Delivered May 29 2016,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Confident access to God is a priestly privilege reserved for those who have been purified from sin’s pollution by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. The inner cleansing of conscience that makes Jesus death superior to the sacrifices under the law, is visibly symbolized in baptism. As the high priests washed his body with water in preparation for entering the The Most Holy Place, so we may enter now as priests into God’s presence through our identification with our Lord Jesus, who has entered there. This identification is visibly signed and sealed in the washing of a christian baptism.
In another Hebrew passage mentioning the house of God, ( Chapter 3:1-14 ) there is a similar exhortation to be firm, and a similar assurance that Christ is faithful. Probably our original confidence, like the confession of our hope, refers to the time of baptism, ( note the term water on verse 22 ) and entrance into the church, and into the presence of God. Being confident the God will remain faithful!As we go through the message tonight, let us focus on two different facts. Being faithful, and obedience to Gods commands are different from our faithfulness in believing who our God is. Many believe in God, but not all believes in the same God that we do. What separates us from other christian sect are our walk with our Lord. How we live our lives.
1. O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
There are times in the Christian life when we make foolish decisions. And when we do, our Father will promptly address those actions! Some believers in Galatia had made some foolish decisions and here in chapter 3 the Apostle Paul vigorously addressed those actions.
There may be some of you who have made some foolish decisions, if so it is very possible that they will be addressed today! In the first 2 Chapters of Galatians Paul has defended the Gospel of Grace. He has shared with the believers at Galatia that man is “justified in Christ alone”
This was the message he had received, this was the message that he was called to share. This was the message that the people needed to hear.
This was the message that he had preached to them, and it was the very message that they had heard and accepted. And today people need to hear the message of grace through Jesus Christ. Also true is the fact that there are many who have heard the Gospel, surrendered to Christ and for one reason or another have turned away. Why? Is it sin? If so... “ i have been crucified with Christ, i no longer live but Christ lives in me” ( Gal 2:20 ). If i no... longer live, how can i turn away? Is it by my power that i remain in Christ?
This should be the case for every child of God. Every person here who has been “born again” has every opportunity to live an abundant life in Christ. But we know that is not the case. Chances are that there are some people present today who have made the foolish decision to turn from Christ and take control of their own life. “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump”. But remember God is faithful to forgive.
We can all agree that there are times that we have seen people (in this church) whether during a church service, in their home or in my office, turn to Christ for salvation. We all have watched these same people stand and make a profession of faith, go through the baptism , begin to walk with the Lord and join the church. We have seen them become active in their walk with Christ, begin to serve the Lord faithfully and even share their faith with others.
Somewhere along the way something happened... all of the sudden their church attendance begins to slip, their service for the Lord begins to suffer, they are less willing to witness to others, their personal walk is affected, they no longer read the Word, they rarely if ever pray to the Lord. Then, inevitably they begin to venture back into the sins that they have been delivered from. Just as the Galatian believers returned to the bondage of the Law, some have returned to the bondage of sin. This is a tragic situation, and it is far too common. It is safe to say that nobody here believes that they can be saved by good works? We are all mature enough to know that! So...it has to be sin! We are putting the chains back on... The same chains that Jesus removed by going to the cross. Why? Did we miss it that much?
Paul describes the act of turning away from Christ as “foolish”. As mentioned on verse 3. He is not referring to the level of intelligence, rather he speaks of a lack of obedience. If you are here and you refuse to obey the TRUE gospel and if you have returned to the bondage of sin, then Paul is addressing that as foolish! Some translations use the words "thoughtless" or "senseless", or even the word, excuse my language, “stupid”. “You stupid people of Galatia!”. That may be bold and blunt but it is a fitting description of those who would turn from the Gospel of grace... It’s just STUPID!
Now please forgive me for using that word, it just makes a bigger impact to the hearer. I can only imagine how the true translation of this word is. You know when you literally translate our language into English, at times it just wont make any sense,or it may come out to be harsh! But, regardless of which word you choose, it will hurt, and should make an impact. Because its true. And only you can answer that by examining your walk with the Lord.
If you are one of those “returned to the bondage of sin”, as recalled on verse 1. I have some questions for you...Have you been deceived, or who has deceived you? Is it so powerful that its enough to ignore your calling? Is the lust of the flesh so powerful that it can overtake the power of Christ that is in you?
Paul was concerned, confused and at the actions of the Galatian believers. When reading through these verses you can hear his frustration. After calling their actions as foolish, Paul then asks a direct question… “Who has bewitched you?” He implies that someone had come along and “cast an evil spell on them”. Paul seems to be genuinely shocked by their departure from the truth.
Like the Galatians, some have been “bewitched, deceived”. Perhaps acting so foolish because someone has had such an influence on your life that you are now following another way instead of the way of Christ? Keep in mind what Jesus said, “the Truth shall set you free”. You fell? get back up, admit you’re failure, and turn back to Christ. “He is faithful to forgive”.Don’t put those chains back on.
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
Maybe you have been influenced by a friend or a co-worker who is an unbeliever. Or Even one who bares the name Christian? They are opposed to the Bible and the things of God. And you have spent so much time listening to their point of view that you begin to have questions yourself.You must understand that the enemy is using that person to plant seeds of doubt in your heart and mind. “prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour”. ( From our message last week )
“Him who called you in the grace of Christ”. You are saved by Grace, and not by works”. That saving Grace is eternal, and has no end. Your chains have been removed when you were drawn to Christ. Do not put those chains back on, do not be like “the dog who goes back to its vomit”. If you are saved you are a child of the most High God who has all power at His disposal. “He saved you From Himself, He saved you by Himself, and He saved you for Himself”. ( Paul Washer ) God will never let you and I wonder so far off that we should loose focus on Him. Loose focus on the fact that we are saved, from what? Sin... We have been forgiven. God has all the power, because God is faithful!!!
Have we forgotten the Gospel? Have we forgotten the true meaning of the Gospel? Have we forgotten the price for our salvation? The Gospel is the “good news of Jesus Christ” Involved in the gospel message is the great price that Jesus paid.... “The price that Jesus paid”. “Jesus Paid”. Not you, not me...Jesus. Our walk with the Lord can show so much of how much we believe in Him. Keep in mind, there are many churches out there that carry the name christian, yet live their lives caught up in doing good works. Thinking by being good, without Christ can earn them a passage to heaven.
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
If you have been saved it is because of your faith in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary. Somewhere along the way someone shared with you about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. You believed the account of the crucifixion and trusted in Jesus to save you! But if you have retreated…somewhere along the way you have lost your focus on Jesus,you put the chains back on, then obviously you have forgotten the PRICE OF YOUR REDEMPTION! You were bought with a price… you were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Turn back to Christ...He is faithful! Or maybe you were not truly saved...God is faithful, He cannot fail in saving you! So...let me ask you the same question that Paul asked the Galatians. “Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?”
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Just as they returned to the bondage of the Law,( Galatians ) some of you may have returned to the bondage of sin? Why? Just like what Paul said “foolish”. And could it be that the foolish choices we have made caused as to forget the gospel, forgot who we belong to? I beg you to remember what Jesus has done for you! As we move further there is a another question I would like to ask you. Are you facing some suffering in a personal level, are being ridiculed to the point that, why isn’t God doing anything? ( Home, family, friends, work place )
We live in America where we are free to exercise our religious beliefs and at least for now we are culturally accepted as Christians. We may face some ridicule, some suffering in certain places but chances are we have not experienced any physical pain as a result of our faith in Christ. We are not being persecuted yet for following Jesus. Not yet!
So the question that I have for you is this “why would you come so far in your walk with Christ just to retreat to the life that He delivered you from?” The Christian life is not an easy one but I have never met anyone who was truly saved who would say their life was better before they met Jesus! Have you?
We all face the same challenges in life to a certain degree since our conversion, but never yet to the point that we have shed blood. And yet we are still here, by Gods power we have remained faithful to our Lord! It is a little sad to see those who have faced difficulty or some deeper level of challenges to just throw their hands up and walk away. Church, when trouble comes in this life, and it will come, it is easy to give up and walk away…
( Rom 8: 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.) God is faithful!
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Like i said earlier, trials and persecution will come, and should not be viewed as unusual. Don’t tell me that before you were drawn to the Son, you have never faced any sort of trials-challenges. Of course you did, we all did. The only difference now is that we are not alone. Jesus is with us every step of the way. Christians share in Christ’s sufferings, not by contributing to Christ’s finished work of atonement for sin, but by experiencing similar mistreatment because we are identified with, and united in Christ.
Maybe you are here tonight and you began to walk with the Lord and somewhere along the way you turned away. Perhaps you, like the believers at Galatia have lost your focus. Instead of focusing on the glorification of the Savior you are more concerned with gratification of self. Maybe instead of building His Kingdom you are now focused on your own...Falling on the lusts of the flesh. Remember... “a little leaven, leavens the lump”. The Holy Spirit inside will remind you who you belong to. And will convict you quick enough, before you infect those around you. And also strong enough to protect you from the “lion that prowls around you”. God is Faithful!
I would like to share with you a story of a man who was once extremely devoted to God. He was obedient, faithful and walked with the Lord daily, In fact God called him “a man after His own heart” God blessed him with a beautiful wife and several healthy children. After many years of devotion to the Lord he made a very foolish decision. He faced temptation and did not even put up a fight. He committed adultery with another man’s wife. Bathsheba became pregnant and David was in trouble. He arranged the murder of her husband Uriah. He spent a great deal of time away from the Lord. He had ample opportunity to repent and be restored but he continued in his rebellion. As a result of his sin, great trouble came into his life. His sins did not just impact him, they affected his entire family. Even though he made SEVERAL FOOLISH DECISIONS, the Lord still loved him!
Notice what the Lord said to David...
2 Samuel 12:7-9
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
Do you realize that if you are one of God’s children and you have made some foolish decisions of your own, that He still loves you and I as well? Now...this is not a license to sin, there are consequences for our foolish actions. “Do not despise the word of the Lord”. Turn back to God, for “God is faithful”
Pastor Richard Santos
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