder how many of us who are true Children of God, have wills that are THAT conformed to Jesus’ will???  If not, we MUST be broken!!!

How do we then walk as a “Normal Christian”? First, Colossians 2:6 makes it clear in the Amplified version, “As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.” Walk by faith…that’s it!

Read it again! We must lose ourselves in Jesus.   Are you regulating your lives and conducting yourselves in union with Jesus?  Are we really living lives that are consumed with Jesus?

Secondly, we are given a charge in Philippians 2:12b-13, “work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).13  [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. By faith, we simply work out what has been worked in.

Oh, and by the way it is GOD who is working in us to have the will and to do the work.  PLEASE TRUST HIM TODAY TO LIVE HIS LIFE THROUGH YOU!!!  The mark of a true believer is a life of FAITH!!!

CHECK OUT TOMORROWS ENTRY FOR A LIFE CHANGING ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT THE “NORMAL CHRISTIAN” LIFE LOOKS LIKE………..

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.”