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04/11/2021 03:04 PM

 Listen to this Sermon - Galatians 2:21

check from berkshire hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway Check

  • (Oracle of Omaha) Warren Buffet a financial superhero.

    • 6th richest person worth $99.6 billion

    • Owns 6%  of Coca-Cola Company with 400 million shares

    • Collected bottle caps, sold most popular sodas door to door

  • I’ll come back to the check amount...

Easter is Super Bowl Sunday for Christians 

  • When NFL starts it’s anyone’s season

    • Except for the Cleveland Browns. 

    • Might as well be from Nazareth.

John 1:45-46 (ESV) 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Nathan answered and said, “See I told you, he’s even wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey!” (added for effect).

  • Super Bowl Sunday like Easter - someone is going to triumph. 

    • The day everything changed! 

    • Dividing line between the Before and the After. 

  • For early Jews 

    • Before - atonement (sacrifice lamb & blood)

    • After salvation through faith - finished work of Christ’s death/resurrection

  • For Us 

    • Before - unaware of sin & need for redemption

    • After - Holy Spirit’s work of salvation (our easter morning)

What if early Jews remained in the Before?

  • Continue following the Law

  • Raise a lamb to sacrifice

  • Insane! Treats Christ’s death as non-event

Galatians 2:21 (CEB) I don’t ignore the grace of God, because if we become righteous through the Law, then Christ died for no purpose.

What if we remained in the Before?

Galatians 2:21 (CJB) I do not reject God’s gracious gift; for if the way in which one attains righteousness is through legalism, then the Messiah’s death was pointless.

1. Following Legalism 

  • Strictly following rites & rituals of religion. 

  • I’ll earn my way to heaven

Galatians 5:1-3 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision (a former requirement of the law), Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. (Score 100, be perfect).

James 2:10 (ESV) For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point is guilty of all of it. 

  • If keeping score, you must score a 100 and be perfect or you fail. 

  • Dedication & attendance is fine as an outflow of our connection to Christ or it’s worthless!

2. Being ruled by Guilt & Shame

  • We cannot accept we are forgiven.

  • Live under shadow of shame

  • Maybe in fear of sins we will commit

    • Set up safeguards (find an accountability partner)

    • Avoid areas of vulnerability (where you may be tempted)

3. Disregard Christ’s death by comparing ourselves to others

  • We’re not as bad as some and probably better than most. 

  • I’ll get into heaven (like God grades on a curve)

  • Getting into heaven is not like surviving a bear attack by being the fastest one in the group. 

Romans 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

4. We remain in the Before by ignoring our need for salvation. 

William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) said the dangers confronting Christians today are: 

Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, Forgiveness without repentance, Politics without God, Heaven without Hell

  • We live in a world with no absolutes

  • Taught to be independent & self-reliant

  • I’m fine just as I am

Revelation 3:15-17 (ESV) I know your works (not your heart): you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV) We are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

  • Question: was your salvation experience genuine?

    • Do you still seek repentance?

    • Are you still utterly dependent upon Christ?

In 2010, Bill Gates & Warren Buffet set a challenge to give 50% of their wealth to charity.

This year I decided to stop playing the lottery

  • Before few bucks a week

  • “If I don’t play, I can’t win.”

  • God told me “putting your hope in this leaves me no place to bless you”

My check is $10,000,000.00. 

  • Could significantly change my life. 

  • Pay off my mortgage 

  • Set aside enough money to retire now. 

However, if I choose to live in the before…

  • Be like writing word VOID across this check

  • Making it worth nothing.

Galatians 2:21 (ASV) I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought (nothing).

When the significance of Easter ceases…

  • We void the grace of God and

  • Christ’s death & resurrection of no value.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (ESV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

We live in the After by embracing the ministry of reconciliation

  • Consider those we deem the most unworthy

  • Those that rub us wrong may be God’s salvation targets

  • You have to pray just to be around them, pray them into the kingdom

[Prayer]: Lord help us not to remain in the Before where we retain our useless practices of works, living under guilt & shame, comparing ourselves to others or simply being self-reliant. Let us not make void your grace and render Christ’s death and resurrection meaningless. Instead may we continue to be impacted more and more each day by the power of Christ’s life in us. Help us embrace Your ministry of reconciliation and be open to whomever you would bring to us. Amen.

05/06/2019 11:53 AM
Under Attack

There have been recent reports in the news about an upswing in persecution against Christians around the world, primarily in China and the Middle East. Even in the United States the government is considering extending funding for churches to enhance security, due to the recent rise of violence. However, we as believers have always known that the we are under attack. So what can we do to protect ourselves?

1 Peter 5:8-10 (ESV)  advises, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

We should be alert and when we identify our enemy we need to be on our guard against him remembering we do not fight our foe on our own but with a strong throng of fellow believers. For enduring we will be restored, strengthened, confirmed and established by our loving Father.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (ESV) encourages us, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
[Prayer]: Lord, make me wise to the schemes of my adversary and strengthen me to resist him firm in my faith. Protect my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world who are living their lives for you in the midst of great peril. Preserve your people and establish your church. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, amen.

05/03/2019 12:39 AM
Take Time to Train
Listen to this Ministry Message Moment
About six months ago, I started going to the gym, after nearly 3 decades without a fitness regime. It is quite inspiring and a little intimidating how dedicated some individuals (even older than me) are about maintaining their physical form. This truly is good for both a healthy body and mind, however 1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV) reminds us, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

So godliness is of greater value than even our physical exercise, but like going to the gym we also need to train our minds in order to better walk the walk of faith. 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) outlines that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

In order to truly excel in our Christian faith we need to pursue training in righteousness. This includes daily time in the Word for personal edification as well as some sort of organized group Bible study to both learn from and share your insights with others.

My muscles don’t get stronger just because I have a gym membership, but because I go there three times a week and lift heavy weights. It’s not always fun but the benefits, like regular prayer and time in the scriptures, provide a blessing I can enjoy every day.

[Prayer]: Father, help me to become a better student of Your Word. Teach me and train me daily to learn your ways so that I may grow stronger and better able to mentor others. In Jesus, mighty name, amen.

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