Sunday, April 14, 2019

698. Is it "Biblical"? (Part 2)

Is it biblical? When we hear this question, usually someone is asking if it’s in the Bible. Another motivation may be to find out if it’s a principle based upon the truth of the Bible. Since anyone can quote Bible verses and appear to be fitting them into a jigsaw puzzle in order to create a picture which fits their own belief system, this question may be overemphasized. It’s also interesting to see how many things found within the Mosaic law are sometimes considered as a part of Christianity, while other things within the very same pages are completely ignored. For example, in Deuteronomy 22, there are instructions on what to do if you come across a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground. Following the instructions to the letter would mean… “that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.” It’s as “biblical” as any other of the 613 commandments and statutes but it's hardly a mantra of the church today. So while the church continues to pick and choose old covenant commands to be considered “biblical” from a doctrinal perspective, they fail to realize you either have to follow the entire law or it all had to come to an end. Christ became the end of the law.



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Sunday, April 07, 2019

697. Is it "Biblical"? (Part 1)

The first part of this week’s program wraps up what we’ve been discussing… with a reminder about the legalistic minded who quote certain passages which they think implies our eternal life and inheritance is based upon what we do and how we behave. We’re not dismissing the importance of behavior, but our inheritance is not based on that. The second half of the program starts a new conversation about the “biblical” catch phrase we often find in Christianity. We’re often trying to define and determine what is “biblical” and what is not. Another saying that is commonly heard is whether they are a “Bible believing church.” Just what does it mean when we determine whether something is deemed to be biblical while another version of belief is not? We’ll be laying down some thoughts that may cause people to reconsider how they define what is biblical.



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Sunday, March 31, 2019

696. The Spirit Vs. the Flesh (Walking in the Spirit)

“The law is not of faith.” This word from Paul is a central theme throughout the book of Galatians. It needs to be kept in mind as we look through the letter, including chapter 5 as the apostle compares the Spirit to the flesh. Believers in Christ who had been freed from the law are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Romans 8:9). Although we can be tempted with the works of the flesh that Paul lists in Galatians 5, it is those who are of the flesh that will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (unbelievers). They are stuck in “works” mode… which may appear as sinful and at other times it may appear as Godly. This is not a passage on living “good enough” to inherit eternal life. We’ve all continued to struggle with being perfect… we still may have moments of anger, quarrels, jealousy, impure thoughts, etc. Fear not! God is always with you and He desires to be our helper during those times.

The Galatians were earlier accused of having fallen from grace because they were trying to be perfected by the law of works (Galatians 3:3 & 5:4). As children of God, we receive an inheritance as a gift because we are an heir, not because we are living in a way that is going to be considered morally acceptable. This is not to diminish or disregard the importance of behavior - Paul’s exhortation is for us who are in Christ to behave in a way that reflects the true righteous nature of who we’ve been born to be in Christ. This is not accomplished by our empty efforts of trying to produce our own fruit, but by the Holy Spirit within us. Now we can bear His fruit, apart from the law of works.



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Sunday, March 24, 2019

695. Love Is Better Than Law

In the third chapter of Galatians, Paul stated “the law is not of faith.” We’ve progressed to Galatians chapter 5, where the apostle attempts to encourage these people to avoid the pitfall of going from the freedom of grace back into the law of works. They had been bewitched and deceived into another gospel that really wasn’t the gospel at all. If they were going to choose the system of written commandments (such as circumcision), they would be obligated to keep the entire law - all 613 commands. Those who were attempting to be justified by law (works) had fallen from grace. Paul went on to admonish not to use their freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. So how does one walk in the Spirit and avoid the desire of the flesh? It’s done apart from the law of works and it’s rooted in the perfect love of God which was manifested through Jesus Christ… this is where we abide as believers inside of a New Covenant.



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Sunday, March 17, 2019

694. Delivered from Bondage (The Law of Commandments)

Continuing with our short series on “The Law is Not of Faith.” In the book of Galatians, Paul uses the women of Abraham (Sarah and Hagar) as illustrations while comparing the two covenants - the Old and the New. One gave birth to a child of promise (Sarah) and the other came from Mt. Sinai and gave birth to bondage. We know this is where the Mosaic law was given birth - including the Ten Commandments. It was something the Jewish people were freed from because of the child of promise. Religious doctrines which encourage us to live by the old commandments from that covenant have missed the point… we can’t live by something that is unable to bring life or righteousness to us. There is no passage that states we should abide by certain laws while others have expired. There is no exhortation in Scripture that trying to keep the commandments from the previous covenant will improve morals, reduce sin, and bring sanctification. In fact, we find the opposite within new covenant writings. We have something better in Christ: It’s called faith (and the law is not based upon faith).



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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Guests on the Gospel of Grace Podcast

This week, Mike and Joel were the guests on a podcast by Timothy Virge called "The Gospel of Grace Podcast."  We had a great time talking about a variety of things, centered around the good news of God's love and grace.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

693. Children of Inheritance - Not Slaves Under the Law

Continuing on our current thread that "the law is not of faith." The Apostle Paul continues to explain and reveal the significant differences between law and faith in Galatians Chapter 4. Those who had formerly been under the law of Moses were described as slaves held in bondage. Jesus was born of a woman under that same system of law in order to redeem those who were under the law. This would result in the slaves becoming children... heirs of the promise. Paul would continue to show that most people who want to live by the law have no idea what the law says and requires (they had the impossible task of doing all of it). The child of slavery came through Hagar, symbolizing the Old Covenant at Mt. Sinai where the law was given - it gave birth to spiritual bondage. But the child of promise came through Sarah, symbolizing the freedom of grace and faith found in the New Covenant. Both Jew and Gentile believers are now children of the free woman.



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