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Community Bible Chapel podcast
8/25/19 Gospel of Grace – A Contrast of Motives – Gal. 6:11-18
In I Cor. 13, Paul talks about the importance of the motives of the heart. He speaks of being able to speak in every known language, having all knowledge, having faith that can move mountains, and giving everything to the poor, but if they are not motivated by love, they account to nothing.
-I have to search my heart constantly for the motives of why I do things.
-As a Pastor, it’s easy to turn ministry into a job description.
-Where I come alongside people and help people, and even preach God’s Word from a selfish or duty motivation.
-Or go home and turn off the “serving God” motive and turn on the “serving self”
-If you are anything like me, I’m sure that you also struggle with your motives as well.
-Doing good things – even ministry – because it’s an obligation or from less than pure motivations turns even the best of deeds, into evil deeds.
Review – Paul has been helping us with how we are to walk by the Spirit in our lives as individuals and as part of the Body of Christ.
-We are to be ripening fruit in our lives in both of those.
Today, we will finish up our study of the book of Galatians.
-Most of the book is centered on Paul’s defense of the Gospel of Grace against the legalists who were adding works to the work of Christ.
-As Paul said – their gospel is “no gospel at all” because it deluted the work of Jesus on the cross.
-The last couple weeks Paul turned to speak to how we live by the Spirit as individuals and as part of the Body of believers.
I invite you to join me in Galatians 6. Page 826, youversion.
-Paul begins his conclusion to this letter by stating that he is writing in his own hand – in BIG LETTERS.
-There are all kinds of ideas about what this means.
-Personally, I take it as a final warning to conclude the letter.
-He might be saying in large print – TAKE HEED to the motivations of your heart and how those motivations are directed by the Gospel of Grace.
Motives of the Legalist
1. Outward impressions v. 11
-The legalist is motivated by looking for horizontal approval.
–People pleasing approval junkie!
-God might be in there as dutiful obedience, but they are really trying to show others how religious they are.
-It’s all about living in the flesh by their own self righteous efforts to keep the Law.
-Paul uses “circumcision” as a summation of our efforts to keep the Law . . . and it’s all external and done out of duty.
-That outward motivation has always been a huge problem.
Isaiah 29:13 speaks too.
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Is 29:13
-They had developed a “religious system” full of ritual, symbols, and traditions.
-That gave the impression of being spiritual, but were actually of the flesh – tying up their faith and relationship with God in the keeping of the Law.
-It looks like it doing the right thing, but for the wrong reasons.
-It’s so easy to fall to that.
-We go to church or read the Bible and think that we are living the Spirit filled life.
-But as we saw in Gal. 5 – none of the Christian disciplines or rituals are listed with the Fruit of the Spirit.
-The true “spiritual filled life” is measured in how much going to church or reading the Bible changes our heart.
–Where our ever deepening love for God becomes the motivation for everything we do.
2. Fear v. 12
-A second motivation of the legalists was to avoid persecution from the Jews for becoming believers in Jesus.
-They would be able to say that they were keeping the Law and teaching others to keep the Law.
-That came as they broke from Judaism, so they carried their Judaism into their faith in Jesus and taught the Gentiles needed to come under the Jewish Law.
-We struggle with a different persecution in our culture today.
-We are persecuted because of the cross of Christ.
-But we have to be very careful that we don’t follow that same pattern.
-Missionaries that evangelized the Native Americans brought the Gospel, but then added that they needed to dress like them and adopt a European way of life.
-That becomes easy to do as we seek to disciple new believers as we impose
“Laws” of the faith on them.
-External codes of conduct are no measure of internal spirituality.
-Certainly, it’s much easier to order a bunch of external Laws than it is to nurture a deepening love for Jesus that ends in a new life.
-But that is the goal of true discipleship, otherwise we nullify the “cross of Christ.”
-The “cross of Christ” became the universal symbol of the believer.
-You can travel the world and see the effects of the Cross.
-Not that people where a cross around their neck, but in the fact that Hospitals have been built, women are treated as equals, and ministries spend considerable resources to free people in the bonds of human trafficking.
-People are not persecuted for wearing a cross, but because they are changed by the cross of Christ.
-Fear can push us back to practice our faith with legalistic ritual rather than by living by a faith the directs everything we do.
The Result – Hypocrisy v. 13
-Such hypocrites that they wanted others to keep a Law that they themselves couldn’t keep.
-Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian and the world understands that.
-The world is looking for believers to love people and often the church imposes a standard of conduct on the culture that it doesn’t keep itself – HYPOCRITE.
-We would be fooling ourselves if we thought that going to church made us secure in Christ. RIGHT?
-Now, having said that, going to church and the other Christian disciplines are meant to change how we live our lives out in the world.
-They are meant to deepen our relationship with Christ and deepen our love for others.
-But if we go to church on Sunday but on Monday complain about our boss or interact with our neighbors with anger, then we are doing the same.
-That is the point Jesus makes in Mark 7:6
“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
-It’s the heart that God is after, because it’s the heart that loves God and loves others.
-Legalism is motivated by “what others think” and fear and is always hypocritical because is always demands obedience to the Law when they can’t keep it themselves.
READ v. 14-18
Motives of Believers
-He knows he’s a sinner in need of grace.
-Paul boasts of the “Cross of Christ” alone.
-Nothing taken away, nothing added – it’s the finished work of Jesus on the cross that justifies us before God.
-We rejoice in the cross of Christ because we no longer have to rely on our own self-righteousness to bring us to God.
-And the motives of the heart are huge.
1. Freedom from bondage of the World
-We don’t have to worry about what others think because the cross of Christ makes us free from the world and bondage to the Law.
-Free from the world in that we are no longer living for the things of the world and the flesh – our selfish desires.
-Free from the Law and the punishment that comes with it because we are unable to keep it.
-We are in bondage to both because of sin – unable to break free and earn peace with God.
-But the cross of Christ – sets us free!
-That is the motivation for doing good – we do good because we have already been set free – not to look good or to free ourselves.
2. Made new v. 15
-We are not “made new” by systematically keeping the Law until we don’t sin anymore.
-Because of the Cross of Christ, the only thing that matters is that we are made new through faith in Him.
-We don’t need a better version of ourselves, we need to be totally remade in Christ.
-And because we are made new in Christ, then we can live for God – live in a deep love relationship with Him.
-Then because we are already free and are already a new creation, our motives change.
-No longer do we need to earn those things, but since we already have them, we want to live for – and love our wonderous and joyful God.
Result – Salvation v. 16
-Not a result of our efforts, but the result of the Gospel of grace is peace and mercy are given by a joyful God.
-Peace has been given by Jesus, between God and us.
-Mercy is God not treating us as our sin deserves because Jesus took our punishment.
-Together, these speak of salvation.
-That salvation doesn’t come through keeping the Law and all the religious traditions, but comes to us through faith in Jesus.
-The “Israel of God” is a strange phrase and refers to the new people
(both Jew and Gentile) that God is making His through the Gospel of grace.
-No longer is it by circumcision and heritage that makes someone an Israelite, but it comes to both Jew and Gentile through faith in Jesus Christ.
-That is the group identified as God’s people – the church of the Living God.
Living by the Gospel of Grace
-All the things we do as believers.
–The Christian disciplines of prayer, Bible study, attending church, giving, fasting, and a bunch of others, are meaningless in achieving our salvation.
–The Christian traditions of baptism and communion are meaningless in achieving our salvation.
–The Christian feasts and celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are meaningless in achieving our salvation.
–The Christian actions of doing good and loving others are meaningless in achieving our salvation.
–All these and a bunch more are meaningless in achieving our salvation and peace with God.
-But because of God’s grace and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus, all these things take on great value as we live according to the Spirit.
-These all have deep and spiritual meaning in our lives of following Jesus.
-As we consider this book of Galatians and the rest of God’s Word, the key is to have the order right.
-We are saved by grace through faith and then we begin to live by the Holy Spirit.
-That is a knife edge that we walk on every day.
-Walking by faith is easier said than done.
-Far too often there is a disconnect between going to church and how we live our lives the rest of the week.
-Faith is too shallow or practically non-existent as we make decisions and process through life.
-Living, making decisions, treating others, as if God doesn’t exist and as if we are not connected to the Holy Spirit.
-The other day Sue and I were making dinner and she got in my way to the sink.
-I was a bit cranky and made some snarky remark.
-My thinking – using my words to express the goodness and glory of God?
-No, thinking and using my words to express my selfishness.
-Thankfully, my wife is very gracious and forgave me as the Holy Spirit made me aware that I was acting as if God didn’t exist.
-And in response to my seeking forgiveness from God and from her.
-That might not sound like how we should live, and it isn’t.
-But it is the reality of the daily battle that rages in our heart.
-We are sinners saved by grace.
-Every day is another day that I am in desperate need of God’s help as I seek His strength to live by the Spirit and glorify Him.
-Not according to my strength, but yielded to His power.