Where is Your Focus?
You know we people we human beings we like to categorize everything right you're either in this category or that category and I was thinking of some of some categories maybe we all will find ourselves in and so all just say the names and you can put yourself in whatever category was right so some of us are optimists and some of us are pessimists right and there are some people who are introverts and some who are extroverts and falling where this is going a little bit there are some who are Republicans and some who are Democrats there are some who are greedy and there are some are a generous and we can do this with pretty much every subject in the world there's Ford and Chevy you know all those different things and maybe the most important category that we fall into is either whether you like hard shell tacos or soft shell tacos that's one of the more important ones though that's a trick question because both are awesome so you can have both you know I when you're thinking of like an optimist in the past Miss introvert extrovert usually that's kind of on a continuum and we're not either all one or the other we kind of fall so more along a line and. You know our passage that we're looking at in Galatians we're talking about two different things we're talking about law and grace and in fact open to glaciers chapter four we're going to search reading in just a few minutes.
But Paul has been talking to us and to the people in Glacier about the difference between law and grace and this issue is actually extremely important because there are some people who believe that unless you follow the law you cannot be saved and so what we've looked at so far in the first three four chapters of Galatians is Paul is really gone to great lengths to teach them how salvation has always been by face through the grace of God and now we're finally getting to the portion of the issues that really made me want to preach through it to begin with and that's more of the practical section and so what we're going to do today is we're going to read how Paul is sort of revealing to the Galatians the difference in the way that someone acts when someone is following the law as opposed to someone who is following grace in their lives and that maybe the best way to put that is on there's a difference between someone who is living according to the flesh as opposed to someone who is living according to the Holy Spirit that Inge Wells' them and so open a chapter for if you haven't done so yet and as we continue in this next section he really shows the glaciers the difference in their actions when they were following the law and Falling Grace and I have two points of my sermon for you today for those of you who are looking at the outline and a lot of times when you put something on a piece of paper it's kind of an oversimplification and these two points are definitely oversimplifications it's not as black and white as these two points but hopefully what all of us will see today is that the truth is you and I have a decision to make we can either live according to the Holy Spirit that lives within us or according to our flesh and the law and we see the big difference that it makes and so the first point that Paul shows them is that people who live according to the law the law makes people look in
if someone who is following the law they're looking inward to themselves they're focused quite frankly on themselves and so let's read verses eight through eleven the first portion hearing elations chapter four and let's see what Paul is teaching that these these people glacier says formally when you did not know God you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods but now that you have come to know God or rather to be known by God How can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world whose slaves you want to be once more you observe days and months and seasons and years I am afraid I have labored over you in vain and so for those of you kind of familiar with us what happened is before Paul met these people they followed like everyone else kind of in the world back then they followed idols they worship idols they worship false gods and what Paul says here the worthless elementary principles of the world and Paul says that they were slaves to them
everyone is a slave to something in this world that we live in today people worship and follow after similar things like What are some of the things that people are slaves to today usually the idea that if you get more money or fame or possessions that you'll find happiness in those things that's that's what most of the world isn't slave to that kind of idea but what Paul did is he went to them and he told them of the truth about who Jesus Christ was and he Three them from that trap but then later some Judaizing Oh that's fine that you blister faith in Jesus Christ but unless you're circumcised unless you follow the law you cannot be saved and so they were in slaves into this new trap. And what Paul is gone through so far in Galatians and hopefully remember this from a couple weeks ago Paul shared with them the primary reason why God gave the law and the two primary reasons why God gave the nation of Israel the law and ultimately for the whole world is one is to reveal sin when God says You shall not and then he gives you a whole bunch of commands of what you shall I do when you do it you know that you're a law breaker and so it reveals someone sends to them the second reason why God primarily gave the law was to point people to Christ because Christ was the fulfillment of the Law God did not give the law as a way to provide a means for salvation for mankind and what happened over the years was Satan twisted this in trying to convince the Jews and many other people that that's what happens so that's how people would be saved and so you have to ask the question why is the law such a great trap for mankind what is there within each of those it within you and me that makes the law so appealing you know I was. Reading it in a book that I'm reading as I'm going through Galatians and kind of helping the study by Warren will be on he brought up the SRI things that that appeal to us as human beings according to the law and I thought this is really insightful and so I want to share these with you I want to share with you three things three appeals of the law all right and so the first thing that appeals to us as human beings as you look at the law and what makes it so appealing to follow after is pride or boasting the law enable someone to become prideful or boastful Now if you accomplish something that's really difficult in your life it's OK for you to have a sense of accomplishment and pride I give you went on to give your college degree or your master's or your doctorate or something that's a long hard process and if you're done it's OK I think it's normal and healthy for you to say wow look at this a great accomplishment I had to have have kind of a healthy sense of pride or if you did some great physical strength or whatever it is you know we have this pride or we sometimes you have pride in what other people of accomplished however when you take some religious component and you add that to an accomplishment it will lead to unhealthy pride and boasting. And that's what happened with the Jews when God gave them the law and then as they started following the law in accomplishing the law they really embraced it because it gave them something to be prideful about and boasting about what they could say God give the law and look at how well I do it following the law that the gospels are full of examples of people who are prideful because of their ability to follow the law I want to just look at one so go over your Bibles to Luke Chapter eighteen
Luke Chapter eighteen this is just one of several examples of a person following the law and filled with pride based on their ability to follow the law Luke Chapter eighteen beginning in verse nine
Luke eighteen. Beginning in verse nine
it says He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated others with contempt again people who follow the law trusting in their own righteousness verse ten to men went up to the temple to pray one a fair city and the other a tax collector the ferrous The standing by himself prayed to us God I thank you that I am not like other men extortioners unjust adulterers or even like this tax collector I fast twice a week I give ties of all I get but the tax collector standing far off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven but beat his breast thank God be merciful to me a sinner I tell you this man went down to his house justify his I was justified rather than the other for every one who exults himself will be humble but the one who humbles himself will be exalted and so just imagine what this fair city was thinking in saying the fair city is saying to himself I know the rules and I'm really good at following the rules and so he was able to boast in his own accomplishments and his own abilities see that's one of the things that makes the law so appealing to us from a human standpoint you know Paul knew this was true about himself and specifically as form a way of life I'm goal over to Philippians chapter three
Philippines chapter three and Paul talks about all the the things that he has to be proud of all of his accomplishments and how he views them today live in chapter three
beginning in verse two.
This is how Paul kind of changed his view on the law and his own accomplishments plebeian Chapter Three beginning in verse two
it's look out for the dogs look out for the evil doers look out for those who mutilate the flesh for we are the circumcision who worship by the Spirit of God in glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh Also if anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh I have more so here Paul is talking about one point Paul took pride in his ability to follow the law and all of his accomplishments and he starts to list them on verse six verse five circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel are of the tribe of Benjamin the Hebrew of Hebrews as to the law a fairer seen as to Zeal a persecutor of the church and has to righteousness under the law blameless and so Paul a saying we're trying to compare each other to each other if you think that you did a great job following the law I did even better and so he says this is the kind of pride that he had in himself and now this is how we use his accomplishments in the law or something but whatever again I had I counted his loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may may gain Christ to be found in him not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law but that which comes through faith in Christ the righteousness from God That depends on face so Palm knew that the law made people look inward and soon as you look inward toward yourself as you're following the life fills you with pride and the ability to boast and so that's one of the reasons why the law is very appealing to human beings another reason why it's appealing is because it appeals to our senses there are so many things in the law that we can look at and we can touch and we can taste and in we can grab the law was full of things that you can do you know in preparation for my Sunday School class talking about the feast in the festivals God told them these are the seven feast and festivals that you're supposed to do for every generation and all the feast of festivals about things that they're specifically supposed to do things that are specifically supposed to make and eat in all these rituals and so every year as they look for them to say to these feasts and festivals they would get excited thinking OK here's part of the law and here is the things that I'm doing and they can look forward to the meals that they're going to eat and so that's what the law does it puts everything kind of. The saying goes we live by his face not by sight someone who lives by according to the law lives by sight and not by faith and there's a big difference between that and you know John four twenty three and twenty four when Jesus met a woman he was talking to her about how people are going to worship in the future because now they were speaking in the temple and Jesus says to her he says but the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth but the Father is seeking such people to worship Him God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth there's only one way that you and I can are possibly please God and that's through our faith in him and sometimes faith is not according to the things that we see and so that's why the law and some other false religions are so appealing because it gives you something that you can actually see and grab onto now the third thing that makes it so appealing is something that I can really relate to and that is what makes a lot of Pilling is the ability to compare and to compete with other people all right is anyone here else competitive I think there's a few of us that might be competitive competition is all about comparing and um Have I ever mentioned this thing called Cross Fit to any of you ever heard of that before yeah he the thing I love about cross what I've been doing for about a year and a few months and it is the thing I love about it is is a competitive person's dream come true if you're competitive and slightly athletic you would love Cross Fit and the nice thing that I like about it is you compete everything every day you go and you compete you have a competition every single day that you do this first and foremost you're competing against yourself. Because you want to get stronger and faster and as you continue to do this and you see your times you're getting better and then your weight is going up but then also you're competing against other people it's kind of fun when you're new class and you see all these people working out you try to beat a couple people and there's people that are going to be to this that's just how it goes but right now this is every cross that has dream because right now going on in the world right now is something called the Cross Fit open and that's where everyone who goes cross cross that has an opportunity to literally compete against everyone else in the world over five hundred thousand people are doing this competition right now what are they going to competitions are there in the world that are like this I can't think of any of them and so right now it's the open and if you do well enough in the open then you go to regionals and if you go well enough regionals you go to the games and most people are obviously doing the open just because they're trying to just better themselves but the neat thing is it goes on for five weeks and they have they have a website will which you do is you do a workout and then you take your score and then you put it online and you can see how you compare against everybody else in the world but more specifically it breaks down into subcategories and so what I can do is when I put in my score I can look and see how I did against other men and then I'm going to want to definitely put in by my age so men between ages forty to forty four and then I can even say people that lived in the southwest region of the United States or even in Arizona and you can even get so specific to say I want to compare myself to people who are in my own occupations like firefighters police officers teachers it's it is a competitive person's dream come true it's awesome so. Friday was our very first workout eighteen point one the eighteen point one for two thousand and eighteen goes up to eighteen point five and the leader board is constantly being updated and so guess what this sick person was doing all yesterday I'm checking the leader board you know is my name on there unfortunately I. Coach he hasn't validated our scores yet slacker.
It's a sickness I know it's a sickness I'm going to go to counseling right after when you've got going to testify but you know it's fun because people who are competitive they want to see where they stack up against other people another reason and I'm being serious when I say this another reason why I'm glad I found Cross Fit is because I am naturally a competitive person and I have learned very early in my pastoral ministry that it's not good for me to channel my competitiveness into the church it's not good for me it's not good for anyone right and the main reason is because church is not designed to be a place where we compete with each other than just the opposite church is a place where we go where we are united with each other we don't compete with each other or just turn your Bibles through fusions chapter for
efficiency chapter four
in this passage Paul is talking about some of the different roles that he gave people to be in the church to have these roles and functions
and he sees in chapter four beginning verse eleven talks about this is the reason for church so he says for leaven it says
and he gave the apostles the prophets the Evangelists the shepherds and teachers for this reason to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the face and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and so God wants the church to be a place where we are united with each other not competing with each other there's no divisions there should be no divisions within the body and so someone who follows the law is going to be drawn into the trap of comparing and competing against other people and ultimately that leads to being judge mental.
All right here is a little time for on a city that any of you ever compared yourself to another person within the church and realizing that you shouldn't do that I mean we tend to do that right and usually I'm not even talking about sins I'm talking about the good things that we're supposed to be doing Have you ever thought ladies well she never does fill in the blank and I do that all the time what's wrong with her ever thought Don't raise your hand if you've ever thought that OK or are guys you know something like you know this is so and so I bet he's never done this in his life and I have discipline myself to regularly make that a part of my life we can tend to do that when we start comparing against each other and the law a really appeals to that and so Paul is trying to release us from that trap of the law and so do these thirty three things make sense the law appeals to pride to our senses into comparison and so this is what Paul was freeing them from and then someone came and talked about the law and it appealed to them and what did they do they ran right back into the bondage of the law so the law makes people look inward it makes them focus on themselves how they can raise their standing in God's eye and also how they can elevate themselves above all others but grace and living by the Spirit should produce in each of us the exact opposite and so now let's look at how grace makes us look out long makes us walk in the grace makes us look out and we'll keep reading here and Galatians But before we do what I want to do is kind of a transition passage I want to go to Romans fourteen
go to Romans Chapter fourteen
this is a great passage on not being judge mental and because what Paul is dealing with in this passage is a lot of people who would do maybe some ceremonial aspects of the law and people are judging each other because of that and so on Romans here chapter fourteen beginning in verse thirteen
Paul is telling them how they should work towards unity as opposed to judging each other. Or skipping verses one through twelve just talking about what people eat and what they should be eating and how people are judging according to that but Romans Chapter fourteen will pick up in verse thirteen and they use this kind of as a transition to our next point almost fourteen thirteen
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean for if your brother is grieved by what you eat you are no longer walking in love by what should we do not destroy the one for whom Christ died so do not let what you regard is good it to be spoken of as evil for the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by man in verse nineteen the most important this passage says so then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual building let's not judge each other let's not be could become judge mental let us pursue what is going to cause us to be unified and to come to and to build each other up and so that's what Grace allows us to do and so what how do we pursue this and that is it's by the Holy Spirit so now Paul talks how the Galatians At first they demonstrated in their own lives the difference between looking outward and looking looking inward and looking outward and as we're going to read this we're going to read this in just a second I've got another passage I want to look at how many of you heard of the thorn in Paul's side Storen in the flesh that Paul had most of you probably have heard of that right if you have it you're going to hear about it today how many of you think you know what it is
you have no injuries there and there's a good there's a good reason you should be raising your hand because Paul doesn't tell us exactly what it is however there are lots of theories some of the series on what Paul's thorn was include temptation some people think that maybe it was a temptation that he was dealing with some talk about something physical that was wrong with them like malaria migraines epilepsy or maybe even a speech disability or some other people speculate that it could have been either a mental or emotional problem that he was struggling with. Or this thorn could have actually been a literal human being you know we all have kind of that thorn in the flesh you know we can call people a thorn The nice thing is that Paul never tells us what it is and the great thing about that is so that all of us can relate because all of us at different times in our life we have something that is causing us to you know turn to the Lord and so the leading theory of what Paul was dealing with is actually in our next section that we're going to read all right but first I want to go to the second Corinthians twelve and read this because in this we see how Paul because of this thorn in his flesh it caused him to stop looking at himself inward and he looked outward second twelve beginning in verse seven.
So you can see in chapter twelve beginning in verse seven.
Paul writes about this thorn in the flesh he says so to keep me from becoming conceded because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations a storm was given me in the flesh a messenger of Satan to harass me to keep me from becoming conceited three times I pleaded with the Lord about this that it should leave me but he said to me My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me for the sake of Christ then I am content with weaknesses
persecutions and calamities for when I am weak then I am strong so what did this born cause Paul to do the first it caused him to look in and what did he realize this soon as he looked into him self he realized that he is inadequate he realized that there is this level of powerlessness that he had and ultimately that caused him to look out to God and realize that he needed to
and so what was this what was this thorn that he was talking about well it was probably an eye problem that Paul mentions in verses twelve or fifteen so let's go back to Chapter five chapter four and will reach out our verses twelve to fifteen
and here he mentions in i problem which is the reason why he saw all the people in Galatians to begin with
so beginning in chapter two verse twelve says brothers I entreat you become as I am for I also become as you are you did me no wrong you know it was because of a bodily element that I preached the gospel to you of first and though my condition was a trial to you you did not scorn or despise me but receive me as an angel of God as Christ Jesus What then has become of your blessedness for I testified to you that if possible you would have gout out your eyes and given them to me. And so it's interesting here Paul mentions that the reason why he went to Calais should have begin with was some type of medical emergency probably something dealing with his eyes and so you look at this new thing was this just like a coincidence that he was single a sure was this God's Providence but here went something like this Paul was having an issue and obviously his health plan was a P.P.O. because he was out of network so he's traveling around so he he's in the way she is so we can see the people but he has a physical problem so he stops single Asia which led to him meeting these people which led to them asking Who are you and what are you doing here which led to him explaining who he is and how he knows the God of Israel and that he met Jesus Christ the Messiah and how face in him leads to salvation which led to them accepting the message that Paul gave to them which led them to stop looking inward and look outward and what did they want to do as soon as they accepted the gospel of their salvation they wanted to help Paul as soon as they were led not by the flesh but by the Spirit they wanted to help Paul and so in verse fifteen we see this transformation take place first fifteen policy is what then has become of your blessedness what has become of this gratitude that you had for except in the Gospel he says For I testify to you that if possible you the gal JOAT your eyes and given them to me and so this is where the theory of the chronic i problem comes from but do you see what took place here they used to be enslaved to the worthless principles of this world and it made them look inward to themselves and to compare themselves against others and to do all of those things and then when they receive God's grace through Paul sharing the gospel with them they stopped looking inward and they looked outward and they said how can I help other people that's what the Gospel does to us that's what it should do and that's what it means to live by grace and not by law. Hopefully you all are familiar with the two greatest commandments God has been trying to get us to do this our entire lives the two greatest commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself that's an outward focus while how in the world are we able to do that we're able to do that when the Holy Spirit that lives within us is in control and that's kind of what Paul is going to talk about for the rest of Galatians glace in Chapter five in Galatians chapter six why I hope you have seen this transition take place in your own lives have you ever see everything I hope you can say yeah you know I can be selfish and greedy from time to time but when I love the Holy Spirit when I spend time in God's Word I sense within myself a desire to be focused on others and not myself I hope that you've seen that in your own life well on the rest of Galatians again like I said goes into greater detail about living according to the spirit as opposed to the flesh but I want to finish this chapter in the we're going to start in Chapter five next week so let's go ahead let's finish this chapter
continues with them he says have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth they make much but for no good purpose they want to shut you out that they make much of you much of them it is always good to be made much of for a good purpose and not only when I am present with you my little children for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth and so a crisis formed in you I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone for I am perplexed about you tell me you who desire to be under the law do you not listen to the law for it is written that Abraham had two sons one by a slave woman and one by a free woman but the son of the slave was born according to the flesh while the son of the free woman was born through promises Now this was now this may be interpreted allegorically these women are two Covenants one is for Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery she is Hagar now Hagar is Mount Sinai in a Rabia she corresponds to the present Jerusalem for she is in slavery with her children but the Jerusalem above is free and she is our mother for it is written rejoice so barren one who does not bear break forcing quiet you who are not in labor for the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who was has a husband now you brothers like Isaac or children of promise but just as at the time he was born it was according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit so also it is now but what also but what does the preacher say of the slave woman and her son for the slew the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free will
of the slave but of the free woman. In there we're done with chapter four you know as we move on to the practical section of the glaciers which I'm looking forward to the focus is really placed on the Holy Spirit's role in our life and noticing what that looks like and so as we're getting ready for these last couple chapters I want you to kind of prepare yourself and to think about this week pay attention to what your focus is on is it on you and of course is going to be on you because you know we're human beings and we're always going to be think about ourselves but is your focus on you in a way that you are making comparisons between yourself and other people or maybe you're keeping score or maybe your focus is on you because you're desiring to become prideful and make things all about yourself or can you sense the Holy Spirit's role in your life and leading you to think about how you can build others up remember what Romans fourteen one thousand nine hundred.
Leads us into this week it says so then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual building so let's do that this week let's look outside ourselves and seek to build each other up let's close in prayer
Dear Lord I thank you for this passage today and thank you for all of your written word that you've given to us that we can constantly go back to and learn new things and also remind ourselves of things but Lorida today is always talking to those in Glacier just the difference the stark difference between someone who lives according to the flesh as opposed to someone who lives according to The Spirit Lord help us to be aware of that in our own lives we want to be Spirit led We don't want to be led and controlled by our flesh so Father I thank you for this book and I pray that I will just continue to be blessed in Chapters five and six as you really talk about the fruit of the spirit and living according to your Holy Spirit within us to present Christ in it.