Tag Archives: gospel

THE GOSPEL OF JUSTIFICATION

The sermon for Sunday, Oct 21, was not recorded, so I am sharing my sermon notes for everyone who missed seeing the sermon. Enjoy!

The Justified Gospel

Sunday, October 21, 2018

City Church Del Rio 

Galatians Sermon Series—No Other Gospel, The Justified Gospel, 3:23-29

Introduction—Justification. A big Biblical word found throughout the Bible. A complicated word. A essential word. Today, we are going to step into the them of the Justified Gospel. The good news of Jesus and His awestruck love for all people on His planet. 

Now, as most of you know I am not a big wordsmith. I like simplicity. I try and connect with the masses. So, if you can please lean in today and pay close attention because I want to assure that if you can begin this process of living in a justified lifestyle, where you don’t hold grudges, you don’t assume the worst, and you don’t allow other people’s sin to knock you off your path. 

All the doctrines of the Bible are important, but none is more vital to the peace and rest of a child of God, than the Biblical truth of Justification. The follower of Christ does not get to the peak of Christian joy, until we appreciate and appropriate this grand aspect of grace. 

Forgiveness is amazing; pardon is wonderful; cleansing is powerful; but Justification is the greatest experience in my theological opinion. In Paul’s day, and during the reformation period of the 1500’s-1600’s, and even in our day, it would be difficult to find a more central truth to our historic Christian faith than the doctrine of justification. 

So, let’s get started. 

Stand & Read—Galatians 3:23-29

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Pray

I want to remind you that Paul is still answering the question the he asked in verse 2

Galatians 3:2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

  1. Justified by “The Faith”—verses 23-25
    1. Verse 23Before the coming of the “the faith”
      1. Notice with me, that Paul distinctly uses a participle for you English gurus. He doest just say faith, he says the faith. 
      2. You may have a translation that doesn’t use a participle until the second part of the verse. It may say this faith or the coming faith.
      3. It is the same meaning behind the language Paul purposely id using here. He is really talking about the time before our Christian Faith came to be.
      4. Before the coming of the faith. What about it.
    2. Verse 23We were held in custody under the law
      1. We were prisoners under the law. Why? Wasn’t the law given to Moses by God to give to the people? Yes, but I remind you; the law was given to in order for people to know what sins were so we could know how to live. The law never intended to save people, but point people to their need for God.
      2. Paul says, while we wait for a Savior, we are under the law, as if we are in a prison cell. When you think of a prison cell, you think of an awful place, with no freedom.
      3. But what you don’t realize, in jail, you are protected from yourself. You can no longer be free to create havoc in society. 
      4. So Paul compares our time under the law like being in jail. Protected, out of trouble, until you could be trusted to go free. Not actually a bad thing.
      5. The 10 commandments are a good thing, keeping us in line with the requirements given by God so that we could ask for forgiveness when we sinned against Him. 
      6. If you are here today, and you have never trusted Jesus as your own personal Savior, then you are still in custody of the law. You have rules and regulations to follow in order for you to have a relationship with God. 
      7. But Paul reminds us that we no longer have to live like that.
    3. Verse 23Until the Faith was to come and be revealed. 
      1. The faith is Jesus the Christ. Once He came to offer freedom from the law. 
      2. Without Jesus in your heart and life, you are being held in custody. 
      3. Jesus has come and Jesus has reveled Himself to the world. 
      4. Jesus is the most loved, hated, and controversial person to ever walk the planet. 
    4. Verse 24So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
    5. Here is the million dollar word—Justified. We are under the law no longer because Jesus has justified us if we have faith in Him.
    6. If you are here are you claim you have faith, yet your actions speak otherwise, how does one balance those 2 things?
    7. Listen to me this morning. You will always let others down. You will always be in a sinful temporary body while you are here. So at times, we won’t appear to be related to Jesus. We do things that are against God. We are still sinners saved by grace.
    8. The great thing about justification is in how it relates to our relationship with Christ. This is so important for us to know.
    9. The word justified means “pronounced or treated as righteous.” For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. The Bible states in several places that justification only comes through faith. Justification is not earned through our own works; rather, we are covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The Christian, being declared righteous, is thus freed from the guilt of sin. Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous.
    10. Once a person is justified, there is nothing else he or she needs in order to gain entrance into heaven. Since justification comes by faith in Christ, based on His work on our behalf, our own works are disqualified as a means of salvation. There exist vast religious systems with complex theologies that teach the false doctrine of justification by works. But they are teaching “a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all”.
    11. Aren’t you thankful for justification today? Are you thankful?
    12. All you need is faith in Jesus to be justified by God.
    13. Verse 25—Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
    14. Paul reiterates verse 23-24.
    15. You too can live under the doctrine of justification. 

 

Illustration—Here is how the system works in religion: 

You love God by following the law. Then, when you break the law, you go to jail for sinners. You wait there until you have asked for forgiveness so that you can have your freedom for a short time again. You break the law again, and you become a prisoner over and over again and again, in and out of jail. Then one day you realize that you can no longer continue to do this cycle of in and out of jail, so you decide it is easier to stay in jail, apart from God, since you seem to never please Him.

Church is no longer important, praying no longer exists, and the Bible is out of the question because no one can measure up to that. 

Then, one day a crisis of belief come into your universe, and you find yourself searching for answers, only you tried the God thing already, so you look to human wisdom, and then you try other options. Trying harder. Talking to people. Researching the internet. Working more. Investing in support groups. You see where I am going.

The Faith has come to set everyone free, including you, from the curse of this wheel of circling that never ends. It is time to let Jesus be in control. Not the religious Jesus you were taught about in your past, but the real Jesus. The real justified Gospel. 

Application—How about you? Have you been justified? Are still trying to set yourself free with acts of good will? Are you still in custody of the law? Jesus is the only freedom that can change your destiny. Give Him your life today!

  1. Justified by “The Promise”—verses 26-29

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    1. Verse 26—Those famous words repeated over and over throughout Paul’s writings—IN CHRIST. 
    2. When a repeat theme is continuous in the Bible, it is so we won’t try and figure out some other Gospel. The true gospel is “in Christ.” In a relationship with Jesus.
    3. When we come to faith “in Christ” we now become a child of God through our faith “in Him.” 
    4. Not everyone in the world is a child of God, although many have sold us this false doctrine. If that were the case, then there would have been no need for Jesus to die for our sins. We would not need to be “in Christ”
    5. Verse 27—A picture of how you are to live “in Christ.” Baptism.
    6. When a person is baptized in Christ, they identify a transformation that has taken place on the inside. 
    7. Paul say when we are baptized we are clothed with Christ. We put on our new clothing. We identify with Jesus. 
    8. Baptism is not salvation but a symbol of it. Salvation is what happens when a person opens up their heart and asks Jesus to be the Lord of their life. Baptism is an act of humble obedience of identifying with Jesus. We put on our new wardrobe. 
    9. To be clothed with Christ means to be like Christ.
    10. Verse 28—This verse is one that unifies all believers in Christ. 
    11. We will still be Anglo, Hispanic, Black, Asian, other differences that make us Unique, but they are no longer significant in our new identity in Christ. 
    12. The Christian is now brother and sister with any and all who also claim Jesus as their Lord. You now assimilate based on the Jesus identity, and not so much as a Mexican, Black, or White person. 
    13. Look at City Church Del Rio. The make up we have here is representative of this verse. We identify with each other as followers of Christ, not follows of what our culture tells us. 
    14. So, if Paul were writing to the American church today, which is but the way still very segregated by ethnicity, he would say: there is no longer Hispanic, Black, White, or Asian, your now brothers and sisters in Christ first!
    15. We must not get caught up in that non-sense. We will exalt the name of Jesus here, in order to win all, no matter ethnic background, color of skin, social-social-economical status, etc., etc. Jesus wins out at City Church.
    16. Men will not be elevated above women, and women will not be elevated above men. Jesus will be elevated above all. 
    17. Oneness in Christ is the call of us that want to see the Justified Gospel proclaimed.
    18. Verse 29—Paul reminds us once again. We are the people of promise. We are in the lineage of Abraham. We are heirs to the throne of Jesus.

Illustration—1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

We are on body in Christ, made to unite in a higher calling in order to fulfill God’s purpose through His church.

Application—Do you have the assurance that you are part of the promise? Today is the day that God has called you into His Kingdom inheritance. All you need is faith to believe it.

Stay In The Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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No Other Gospel

Well, well, when it comes to Jesus as the only way, the world comes unglued. Everyone protests and says there couldn’t be just one way to God. What about those devout ________ over there? How can they be wrong, if they truly believe it? Facts are facts. The real fact of the matter is the resurrection of Jesus. No one can prove otherwise, though many have tried. No other religion, sect, cult, people group, or anything has a risen Savior. Therefore, we rest in the fact that there is No Other Gospel.

Beginning September the 9th, City Church Del Rio will embark on a 14 week journey through the book of Galatians. Here is the line-up. Looking for a way to connect to City Church Del Rio? Check us out online at www.citychurchdelrio.com or like our page on FaceBook.

September 9, 2018—The True Gospel, 1:1-10

September 16, 2018—The Supernatural Gospel, 1:11-24

September 23, 2018—The Gospel For All, 2:1-10

September 30, 2018—The No Fear Gospel, 2:11-21 (Lord’s Supper)

October 7, 2018—The Faith Gospel, 3:1-14

October 14, 2018—The Promised Gospel, 3:15-22

October 21, 2018—The Justified Gospel, 3:23-29

October 28, 2018—The Prosperous Gospel, 4:1-7

November 4, 2018—The Unveiled Gospel, 4:8-20

November 11, 2018—The New Covenant Gospel, 4:21-31

November 18, 2018—The Gospel of Freedom (Thanksgiving), 5:1-12

November 25, 2018—The Spirit-Led Gospel, 5:13-26

December 2, 2018—The Restoration Gospel, 6:1-10

December 9, 2018—The Grace Gospel, 6:11-18

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Gospel spreading in Acuna, Mexico

Today, God had a task for a group of 3 from First Baptist Church. As we went to minister to this group of tornado victims, we gave cleaning supplies out to the families. 

A group of children came running to one of the men so excited to see him. It melted my heart just know that this is the reason we came to this area. To gain confidence in a neighborhood who lost hope. 

I had the opportunity to share the Bible with a group of adults and 3 came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. God is so good to us. 

          Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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The Gospel for Children

Making Sure Children Actually Hear the Gospel and Not Just a Bunch of Bible Stories

Today I am posting an parenting article from Ed Stetzer: Enjoy!

We must not only teach children the stories of Scripture. We must teach them the Story of Scripture.
Making Sure Children Actually Hear the Gospel and Not Just a Bunch of Bible Stories
Children have a faith that is ready to go. Let’s not waste that opportunity by delivering a humanistic Gospel.

We talk a lot about contextualization Gospel communication. How do we share the eternal truth of God in specific locations for specific people who have a specific shared experience?

The Gospel does not change. So the message should remain the same, even as the methods are adjusted for effectiveness.

But how well do we proclaim the Gospel to children? I’m not asking how well we teach children Bible stories, or how well we have taught the moral truths of Scripture.

Are we contextualizing our Gospel communication for children as well as we are for the hipsters in Brooklyn or the tribes in Tanzania?

The Bible as a Collection of Good Stories

Too often we teach the Bible as a series of isolated morality tales, like Aesop’s Fables. We want our children to learn how to live well, so we draw from the Bible stories of people who did the right thing and those who did the wrong thing.

We hope they are getting the idea that good is of God, leading to success, and bad is of Satan, leading to failure. If the kiddos can then live out and retell the story with the right names and main points, we feel like they have a grasp on the Gospel.

Churches have told children tons of good stories, but have we told them the Story?

Churches have told children tons of good stories, but have we told them the Story?

It is easy to tell the stories within the story, but there is a big picture here. We miss some important points when we offer a slice of the Gospel as if it is the whole pie.

I think about it this way.

There’s this huge story with basically four major acts. Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. I teach these at my church. You might as well. But how do you teach this to children?

I’m a father of three daughters. The reality is I just don’t want them to know one part of God’s big story. He’s given us His Word that tells the story of His grand and awesome plan, from the first verse to the last. I want them to know the Truth, not just a truth or two.

The Gospel is About What God is Doing

We miss the flow of God if we just take the Bible in isolated parts. And the flow is important to understanding that the Gospel is not just a group of ideas, but rather a plan that has been designed and implemented by a loving God for the saving of humans.

Ideas aren’t as personal as a plan. The plan runs the length of Scripture. So for example, we hear Jesus say in 1 Corinthians 11, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”

But we don’t remember that Moses said, “This blood is a symbol of the covenant” in the Old Testament. We don’t understand why Abraham would be called to sacrifice Isaac if we don’t understand what would happen as God the Son is sent by God the Father to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This interconnectedness happens all through Scripture.

When we take the Bible as a series of isolated morality tales, we think about 66 books with hundreds, if not thousands, of stories contained within them. In actuality, there are not thousands of stories. There are not 66 stories. There aren’t even two stories with the Old and New Testament. There is one story and that is the story of what God is doing—redemptive history.

We want to teach morals to kids, but we don’t want them to become moralists.

The Gospel is Not a Self-help Program

Part of the challenge is in the midst of sharing the Gospel. We want to teach morals to kids, but we don’t want them to become moralists. Yet that is a facet of the predominant religion of our culture today—moralistic therapeutic deism.

Christian Smith coined this phrase.

Moralism is the idea that whatever God is out there wants you to be a good person. It’s also therapeutic. It makes you a better person. It’s actually good for you to have some spirituality in your life. And deism is merely the belief in some God doing something up/out there.

While many people would not self-identify as moralistic therapeutic deists, that is exactly what they are, practically speaking.

They often draw their theology from various sources, including the Bible. But they cherry pick Bible stories that work well with their worldview and adopt the morality found in the story. This will make them feel better and pleasing to God. Mission accomplished.

But that isn’t our mission. That’s not our desire.

The Gospel is that sinners have been saved and are part of a family of believers who edify and equip one another to go out to other sinners and tell them about the Savior. Scripture tells us how God has been searching for and saving people from the first Garden to the Eternal City. We have the privilege of telling that to others, including kids.

Contextualization for Children is Essential

I’m not a children’s pastor and do not have a Ph.D. in educational pedagogy.

Yet, I can tell that that we should not let the fact that children are still learning how to learn keep us from sharing the whole counsel of God with them. When Jesus taught about our acceptance of the Gospel, He said that we must become as children.

Children were designed to hear about the things of God and have faith in them with few hurdles. So let’s be honest with them about the Gospel. It will make more sense if it is delivered holistically, and it will have a greater effect in their lives.

Definitely contextualize, as you would anywhere to anyone else. But do not strip the Gospel of its power in your delivery. God has a Story, and they are in it.

How can we more effectively teach stories without extracting them from the Story? What have you found as you teach children about the bigger story? What part of the Gospel is the most difficult to contextualize for children?

Some Resources

Thankfully, many gifted people see the need to teach the whole Story of Scripture to children. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of great resources available to the Church today to teach children about Jesus, the Gospel, and God’s Word. There are some links to some below. Feel free to suggest your tools in the comments below as well.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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