No Boasting in Heaven!
All right as they're making their way out I'm going to before we get into the message for today I want to give you an update on our board retreat yesterday we had our annual board retreat and what we usually do it's some Typically it's been like in August before before September and what will do is on Thursday will ever were seen as everyone gets out of work we'll meet at somebody's house and then we'll drive up north we've gone two months park before we usually go up to a cabin up by Lake Forest I think somewhere in the forest like I got there I got the words right just in the wrong order and we'll have a great time will be up there Thursday and then all day Friday and then Saturday will finish up in the will come back down well yesterday our board retreat we didn't have as nearly as much talked about yesterday as we have in the past and so all day yesterday Saturday we met in the house here at the church kind of save some time and money but what we started off by doing is just remembering what last year's board retreat was like it's already been a year sense we decided to buy this building so we kind of recap this so I want to recap this is well for you so these are the events that took place last year two thousand and seventeen it was on Wednesday July seventeenth that four of us met with our next door neighbor on union Hills Dave Cole and we said hey we're interested let's pursue purchasing the house next door your house and he said yeah that's great let's do that let's try to figure it out see if you can purchase the house and then we renovate it to take the backyard make it into a parking lot or whatever we're going to do and so that was on Wednesday night July twenty seventh and then that Bennett had insomnia that night or something because he went online and he was just kind of curious to see what else is out there before we buy our next door neighbor's house and so when I woke up the first thing I did is they checked my e-mail and there was a link from out Bennett saying hey check this out this this looks pretty cool and I responded by saying to Matt thanks for ruining my day.
Because I knew I would be looking at this all day. And just that day it's like wow this this option might be a lot better than buying next for a neighbor's house and renovating it so the staff we had a staff meeting that night we let them air all over and look at the video. Pictures on line and we said this is something that we really need to pursue and so last year on Tuesday August first the staff came through and we took a look at this facility and we said yeah let's let's really consider this the next Tuesday August eighth the board came through and we toured the church and then that was on a Tuesday that Thursday we left for our border treat and the entire border retreat was talking we were talking about should we pursue this is this something that we want to pursue as a first option as opposed to our next door neighbor's house on union hills and that border retreat was it was intense it was it was in such a cool way because the board was unanimous thinking this is a better option let's pursue this but then we were also thinking but but we'll only pursue it if and so we're making these deals with God A guy will only do this if if they accept our offer because we were going to offer less than they were asking that's just how the world works and we said we only do this if we sell our church we have to sell or church first and the church has to accept this and vote to move forward and so all this was happening a year ago and so after the board treat on that Sunday we said this we were going to do we toured the church and then on Sunday September tenth we had a vote as a church to move forward and it passed and so we were just waiting on God so that was a year ago a year ago it isn't it amazing how fast time has gone and so here we are one year later and so yesterday at yesterday's board retreat what we did is there's another church for sale online and no I'm kidding.
I'm glad you laughed I'm glad you laughed That's not not happened so I do it but what we did. As we talked about our current ministries we evaluated them and we looked at some of the key areas of the church that we need to focus on and so what I want to do is I want to talk to you today what our focus is going to be in the next several months you know Labor Day to Memorial Day It's kind of like the Ministry year and we identified three main things on the first is the not just the establishment but the promoting our ongoing small group ministry that we have started you know Mike Pastor Mike was up here talking about small group ministry one thing that we talked about yesterday at the border treat is. Every church deals with this how do you get people to connect with each other on a level deeper than Hey good to see you this weekend hey have you know that thing that you told me about last week what's an update on that and you know the weather is really hot here in Phoenix right now we do that in Sunday mornings in church but how do you get deeper in those relationships so it takes time it can't be forced but we've recognized that small groups does provide an opportunity for that to happen it's not guaranteed to happen in a small group but when you get people together in smaller groups they meet each other every week and they're able to get beyond those surface see issues and so small groups is definitely something that we're going to promote we're going to continue to push that and we're hoping that the over those of you who were not involved last spring we had a great spring a trial run but we really want to encourage you to carve out time in your schedule we obviously realize this can't this is going to work for every single person ever single family because your life might be in a different situation but we want you to make that a priority because I know it'll be a benefit The second thing we talked about is community outreach we are now in a new location and I think every single church thinks and knows that we're somehow we're supposed to reach our community and so we'll talk about that we want to reach your community we want to reach your neighbors for Christ but then how do you go about doing that and how do you top. The neighborhood it's rary they well we are so fortunate here in this location now we have something very specific that we're when we say we want to reach our community we're talking about building our relationship with Eagle Ridge Elementary School that is the best way we're going to reach and connect with our community because when we reach those kids and they know that we're here and they know that we love them hopefully we can influence them for Christ and maybe they'll start coming to our vacation Bible school in our want to ministry then our youth ministry and some of the kids start coming here that maybe some of the families will start coming here and so when we say we're going to reach our community we're talking specifically how are we going to stablish your relationship with Eagle Ridge Elementary School and so we're going to continue to do that it's a process that we know is going to take a while it doesn't happen overnight a couple things that we're going to do we're going to meet with the leadership Sarah Kinkaid the Serin here and there are probably out with the kids on Friday the teachers are already back in school so on Friday she brought some treats for the teachers and let them know it was from our church so we're going to try to do stuff like that they have a carnival every fall and we've already talked to the leader of the Parent Teacher Association we said yeah if you need some volunteers let us know and so we want that church the fourth we want the school to know that we as a church are here to serve those kids and so our community outreach is going to be very specifically and deliberately to establish a good relationship with that elementary school OK so please be thinking in praying about how we can do that.
And I'm going to tell you something that's more of a brainstorm it's a ministry possibility we're not ready to do something like this right now but I'm I'm just laying that out there as.
Kind of seeing what what could possibly take place two weeks ago after camp wrap up we had Pastor John Spooner many of you probably remember him use the loud guy the tall guy. In his church up in Byron Center mission. Again Bible Church they have an afterschool program for their local elementary school their elementary school is maybe a half mile away ours is seven hundred feet and what they do is they have something called Drop Zone and one day a week Tuesday or Wednesday I'm not sure which day it is what they do is they let all the kids we have about eighty kids show up they come from about two thirty to five o'clock and they have snacks for them they have a game time they let the kids do their homework but they also the. People on staff that are are focused on this but it's a tremendous ministry for that elementary school but we are not in a position with people and resources to do something like that right now but maybe we will be in the future so I'm I'm kind of throwing that out there kind of planting some seeds because someone or maybe a couple people here might be saying yeah I want to do that so we're not ready to do it next month but maybe in the future we can do something like that so when we say community outreach I want you to think how can we affect and really make an impact on that that elementary school and the third thing that we're going to do over the year is what we have been doing and we just want to maximize this facility I'm a lot of projects have taken place it's kind of been nice to see the progress that we've been making the play area is almost done doesn't that grass area look nice out there looks great by the end of this month we've already put in order for fencing that's going to go around the grass area you know we just put out the shade structure which is going to be nice especially in the the winter months in the fall in the spring we made some updates here in the sanctuary there some more updates techno technology that we're going to doing the same story it's funny is we were talking yesterday at the border retreat we were thinking you know it just takes forever to get stuff done you have this list of things that you want to do and you wish you could just kind of snap your fingers and get it all done but we're a church and things happen at the speed of church that's like a real thing it happens at the speed of church but when you look back in. Say look at all the good the projects that we've been able to accomplish it's pretty exciting so we're going to continue to update our facility and impact our community and try to connect with each other on deeper levels so that's kind of the ministry focus that's what we talked about at our border retreat last week or yesterday and one of the thing I know Matt's here right now I want to just think now Bennett a lot of people have done a lot of work that Bennett has kind of taken he's been the tip of the spear on a lot of the projects here that is now in paramedic training for the next nine months roughly and so we're going to have a meeting here in a couple Sundays for anyone who likes to help out with the facility that's going to have to kind of take a backseat for a while because he has other priorities he has to do schooling he and Stacy just had another baby number for you do number five know their… in their head no neither does any of our business but anyway I'm not going microphones around on everything so mad he definitely has to just take a step back a little bit so we're need some guys to really step up and help with things around and we're going to have a meeting about that in a couple weeks OK but last week our passage articulations you can turn to right now because we're going to finish this up today glaciers chapter six.
In our passage for last week verse ten I thought was probably the most important verse here.
Glacial is Chapter six verse ten it says so then as we have opportunity let us do good to everyone and especially to those who are of the household of faith and so that's going to be our focus this coming year identify these opportunities and really work together to seize those opportunities.
I'm going to start preaching the last sermon Ingle a sions But just before I do that I just want to take a minute and I want to pray I want to thank God for bringing us to this point this last year has been a wild ride and we're looking forward to the next year so let's just take a moment pray.
Your Father I thank you so much. In the life of any church we see seasons in different times where activity is increased I'm changes take place and over the course of this last year we've seen a lot of changes and we believe that you are in them it still amazes me how fast and easy this was to move from one location to this location and what I'm convinced that that you are behind this that you are opening up all the doors and I'm also convinced that elementary school is.
Is in our future that we're going to impact those kids in the families in this community so Lord I pray that you open the doors for us to have a greater influence there and that you will whatever opportunities arise from that that you will raise up the right people at the right time and the funds the resources the time the energy the effort but Lord we want to serve you and we realize that the time might be short we do not know when you are going to return so help us to make the most of these opportunities as a church and we praise Christ's name Amen.
While hearing Galatians chapter six we're going to finish this off but I want to start off by kind of asking you a question when you meet someone for the first time and you're trying to debate whether you want to start a friendship with this person or. And I'm talking like a dating relationship after that you usually can for friendships What are some of the biggest turn offs that you would find in another person that would prevent you from from having a relationship with them.
Maybe one turn off might be if they're rude kind of hard to be friends with someone who is rude right or maybe another one is if they're dishonest it's hard to be friends and have a relationship with someone if they're always lying or there are always misrepresenting themselves I think selfishness can be a turnoff for a lot of us but if you were to create a list and I don't want you to do that right now what do think at some point on that list you would say I would say I think most of us would say that it's hard to become friends with someone who is excessively boastful excessively boastful they're always talking about themselves they're very narcissistic they're completely self-centered because when you find a person like that you know they're very competitive they're always trying to compete with you you have anyone in your life who's always trying to compete with you and they're always one upping your story like this in a word you go to lunch they are I want to have a cheeseburger and I said Oh I had a double cheeseburger.
Because they are your kids you went to school and my kids are doing great they got all A's Well my kid's got all A pluses and Harvard's offering them a full ride you know maybe not that but we have people that are always one upping us and it's always a competition today's sermon is about boasting Paul talks about the boasting that is taking place and when we talk about boasting to boast is it's to glory in something it's a great definition of boasting is to talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements possessions or abilities and so we all know what it means to boast I think all of us at different times in our lives we're tempted to boast we feel like maybe you want some attention for. Some reason and I think there is a time and a place for someone to talk about their accomplishments it's called a job interview if you've ever been on a job interview and they say well why should we hire you and that's the time to say well these are my qualifications this is my degree these are the this is the job experience that I have but the problem with someone who is excessively boastful is they're usually not as good as they think they are right and the worst case scenario is the worst extreme of boasting is when someone bo's'n something that they have no right to boast about sometimes I mean maybe take credit for things that they did not do or earn well would it surprise you to learn that in spiritual and religious environments people can be boastful Yeah if you're shocked really they can do that absolutely and this usually comes in the form of a person making themselves feel like they're more highly favored by God because of the things that they've done and I think all of us kind of run the risk of doing this from time to time but we like to make ourselves look better in other people's eyes and so sometimes will say stuff like this or will think or give this impression that God loves me more because and then just fill in the blank with whatever whatever you think is appropriate God knows me more because I go to church every Sunday or God loves me more because I sing in the church choir when there were choirs we wouldn't have a choir or God loves me more because I give eleven percent of my gross income to the church or or God loves me more because I stand out on the street corners and I witness to people you don't see that much in Phoenix is too high you don't see this a lot very very much as these days or guy loves me more because I do I always forward the Jesus e-mails to at least twenty people right now are those those are kind of popular for a while well there's one person that cannot stand someone who boasts in the. Religious accomplishments and that person is our heavenly Father God hates it when someone boasts Well we're finishing up and Paul is wrapping up this entire letter and what he's doing is he's summarizing by addressing the Judi eyes or ears who are boasting about converting the new followers of Christ into followers of the law that's what the entire book of Galatians has been about some Judaizing as came up from Jerusalem and they told the new convert single Aisha it's great that you believe in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection that that's great but you have to follow the law specifically circumcision in order to be saved and so that's what the entire book of Galatians has been about and we're going to finish off by reading the last several verses here so let's pick up where we've left off glaciers chapter six and will read verses eleven through the rest of the chapter glacier in six eleven through eighteen. Paul writes see what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand and earlier in the passage a lot of people think that Paul one of his ailments or maybe the thorn in the flesh could have been some ideas easy this is another one of the reasons why they think that he's writing so we can see that verse twelve is kind of picks up our main point it is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised and only in order that they might not be persecuted for the cross of Christ for even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh but far be it for me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world is being crucified to me and I to the world for neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision but a new creation and as for all who walk by this rule peace and mercy be upon them and upon. Israel of God From now on the No one cause me trouble for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit brothers Amen you know throughout our time in the book of Galatians we've talked a lot about the differences between law and grace Paul is trying to let the glaciers see the truth about the law the law was not given as a means for people to be saved the law was given as a means for people to realize they can't be saved by their works because they're law breakers and so that points them to Christ Paul is also trying to help the glacier see the truth about people or groups that are legal istic And so as Paul concludes this letter can offers a few final examples of how a legal istic person thinks and acts and so what we're going to do is today we're going to identify some characteristics of legalism and legal listing people and as we go through this I don't want all of us to be thinking about the other people out there because this is a temptation for any of us to think in terms of our relationship with God this way and so this is kind of a warning for us for ourselves but then also when we come across other people and so as we go through this Paul has at least four characteristics of a legal a sick person and the first is that he shows us is a legal a sick person is a braggart it's kind of a funny word to say there are a braggart they brag they both just their main purpose as Paul says hearing elations was not to win people to Christ or even to help believers grow in their relationship with God Their main purpose was to win more converts so that they could boast about them now well you know what happened is from Jerusalem they send out these Judaizing is up to the glacier to try to convert them to follow the law and could you imagine how how much pressure was on them to come back and report to Jerusalem hey we met with the people we convinced them to follow the law and one hundred thirty seven people. Were circumcised so they were doing that as a means to boast to the people who who sent them look at verses twelve and thirteen again. See the bragging in the boasting in here first well that says it is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh there is bragging and boasting they want to boast who would force you to be circumcised in only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ for even those who are circumcised do not themselves to keep the law but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh you know there's a fine line between wanting more people to come to Christ and wanting that to happen so that it makes you look good and so that's what we see taking place here you know I think anyone that's involved in ministry whether it's a paid position or a volunteer position whether it's a worship service or in a want to ministry or youth are we all run the risk and have to fight these feelings of looking at fleshly information and numbers and bragging and boasting about those things because I think all of us are sometimes we just want recognition but we can spot a legal list of person when their true motives come out and they brag and they boast about their accomplishments and so legalism legal istic tendencies they really come out one characteristic is when a someone is a braggart or they brag and boast another characteristic of a legal a sick person is someone who will compromise they will compromise so that they get to the end that they're looking for no one enjoys persecution you know here in America up to this point in time Christians have gone relatively Have at it easy without a lot of persecution and many times a person will compromise in order to avoid persecution and when Paul was writing this people in the world those who. Had a relationship with God They were just starting to realize the truth behind many of these prophecies the Jews were expecting a Messiah but they were expecting him to come as a Kenyan and to overthrow the Roman government when Jesus came he first did not come as the king he will come as a king eventually but he first came and he had to suffer first and so a lot of Jews were very proud about the law and their obedience to it and the fact that the Messiah came and died on a cross of all things that was a huge stumbling block for all of them to come to grips with if you're English and just look at glaciers five verse eleven Paul talks about how he was persecuted because of the message of the cross glistens five eleven Paul says but if I brother still preach circumcision or at hearings to the law why am i still being persecuted and then he says this phrase and it's hard for us to understand living in two thousand and eighteen but he says. In that case the offense of the cross has been removed listen back then especially the cross was very offensive and the idea that the Messiah would come and die and humiliating death on the cross that was a stumbling block it was a very offensive for the Jews and I think this is extremely hard for us to understand today because we have romanticized the cross we have an emotional good attachment to the cross to them the cross was the ultimate humiliation it was a symbol of gas in the lowest of forms you know I don't want to make light of this at all but could you imagine anyone any one of us or in Christianity.
Kind of romanticizing or glamorizing the electric chair or the hangman's noose or I give a teen when we think of those things and we see pictures of those things we know that those are instruments of death they are there. They're there pointing to death and there's nothing to glory in and so when Paul is glory again and he's boasting in the cross of Jesus Christ it was a huge stumbling block for those Jews to accept I want you to turn over the first Corinthians chapter one. Paul talks about this to those in Corinth.
And so I think this kind of an appropriate time to look at that passage First Corinthians chapter one.
And here Paul is talking to those in Corinth about how God used the low things in the world to shame the wise and what he's talking about is the humiliating death of Christ on the cross which was offensive to the Jews and many people so first Corinthians Chapter one we're going to read kind of a good section here beginning in verse eighteen First Corinthians one verse eighteen.
Says for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing by to us who are being saved it is the power of God For it is written I will destroy the wisdom of the wise in the discernment of the discerning I will thwart Where is the one who was wise whereas the scribe Where is the debater of this age has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world for sense in the wisdom of God The world did not know God through wisdom it please God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe for Jews demand signs in Greek seek wisdom in this Will Paul says but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to the Jews in folly to Gentiles but to those who are called both using Greeks Christ the power of God in the wisdom of God for the foolishness of God is wiser than man in the weakness of God is stronger than men. So the legal if they saw that for someone to point only to the cross it would get them persecuted by the Jews who love the law so these legal as they pushed a circumcision. So that they would not be persecuted like Paul because Paul was being persecuted but in First Corinthians Paul shows kind of the problem with putting all of our hope in rituals and ceremonies it leads to a person being able to boast before God and say I'm here because of what I have done so let's finish this section here first Corinthians one verse twenty six.
Says For consider your calling brothers now many of you were wise according to worldly standards not many were powerful Not many were of noble birth but God shows what is foolish in the world to shame the wise God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong and God shows what is low and despised in the world even things that are not to bring to nothings things that are and here's why verse twenty nine so that no human being might boast in the presence of God God did these things he saved us by His grace alone so that no one will be able to stand in heaven and say I'm here because of what I've done so God chose the lowly things so that no one can boast in God's presence verse thirty and because of him you are Christ Jesus who became to us wisdom for God from God righteousness and sanctification redemption so that as it is written let the one who boasts boast in the Lord and so that's why God used the cross because it offends the proud so that is another way that Paul shows us that we can identify someone who is a legal a sick person you're bragging through compromising go the Judaizing is compromised the offense of the cross another characteristic is that they are persuasive they're really good at sales they like to push their pushy and they're very persuasive look at verse twelve again.
Says it is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised in only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross. Of Christ the Word for force some your translations might use another word like constrain or compelled you to do these things kind of has the idea of forcing someone to do something against their will and as you look at church history a lot of things in religion has been done because people in power used fear to get things accomplished Unfortunately that's very true but someone whose legal a signature very persuasive and finally the last characteristic of a legal a sick person as that they are a hypocrite they will say one thing and do another look at verse thirteen.
Paul kind of points out the hypocrisy of these people in the Judaizing verse thirteen it says for even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh Paul knew that those people keeping the Law had no effect on their salvation so he wasn't suggesting that they should follow the law but he was simply pointing out their motive that their reverence for the law was only a mask to cover up their real goal which was to win more converts so that they could boast about that they wanted to report better statistics and get more glory.
Yet as I read this last portion of Galatians just a kind of putting context of the entire the entire book. I think it's important for us to check our own motives because any of us at any time can get caught up in that kind of thinking as human beings I think we all get caught up in in wanting something to show for our efforts right through we want something as evidence to say I did a good job and our enemy the devil knows that and so he will use fleshly reasons for us to be motivated for spiritual reasons for purposes so I'm very grateful that we have passages like this to remind us and also reminds us that all the glory. Belongs to God and to God alone no one will ever be able to stand in Christ's presence and say I'm here because what I have done when we see him face to face we will know we are only here because of what he has done for us and so we will boast in him and him alone and once we understand that then we really start to understand God's grace.
One of my favorite passages from if I had a favorite passage it's going to be this one of seizures two eight and nine seasons two eight and nine says For by grace you are saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God not a result of works so that no one can boast. It's very clear and it's very simple and today what I want to do is wrapping up the entire book of Galatians I want to focus specifically on the one with whom we can boast we can boast in Jesus Christ and what he has done for us and so today I want to see include conclude by participating in communion and look at the death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the reason why we can vote so like out of the the men come forward of the time.
You just never see like.
We're about to pass out the bread. And this is just an opportunity for you as you hold the bread in your hand to seriously think about what it represents that represents the body of Jesus Christ and Jesus said this is my body which is given for you so as you hold the bread in your hand and you wait for us to eat it together as a church family you're holding in your hand the only reason why you and I have anything to boast in in eternal matters it's because Jesus willingly gave his life his body by his wounds we are healed that's the only reason why you and I can boast and mean joy being in God's presence so confirm to God to acknowledge to God What you hold in your hands that is what you can boast in not your own accomplishments.
We read out of the book of Corinthians Paul writes to us about participating in communion with the Lord's Supper and he says fry received from the Lord What I also deliver to you now the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread. And when he had given thanks he broke it and said This is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me.
Father we just take this moment today. And remember remember the sacrifice that you made by sending our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to earth this first time so that he would shed his body so that he would. Offer up his body to destruction so that we can have the forgiveness of sins today FATHER We knowledge. That only in Jesus do we have something to boast about thank you for giving us that hope and thank you for giving us this truth for that is what saves us praising questioning and that.
As we pass the juice which represents the blood of Jesus Christ and spend some time thinking about what this means Christ shed his blood so that it would cover our sins and the neat thing is when the sacrifices will be made in the ark of the covenant they would sprinkle it on top and so the idea was that as God look at the law and saw that we are law breakers he would see the blood of Christ His Son as taking away our senses and so as we pass out the juice which represents the blood of Jesus Christ the night when he met with his disciples he said this is the cup of the new covenant in my blood do this as often as you do it in remembrance of me because I'm returning I'm coming back and so as we drink this we're remembering this promise that God gave us he's returning so that we can have an eternal future with him and one more there will know who we can boast in it's in Jesus.
Paul continues and in Corinthians and I wish I wish we could be in that upper room that last night that they had the Passover but Jesus said to His disciples in the same way also he took the cup after supper saying This cup is the new covenant in my blood do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me for as often as you read this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death and tell he comes
father we do that this morning we proclaim the death and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and tell economists because we believe that he's coming back and you don't tell us when he will return would you tell us that when he returns then we will forever be with him and Lord it's such such an amazing hope such an amazing future something that we should always look forward to but when we do stand in your presence for that very first time and we see our Lord and Savior is face we will know how unworthy we are to be in his presence and then will understand Grace Wonderstone grace in a new way and we will forever be able to boast in what you have done and not our own works so Father thank You for the book of Galatians thank you for all the lessons that we've learned I pray Lord that we will rest soley in your grace and your mercy and not try to earn our for your favor anyone else's because we know that we can't and help us to live our lives in such a way that people will boast in Christ because of us we pray that pricing Amen.