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EMBRACED: AN OVERVIEW OF GALATIANS

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INTRODUCTION

OPENIING STORY: IN THE EARLY 1960’S WILL CAMPBELL FOUND HIMSELF AS THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS LIFE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI. HEIGHT OF CRM. HE- A WHITE MAN- JUMPED INTO HELP OUT OF HIS BIBLICAL CONVICTIONS, AAS. ONE DAY AN AGNOSTIC NEWSPAPERMAN NAMED P.D. EAST SKEPTICALLY ASKED CAMPBELL TO SUM UP THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE IN TEN WORDS OR LESS. “WE ARE ALL ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN BUT GOD LOVES US ANYWAY”. THIS MESSAGE STRUCK HOME WITH EAST, BECAUSE UNKNOWN TO WILL, HE WAS AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD. NOT LONG AFTER THIS INTERVIEW, CAMPBELL’S DEAR FRIEND WAS GUNNED DOWN IN A SODA SHOP BY A MEMBER OF THE KKK FOR HELPING REGISTER AA’S TO VOTE. P.D. EAST WAS TOO PRECOCIOUS AND WANTED TO KNOW IF CAMPBELL STILL BELIEVED THE DEFINITION HE GAVE OF CHRISTIANITY. STALKING HIM LIKE A TIGER HE SAID, COME ON BROTHER LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR DEFINITION. WAS JONATHAN- THE MAN GUNNED DOWN- AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD? YES, WILL ANSWERED THROUGH TEARS. WAS THE MURDERER ONE? OF COURSE WILL SAID. FINALLY, EAST PULLED CLOSER AND SAID WHICH DO YOU THINK GOD LOVES MORE? WILL LATER ON WROTE THESE WORDS: “I agreed that the notion that a man could go to a store where a group of unarmed human beings are drinking soda pop and eating moon pies, fire a shotgun blast at one of them, tearing his lungs and heart and bowels from his body, turn on another and send lead pellets ripping through his flesh and bones, and that God would set him free is almost more than I could stand. But unless that is precisely the case then there is no Gospel, there is no Good News. Unless that is the truth we have only bad news, we are back with law alone”- Will Campbell. The essential Christian message is we are all illegitimate children, but God loves us anyway...
VISION/CREATING THE NEED:
PRAYER WALK AND WHAT GOD TOLD ME…GOSPEL FOR A WHOLE YEAR. SO THIS MORNING WE BEGIN A ONE YEAR ODDYSEY IN THE GOSPEL? WHAT?
GOSPEL IS NOT JUST THE DIVING BOARD, BUT THE POOL. AND I WANT TO TAKE A DEEP DIVE. NOT JUST WHAT GETS YOU STARTED, IT IS THE VERY WATERS WE MUST SWIM IN DAILY.
MY AIM AT THE END OF THIS YEAR IS WE WOULD DO TWO THINGS: 1. ESTABLISH A THOROUGH GOSPEL CULTURE THAT SHAPES OUR IDENTITY, DEEPENS OUR SECURITY, SETS US FREE FROM THE TYRRANNY OF MORALISM AND LEGALISM, AND ENHANCES HOW WE RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER, EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED US. 2. I WANT TO GET YOU INTO THE PRACTICE OF CONSTANTLY PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO YOURSELF…I’LL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
GALATIANS BACKGROUND:
WE TURN OUR ATTENTION TO THE BOOK OF GALATIANS. IN HUMAN HISTORY NO ONE HAS CHANGED THE WORLD MORE IN THE PAST 1K YEARS THAN MARTIN LUTHER, THE FATHER OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION (WE ARE HERE IN A NON DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH BECAUSE OF HIM). HE LOVED THE BOOK OF GALATIANS. HE SAID IF IT WAS A WOMAN HE’D MARRY HER. IT HAS BEEN CALLED THE MAGNA CARTA OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, THE BATTLE CRY OF THE REFORMATION AND THE CHRISTIAN’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
GALATIA A REGION MADE UP OF MANY CITIES. LIKE THE BAY AREA.
JUDAIZER’S THREAT TO THE GOSPEL AND PAUL.
IF GALATIANS WERE A SCORE TO A MOVIE IT WOULD BE ALL UPBEAT. GALATIANS IS NOT A ROMANTIC COMEDY, A DRAMA, BUT AN ACTION PACKED MOVIE LIKE TAKEN…WHY? THE GOSPEL IS AT STAKE.
MY AIM THIS MORNING AND IN OUR SERIES IS TO GET US TO PALM THE BOOK OF GALATIANS…UNPACK IMAGERY.
CENTRAL THEME OF BOOK: HAVING BEEN SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, YOU NEED DO NOTHING ELSE FOR GOD TO FULLY EMBRACE YOU…ALL ABOUT EMBRACE...

THE GOSPEL

EXPLANATION: THE BOOK OF GALATIANS IS FILLED WITH RICH THEMES THAT PROVIDE ASTOUNDING THEMATIC CONTRASTS: FAITH VS. WORKS, LAW VS. GRACE, LIBERTY VS. LEGALISM, SONSHIP VS. SLAVERY, FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT VS. WORKS OF THE FLESH. ONLY TWO OPTIONS, NOT THIRD. EITHER/OR NOT BOTH/AND. WHICH MEANS ALL OF US RIGHT NOW ARE EITHER WALKING BY FAITH OR WORKS, FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OR WORKS OF THE FLESH…THE GREAT THEME OF COURSE IS THE GOSPEL.
ILLUSTRATION: LLOYD-JONES SAID THAT MOST OF OUR UNHAPPINESS IN LIFE IS BECAUSE WE SPEND TOO MUCH TIME LISTENING TO OURSELVES AND NOT TALKING TO OURSELVES. WE HEAR VOICES OF CONDEMNATION AND CRITIQUE ALL THE TIME. WE MUST ALL LEARN TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO OURSELVES! WE MUST LEARN TO BE OUR FAVORITE PREACHERS. WE MUST DAILY PREACH THE GOSPEL TO OURSELVES:
NEED. I AM DESPERATELY IN NEED. I AM MORE SINFUL THAN I’D LIKE TO ADMIT. ; . SIN HAS TOUCHED EVERY AREA OF OUR HEARTS. WE’D ALL BE BLUE. THE SEED OF EVERY SIN HAS BEEN SOWN IN EVERY HEART- JOHN OWEN.
HELPLESS. I AM COMPLETELY HELPLESS. I CAN’T GET TO GOD ON MY OWN. THE LIE OF THE CULTURE CAN. BUT I CAN’T. NO AMOUNT OF PRAYING, FASTING, ETC CAN GET ME TO GOD. . ALI ILLUSTRATION/QUOTE OF TALLYING ANGEL WHO RECORDED IN A BOOK EVERY TIME WE DID SOMETHING GOOD OR BAD. AT THE END IF MORE BAD THEN HELL, MORE GOOD THEN HEAVEN. HE ONCE EXHALED, “I’VE DONE A LOT OF BAD THINGS. GOTTA KEEP DOING GOOD NOW. I WANNA GO TO PARADISE”.
LOVED. I AM DEEPLY LOVED. MORE SINFUL THAN I CAN ADMIT, YET MORE LOVED THAN I COULD EVER IMAGINE. . HOW CAN BEING SINFUL AND BEING LOVED GO TOGETHER? PARENTING ANALOGY. YOU’VE GOT KIDS DON’T YOU? YOU MARRIED? YOU HAVE DEEP AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIPS? OKAY THEN.
EMBRACED. I AM FULLY EMBRACED. REGARDLESS OF MY PERFORMANCE. I AM NOT MY BEST DAYS- MY RIGHTEOUSNESS IS AS FILTHY RAGS. I AM NOT MY WORST DAYS. I AM EMBRACED BASED ON JESUS’ PERFORMANCE FOR ME ON THE CROSS. “Be a sinner and sin vigorously…It is sufficient that we recognize through the wealth of God’s glory, the lamb who bears the sin of the world; from this, sin does not sever us, even if thousands, thousands of times in one day we should fornicate or murder”- Martin Luther. Yes you may struggle with porn addiction, but you’re embraced by God. Yes, you may be SSA, but you are embraced by God. Yes you may be a liar, but you are embraced by God.
Conclusion: What does all this mean? Therefore, strive for holiness, rest in grace.

IDENTITY-

EXPLANATION: SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO YOURSELF LEAD TO? AT LEAST THREE THINGS. GALATIANS CAN BE DIVIDED IN THREE SECTIONS: 1-2; 3-4; 5-6. JUDAIZER’S KNEW TO ATTACK THE GOSPEL THEY HAD TO DISCREDIT PAUL’S APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY. PAUL SPENDS THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS DEFENDING IT. WHAT’S OBVIOUS HE’S SECURE IN HIS IDENTITY. ; . POINT: THE GOSPEL FRAMES OUR IDENTITY BY LIFTING IT OFF OF OURSELVES AND THIS LIFE, AND RESTING IT SOLELY IN THE FINISHED WORK OF JESUS.
ILLUSTRATION: PERILS OF IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF GOSPEL/CHRIST. ALI. FOUGHT WAY TOO LONG. PEOPLE IN HIS CAMP, MANY, BEGGED HIM TO QUIT. BUT HE FOUGHT YEARS LONGER THAN HE SHOULD HAVE, AND ALONG THE WAY TOOK IRREPARABLE DAMAGE. WHY? NEEDED THE MONEY? SOME OF THAT, BUT MOSTLY, BOXING HAD BECOME HIS IDENTITY. AND WHEN ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF CHRIST BECOMES YOUR IDENTITY YOU WILL DO IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
APPLICATIONS: WHEN LOVE BECOMES YOUR IDENTITY YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR MORALS, AND SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU SHOULD. WHEN SUCCESS BECOMES YOUR IDOL YOU WILL WORK MORE THAN YOU SHOULD, COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY, AND PLACE A CRUSHING BURDEN ON YOUR KIDS. WHEN KIDS BECOME YOUR IDOL YOU WILL BECOME A HELICOPTER PARENT, SUFFOCATING THEM WITH CONVENIENCE, EASE AND COMFORT…WHEN MONEY BECOMES YOUR IDOL YOU’LL DRIFT INTO GREED BY HOARDING AND NOT GIVING GENEROUSLY OR SPEND FOOLISHLY TO IMPRESS OTHERS. ALL LEAD TO DAMAGE.
WHEN CHRIST IS YOUR IDENTITY YOU ARE FREED FROM THE JUDGMENTS OF OTHERS AND CAN PUT GOSPEL DISTANCE BETWEEN OTHERS APPROVAL AND CHRIST’S. .

SECURITY-

EXPLANATION: THE SECOND THING THE GOSPEL LEADS TO IS SECURITY. WHEN WE TAKE A DEEP DIVE AND PLUMB THE DEEPS OF THE POOL OF THE GOSPEL, WE WILL BE LOST IN A SEA OF SECURITY. THIS IS PAUL’S POINT IN CHAPTERS 3-4. HE TAKES TO TASK THIS WHOLE NOTION OF THE LAW AND TRYING TO GAIN ACCEPTANCE FROM GOD. HE LIKENS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING THE LAW AS SLAVES. BUT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN EMBRACED BY GOD THROUGH THE GOSPEL AS SONS. LOOK AT . SEE IT? AS A SON YOU ARE SECURE.
PRODIGAL WHO FIGURED HE’D COME HOME AS A HIRED HAND. DAD WOULD HAVE NONE OF THAT!
ILLUSTRATION OF REBELLIOUS GIRL WHO GOES OFF TO DETROIT TO BE INDEPENDENT. GETS INTO PROSTITUTION AND DRUGS. END OF HERSELF, PIG PEN. SHE SENDS A NOTE HOME SAYING SHE’D LIKE TO COME BACK. HAS NO IDEA HOW THEY’D RESPOND. AT BUS STATION THERE’S SIGNS…HER FAMILY…A PARTY.
APPLICATION- . DON’T YOU KNOW THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO GET OUT OF GOD’S EMBRACE?

COMMUNITY-

EXPLANATION: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I REALLY COME TO TERMS WITH THE GOSPEL? IDENTITY. SECURITY. BUT NOW HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS. PAUL’S POINT IN CHAPTERS 5-6. HE TAKES A TURN INTO RELATIONSHIPS. UNPACK THE FLESH. WHEN A PERSON IS NOT SECURE IN CHRIST THEY WREAK HAVOC ON RELATIONSHIPS. EXAMPLE OF SAUL: MOST INSECURE PERSON IN THE BIBLE. TRIED TO KILL DAVID. INSECURE PEOPLE ARE COMPETITIVE AND THEY ARE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP KILLERS. INSECURE PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE OR GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE. INSTEAD THEY GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE AND REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE. COMPETITIVE. DENNIS RAINEY SAYS PUT TO MEN TOGETHER AND THEY’LL COMPETE.
APPLICATION: GOSPEL CENTERED PEOPLE DO THREE THINGS IN COMMUNITY: 1. THEY ENRICH- FRUIT OF THE HS; 2. THEY BEAR BURDENS. WILLING TO BE INCONVENIENCED (BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS); 3. THEY GIVE. POINT: YOU ALWAYS LEAVE SOMEONE WHO IS DRENCHING WET WITH THE GOSPEL GOING I WANT MORE OF THEM.
GOSPEL CONCLUSION:
HOW WE SEE ALL THESE THINGS IN JESUS. HE KNEW WHO HE WAS- I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE. HE REFUSED TO PERFORM IN ORDER TO BE ACCEPTED, HE WAS SECURE. HE ENRICHED ALL OF THOSE AROUND HIM, BEARING OUR BURDENS ON THE CROSS. THIS IS THE GOSPEL!
SEVERAL YEARS AGO JERRY SIEGEL DIED AT THE AGE OF 81 IN LOS ANGELES, HAVING SPENT MUCH OF HIS LIFE POOR. NOW WHY THIS NAME DOESN’T RING A BELL, WHAT HE CREATED DOES. JERRY SIEGEL CREATED SUPERMAN THE BILLION DOLLAR GLOBAL INDUSTRY. SO HOW DID HE DIE POOR? IN 1938 HE SOLD THE RIGHTS TO SUPERMAN FOR $130 DOLLARS, AND SPENT THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN POVERTY. I CAN’T EVEN STAND TO LOOK AT A SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK HE SAID. HE HAD SETTLED FOR A LESS THAN KIND OF LIFE. POINT- TOO MANY JERRY SIEGELS IN THE WORLD WHO ARE OPTING FOR THE TEMPORARY PLEASURES OF THE IMMEDIATE, NOT KNOWING THAT THE DEEP POOL OF THE GOSPEL OFFERS THEM SO MUCH MORE...
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