27 Jun Galatians #6 – There’s Jesus For YOU! (Galatians 3:15-29)
– All right this is gonna be fun. If you got a Bible, go to Galatians, chapter three. We’re taking 13 weeks and we’re just walking verse by verse through this great book of the Bible. And today we are going to learn that God has one singular message for all people, all times, all places. I was thinking about it, thinking of it in this way, every time somebody wants to run for political office, what’s one of the first things you’ve got to decide. What’s my campaign slogan? What’s my core message? And so I was thinking about it. There was Zachary Taylor. He said he would be president for the people. Abraham Lincoln ran on the platform of vote yourself a farm. And then when he won in his second term, Abraham Lincoln used this as his campaign slogan. Don’t swap horses in the middle of the stream. Apparently when you had a horse, that was a real compelling message. And then Grover Cleveland. He was sort of the godfather of negative campaigning. His slogan was blamed blamed James G Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine. That’s a little, it’s a little long for a bumper sticker on your horse, but negative nonetheless. William McKinney ran on the platform of patriotism, protection and prosperity. Calvin Coolidge said keep cool with Coolidge. Herbert Hoover said a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. And we said if you vote for me I’ll give you a car and a chicken. It’s like a group on you, buy one, you get another one. Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower ran on the, I like I Campaign. Ronald Reagan said it’s morning in America. Again, George Bush promised us a kinder, gentler nation. Bill Clinton told us don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. George Bush came along and said, we needed a compassionate conservatism. Barack Obama promised change we could believe in. And then he ran on a campaign of hope. Hillary said I’m with her. And our current president slogan is? So you’ve heard this. You know how this works? What’s God’s slogan. What’s God’s message. He’s not just a president running for office, He is a King who is establishing a kingdom across all of the nations. And the message of God does not change. Cultures change, nations change, languages change, but the message of God, the means by which God invites us into relationship with Himself and reveals Himself to us is called the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bible sometimes it’s called the Eternal Gospel because God got it right the first time, God doesn’t need to modify it. God doesn’t need to edit it. God doesn’t need to upgrade it. It’s not like your phone. It’s not like your laptop. It’s not like the software on your car computer. God got it right the first time, there’s no edits, there’s no alterations. There’s no upgrades. And here’s the big idea. You need Jesus. That’s kind of God’s message to everybody everywhere. People come to God I need this, I need that. I need this, I need this, I need this. And God’s like you need Jesus. And by you, I mean everyone. Amen? So that’s where we start. And so what we’re gonna look at, we’re gonna look at a few scriptures in the old Testament of the first book of the Bible called Genesis and what they are, they are preparing us to understand Galatians 3, where we find ourselves in the series. And what Galatians 3 is, it’s a commentary on thousands of years of history and God communicating to His people. So we’ll start with Genesis chapter three. Our first two parents are Adam and Eve. First man, first woman, God made them perfect. They lived in what kind of environment? Perfect. Just imagine you are married to a sinless spouse. Just imagine that. Okay, now come back to reality. Those days are over. When Adam and Eve got maketh they were perfect and everything was perfect. And now it ain’t so perfect because of some decisions that they made that have affected us all. It’s called sin and the fall. Instead of obeying God, they disobeyed God. Instead of trusting God, they trusted in themselves. Rather than listening to the Word of God they listened to the enemy of God. And as a result, sin, sickness, death, folly, wickedness, and all that is bad comes into human history. And what God does not do is show up and tell them you’ve made a mess, you need to fix it. You’ve made a pile, all rub your nose in it. What God does, God shows up and He speaks good news to them. And here’s what He says. God says they will put enmity that’s division and conflict. God creates Satan counterfeits. Here Satan showed up and he counterfeited the message of God. And here Jesus is through I should say, God is correcting the message about the coming of Jesus. I will put enmity between you Satan and the woman. So there’s gonna be a conflict. It’s not that Adam and Eve need to defeat the devil it’s that the devil has already defeated them. So Jesus needs to come to defeat the devil that has defeated them to liberate them from the captivity of sin and between your offspring. This is a big word, okay? One word offspring. Just sort of keep it in your mind, highlight it in your Bible. Make note of it. You’re gonna see it in Galatians three and it is a commentary on this section of scripture. He, a male descendant shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. They blow it. How many of you have blown it? Right, we’ve all blown it. And if you didn’t raise your hand, raise both hands. You’ve double blown it. Not only did you blow it, you didn’t know that you blew it. You hear that? That’s so we all blew it and God doesn’t show up and say, here’s what I need you to do. Instead, God shows up and He says, you need Jesus. That’s exactly what God is saying. He’s saying you need Jesus. So through this woman, Eve is going to come a male descendant and he will defeat the devil though the devil will harm him. And this is the promise of the good news of the coming of our savior and our King and our liberator and our hero, and our burden lifter, and our forgiver. And his name is Jesus. So God doesn’t show up to Adam and Eve and say, you’ve done bad, I now need you to do good. He says, you have done bad, you need Jesus. You don’t understand your need for Jesus until you understand your sin, your rebellion, your folly, your independence, your pride, right? They knew they had a problem and a crisis and then God presents Jesus as the solution. You need to know that whatever problem you have, your biggest deepest greatest problem is a sin problem and you’re greatest deepest need is Jesus. God shows up to Adam and Eve and He says to them, and I’m paraphrasing and quoting and summarizing, “You need Jesus.” You need Jesus. And the good news is I’m sending Jesus, He’s gonna be coming. The storyline of Genesis then moves forward to one of the most famous men in the history of the world. He is a towering figure in the book of Galatians. His name is Abraham. We’ll call him father Abraham, right? He’s father Abraham. He’s the long bearded old guy who is the prototype for our relationship with God. And he has a wife named Sarah. Now their story is this. They are an elderly couple that is beyond childbearing years, totally barren. The last people you would pick to bring Jesus into the world because they’re an infertile barren couple. But here’s the good news. If you have blown it, you need Jesus and Jesus will be there for you. And even if all of your circumstances are beyond possibility, they’re not beyond the power of God. And He makes them a promise. And He says, I, God will establish my covenant. That is the Bible’s language for relationship. We live in a culture that has a lot of contracts. Contracts are for professional relationships. Covenant is the language for personal relationship. Let’s say you and I have a contract and let’s say, I’m doing a service for you. And the terms of the contract are that if I don’t conclude my service, you do not compensate me. That’s all contractual. I can be your former employee. Covenantal is the language of relationship and family. I’ve got five kids and guess what? My kids are always gonna be my kids. They’re always gonna be my kids because our relationship is covenantal not contractual. We have a personal relationship, not a professional relationship. Here’s what you need to know. God wants a personal relationship with you. God wants a family based father-child kind of loving relationship with you. God is not a performance based dad. He’s a grace based dad. God doesn’t show up and yell at you, God comes to talk with you. God, doesn’t come to put burdens on you, but to lift burdens from you. God doesn’t come to break you through guilt and shame, but to build you through love and forgiveness. And that’s all that is packed into this concept of covenant. The Bible speaks of covenant hundreds of times, Christianity is called the new covenant marriage is called the covenant. It’s translated in the old Testament. Covenant love, love and kindness, mercy, steadfast love, loyal love, devotion, commitment, loyalty, or reliability. The Jesus storybook Bible, which is awesome for little people, calls it the never stopping, never giving up unbreaking always and forever love. That’s covenant. That’s covenant. Now, why do I tell you this? Because how you relate to God is how you will relate to others. If you think that God is contractual, you will be contractual. If you think God is law based, you will be law based. If you think that God is punitive, you will be punitive. If you think that God is domineering, overbearing, and controlling, you will become domineering, overbearing, and controlling sometimes in the name of God, which is antithetical to the father heart of God. How many of you, I just explained your whole upbringing. Right, how many of you are sad, your kids are hearing this? ‘Cause now they’re gonna watch you to give them grace and not law and be covenantal and contractual. You’re welcome. Happy father’s day, right? I love you, I want good for you. God said I will establish my covenant between me and you and your here’s the word again, offspring. Some of your translations will say seed. Who is that? Who is that? It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus. He shows up to Adam and Eve and He says, you need Jesus. He shows up to Abraham and Sarah and says, you need Jesus. God’s campaign slogan, God’s kingdom message, never changes. And your offspring after you throughout the generations for what kind of covenant, everlasting that’s eternal. That means you can’t blow it because it was done by grace, it can’t be undone by you. And this relationship is not based upon what you do, but trusting in who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. To be your God and to be God to you and your offspring after you. Now, why is this important? Because Abraham is the template. He is the prototype. How many of you are engineers or you work in some sort of industry where you need to come up with a prototype, right? What’s the prototype, what’s the template. And then everything else sort of follows in that example. So when Henry Ford decides I want to make cars with something called an assembly line and mass manufacture them, he starts with the model T and that becomes the prototype, which interestingly to this day is still our prototype for wheels, steering wheel, seat, windshield, roof. We are still working off of a prototype. You drove here is something that is a modification of a prototype, but it’s still consistent with the prototype. The prototype for relationship with God, the template for relationship with God is Abraham, He’s called the father of faith. So let’s look at Abraham. I’ll ask you a few questions. Maybe, you know the answers, maybe you don’t. Was Abraham Jewish or Gentile to begin with? Gentile. Gentile. Many of you didn’t even know that. He was just was, was he a believer in the God of the Bible or a non-unbeliever? Unbeliever? Was he from a good family or a bad family? Bad family. It’s what Acts as his dad was a pagan. Worshiped false demon gods. Was Abraham looking for God was Abraham every night just like, God, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know where you are. God reveal yourself to me. God, I wanna know, was that Abraham? Here was Abraham. That’s Abraham. All right, that’s Abraham. He’s like, I got a wife. I’m working a job. We have no kids. I’m a pagan. I don’t know God, I don’t care. I’m not looking for God. So what happened in Abraham’s life? He didn’t find God, God found him. How many of you, that’s your story? You know, it was crazy. I turned around and there’s Jesus. I’m like, what are you doing here? Like you need me. All right, that’s the message. That’s why I’m here. So God shows up to Abraham. And what He does is He reveals Himself. He introduces himself. Hi, I’m Yahweh I’m the real God. I’m the creator God. And I’d like to have a relationship with you that is covenantal. So what I’d like to do is let you and your wife have a child and through that child come a nation and through that nation come, not only a son, but the son of God, all seen Jesus as the divine offspring, and as a result, the whole world all the nations will be blessed, for all of history people are gonna be shocked that you get to be part of my plan. That’s amazing. Let me ask you this. What did Abraham do to cause that? Answer, nothing. What did Abraham do to deserve that? Answer? Nothing. Nothing. He trusted God. It’s called faith. God, I believe you are who you are. I believe you’ll do what you’ll do. I trust you, that’s it. It wasn’t by his works, it was by him trusting in the coming works of Jesus. Let me say this. God is in heaven, we’re on earth and the question is always, how do we bridge this gap? And almost every person who is religious comes along and says, someone needs to do something. Let’s form a committee and let’s come up with the list of things that we should do. And God says, you need Jesus. It’s not about you going up to me. It’s about Him coming down to you. It’s not about your performance, but His performance. It’s not about what you do, it’s about what He does, Amen. And this is the message of Christianity. If somebody comes to you and they say, why are you a Christian? You say, because of the grace of God. God showed up in my life, He decided to tell me who He was. He invited me into a relationship and He’s got my eternal passport stamped and a ton of blessing and inheritance for me forever. Well, what did you do? Nothing. Jesus did everything. That’s why on the cross He said it is finished. All the work was done and I just trust Jesus. I’m just hanging out with Jesus. God showed up in my life and said, you need Jesus. And I was like, that’s true, Amen. How many of you, that’s your story? It starts with faith. And so Abraham’s relationship with God, it is prototype. It is template. It doesn’t matter what your family is. It doesn’t matter what spirituality you have had or not had. It doesn’t matter what behavior you have done or not done. It does not matter who your father or mother was or was not. That ultimately it all comes down to this issue the offspring of Abraham and His name is Jesus. Do you love Jesus? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you trust in Jesus? Are you walking with Jesus? Are you excited about Jesus? Are you becoming more like Jesus, amen. That’s what it’s all about. And so ultimately Abraham was here, trusting Jesus is coming. You know what? We still live by faith. We trust that Jesus is coming again. We’re all living by faith in Jesus from beginning to end, it’s by faith in Jesus that our problem dealt with and our covenant relationship is reconciled with God. Now that being said, that brings us to Galatians three. And here’s what God says. So God showed up. Let me just summarize it. He told Adam and Eve what? What a God told Adam and Eve? You need Jesus. He showed up to Abraham and Sarah and said, you need Jesus. He’s gonna show up here and explain this again. Galatians 3:15-16, “To give a human example brothers, even with a manmade covenant, no one adds, it or adds, no one knows it or adds to it once it has been ratified. What God says is this. Once an agreement is made, you can’t change it. Let me tell you, this is really good news. It means God’s not gonna file divorce papers with you. It means that God is not going to disown you. It means that God is not going to abandon or betray you. It means that God will not withhold his blessing from you. It means that God will not at the end, change His mind and reject you forever. That’s really good news. How many of you have had a contract or an agreement with someone and then they tried to change the terms of the deal. And you’re like, no, no, no, no, we agreed. Here’s what God said. We agreed. Let me show you this. The covenant is ultimately between God the Father and God the Son, right? And that if you and I are in God the son, then we are part of the covenant and we’ve received the blessing. But what had happened was from beginning to end, God had been telling people, you need Jesus, He’s coming. It’s about His life, not your life. It’s about Him paying the price, not you paying a price. It’s saved by grace not by works by what He’s done, not what you’ve done, who He is, not who you are, that’s how this relationship begins and continues. And then what happens is Paul starts preaching this good news, this message, you need Jesus. And then religious leaders show up and they have a long list of things they wanna add. This is legalism. This is tradition. This is religion. This is demonic because God creates, Satan counterfeits. God creates a covenant based relationship of grace, Satan counterfeits with a works based relationship of performance. The difference is that a grace based relationship, the grace, the love, the mercy is that the starting line to help you run your race. It’s not at the finish line to reward you for running your race. Some of you grew up in law based legalistic, religious, traditional performance based environments. Some of you are now taking that burden and giving it to your own children. And you’re thinking you’re being biblical. You’re not biblical unless you’re relational. You’re not biblical unless you’re covenantal, right? And that ultimately it is an opportunity for us not to get embittered against our parents, but to investigate our family of origins and to ask, was it grace based or law based? Was it about Jesus or was it about my performance and criticism of my failures? We’ve gotten a lot of feedback in this series or at least I have from some of you and you’ve been delivered and healed of a lot of burdens in legalism and tradition and manmade rules and a lot of things that God doesn’t have for you, but that others have put upon you. And let me just say this to the fathers, since it’s Father’s Day, Abraham is called our father, right? And what he was is he was a father of grace and blessing and faith. To be fathers we need to be fathers of grace and blessing and faith. But ultimately the point of Abraham being a father was to point his whole family to Jesus who was coming and the goal of us as fathers needs to be, to always be pointing to Jesus who not only came, but is coming again. And you and I, those of us who are heads of household, fathers and men, we have this unique opportunity to set one of two cultures in our home. A culture of grace, relationship, covenant, a relationship of works performance and punishment. If you don’t know what the culture is, ask your wife. I just like to say that usually the truth result resides with the wife, that’s been my experience. And or ask your kids. Relational, non-relational, love based, performance based grace centered or obedience compliance centered. Let’s just work on this relationship with Jesus. No, let’s pay a lot of attention to a long list of things that we have the man’s upon you that you need to live under fear of punishment from. It’s a very different household. It’s a very different culture. It’s a very different environment. And here’s why I tell you this. Some of you still think you have this kind of relationship with God. God, I know Jesus died for my sin, but now that I’m a Christian and I did sin, you probably don’t forgive me. Jesus died for all your sin past, present and future. The grace of God was not just there to save you, but to sustain you. Okay, but God, I wandered and I walked away. Well, you’re still my kid. I love you, please come home, I’ll help. God things are hard. Are you punishing me? Are you angry at me? No I’m not angry at you and I’m not punishing you. I already punished Jesus in your place. This may be consequence for your decision making, but it’s not my punitive response. You need Jesus. Your spouse needs Jesus. Your kids need Jesus. Your family needs Jesus. Your friends need Jesus. Your neighbors need Jesus. Your coworkers need Jesus and your enemies need Jesus. Okay, to give a human example, brothers, even with a manmade covenant, no one knows it or adds to it once it has been ratified. I don’t really have notes today. I kind of took the weekend off it’s father’s day. We’re gonna have Carnegie Assata. And what good is it to preach on grace unless you’re living in it. So I’m just gonna refer a while, but let me say this. How many of you, you wish there was something that the Word of God said, and it doesn’t. Like if I could add one thing, That’s what happens? People think, well, if we just have this rule, if we have this principle, if we have this method, if we had this denomination, if we have this theological tradition, if we had speaking in tongues, if we had baptism, if we had tithing, if we had missions, if we had homeschool, if we had head coverings, whatever the craziness is, if we just had that things would be better. Let’s just add something to the Word of God, because God wrote some laws, good start God. We’re here to pick up where you left off and to finish what you started. That’s wrong. It’s evil, it’s demonic. But how many of you, you have rules that God did not make that you impose on others that you punish if they violate your rules. That is not parenting, that is abuse. Okay. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, and to offsprings plural, referring to many, but referring to one and to your offspring who is Christ. And so what he is saying here is that ultimately it’s about God the Father making a covenant promise for this relationship, with his offspring, the offspring of Abraham. Now there was a debate because Abraham did something he shouldn’t have done it. If you’re a married guy, write this down. Don’t have two wives and two families. Just write that down, okay? Your wife says, thank you. So he takes one wife, Sarah, and she is barren and elderly. And God makes a promise that they’re gonna have a son. They wait many years, the son doesn’t come. So they decide we’re gonna help God. Let me just tell you this. God doesn’t need help, He needs faith. That you’ll trust that He’ll do what He promised. So then Sarah comes up with this crazy idea. Why don’t you also marry this gal named Hagar, get her pregnant, she’ll give us a son then we’ll have a boy and we’ll all live happily ever after. There’s a den like that. No, you don’t even have to be a Christian to go. This is a dumpster fire meets train wreck meets prison riot meets Jerry Springer episode. That’s where this is going, right? So Abraham through Hagar has a son. And then God, through Sarah later provides a son. And now the big debate is which son gets the inheritance. How many of you, right? Grandparents die, parents die, you get an inheritance, but only if your family, well, how do you get into the family of God? How do you get the inheritance of God? How do you get eternal life and all the blessings of God. So those who were descendants of Hagar, those are today we’ll call them Gentiles, non-Jewish those are the Arab people. And they’ve got a whole religion called Islam that says we are the offspring of Abraham, he is our father. We have the right to the land. We have the right to the blessing. We are the inheritance receivers of God. The Jewish people would say, no, no, no, no, no, no, wrong wife, wrong son. We are the true sons of Abraham. He really is our dad. All of the promises are ours. The inheritance is ours. We’re the real family. God shows up and says, it’s Jesus. I made a covenant with Jesus, the son of God, who would come as a descendant of Abraham. But it doesn’t matter if you’re Gentile or Jewish. In fact, it doesn’t even matter whether or not you are biologically connected to Abraham. The question is, are you connected to God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. So the debate is, well, who are the descendants? Who’s the offspring, answer. It’s not a bunch of people, it’s one person. What’s His name? Jesus. And if you’re with Jesus, you’re in the covenant. And if you’re with Jesus, you get grace. And if you’re with Jesus, you get blessing. And if you’re with Jesus, all the promises are yours in Him. The question is, do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you belong to Jesus? Then the question becomes though, so God shows up to Adam and Eve, you need Jesus. God shows up to Abraham and Sarah, you need Jesus. Paul clarifies it. He really did tell him, you need Jesus. Then the question is, well, what about something called the law? ‘Cause okay, the relationship and grace and mercy and forgiveness, but the Bible also has something called the books of the law. The first five books of the old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy there in, you will find 613 laws; do this, do not do that. The question is, well, how does that work? Did God change His message? Did God have His campaign slogan? You know, it’s you need Jesus too. Now you need to do something. Not just trust that He has done everything. And so ultimately the point is that Moses needs Jesus that’s where He is going. And Moses is the author of the laws. So Galatians 3:23, excuse me, Galatians 3:17-22. This is what I mean, the law, which came 430 years afterward. Here’s what he’s saying. Okay Abraham is our prototype and template. Abraham was saved by grace through faith. He trusted God. God said Jesus was coming to take care of it. Moses did not write the law till 430 years later. I believe he’s speaking there of the 10 commandments in particular but the question is when did Abraham become a believer? The moment that he received grace from and had faith in the God who made him. And for 430 years, that’s how it was and then the law was written. Does not have Noah covenant previously ratified God so as to make the promise void for if the inheritance comes by the law, how many of you want your inheritance? Do you know what your inheritance is? Do you have any idea? You’re gonna get a resurrected body. It’s gonna be amazing. You’re gonna be skinny, healthy, beautiful, flexible. If you drop something, you’ll be able to pick it up. It’s gonna be amazing. I will have bangs, I can’t wait. It’s gonna be amazing. You’re gonna get a new body, it’s amazing. You’re gonna get a house to live in. It’s actually the father’s house. And Jesus says, He’s preparing a room for you. It’s a nice place. You’re gonna live in a nice neighbor. And it’s gonna make Scottsdale look like a dump, okay? Because the Bible says that the streets in God’s kingdom are paved with gold. You know, you’re doing well when you’re like, what do we do with the gold? I don’t know. Highway? No, sir. It’s gonna be good, right? Everybody’s gonna get along. You’re gonna have food to eat, but you won’t need to go to Costco. In addition, you will have full healing, you won’t have any pain or suffering. You won’t even need medical coverage. You won’t need a copay or deductible. You will not need a shot. You will not need an antibiotic. You will not need a vitamin. All you need is Jesus. That’s craziness. He said, well, how do I get that inheritance? And I want you to think he terminally and not temporary? I want you to see not to the grave, but beyond the grave. All of this life is preparing us for the real true life that comes on the other side of this life. For if the inheritance comes by the law that we got to earn it, we got to deserve it. We got to qualify for it. Sometimes a godless parent will make an inheritance and leave their last will and testament. And then as the kids or grandkids show up, there’s this long list I’ll give you this money if you do this and if you go to this school and if you do this thing and it’s all conditional. Is that the way it works? No, it’s not how God works. God is generous to us, loving toward us, kind with us. And His love changes us so that we will want to become like the God who loves us not so that He will love us but because in Christ He already does. For, if the inheritance comes by the law, it is no longer by a promise, but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Why then the law, how many of you realize this? Why are there so many rules in the Bible? It was added because of transgressions until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. Who’s that? It was just to get you ready for Jesus. And if you had the training wheels on your bike, that’s the law until Jesus came and if you have music lessons learned to play the nodes until you could write your own songs. That’s the law until Jesus came is to prepare you but ultimately one day the goal is for you to be a mature adult and to move forward and to make your own decisions filled with the Holy Spirit. And here’s what happens. People who don’t understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit, they try and have everything in their life, run by rules and regulations, policies, and procedures. All of a sudden the Christian life becomes like Ikea furniture or paint by Numbers Kit, just do it like they say, and then it’ll come out okay? And it doesn’t. Because you need Jesus, not just rules. You need Jesus, not just to plan. You need Jesus, not just demands. You need Jesus. So He goes on why then as the law? It was added because of transgression. And it was put in place through angels, by an intermediary. And this concept of angels here, it’s important. God has two families. He has an earthly family of human beings. He has a heavenly family of spiritual beings where to get into this and the winter war book and series this fall but ultimately God loves and works through each of His families. And what happens is the angels are in the presence of God an angel literally means messenger minister Hebrews tells us. And so God decides I wanna send a message down. I wanna get my campaign slogan out, right? I need Moses to be the one who sort of broadcast this for me. And so an angel says, okay, well Lord, let me take that message and deliver it to Moses. When you and I read the word of God, it is delivered to us from God. And it comes with the power of God and the truth of God and it unleashes the grace of God. So the angel somehow brings the message of the law, the 10 commandments in particular to Moses, and then Moses communicates it to the people. Next slide, please. Now an intermediate or implies that one but God is one. See anytime there’s relationship problems, we need a reconciler, a mediator. We need the counselor. We need somebody to get in the middle. And here’s the point? Jesus Christ is our mediator. The Bible says there is one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus, God became a man to reconcile man to God. And so ultimately God is always working through mediators and ultimately that points to Jesus. If the law then is contrary, the promises of God, certainly not for a flawed been given that could give life then the righteousness would indeed be by the law, but the scripture imprisoned everything under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to who believe. Your relationship with God is contingent upon believe not behave. Some of you think your relationship with God is contingent upon behave. And if you don’t behave, then the relationship could be in serious jeopardy. God’s relationship with you is not behave it is believe in who, Jesus. Right, believe in Jesus. Now immediately, when I say this, some of you who are law based religious, traditional, you know, all my favorite people of which I could easily be one and that is the default in my soul. And I have to always course correct back to grace. That ultimately, as soon as I say this, some of you be like, so behavior doesn’t matter, conduct doesn’t matter. Holiness doesn’t matter, doing the right thing doesn’t matter do sin sin sin God forgives, forgives forgives. Now first I would say that’s sort of a sour attitude, but in addition, sometimes the grace of God gets abused. You ever been to one of those buffets, I’m making this up as I go. But the people eat everything that they put on their platter. No. You’re like, well, they took more than they needed. What grace is like that. You’re like, you know what? I kind of took more than I should and I really didn’t steward it well. And God’s like, good thing, I make a lot of grace. In fact, there’s an infinite supply. And the grace of God, it not only forgives you, it reveals to you the love of God and the character of God and the father heart of God. And ultimately the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit compels us not to just be forgiven for ongoing sin, but to become more like Jesus. That’s the heart of a true believer. So our focus again is on Jesus. And let me say this, the more you walk with Jesus, the more you get to know Jesus, the more you hang out with Jesus, guess what, the further you are from sin. And so grace puts you in relationship that then distances you from sin and rebellion and folly. And it’s all yours my friend, if you believe. So, do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that He is God? Do you believe He lived without sin? Do you believe He died on the cross in your place for your sins? That He lived a perfect life, that He lived the life you’ve not lived, that He died the death you should have died, that He gives the gift you cannot earn, that Jesus is awesome and you need Jesus. And the good news is Jesus will take you. Whew, that’s amazing.
– Okay, you’re both excited. I appreciate that. Now the question then is, well, what about the law? Law does a couple of things. Number one, it reveals God’s holiness. How many of you read the Bible and you’re like, wow, God is different. That’s what holiness means. God is orderly and God is pure and God is good. Number two, the law of God reveals our sinfulness. How many of you thought you were a good person until you read the Bible? Don’t ever forget as a brand new pastor, dude comes up to me after a sermon. He’s like, pastor Mark, I’m reading the Bible. It’s not working. I said, what do you mean it’s not working? But I was like, I read it and I feel terrible. It’s totally working because it shows you that you need Jesus. He read it and goes, Oh, this is so discouraging. Oh Jesus, that’s so encouraging, right? You need Jesus. It shows God’s holiness our sin. Number three, it discourages evil and gives the state government and opportunity to punish murder and you know, assault and those stealing because those are crimes. Number four, it reveals God’s patience. How many of you are glad that God is patient with you, Amen. How many of you God’s been so patient with? That’s me. See God is a father with a father’s heart. And you, if you are a Christian, you’re a child of God. And what a good father doesn’t do is say, okay, here’s who you’re gonna be when you’re all mature and grown up. So get there right away. And I’m gonna exert a lot of pressure to make that happen. Instead, a father has faith and a father looks down the road and says, I see who my child will be as they mature. Let me just say this. It takes more faith to raise boys. I’ll just say that, okay. Sometimes you can look at your daughter as she’s watching the little kids and you know, helping mom with dinner and reading her Bible. And you’re like, she’s gonna be a godly woman. And then like son, and you’re like, Oh boy. You need to see your child at maturity and completion and love them and walk with them and help them to grow into the fullness of who God made them to be. God is a father, you are His kid. He’s very patient with you. He knows your shortcomings faults, flaws and failures. But when God sees you, He sees you completed. He sees you perfected. He sees you resurrected. He sees you unburdened. He sees you healed up. He sees you when Jesus is totally done with you and He’s patient to help mature you to that place. In addition, the law of God keeps God’s people as distinct by keeping a nation of people through whom Jesus could come. It then prepared a people who were set aside to bring Jesus as the blessing to the nations. So the law is good, but we are bad. And the law tells us what to do, but doesn’t do it for us. The law condemns us. It doesn’t justify, forgive or reconcile us. And so we need more than the law. We need Jesus to fulfill the law and to give grace. And so that’s where sort of everything culminates. If you’ve missed everything I’ve said, remember this, you need Jesus. That’s where it goes, Adam and Eve, you need Jesus, Sarah and Abraham, you need Jesus, Moses, you need Jesus. And he ultimately says, you, I, everyone everywhere need Jesus. Now, before faith came, we were held captive under the law imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then the law was our guardian. In that day, our guardian was, it was like a tutor. It was like an old pair. It was like a nanny. It was somebody that would watch the kid and look after the kid and raise the kid, ultimately with the goal being to launch the kid. To launch the kid. So certain laws, certain regulations, certain things, God may use those to prepare you for maturity. But once you meet the Lord, Jesus, and you receive the Holy spirit, you’ve graduated, you don’t need a babysitter anymore. When my kids were little, they would get a babysitter. They don’t get a babysitter anymore. They get to make their own decisions. There’s freedom for them now. And that’s what He’s saying. That those who go back to the law, those who go back to rules, those who go back to regulations, those who go back to manmade traditions, those who go back to legalisms they’re immature. And I’ll just tell you, I mean, I’m pretty fired up about this, but there’s even garbage books, like one called Growing Kids God’s Way garbage books that come out and say, here is how you do it. Here’s how you raise your kids. They’re non covenantal. They’re non-relational, they’re non grace based, they’re non spirit filled, which means they’re immature. Because raising a child is not like training a dog or assembling Ikea furniture. It’s dealing with a human soul that is built for the grace of God and only grows through healthy nourishing relationships based on the Word of God. So you parents, I want you to flush some stuff. I want you to go home dads, look your kids in the eye and say, sorry, give me a hug. I’ll buy ice cream and spank myself, okay. Just, all right. I didn’t mean that metaphorically, by the way, Another face of this com we’re no longer under our guardian. You’re free, make some decisions. Walk with God. Live out of faith, not fear. For in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God. That’s a legal status that honors men and women as equals through faith, for as many of you were baptized into Christ and put on Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek slave nor free, male nor female, all are one. Here’s the big idea, in Christ only three times does the new Testament call believers, Christians. I looked it up 216 times. The apostle Paul says we are in Christ. That’s where you are. You’re not in Scottsdale. You’re in Christ, in Scottsdale. You’re not in trouble, you’re in Christ in trouble. You’re not in poverty, you’re in Christ in poverty. You are in Christ. Your circumstances may change, but your identity is consistent. And the identity is really the life raft of God that will get you through the tumultuous seas of this life and that identity will carry you ultimately to your home. You, if you belong to Jesus, you’re in Christ. The blessings of Abraham, the promises of the nations, the inheritance of the kingdom is all yours if you are in Christ, then you’re Abraham’s offspring, heirs recipients according to the promise. Let me tell you what this doesn’t mean and I’ll tell you what this does mean. Some will come along and use and abuse this because God creates and Satan counterfeits. And they’ll say, see, there’s no such thing as gender. Right, so where are we going? We’re going to the target bathroom. That’s where we’re going, okay. So there’s neither male nor female all of that’s eradicated. Is that what he’s saying? No. Because our gender was rooted in creation. Jesus says it in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 in the beginning, God made them male and female through the new Testament. God says to you men, to you women, to you fathers, to you mothers, to you sons, to your daughters, He speaks to those who are in their God given gender. What does this mean then? Because some come along and say, ah, God the Father. God the Son, where the sons of God. That’s all patriarchal chauvinistic. We don’t need all of that. Yes you do. You need a father. You need the Son of God so that you can be in Christ and receive that promised place of being in Christ, positionally to where all that Christ has is yours. All the Christ is yours. All the Christ determines and destines is yours. If you’re in Christ. Now what would happen is in their day, there were these religious leaders, these law based legalistic, punitive clipboard, big hat, furrowed brow, no fun kind of folks and they were called the Pharisees. And Paul who’s writing this was one of them until he met Jesus. Before he met Jesus, he was all about Paul then he became all about Jesus and he was all about his religion. And then he was about this relationship and he was all about his performance. And then he was all about Jesus’ perfection. And the Pharisees would get up in the morning and they would pray this. Dear Lord, thank you that I’m a Jew and not a dirty Gentile. That God, thank you that I’m a man and not a woman. That thank you that I’m free and not a slave. God, everybody’s awful. Thank you that I’m awesome. That’s what they said in the Hebrew. God, I know you’re looking for awesome. You’re welcome, I’m up now? You’re welcome. Right now imagine you’re in the prayer meeting and you’re a Gentile, that’s a little offensive. Let’s say you are a woman. You’re like, I guess we’re really second class here. Or you’re a slave, which a third of the Roman empire was a third. What they would say is I don’t need Jesus ’cause I’m a Jew. I came from a religious family. I don’t need Jesus because I’m a man. I don’t need Jesus because I’m free and my nationality secures my destiny. And what he’s saying is this, God sort of brings up. Okay, all right. All you Jews and Gentiles up on the stage. All right, all you Gentiles over here. You what’s the message you need Jesus. And all you Jews folks, you need Jesus too. And they’d like what? What, no we thought we were good and they were bad. No, we thought we were good and they were bad. You’re all bad, He’s good. You all need Him. And what happens is the Gentiles need to repent of their sin, their wickedness, their sexuality, their debauchery, and the religious people need to repent of what their religion, what happens in churches we tend to preach against sinners. And then all the religious people are like, yes, get them. They’re naughty, nefarious and nasty. We need to buy them belts and hand sanitizer. Those are some nasty people. And what you end up with is you end up with a bunch of religious people. And all you do is preach against religion what do you get? On to share rebellious, yeah. We’re not about laws and pants and sobriety and DUIs. We live in the grace of God and we call it Mardi Gras, okay. And so what happens is some of you need to repent of your sin. You’ve got to, Jesus died for that. And some of you need to repent of your religion, your rules, your performance, you’re seeking to answer every decision in your life by some sort of form, your plan wrote memorized script given to you by someone else, rather than saying, I need Jesus. I need Jesus to help me, I need Jesus to lead me. I need Jesus to forgive me. I need Jesus to give me the Holy Spirit. I need Jesus to fix me, I need Jesus to save me from myself. And what He’s doing here is He’s saying there’s only one group. Those who are in Christ, it’s not your nationality. It’s not your gender, it’s not your performance. It’s not your accomplishments. It’s not your grade point average. It’s, not your obedience. It’s Jesus and you need Jesus. And here’s what’s awesome. If you’re in Christ, Christ is in you through the power and the presence of the person of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t just forgive you and leave you as an orphan. Jesus promised that the father would send the Spirit the same Holy Spirit, who empowered the life of Jesus comes to empower the life of the Christian. Paul says in Ephesians that is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. That the Holy Spirit is the beginning of your inheritance. That the Holy Spirit is the beginning of your blessing and a little spoiler alert and where we’re going in Galatians read ahead. It’s all about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. You’re not only positionally in Christ. Christ is powerfully in you. New person, new creation, new father, new big brother, new desires, new powers. And it’s like, why would I obey God? Not because I have to, but because I want to, not because He’ll love me, but because He loves me. My dad’s saw some, I wanna be like him. I tell you when I was a little boy, I wore boots and jeans and a hard hat. ‘Cause I want it to be like my dad, who was a construction worker. The children of God want to be like their dad. He loves, we love. He forgives, we forgive. He is generous, we’re generous. Well, do you have to do those things? No, we don’t. We just love our dad and He’s awesome. And we love how our dad treats us. And then He helps us to treat others the way He is treating us. This is just all of grace, it’s not of law. It’s freedom, not burden. It’s the best life ever. Ah, okay. I’m gonna bring the band up. That’s all I got full tank of gas. I’ve emptied it. All right, let me just summarize this with a story. Some years ago, I was at a pastor’s conference, a well known Pentecostal sort of global movement leader was there. We were backstage godly, man. Nice man, grace centered, generous, kind, loving, merciful, awesome. And we were talking and he asked me kind of a question and I’m paraphrasing it. He basically asked why is your group mean? I come from something called the more reformed tradition. And I’m a Bible guy. I don’t know if you notice that. And I get intense. I have a strong personality and this is what I sound like all the time. And so he’s like, why is your team mean? It’s what he was asking. Like they have a theology of grace that we don’t get to experience. And I hadn’t thought about it before. And just in that moment, I believe there was a revelation from the Holy spirit. And I said, well, pastor, do you believe that the Holy Spirit is in the child of God? He said, yes. I said, do you believe that the Holy Spirit is changing them at the deepest level of their being? Yes. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is giving them new desires? Yes. Do you believe that the Holy spirit is conforming them to be more and more like Jesus Christ the Son of God? Yes. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit keeps an eye on them? Yes. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit controls and guides them? Yes. And what I said was, if you don’t believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, then you create religion to do his job. Religion is the counterfeit to the Spirit. Legalism is the counterfeit to the Spirit. Tradition is the counterfeit to the Spirit. I don’t need to control you the Holy Spirit will control you. I don’t need to tell you exactly what to do, the Holy Spirit will help you figure out what to do. I don’t need to make sure that you do what I tell you to do. I need to encourage your personal relationship with the Holy Spirit so that you would hear His voice and walk in His will. And let me say, if you will have this kind of gray space, father child, Jesus focus, Spirit saturated life, giving healing, unburdening joy filled, exciting life that relationship will change all your relationships. You’ll give grace to your spouse ’cause there’s grace for your spouse. You’ll give grace to your kids ’cause there’s grace for your kids. You’ll receive grace for yourself because there is grace for you in abundance for those who are in Christ. So what I wanna do now is have us take a moment to enjoy the grace of God, to give whatever hurts you have from past suffering or legalism or parenting or punishment, to forgive, to be unburdened, to heal, to give the sin to God, to give the sin of religion to God, to give your family to God, to give your marriage to God, to give your children to God, to give your career to God and to trust in the grace of God. Holy spirit we invite you to fill these people. We invite you to flood this place with the powerful presence of God. God, your grace is sufficient. Your power is made perfect in weakness. And so God, for those of us who are weak, thank you that in Christ, we are strong. God, I pray for those who have grown up under religious legalism tradition, guilt, punishment, fear, and performance. That today they would meet the Father and know that He is well-pleased with them if they are in His son and God may we give grace to each other, starting with our own families. And God on this Father’s Day I just wanna thank you that you are a Father. You are a covenantal Father, that you are a forgiving Father, that you are a pursuing Father, that you are a conversational Father, that you are a grace based Father, that you are a faithful Father. And I pray for the men that we would have the opportunity to be faithful fathers who bring the father’s grace to our family so that they could flourish in Jesus name. Amen.