Freely Flowing Blessings
INTRO - In state convention Monday morning, the pastor’s conference, Johny Hunt shared that every message should point to the cross.
Pastor Hunt is a great preacher and I figure it’s always a good idea for me to listen to his preaching. He made an important observation, many people have lost confidence in the gospel.
I thought, “How is this?” and, “Might this explain why hardly anyone ever asked a lost person to sit down with them and enjoy the most basic thing? Join us for dinner?”
I don’t know about you, but I eat everyday and I was convicted that I’m missing one of the easiest ways to share the gospel.
I took note of the fact, it was clear, I can have a great testimony, but unless I share that story with a lost person, I fail Christ.
What God did in Jesus was the most amazing act of intervention, the most fantastic interaction, the finest involvement among human kind. What is more is that what God did in Christ was done in person.
In the same way God did something, it is His will that we, too, do something. If the blessing of God’s-giving Good News is to make it’s way into the world, we must do what God says.
Jesus’ mission was so important to our salvation. Part of working out your salvation, your orders from heaven, is to share Christ with others.
Something happens when we attempt to share. It’s the same old problem. That problem is sin. Sin gets in the way of God’s blessing.
The first sin, the sin of Adam and Eve, resulted in God cursing the creation. It happened again among the people of Isreal, and these were the people of God!
Last week we discussed how the people who had the blessing failed and they too came under a curse; the curse of the Law.
The law prevents the blessing, but Jesus took that problem away at the cross. The cross removed the curse of the Law and today the blessing can flow, does flow through Christ Jesus.
Through the cross, God made a way for His blessings to flow to all people, every nation, in any language, for any tribe or race, and for you and me. God sent Jesus, who came obediently, so blessings could flow.
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”
Blessings were Blocked — 3:10-12
Blessings were Blocked — 3:10-12
In Galatians 3:6-9 we note God’s blessings go to those who live with the faith like Abraham, the man of faith. The Bible teaches the blessing of Abraham was in the mind of God from the beginning. Recall what we read in Genesis:
And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The Bible, however, does not go from Genesis to the Great Commission we read about in Mt 28. The Bible has much to tell us in between these two events; namely a lot about the people Isreal. Chapters on top of Chapters relate the story of the people of Isreal’ the people who were the offspring of Abraham.
The story of the OT is a bit sad while at the same time on of God’s grace and redemption. It tells the story of sin and rebellion that led to the curse of the Law:
‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Paul builds on the idea of the curse demonstrating the Law does not justify and is not faith! If the Law is not the way to blessing nor the path to justification, then what is it?
We know the answer. We get blessed and are justified by living a life of faith. Habakkuk got it:
“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.
Like Abraham, the righteous life by faith.
Get this, Paul uses the OT to teach the truth of what the Bible tells us about the Law and the true way to God’s blessing. Paul tells us Law is not faith. If Isreal could keep the Law, well then sure it will bless:
So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.
But that is the point, nobody can keep the Law! Isreal didn’t keep the Law and got the curse, that is death through the Law, which landed her out of the promised land, scattered among the nations.
The point of these three verses is Isreal is cursed because of the Law and so is everyone who thinks they can depend on the works of the Law.
This should warn all of us, as Paul is reminding the Galatians, the Law is the pathway to the blessing or life.
Now here this, nobody could fulfill the Law. The way of the Law could not give life:
Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.
This is why we need God’s grace. The Law makes sin obvious and ends up killing people.
People have attempted all kinds of ways to get out of reckoning with sin. Moral reform, alining with good causes, even joining a church. But, the only way to Jesus is by faith and when broken and repenting. We must come seeking mercy and in need of God’s grace. Unless we come to Jesus this way, we fool ourselves thinking one might keep the Law’s demand and live by them.
TRANS - Blocked from the blessing, but there is a way. That brings us to our next point.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
Blessings are Bought — 3:13
Blessings are Bought — 3:13
Caught in a cave with no way out, in prison without chance for parole, trapped under the sea with no air to come up. These all sound like illustrations for a life without God’s grace. Their is no way aside divine intervention.
Isreal was like that; not a chance to get right with God. They were trapped by the Law, scattered among the nations, with only hope God might make for them a way.
The Jewish people waited on a Savior. The prayed and sang “Oh come, oh come Immanuel.” And God did send His Messiah as we will see later in this letter:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Paul clearly tells us in v.13 that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.”
This is a great verse. Is does not say He attempted to buy us from the curse of the Law, nor that He made it possible for us to be purchased from the curse of the Law. Paul clearly says Jesus did what He wanted to and did buy his people; He Himself redeemed His people from the curse of the Law. He set out to do it and did it!
But just how did Jesus buy His people?
He did it in the most unthinkable, nearly unbearable, way.
Jesus became a curse for us.
For a Jew, for pious, person, this is a terrible thought, blasphemous perhaps. Jesus was nailed to the tree, the cross and the Law is clear; cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree:
his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
Jesus, our sinless Savior, became sin and for what reason?:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
How amazing, how wonderful, what a twist to this, the story told to us through God’s own word, the Bible.
TRANS - Barred from the blessing no more. Blessings no longer blocked because Christ Jesus bought back all that stood between you and His blessing.
When life is tough and you feel as if it is turning in upon you, when you imagine yourself cursed, run to Jesus, run to the cross and find the curse is truly handled by Jesus at that tree.
That is, today the blessings are available bringing us to our final point before we conclude.
in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Blessings Now Abound — 3:14
Blessings Now Abound — 3:14
Jesus lifted on the cross and with that, the Law too, is lifted. What was blocked, now abounds because of the cross. God’s blessings now flow. This is what Paul is communicating. In Jesus the blessing of Abraham now abounds to Isreal and to the Gentiles.
Now that God’s blessing flows, Isreal, and this extends to us today, have the mission to teach the world the story of the Bible. God’s plan for every NT believer is “be my witness”:
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
We have the message of reconciliation. As people turn from sin to trusting in Jesus, they are forgiven and reconciled before God. As a result, the blessing of God is extended to every nation.
Paul’s unique situation requires him to explain how the death of Jesus opens up a way for the nation of Isreal; the promise of abounding blessing to the remnant Jews comes only by way of the cross.
As Isreal takes hold of Jesus as their promised Messiah by faith, they are renewed by His Spirit. Christ’s work at the cross overcomes the blessing blocked by the curse of the Law. Through the cross, by the HS, God pours out His Spirit on Isreal as they respond to Him in faith.
The prophets foretold this time of abounding blessing. God restores the people by taking away sin and sending the HS. God pours out His Spirit at Pentecost. Peter addressed this matter to people in Jerusalem:
This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
The renewal for Isreal is not finished. Paul told us about a coming day when all Isreal will be saved. In Romans he spoke about a partial harding:
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
That harding remains today. But, one day it will be no more:
and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
God will take away their harding and their sin.
How does that matter to the Gentiles?
At that time when Isreal is fully fixed up, Paul explains that means even greater blessing for the nations. Get this, at that time there will be a HUGE coming of people from every nation, tribe, language, and people to Jesus. Now, that’s ONE BIG BLESSING!!!!
Christ’s coming to the world and dying in our place, His taking upon Himself the curse of the Law, allows God’s blessing to abound among us today.
God made the way for His blessing to abound. Our part is telling people what God has done in Jesus; explaining how we are all cursed and need forgiveness. Jesus is humankind’s only hope, only way, and He is the only one able to accomplish what the Law required.
What must take place so God’s blessing might abound in the lives of people?
You and I must put on the mind of Christ, take up our cross, conform to His command, and open our hearts to be full with His Word.
We need God’s peace ruling in us and over us. Need His love in our hearts and flowing from us like rivers to the sea. We need His humbling Spirit to be ours so we can worship Him in fullness and truth. We need to exalt Him, take our strength from Him, allow His courage to enable us to run the race. We must look upward, to Jesus, setting our eyes on Him as we seek to win the lost to Him. We must help others see Him and only Him.