Galatians 3 – The Law And Faith

The Apostle Paul explains the reason for God’s laws, which makes God’s grace even more amazing.

By Faith or by Works

The Apostle Paul addressed a very big problem for the Galatians, but also for a lot of believers, and that was legalism. Just after they were introduced to the gospel of salvation by grace and not by works, some cunning Jews came in to subvert the gospel by adding works to it. Even though many of them had been eye witnesses of Jesus’ crucifixion, they were “bewitched” (Gal 3:1), and told that they needed to completed their salvation by keeping the law, however, trying to keep the law as part one’s salvation, makes it an altogether different gospel, and one that can’t save! He reminded them that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Gal 3:6). When Abraham believed God, God accounted that to Him as righteousness. Today, if we believe in Christ, we receive the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). Paul’s point is, “it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:7). This same faith was opened to Gentiles who trusted in Christ, and thus “all the nations [were] blessed” (Gal 3:8c). Regardless of who you are or how many works of the law you do, “those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith”(Gal 3:9), but they’re not blessed by their works…but by their faith in Christ.

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Fruits of Justification: Hope of Glory

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Jesus’ redeeming work cannot fail. From his expositional series in the book of Romans, R.C. Sproul considers the gospel hope that carries us through all the struggles of life.

Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians)

Used 16 times (with its variants), the term JOY reminds us of what is important in life. We have seen from the first use of the word (1:4) that we should pray for others with JOY. Is prayer a drudgery to you? Start praying for others . . . with JOY!

The second use of the term JOY is found in  1:18 and concerns the preaching of the gospel. We rejoice that the gospel is preached, but we do not affirm the many false gospels that are out there!

Yesterday we noticed the third use of the word JOY and that was also in 1:18. Paul says he will “continue to REJOICE.” Deep, biblical JOY allows us to praise and serve the Lord even in the worst of circumstances.

This morning we will look at the fourth use of the word JOY and that is also in chapter one:

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (ch. 1)

Paul’s desire is that the Philippians would advance in their progress and JOY in the faith. The term “faith” is sometimes used in Scripture to refer to our confidence in God, but here (as in Jude 3) it is used to refer to the content of truth that God has revealed to us. We believe the truths of the Christian faith. And those truths ought to bring us JOY!

Let’s think about several of the Christian truths that ought to bring us JOY. Do you rejoice in the character of God (His love, holiness, mercy, sovereignty, presence, etc.)? Do you finding yourself praising Him for His leading and guiding you in the daily affairs of life? Are you grateful that He knows the end from the beginning and nothing takes Him by surprise? Are you excited to be part of His rescue mission to reach others with the incredible news of the gospel? These and may other truths ought to bring JOY to our hearts! Someone has said that the mentally and emotionally healthy are those that have learned when to say Yes, when to say No, and when to say Whoopee! (Willard S. Krabill, M.D.)

Think about and study one of the truths of the Christian faith that brings you JOY. And progress in that truth today!

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1 Corinthians 15: I am what I am

by tindalfamily

But I am what I am because of God’s grace, and His grace to me wasn’t wasted. On the contrary. I worked harder than all of them – though it wasn’t me, but God’s grace which was with me.

1 Corinthians 15:10, New Testament for Everyone

Sermon-based Small Groups: Yes or No?

By Chuck Lawless on Apr 29, 2019 01:00 am

More and more churches seem to be moving to a sermon-based curriculum for their small groups. That is, they review and study the same text the pastor preached on the previous Sunday. On the other hand, I’ve met church leaders who oppose this approach. Here’s a summary of the arguments I’m hearing:

Why Sermon-based Small Groups are Good:

  1. They allow church members to dig more deeply into that week’s preached text. Seldom is it a bad move to know the Word better, and focused study can help the church reach that goal. Particularly, the group can work together to ask how they should apply the text in their life that week.
  2. They provide a place for church members to ask questions about the text. I’ve never seen someone ask a question during the sermon, but that doesn’t mean that listeners don’t have questions. A sermon-based small group gives opportunity to ask those questions.
  3. They promote consistency and unity among all the small groups. Regardless of the number of groups, everyone’s studying and reviewing the same content—which helps to build unity and direction within the church.
  4. They encourage worship service attendance. If you know that you’ll be discussing the sermon material in your small group, you’re more likely to be at church to hear the sermon. And, you can often listen to it online if you need to miss the service.
  5. The facilitator is just that—a facilitator. His or her job is to lead the group in discussing the sermon and biblical text. Facilitators don’t have to study a new text and prepare a new lesson each week.

Why Sermon-based Small Groups Aren’t Always Good

  1. The church misses an opportunity to teach more Bible in the small group. If the group is only discussing the sermon text, they seldom veer from that text. Over the course of a year, the church studies only what the pastor has preached – and there’s usually a lot more Bible than that.
  2. Some group members might feel like they’re simply hearing the sermon again each week. And, if they’re only doing that, what’s the point of attending small group?
  3. The discussion can sometimes become nothing more than a critique of the pastor’s sermon and leadership. The group thus becomes an opportunity not only to talk about the sermon, but also to express concerns and air grievances about the pastor. The leader ought to halt this kind of discussion, but that doesn’t always happen.
  4. Group members who miss church that week may feel unprepared to come to small group. Yes, they can often listen to the sermon online, but not everyone will take that step. Some will simply decide not to go to small group that week.
  5. Writing sermon-based curriculum is not easy. It’s not as simple as just reiterating the sermon’s points. It requires someone who has the time to write it, who knows how to write well, and who thinks practically enough to build application into the curriculum. I’ve seen too many churches hurt their small group ministry by producing only weak, unfocused curriculum.

What are your thoughts? What does your church do? 

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Learning to Love

“We love Him because He first loved us.”1

While we are encouraged and even commanded by God to love one another, it isn’t always easy to do. Loving actually needs to be learned.

As the Bible teaches, we love God because He loved us first. He modeled it for us. The same principle is true with human love. We love people because someone first loved us and modeled love for us.

We didn’t come into the world knowing how to love, only with the ability to learn how to love. If we didn’t receive healthy loving or if we didn’t feel adequately loved when we were growing up, chances are as adults we will suffer from love deprivation and not know how to love properly—only how “to make” love which may or may not have anything at all to do with love!

In other words, to learn to love we need to be loved first—for what we didn’t receive in our early developmental years, we need to receive now.

We do this by having at least one or two safe, loving, non-judgmental, and accepting people to love us as we really are—by allowing them see our total dark side—secrets, failures, sins, weaknesses, faults … warts and all. As these people love and accept us for who we are (not for what we have or haven’t done), we learn little by little to love and accept ourselves. Remember, too, that we can only be loved to the degree that we are known, and we can only love and accept others to the degree that we have learned to love and accept ourselves. Admittedly this can be very scary but it is profoundly healing.

This is another reason why the Bible teaches us the importance of confessing our sins and faults to one another.2 Doing this is crucial for the healing of our human hurts and damaged emotions.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me a few friends with whom I can feel safe to let them know me fully and love me still. Through their love and your love please help me to learn to love and accept myself in a healthy way. In so doing teach me to love others who also need to be loved in the same way I do. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. 1 John 4:19 (NKJV).
2. James 5:16.

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Y Moments

by Ann V. Friend

Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.
Oscar Wilde

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Welcome to Day 29 of the A to Z Challenge.

Continuing the blessing of positivity, with encouraging thoughts, to be content, in whatsoever state…..

Y moments can be a positive or negative experience. Depending on perspective and understanding wisdom.

Remembering the faithfulness of God and Romans 8:28, going through Y moments, is a lifeline to faith and hope in Jesus.

The ability to endure Y moments, in whatsoever state, is another example of the many blessings of positivity.

Abundant blessings and have a marvelous day!

The just shall live by faith. Praise The Lord.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

©Ann V Friend, afriendofjesus2013Blog, Aug 2013 to present.


Historical Errors in the Koran

How to Coach Your Congregation to Be Worshipers

How to Coach Your Congregation to Be Worshipers

Why Was Jesus Accused of Blasphemy?

Over the years I have heard many skeptics say Jesus was just another messianic figure who got himself crucified. The old saying, “Jesus is just one of several messiah’s in the first century” is not only patently false but also a gross oversimplification. Just because someone leads a messianic revolt does not qualify them as “the Messiah” (notice the capital “M”). Here are some of the figures who claimed royal prerogatives between 4 B.C.E and 68-70 C.E but are not called “the” or “a” Messiah:

1. In Galilee 4 B.C.E.: Judas, son of bandit leader Ezekias (War 2.56;Ant.17.271-72)
2. In Perea 4 B.C.E.: Simon the Herodian slave (War 2.57-59;Ant 17.273-77)
3. In Judea 4 B.C.E.: Athronges, the shepherd (War 2.60-65;Ant 17.278-84)
4. Menahem: grandson of Judas the Galilean (War 2.433-34, 444)
5. Simon, son of Gioras (bar Giora) (War 2.521, 625-54;4.503-10, 529;7.26-36, 154)

Another issue that can tend to be overlooked is that we can minimize the issue of blasphemy in a Jewish setting. by the way, none of the above figures were accused of blasphemy. According to Jewish law, the claim to be the Messiah was not a criminal, nor capital offense. Therefore, the claim to be the Messiah was not even a blasphemous claim. (1)

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