January 7, 2015

Galatians 4

4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,


  “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
    break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
  For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

(ESV)

January 6, 2015

Galatians 3

3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

(ESV)

January 5, 2015

Galatians 2

2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

(ESV)

Going Deeper

Going Deeper

No other Gospel (1-3-15)

Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Galatians 1.

Read: Galatians 1:1-5

In this opening salutation, Paul gets right to preaching the Gospel to the people in Galatia.

What is the Gospel?   

-It is the truth that God reigns supreme over all created things.  Everything is from Him, through Him, to Him, and is for His glory forever and ever: that’s Romans 11.

– It is the truth that man has turned away from God’s glory in sin to make their lives about their own glory; man worships the idol of Creation instead of God: that’s Romans 1 & 3.

– It is the truth that because of our sin, we deserve the righteous eternal wrath of God: that’s Romans 6.

– It is the truth that by God’s amazing grace, He saves sinners by the perfect shed blood of His Son: that’s Romans 3.

– It is the truth that those whom God gives ears to hear and eyes to see,  who repent of sin and self and trust wholly in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and lordship, He justifies and adopts as His own for eternity: that’s Romans 8.

According to the authority of SCRIPTURE ALONE, we are saved by GRACE ALONE

through FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE for the GLORY OF GOD ALONE

This is THE GOOD NEWS.   The word gospel means “News.”     THE GOSPEL OF JESUS = “THE” GOOD NEWS!

There is no other news that has been or ever will ever be bigger then this.

The scriptures teach us there is only one true GOSPEL!

The only one way to have lasting joy, real hope, total pardon from sin, and life everlasting with God is Jesus!

Only Jesus perfectly lived the life you and I failed to live;

Only Jesus paid the penalty in death that you and I should pay for eternity;

Only Jesus produces in us the redeemed life you and I could never attain on our own.

This is THE GOOD NEWS!

But the problem in Galatia is new Christians are being taught there is more to it than… Jesus!

This is a problem we still face today.

Read Galatians 1:6-7  

What is a False Gospel?  

It is any “news” that proclaims to change your life based on a savior or lord who is not Jesus Christ.

It is any “news” that proclaims to change your life with a different instruction or revelation that is not God’s Holy Word.

Some False Gospels are easy to recognize, because they are proclamations from Looney Ville.

But many are harder to discern, because they claim Scripture and Jesus to be central to their belief.

Many False Gospels are simply perversions or variations of the one true Gospel.

What they will say is, “Oh we are God’s people. We believe in the Bible too. We believe in Jesus.”

What they do is take the Scriptures and then lay another teaching or extra biblical revelation over them.

For example:

-Mormons will claim the Holy Scriptures and Jesus, but then lay the revelation of Joseph Smith over them.

-Jehovah’s Witnesses will claim the Scriptures, but lay the teachings of Charles Taze Russel and the Watchtower Society over them.

-Christian Scientists will lay the teachings of Science and Health from Mary Baker Eddy over the Scriptures.

Whatever the agenda (Socialism/Marxism, Prosperity Capitalism, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, etc.), take your “ism,” take its primary teacher, and that team’s primary motivations or goals, and add it to or lay it over the scripture, and you have a false Gospel.

A false Gospel is any teaching that is not solely rooted in the living Word of God and the authority and work alone of Jesus Christ.

It is any teaching that doesn’t say with clarity that all of us are wicked and dead in our sin!

We are without hope for life or even the ability to pursue life apart from the atoning work of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection and the sovereign work of the living God who redeems his people for his eternal glory and our eternal Joy!

Paul is bringing a very important clarity, which is:

The Gospel of Jesus is not inclusive.  It is exclusive.  Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life!  That is not an inclusive statement.  The cross of Christ cannot and does not “COEXIST” with or “INCLUDE” any other religion.

This is an aggressive denial of a common modern belief called Universalism or Pluralism!

Universalism says everyone who dies will go to heaven and be reconciled to God.  Pluralism says all religious paths are equally valid and can and should coexist.

The common statement by grieving people who have lost love ones is, “They are in a better place”, even though that person has no redemption for their sin by the substitutional atonement of Jesus Christ. They have no true repentance and belief in Jesus alone.

à Still, people cling to the False Gospel that their loved ones will be accepted because they were generally thought of as a good person.   Hear this today very clearly:  There is no accurate biblical teaching that a person can go on rejecting the gospel of Christ and still be saved.

There are other man-made religions besides Christianity,

and there are other man-ordained leaders besides Jesus Christ,

but there is no other Gospel,  no other good news of salvation.

This is what Paul is fired up about. People in Galatia were being lied to and led astray.

The False Gospel Paul was specifically confronting was the Judiazers’ teaching that in addition to Jesus, you need to be circumcised and act like a Jew to be right with God.

Instead of the Good News being, Jesus saves us by his power, they were teaching:

  1. it is Jesus’s work 2.  and you also need to ….(fill in the blank)

This is “Jesus +” language.  This is a false Gospel!

This teaching is adding to what the Scriptures clearly teach: Jesus alone saves us and redeems us.   We can do nothing to help or assist our salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Anytime you hear someone say you need JESUS plus something else…STOP and be warned!

All we need is Jesus! Period. That is the Good News. Jesus paid it all.  It is an undeserved gift of epic proportions.

It is Jesus work for Jesus’s glory, and it is our utter privilege to be called by God into it.

There is nothing else you and I can do. The Bible says even our faith is a gift from God.

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.

God made it this way so that He gets all the glory, and not you or me.  He made it this way so we have nothing to boast in.

I encourage people all the time to stop testifying, “This is the day I accepted Jesus.”  I encourage this not only because it is not a biblical statement, but also because in the smallest way, it is a boasting in oneself.  “Let me tell you about the day that I did this.”

Instead, I encourage people to proclaim, “This is the day that God saved me.”

This way, all praise and glory goes to God!   “He pursued me while I was His enemy; God chose me and awakened my depraved heart of stone to see and savor His Gospel; Jesus did the work I could not do and claimed for me eternal victory and right standing with God.  All praise to God!”

We have nothing to brag about.  Only Jesus!

The Good News is JESUS!   Nothing else!

It is not Jesus plus something else. He is our end! Our victory! Our greatest JOY!

Jesus is not the means to another end! He is the prize!

Why is the Gospel of Jesus THE Good News?    One word: GRACE!    Look at

Galatians 2:3-5

But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

(ESV)

again.

-Did you and I do anything to deserve the Son of God to come to earth and be tortured in our place so we could be pardoned from our selfish rebellion against him?  NO!

-Was he obligated to do this anyway?   NO.

That’s why it is called Grace!   Grace is: An undeserved gift from an unobligated giver!

If you want to sum up Christianity, what distinguishes it from everything else is The Gospel of Grace.

We are saved by grace, which means by nothing we have done.

What the Judiazers were teaching the Galatians is that they needed to “do” something else to be in the true family of God.

They needed to get circumcised and act like Jews.

Next, Paul says we are to look very carefully for those who proclaim false gospels, even among those who claim to be in the church or who claim to be connected to God.

Read: Galatians 1:8-9 

Many modern day self-proclaimed Christian teachers, preachers, and churches are the greatest danger to true Christianity.  False teachers trying to satisfy fleshly desires will preach false gospels to gather a crowd, get rich and start a movement.

Brothers, just because it’s on TV, or just because it is a big church, or just because the leader is a famous preacher doesn’t mean the true Gospel is what is being preached.  The worst thing we could do is think, “They talk about Jesus, so it can’t be that bad.”  No, it CAN be that bad: bad enough to convince lost people who are under God’s wrath they are saved when they are not.

The testimony we are called to bring to the lost in the MC world is not one of pandering to others’ man-made beliefs that somehow they are good with God because of their (fill in the blank) point of view. Instead, our call is to testify the true, life altering, exclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ alone to them and trust in God’s perfect will and timing to set them free.

Finally, Read Galatians 1:10 

Let me ask you:  Who are you trying to please?

Often, we are working so hard to try to please someone else, to win the approval of man.

We desire to be accepted by our loved ones, our work associates, our brothers, other clubs, so we can be known and liked.

Often, we are looking to meet the approval of ourselves.  Trying so hard to get to a level of life we think we should be at, such as the way you look, your intelligence, the bike you ride, the accomplishments you have made, the success of your kids.

God is whispering to you through this passage today,  “There is no other Gospel.”

There is no other GOOD NEWS you can get from anyone else or you can tell yourself that will ultimately satisfy you and eternally save you from deserved eternal death.

Jesus is the only one who ultimately pleased God and the Good News is He satisfied God’s perfect wrath on our behalf so we could be a part of the family forever.

In Christ, we have a new identity!  We are accepted because of what Christ alone has done.

This is the Good News of JESUS!

Like Paul, the greatest joy in my life is to be a servant of Jesus: to be a solider for Jesus!

–Soldiers, hold fast to and proclaim no other gospel than “Christ alone.”

By His grace and for His glory,

-Shepherd / Soldiers for Jesus MC / Bakersfield CA

 

January 2, 2015

Galatians 1

1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

(ESV)