Faith, Not Works
Well before we get into the sermon what I want you to do is I want you to take this. The sheet out of your bulletins I want to kind of highlight I want to talk about these small groups or these community groups that we're going to be starting up here pretty soon and I made mention to this a few times we've been talking about this for several weeks but we are now ready to launch our small group ministry here at our church and some of your thinking yeah it's about time I know we're kind of a little behind on this but I'm one of the things about small groups and I want to understand why we see that this is a viable ministry or part of the ministry that we want to have here is small groups are able to do things that we can't really do and accomplish on a Sunday morning three things in particular small groups excel at connection it's hard to get to know and have relationships with people on a Sunday morning I mean that's not the purpose of a worship service and so when you get into a small group with about ten or twelve or fourteen other people you can really connect with other people and get to know them because you're seeing them on a consistent basis another thing that small groups excel at our care when there's a need that goes on in somebody's life in the church if they're in a small group that small group can huddle around them and really help them and that's a direct immediate care and so small groups are really good at that and then also accountability and I mean that from like a positive standpoint it's so easy to kind of just kind of flow through our life and maybe not do the things that God wants us to but if you're part of a small group of people we can encourage each other I have a couple verses on there which really highlight the importance of small groups like the one is from Hebrews ten twenty four and twenty five it says and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near one of the best environments to do that in is a smaller group where people get to know each other on a much better basis and so what we're going to be doing is we have a group of people that are being trained right now to be the initial leaders and so starting in March. In April we're warning everyone here that's able to do this everyone to be a part of these small groups and so it's just a short commitment some of you are like wow I'm ready to be in a small group right now for you know the indefinitely but some of your things I don't know if I'm going to like a small herb you know what is it like you know what do you talk about so this gives you an opportunity to try it for about two months and so we're asking everyone to sign up and be a part of a small group it will be basically March and April and then we'll take the summer off and they will launch those a little more a full fledged in the in the in the summer after the summer is done but what I want you to do is to fill out your name who's going to be involved with this you are you and your spouse or whoever phone number email and then your address that's very important because we're going to try to assign people to the small group based on where you live all right because you'll be driving across town for this and other thing is the meeting preference these are most likely going to meet either Friday Saturday Sunday or Monday night I'm sure most of them will probably be meeting on a Sunday night but you can a select which is the best for you which will work best with your schedule or if any night is open and you can put that on if there's a certain night that you cannot meet obviously include that so that we know not to have unit group with that on that night and then also will you need help with childcare yes or no some groups if you have children you think you know I like to be in small risk but I have the I have kids how am I going to be able to do that well some of the groups will have childcare there at the house that you'll be meeting in OK so if you have any of the questions come talk to me Come talk to someone else on the staff to take these and turn these in the information booth in the fellowship area or you can hand these to me but we'd like you to really try this especially for the next eight weeks I know that if you try this you're really going to enjoy it again any questions you can you can have simulator Well now we're getting back to our series on Galatians But first I want to ask you how many of you heard about the missile that blew up the state of Hawaii.
A few of you OK some of your like what in the world are you talking about Well apparently a gentleman who works for a certain agency in Hawaii he sent out and over the wrong message and this happened on January thirteenth Saturday morning January thirteenth at eight o seven am and this is what everyone on the island of Hawaii that had a cell phone they were watching television or on the radio this is the message alert that they received at eight o seven Saturday morning January thirteenth.
ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii seek immediate shelter this is not a drill everyone received that.
Obviously Hawaii is still there.
But they didn't know that this was an error this was human error but just imagine if you're on Hawaii and you may be traveling or you're visiting their home vacation and on your phone you receive this message on your phone what are you going to do I mean literally many people on Hawaii thought that they were going to die so what happened is there was a gentleman that worked for one of these organizations of the agency or was the whole why emergency management system he sent out this false alert and he said that when he before he sent it out he was one hundred percent sure that he was doing the right thing and there was actually a missile threat you know tensions a little high right now with North Korea and so a lot of people thought this was this was actually going to happen but what happened is this emergency worker and I couldn't find his name but I read an article on him either protecting his identity and he says that he did not hear they send out this on a regular basis as a drill and they say before and after this exercise exercise exercise then they send this out and so everyone knows that this is not something that they're supposed to publish to the entire state of Hawaii but he says that he claims that he did not hear them say that it was an exercise and so he sent this out after an internal review again apparently five other people that he worked with they said that they heard that it was an exercise he is quoted as saying that it is very difficult and emotional for me he says that as soon as he realized his error he just wanted to crawl under a rock could you imagine you have course I think all of us would want to do that so the officials who led the investigation they realized that this individual to send out this false warning had problems in the past he had a history of confusing drill and the real world events and the worker had mistakenly believed in the past the drills for tsunamis and fire warnings were real emergencies so this is probably not the right person. To have this job he was able to tell the difference but you look at this and you know I really feel bad for the people that receive that on their telephones I mean they they have some of them sought they were about to die I mean this was shock in terror and horror for these people and I kind of feel bad for the sky you know talk about a bad day at the office right you know the next time you have a bad day at the office you can always tell yourself well at least I'm not the guy who sent out a false warning to the entire state of Hawaii.
You know I'm sure that living in Hawaii is nice this is another reason why I really enjoyed living here in Phoenix because we don't have tornadoes we don't have blizzards you know we don't have forest fires we don't have earthquakes and we don't live in terror that we're going to be have a nuclear missile come to us we just have to worry about giant dust storms and plants that hurt us that's all we have to really worry about but you know this isn't a great example of why it's important for us to have the correct information we need correct information in this life to get through it in from time to time we get bad information or we're given bad information by other people and generally speaking it doesn't cause a catastrophe like this usually if we receive bad information or if we misread something it costs us a little bit of time and money like how many of you received bad information on maybe you know a price that something was going to cost or maybe like a movie time or an address it just cost you time and money it's not the end of the world but there is some information in this world that is absolutely critical that we get one hundred percent correct and I would say especially because we're here in a church I think you're probably going to knowing the say the most important information that we as human beings can ever have in this life is this how can we have our sins forgiven and have the hope of eternal life and we live in a world where there are several different answers to that question you ask a lot of different people how is it that I can have the. Hope of eternal life and you might get several different answers if the Bible is correct then we can trust it and in the Bible Jesus is quoted as saying in John fourteen six Jesus says. I am the way and the truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except through me. And I want you to notice what Jesus did not say he did not say no one comes to the Father except through me and that you have to follow a bunch of rules in order to earn God's approval he didn't say that he said no one comes to the Father except through Me Well we're going back to go away sions right now we took a few weeks off for Christmas and then moving into here like you to open your Bible stick Nations and we're picking up in Galatians chapter three.
Glaciers chapter three and what we've looked at so far in Chapters one in Chapter two is we saw the history of what was happening during this time and what Paul did in the first Porsche portion of glacial chapter one chapter two specifically as he talked about how he had established those churches he talked about his apostleship He also talked about the history of his relationship with the other apostles so that they know that he's not off doing his own thing that there's there is fellowship and there's harmony between what Paul is doing and what those before him had done but shortly after Paul it established these churches and glacier some men came and started teaching something different and he taught and you read about that one place is an accepted fifteen verse one in there it says so men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved and suppose going around telling people all you need to do is have facing the death and resurrection of Christ and you will be God's son or church daughter and these other piece. You are saying no that's fine it's fine to believe in Jesus but you have to be circumcised and follow the laws of Moses if you don't do that you cannot be saved and so we ask the question Who's right this is an important question to get right isn't it well that's why the reason why Paul wrote the book of Galatians again the first couple chapters he's kind of going over the history of his ministry as apostleship his interaction with the other apostles and now in Galatians three in chapter four what Paul does is he uses several different arguments to prove to the Galatians and ultimately to us as well that obedience to the law does not save an individual and I think this is very critical for them and for us to know Paul is obviously a very learned man various scholar and we need him to keep to say to us something more than just I know what I'm talking about you have to trust me he needs to prove this because so much is at stake and so what we have here today in our passage for today we're going to look at two of these arguments that prove that salvation is by faith alone apart from the law and the first argument that he presents us with is the personal argument let's read the first five verses Paul starts by appealing to their own conversion experience as evidence that salvation is by faith alone so glacial chapter three three the first five verses. He says of them over.
Who has be which. It was before your eyes the Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified let me ask you only this did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with face are you so foolish how they begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh did you suffer so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain does he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law or by hearing with face. You know who to talking about personal experience that's the proof it's very dangerous for us to find out the truth based on someone's experience right because sometimes experiences are not based on truth I guess a missile warning in Hawaii is a great example how many of those people that received the warning were terrified probably all of them right but that fear was not based on truth there was no missile inbound to Hawaii and so but fear was not based on truth and so usually we need something besides our experiences to validate our experiences and that's where we get the word of God But look at verse four. In verse four Paul writes in the I'm reading from the E.S.D. or translations might say something different the word for suffer here can also be translated experience did you suffer or did you experience so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain in other words policy did you experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life for nothing Paul is reminding them that they experience the work of the Holy Spirit and that was because of their face in Christ apart from the law and if that experience was real which it was they cannot now try to add something in order to make their experience or salvation experience more real you know also the book of Galatians Paul mentions the Holy Spirit eighteen different times and I were assuming that as he was meeting with them in establishing the churches he probably taught them quite a bit about the Holy Spirit we don't get any systematic teaching on the Holy Spirit in the book of Galatians but we do elsewhere but I think it's important for us to highlight what Paul is referring to the experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives as evidence of their salvation so I want to highlight a couple works of the Holy Spirit so that we can understand what Paul is talking about and one of the first works of the Holy Spirit that any human being will ever experience is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in John Chapter sixteen or seventeen before Christ ascended to heaven before he was crucified he said this to. The disciples John sixteen beginning verse seven he says Nevertheless I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away for if I do not go away the Helper will not come to you but if I go I will send him to you and when he comes he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment and so this is a work of the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit convicts us and the Galatians experience that because if they didn't experience the convicting or did the Holy Spirit they never would have placed their face in Christ to begin with and how many of us here have ever experienced the convicting work of the Holy Spirit I hope every single person have we need that initially to tell us that we're sinners they need to be saved and even after our salvation experience sometimes the Holy Spirit convicts us of our doing something that we should be doing or or do you thinking thoughts that we shouldn't be thinking and think sometimes the Holy Spirit convicts us when we are not doing things that we should be doing it kind of prompts us in that way and so the Holy Spirit convicts they experienced the convicting work of the Holy Spirit a couple of the things that the Holy Spirit did I'm sure Paul probably talked to them about this is well but the Holy Spirit this is dealing with our identity will seal you and baptize you with the Holy Spirit and place you as a member of the Body of Christ in the fusions one thirteen it says in him you also when you heard the word of truth the gospel of yourselves ation and believed in him were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
God is only going to seal us with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance if we are truly saved another thing the Holy Spirit does to us as he baptizes us in places us into the Body of Christ First Corinthians twelve twelve thirteen. So for in one spirit we were all baptized into one body Jews or Greeks slaves or free and all were made to drink of one spirit and so. If someone is the Holy Spirit in them they are now one with everyone else within the Body of Christ and so with the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our lives we experience unity with each other have you ever experienced the unity of the Holy Spirit other believers that's one of the powers in the works of the Holy Spirit that they experienced I want you to turn over to this one this is a good one Romans chapter eight.
Romans chapter eight beginning in verse nine or actually will just read first nine Romans chapter eight verse nine
and too bad Paul had not already read or written Romans he could have probably referenced this quite a bit in this in his dealings with the Galatians but in Romans chapter eight verse nine it says this You however are not in the flesh but in the spirit if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.
And the sentence is very important anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. And so the question is did those in Glacier did they have the Spirit of God The answer is yes and so that's proof of their salvation that it's by face and not by works and so then Paul asked them this question verse three. Ingle ations three are you so foolish having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh in other words if you did not begin your salvation experience by following the law why are you bringing it in now why are you shunning the Holy Spirit and using the works of the law to promote your own maturity and growth and faith you know as I'm going through the book of Galatians one of the commentaries that I'm reading it's written by a man by name of war and there's the something you're probably very familiar with him in a section I was reading this last week he brought up a great analogy that I think I want to share with you because if it's really well you know our birth as a human being in our birth as a child of God have some similarities and he kind of brought this out when a human being is born. A human being has everything that they need in order to grow and develop and mature and obviously they still need food and any time in the need of correction and and direction but have you ever seen a baby obviously birth defects and stuff like that might be different but if you ever had a baby you saw a baby that was born part of the human race and about three or four weeks later they went to the first doctor appointment of the doctor said all right now that your baby your human child has come to this point in life in order for them to continue to be a human being we. To add something to them we're going to add a mouse today and they add the mouse to the child. And then a couple weeks later you go back to another doctor appointment the doctor says now in order for your child to continue to be a human being we need to add something else we need to add eyes to them now OK Has that ever happened you know obviously done and then several weeks later you get you go in and you get legs and feet a child is born with everything it needs in order to develop and become a mature hopefully responsible adult someday and the same is true when someone is born of the spirit and born as a child of God They have everything that they need within them as long as they have the Word of God and that the Spirit of God dwelling within them to grown to develop and mature there's not any point in the future in their life we're God will say now that you've come to this point for you to continue to be a child of God You have to add this to your life and that's what the world has been deceived with thinking that you have to add works to your relationship with God in order to continue to be a child of God And so when we have the Holy Spirit and as we feed on his word we will put his practice into the truth in truth and we will grow and we will mature and so Paul uses this personal argument to remind the people in glacier that their experience with the work of the Holy Spirit is evidence that they are see and this is a really good place to start when use talking to them or trying to convince them but I think more evidence is required so that's why Paul uses next the Scriptural argument let's read a verse to sixty or fourteen and what Paul does here is he goes back to the Old Testament to prove that salvation was never by works and uses probably the best example that we can possibly use and that is Abraham is proof let's begin reading again I let's pick up in verse five in the will just keep reading glacial chapter three verse five.
Says does he who supply the spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law or by hearing with face. Just as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him his righteousness know then that it is those of face who are the sons of Abraham and the Scripture foreseen that God would justify the Gentiles by face preach the gospel before hand Abraham saying in you shall all the nations be blessed so then those who are a face are blessed along with Abraham the man to face. How was Abraham saved
by faith that's how he was saved he was not saved by works everyone in the New Testament would agree those who knew who Abraham was they would agree if there's anyone in the will test for that we know as a child of God It's Abraham because of the blessings they got that he was going to do through Abraham I want you to CERM we're going to turn to God Genesis and also Romans we're going to finish off the sermon and these two passages go first to Genesis Chapter twelve and then eventually we'll get to Romans Chapter four. But it's going to Genesis Chapter twelve and you know every every time I preach I don't know how many of you are familiar with these stories but I'm assuming that some of you have never heard these stories before and so I hope that there's someone here today that's going to learn something for the first time and that's the important relationship to God how with Abraham to go to Genesis Chapter twelve and we begin in verse one. Genesis Chapter twelve beginning in verse one
so Genesis Chapter twelve beginning in verse one this kind of telling us about the relationship that God had with Abraham says now the Lord said to Abraham go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed
this is a huge covenant and a huge promise that God made to Abraham and so Abraham is expecting God to do what he said he was going to do well time went by and Abraham is waiting for his offspring to come so that the blessings could come in this promise that God gave him and eventually in chapter fifteen God and Abraham are having this conversation in Abraham saying God you say you're going to give me offspring but I don't have any offspring all my inheritance is going to go to my relatives over here and God says no no he's not going to get your inheritance I promised you that I would give you offspring and let's pick up in Genesis fifteen five.
Genesis fifteen five and as you're having this conversation Genesis fifteen five this is where God said Abraham Genesis fifteen five and he brought him outside and said look towards heaven a number of the stars if you are able to number them then he said to him God said Abraham so shall your offspring be verse six. And he Abraham believed the Lord. And he counted it to him as righteous this is when Abraham his faith saved him and God counted it to him as righteousness that's when Abraham was saved and he was saved because of what because he believed God he had facing what God said he was going to do now want to go to Romans Chapter four because here in Romans Chapter four Paul explains in much greater detail what just happened in Genesis Chapter fifteen.
Romans Chapter four beginning in verse one.
Romans Chapter four verse one says.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham our forefather according to the flesh for favorite was justified by works he has something to boast about but not before God for what does the Scripture say and here's a direct quote from chapter verse verse six. Ford a scripture say Abraham believed God and it was counted to him his righteousness now to the one who works his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due and to the one who does not work believes in him who justify the godly his faith is counted as righteousness just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness counts righteousness apart from works Blessed are those whose lawless The deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count as sin. Is this blessing then only for the circumcise or also for the uncircumcised for we. Say that phase was counted to Abraham as righteousness How then was it counted to him was it before or after he had been circumcised and this is huge because this clearly the Bible clearly answers this question and the answer is this it was not after but before he was circumcised he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith were all he was still uncircumcised the purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised so that righteousness would be counted to them as well and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the face of our father Abraham had before he was circumcised and so Abraham was saved before her circumcision was even a sign and so over the years what the Jews did is they misinterpreted the meaning of the law and they misinterpreted the purpose of circumcision circumcision and the law was not given as a wage for someone to be saved and in the coming chapters Paul talks about then what exactly is the purpose of the law you know I wonder how many of the Judea is what they would say after they were brought their attention to Genet what we call Genesis fifty five How was he saved it was saved by his faith not because of the sign of circumcision and so the bottom line the Paul is telling them is this works did not save Abraham his faith did and the same is true for us just like Abraham was saved by face we are saved by face and today we definitely have the greater blessing because we are able to look back and say our faith isn't what God did as opposed to Abraham and those before they had to say my faith is in God or God will do we can look back and say what God did as he sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins and raised him back to life well what I want to do is I'm also look at him in Romans Chapter Four look at verses twenty two and twenty five it's kind of finishes off his thoughts here in Rome. It's Romans four twenty two twenty five. Says that is why it is faith was counted to him as righteousness but the words it was counted to him were not written for his sake alone but also for ours it will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was delivered up for our trespasses and raise for our justification so here in Galatians chapter three this first section we see two of these arguments that Paul uses to correct the Judaizing years he uses their very own experience he says you've experienced the work of the Holy Spirit and only someone who is saved experiences that and then he also uses the proof of Abraham salvation that the Judaizing is a wrong well I want to finish this section here in Galatians before we continue our next week let's go ahead to read of verses ten to fourteen and then we'll wrap this up Chapter three verses ten to fourteen. While continues and he says. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse for it is written curse it be everyone who does not abide by all things written the book of the law and do them now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law for the righteous shall live by faith but the face but the law is not a faith rather the one who does them shall live by them Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written curse it is everyone who is hanged on a tree so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles so that we might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith Hopefully this is clear enough for them back then they are trying to find out the purpose of the law they're trying to remove themselves from the law and so it's very confusing time for them but hopefully for us in this day and age because we have the totality of scripture this is clear to us and hopefully it is clear to you and so the question that we need to be asking which will be answered here pretty soon is if the law didn't save anyone then why did. God give the law in the first place and the answer to that question is what we're going to start looking at next week's you have to come back for that find out why the law was given in the first place but before that what I want to ask you is this you know the Bible talks about boasting quite a bit you know as you as you're a student of God's word every now and then certain themes kind of come out when they really hit you and lately I've been noticing the word boast is used quite a bit in Scripture about who are you able to boast in and you're here this morning and you're here in a church because you probably believe on some level that the Bible is true and that there is if there is an afterlife after this and what are you going to be able to boast in as the reason for you being able to exist for eternity with God only one of two options you along with most of the other people this world might say I feel that I can boast that I was a good enough human being in order to stand before God and say I can be in heaven with you because of what I have done and the Bible clearly teaches us that no one will be able to make that boast the only boast that we can make is in the work that Jesus Christ it and at the end of Galatians in chapter six verse fourteen Paul says but far be it for me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. You know I I don't know where all of you are at in your relationship with God But today might be the first time that you ever heard that salvation is free it's not something that you have to earn it's something that you get from God If you place your faith in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection and if you've ever done that before then you can say Well Paul you can boast in the cross of Christ and that's the reason why you can spend eternity in heaven but if you've never done that and you're trying to earn your salvation I hope that today as you look at scripture salvation is not by works it's by what Jesus Christ did for you and if you've never placed your faith in. Crisis done for you and have the hope of eternal life you can do that in this very moment I'd like to ask all of you to close your head or close your eyes and all your head close in your head to is optional. Probably not a good idea but if you're here today and you would like to place your faith in Christ and what he did for you and have the hope of eternal life simply pray this prayer to God He will hear you say Father I know I am a sinner who needs to be forgiven
and I believe you sent Jesus to pay for my sins on the cross
and I also believe you raised him from the grave to give us the hope of eternal life
and so right now I place my face in Jesus Christ alone for myself ation.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time today I hope that you would not leave here without telling someone you can tell me on your way out I'd like to to connect with you and answer any questions that you have right now let's close in prayer on this commit to spreading the good news of how we can be saved to the world around us Dear Lord I thank you so much for giving us the book of Galatians I think you also for calling the Apostle Paul into this ministry where he is able to argue and really explain in greater detail to those that are misled how we can be saved Lord were saved because of what you've done for us were say because of your mercy and your grace no one has ever been saved by their own works. And because of that no one will ever be able to be in your heaven and boast that they're there because of what they've done so father this message is so important we need to share with the world around us and so I pray that as individuals and also as a church that we will have the passion and the courage and the conviction to spread this ministry this this message of reconciliation of your Grace to the world around us thank you for giving us this message should do that and giving us the hope of eternal life we pray these things in Christ a myth.