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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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This past weekend, we concluded our "Live Free" series through the Book of Galatians with a powerful and eye-opening study of Galatians 6. In this message, Pastor Doug explored how following Jesus, living in church community, and loving others fulfills the law of Christ.
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Who is Jesus? This is a question people have been asking for centuries, and many have had a ready answer. It’s the most important question you can answer in life. And if Jesus were to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” what would be your answer?
When presented with the same question, the apostle Peter, never one to mince words, said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 NKJV)—in other words, the one we’ve been waiting for . . . the real thing.
In a world full of fakes and phonies, Jesus is the only One with the words of life, and this is exactly what Paul is fighting for as he writes to the people of Galatia. He wants them to taste the real thing, not some fabricated religion that would leave them empty or hungry for more.
Jesus + nothing = everything. When you start adding things to that formula it falls flat, like a cult that mimics God’s Word but adds its own expression or someone’s idolized perspective simply because Jesus is not enough. And so, what you’re left with is the real thing plus something else, whatever that may be. And by definition, not the real thing. Just a religion with a set of laws and regulations, and some good deeds added for good measure.
Jesus Followers Embrace Christian Community (Galatians 6:1-5) In Galatians 6:1-5, Paul charges us to press on and fulfill the law of Christ. Loving your neighbor as yourself is fulfilling that highest law. And how do you do that? By embracing the Christian church community and staying in that close-knit pocket. In this passage, Paul encourages the Galatians to go all in! To be vulnerable, to get in there to help other people, and to carry their own load. The fruit that comes out of that is a great harvest in lean and prosperous times. Paul emphasizes in verse 10 (NIV), “As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Jesus Followers Embrace Transformation (Galatians 6:12) Living in a church community is something every Christian ought to do, but Paul warns us to be wise in how we conduct ourselves or let others influence us, because it’s not about what we do on the outside, but what takes place on the inside that matters. Paul tells us to walk by the Spirit and to not be coerced by others to do something we’re not ready to do. In our culture, that translates to anything from being baptized or joining a small group. And while those are definitely good things Christians should do, only God can speak into our hearts as to when the right time may be.
As Paul points out to the Galatians, it’s not about circumcision and Jewish laws; it’s about the new Covenant we have in Christ. And so, it’s not about what we do on the outside; it’s all about being that new creation as God transforms us from the inside out. This is what Paul is pushing the Galatians to think about, and us too.
Jesus Followers Embrace Suffering (Galatians 6:17) Paul bore the mark of Christ. And as he closes his letter, he reminds us that suffering is the “brand” of Christianity, which makes us think: Will we experience suffering if we live the Christian life? If we get sick and pray, will God heal us? Will God always provide in the way we expect and when we expect it? There is only one answer to all of these questions: If you’re a Christian, you’re going to suffer. And when you do, look for the Lord.
Paul was persecuted and suffered. Jesus was persecuted and suffered. But here’s the beautiful thing about suffering that we need to know, which Paul stresses in this verse, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Jewish people wanted to mark themselves with circumcision, but the new brand of Christianity are the marks on our backs.
Ours is not an easy walk, but the grace of Jesus is with us. And who is Jesus? He is the Son of God, who died and gives eternal life to all who believe in Him.
Quote to Remember: I don’t need to add anything to the gospel, but is there something I need to GET RID OF so I can live out fully being a child of promise?—Pastor Doug Sauder
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Join us this Wednesday for a powerful and refreshing time of worship and heartfelt prayer as we reflect on God’s goodness and experience His presence together.
Then, at our weekend services, we’ll kick off a special four-week series titled "Unsinkable." Along with over 30 other churches throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, we'll explore the foundational elements upon which Christianity and the Church itself are built as we discover the source of truth, the power of the gospel, and the great mission that unites us all! In week one, Pastor Doug will dive into the idea of truth.