Date: January 15, 2023
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: Galatians 5:1-12
All right, good morning. If you got a Bible turn with me to Galatians chapter five, that’s where we’re going to be. Thank you so much, brother. So you guys know I’m a pacer. But I tweaked my back a little bit this morning. So we’re going to sit for today, not trying to be especially poignant with the setting, or it’s not like family gathering where I got like, heavy stuff to say to you. So I got to sit down. No, I just need the assist today. So we’ll see how I can do without my perpetual motion, the camera folks are like, that’s awesome. He’s not going to move so much. So Galatians chapter five, we’re beginning a new section in the book of Galatians. We outlined the book for you at the beginning of the series, if you’ve been tracking long. Didn’t Russ, do an awesome job wrapping up chapter four for us last week, and kind of addressing a tough text. We’re addressing you, let’s just all applaud, you can applaud there you wanted to and I kept talking. Yeah, so Russ guided us so well in thinking about that allegory of Hagar and and Sarah and how Paul uses that there. Now we turn our attention into a new section, where in chapters three and four, Paul was really making a theological argument. Now he wants to apply that into our lives help us to understand its application in chapters five and six. So let’s read Galatians five, one, we’re gonna look at 12 verses today. But I just want to, let’s focus in here, this is a pinnacle text in the book of Galatians. The book doesn’t make sense without it, it is that everything is kind of been leading up to this texts now. So read along with me got your Bible, or on the screens, if you don’t. For freedom, tries to set us free. Say again. For freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again, to the yoke of slavery. So important, let’s hear it coming out of our own mouths. So sit with me, would you. Fight for freedom? Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, do not submit again, to yoke of slavery. All right now I’m not trying to use a little cute tactic there. Hearing it come out of our own mouths is important. Yes. Sometimes making sure we hear. Let me just introduce you to good habit if you’re reading your scriptures, and sometimes you’re having trouble following, read them out loud. Read them out loud, you’re so I do on a regular basis, I’ll be reading and I’m not catching this. Let me just I need to read it out loud and, and hear it said, hear it spoken. So don’t be afraid to do that in your in your, you know, scripture study alone. So when I was in college, I had the privilege of connecting with ministering to a group of young men who were imprisoned. In Texas where I grew up, they did a thing called the Texas Youth Commission. They have facilities that are detention centers for kids who have committed violent crimes. So they can be anywhere from 13 to 18 years old. If at 18. they haven’t, they haven’t faced, shown good behavior up to a certain point and phase out then they go to sort of big boy prison. Pretty scary deal. So I get the privilege of during college of doing Bible studies with some mentoring one on one doing some of these things, I would do that multiple times a week. On Tuesday nights, I can tell you, I still have it as it’s burned in my brain, I can remember not just in my brain, I remember the feeling in my heart. I would go on Tuesday nights to the detention center in the town where I went to college. I remember the feeling the oppressive, just frightening feeling of walking in, and the big heavy metal bars to the jail closing behind me. If you’ve never had that experience it is it makes you shake. I knew I was leaving in a couple hours that I was gonna go to a Bible study and I was gonna be gone, I was gonna go home, I knew I got to go home. I knew no one could keep me there. But it was a sobering, frightening, oppressive feeling walking in there, I’d have to as I was walking from my car to the gate, I would have to pray. Lord, give me strength. Give me wisdom, Give me understanding, give me your perseverance. Because this literally a frightening thing to walk into this place not because the the young men, they were great. It was frightening because of just the place. You know, as you get to talking to some of these young men, one of things you find out is that it can be really hard. Once you get used to that environment, once you get used to being imprisoned, which many of them will be there for years. It’s really hard to transition to freedom. You would think why would that be hard just to get out of prison and go into freedom? That’s amazing. Well, I mean, who doesn’t want that? Of course they did want that. But again, and again, you get these conversations over Bible study, and you would find out like, Yeah, I’m not sure how it’s gonna go. You know, when I move out of imprisonment and out of this stage now into freedom. The thing about that is now imagine yourself in that setting, imagine yourself in prison, for whatever reason, and then you stand before judge one day and the judge says I’m setting you free, you are no longer prisoner, you are completely and utterly free. He pounds, the gavel, he sets you free, even while I’m gonna check in on you from time to time and kind of see how things are going. Now imagine that at these check ins what you came back to report to the judge was that, you know, in spite of the fact that he had declared you free set you free, you no longer live in the prison, you had gone to the apartment that you were renting, and you had locked yourself in it and you never left. On top of that, you kept the same schedule that you’d had when you were in prison life, you know, the same very rigid, very structured schedule. By the way, you only ate the meals that you were served in prison, you just repeated all of that over and over again, instead of going out to the park and into work and enjoying all the freedom that you had. You were you were living in your freedom, like you were still in prison. What do you think the judge might say? Might he say to you, you know, I didn’t set you free, so that you could live like you were still in prison? I didn’t. That’s not why I set you free. In fact, I set you free so that you could live like you are what church like you’re free. That’s exactly what Paul is saying here to the Galatians. He says, it is for freedom to live like a free person, that Christ to set you free this verse, verse one, chapter five, verse one has both an assertion and a command with it. So the assertion is important that you get the assertion the thing he’s asserting as true is, Christ does set you free, so that you can live like you’re free. That’s what he’s asserting. Then his command that comes on the backside of that is, therefore do not submit any longer to yoke of slavery. Don’t keep living. Don’t keep submitting yourself to a set of rules and regulations that couldn’t set you free to begin with Don’t live like they can set you free now, don’t live like they are the key to your freedom. So the question that we’re going to ask and try to answer and really, from this week forward, in our study, the book of Galatians, Paul is turning a corner from a theological argument and not theological argument in chapters three and four and a little bit, the end of chapter two, was really very simple. You probably noticed the repetition of this argument being made. It was Christ brings freedom, the law brings slavery. That was the message Christ brings freedom, the law brings slavery. Now he’s turning the corner, the natural reaction of the legalistic heart, the person who says none of the laws necessary for justification, if a law isn’t hanging over your head, this set of rules where you have to get right with God by obeying all of this, which by the way, is a very common way for people in our day to think I mean, how many folks do you know maybe this is you? Maybe I can help you here? Because I hear from folks who do not believe in Jesus, right. The reason they don’t want to become a Christian is because they think they’re going to have to live by a rigid set of rules and follow them and it’s just going to kill all the joy in life. It’s going to take all the fun out. Have you heard this argument before? Yes, absolutely. There’s this misperception that being a Christian is about rule following now there are commands of God that we love to keep. But what is missing in that mindset is why we keep them and what they’re there to accomplish and why they are present for us. Now, friends, let me say that as Paul gives his assertion, and his command, and he’s what he’s doing is he’s responding now in chapter five, verse one, and following the rest of chapter five and the rest of chapter six, really. So the very end, he’s responding to that legalistic heart, which says, Look, if the if the law is not there as a threat to folks that they won’t be justified unless they keep it, then people are going to live godless lives. They’re going to live how ever they want, they’re gonna live like their hair’s on fire. I mean, they’re going to live these crazy, kind of godless, licentious lives. Paul’s argument is, that’s absolutely not true. In fact, the key to living a godly life is walking in the freedom that Christ came to give you. Price can produce a godly or life than any set of rules than the law ever could. That’s what he wants to unpack for us. So the question, in particular for this week, but really, for every week is going forward is going to be how do I live as the free person that Christ has made me? How do I live like the free? How do we live like the free people that we are in Christ? So that’s our question today, and we’re going to attempt to answer it and we’re going to be looking at a very similar thought. Going forward. Now these 12 verses we’re going to look at, and I’m going to take them piece by piece, these 12 verses that we’re going to look at today, we’re going to divide into two sections. If you want to be free, if you want to live in the freedom that Christ has given you. Right For freedom Christ to set you free, if you want that. Then there are things you need to reject. There are things you need to receive. So very simple outline, would you agree?
Things you need to reject things you need to receive? So the things we need to reject? We’re going to break into two parts versus seven 211, I just want to walk you through the text, or we’re going to talk about two things you need to reject. Then if there’s time, I’m going to come back to a third, that’s at the end of our passage. But the majority of our time is going to be spent on things we have to receive, in order to walk in the freedom that Christ came to give us. How is it that we live like free people, rather than like, we’re still in prison. So let’s read Galatians five, verses two through four, then so we’ve heard verse one, our pinnacle statement, and then he transitions and he goes to verse two through four, and he says this. Look, I Paul say to you, that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision, that he is obligated to keep the whole law, you are severed from Christ, you who will be justified by the law, you have fallen away from grace. So listen, after saying he made you free, what Paul is going to do is he’s going to go back and rehearse the same argument that he made all through chapter three and chapter four, it says, if he’s saying, I gotta hit it one more time, before I move on to some application here for you, before I teach you about how to live in the freedom that Christ came to give you. So I’m going to repeat it one more time, if you depend on the works of the law to get right with God, if you think you can earn merit before God with your own good works, your own effort, you are mistaken. Not only that you are not in Christ, you are not just for you are severed from Christ, he says you’re cut off from him. So let’s talk about two things that we have to reject. If we’re going to walk into freedom that he’s talking about verse one. So number one comes from the entire book of Galatians, not just these three, verses, two, three, and four. The first is, you have to reject a wrong definition of freedom, you have to reject a wrong definition of freedom. Now, we talked about this early in our series in Galatians. But let me make sure I’m really clear with you. Freedom, as we kind of tend to talk about it today is often we talk about as political freedom. We talk about it as maybe you know, freedom from debt, there’s all kinds of ways that we talk about freedom, sort of philosophically the most, the most common use of freedom is freedom to be kind of who my desires tell me I want to be freedom to live out my sense of my own self. That is not how the scriptures talk about freedom. If you think that that is what freedom is that I’m just going to tell you that you’re either going to slide into legalism thinking you can justify yourself with your works, or you’re going to slide into licentiousness, which is to say, you’re going to live a godless life, a life that does not honor Please God, you’re gonna go in one of those two directions, if you believe in a wrong definition of freedom. Here’s the way Paul and all the scriptures when they talk about freedom, talking about freedom, to be free, is to be free from the law, from having to earn our righteousness, or merit with God. It’s to be free from death, which is the penalty for not being perfect. It is freedom from sin. Now, when I say sin there, I don’t mean death. I mean, freedom from sins, ability to lead you around day by day and make you do it. There is a freedom that Christ came to give. It’s predominantly the type of freedom Paul is talking about in chapter five and chapter six, you are no longer in your freedom in Christ, subjected to have sin, lead you around by the nose, you are not sentenced to always do what your worst desires and thoughts want you to do. Sin is tempting, it is hard to overcome. It is difficult, but do not believe for one second, that you do not have in Christ, the freedom from the power of that temptation. You do. It is available to you. We’re going to talk about how it’s about how you live that out how you walk that out, there’s a daily challenge in it. But far too often I talk with friends, believers who have the sense that whatever sin patterns in their life is always going to be there and they’ll never have any increasing victory over it. Now to be sure we will not be perfect until Christ returns or until he takes us into Heaven with Him. But that does not mean we will not grow in righteousness and holiness and that we shouldn’t expect that it’s a huge part of the Christian life. Would you agree that we would expect increasing righteousness that we don’t expect victory over sin, they would expect temptation to decrease and holiness to increase that is part of the Christian life. Let me just say to a younger generation, and it really starts with I think mine and down. There’s this false notion that authenticity means just admitting our failures over and over and over and over. As long as I do that, I’m being authentic. There’s something to that. I mean, you know, admitting look, I’m not perfect is certainly part of authenticity, but you stopped short. authenticity means celebrating the victories that we have in Christ as well as the times admitting the times that we fail. I think we think authenticity means just always acting like we’re never going to get any better. That’s not authentic at all, because an authentic Christian life is one where we should be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit over sin, would you agree? So, let’s be authentic as a church, let’s not pretend like we’re perfect, or we have it all together, can we do that? Let’s also be authentic, and that Jesus actually matters and makes a difference. That we change that we grow, and All Glory to Him for it, not to ourselves. So now let’s and that’s that’s the first thing. It’s that definition of freedom. Like I said, the last one, the day to day victory over sin, the power and the pleasures. That’s what Paul is predominantly dealing with, in Galatians, five and following when he says, you’ve been set free for the sake of freedom to be free to live like a free person. The second thing is just these verses, verses two through four, which I said are just a recapitulation of chapters three, and four. If you want to walk in freedom, you have to reject your own good works as earning you any merit with God. We just got to say one more time in this book, friends, the second, you begin to add anything to the completed work of Jesus on the cross, you have denied the sufficiency of that work. Do you see that? The second you say yes, I believe He died. I believe I’ve earned saving merit through that and through that alone, but also my discipline, but also the way that I do this, also my natural giftedness, also, anything, whatever you add, the second you do that, you do not have faith, and therefore you are not justified before him, because you cease to believe in the sufficiency of the thing that justified you, revealing that you do not actually have faith. That’s so crucial. I know it’s a repeat of chapters three and four. But we we have to go back to it, he brings us back to it again. Now. The thing that already when he makes it in verse three is not only do you reveal that you don’t believe in the sufficiency of Christ’s word, you now are sentenced to not just for the Galatians be circumcised keep this one part of the law, you’re now sentenced to keep the entire law, you have to do it all, you can’t just do the one thing. So whatever your one thing is, if you think I can, I can add this to the completed work of Jesus. You know, maybe let’s just use discipline as an example. Like I’m really good at being spiritually disciplined, you know, I am good at that great and wonderful. But the second you start adding that as a as a thing that makes you earn merit before God. The second you do that, you now are sentenced not just to be disciplined in that way, you have to keep every part of the law. Here’s what that means. Follow this with me, it means you must, for every second of every minute of every day, for every year of your life, have a perfect will have perfect emotions that never waver into anything inappropriate, you must have a perfect mind set of thoughts you must never think anything lower than what God is worthy of. You must never think anything inappropriate, and you must never commit an action. That is anything less than perfect. Can you do that? When we put it that way, I hope the answer is very obvious. No. But that’s what that’s why the law in slaves because it means that’s what you’re living under, for and it never lets up. There’s never a second where that demand is not on you. It must be done in your own power and your own strength. You can’t rely on anyone else. You can’t recruit help, you must do it. You alone at all times. Always. Do you see the slavery of that. That’s what Paul is saying, you got to keep all all the time, always which is why then the next word is you have been severed your severed cut off from Christ, you do not have him. He’s of no advantage to you because you’re severed from him, because you have not treated his work is sufficient. You have to reject any sense that your good works. earn any merit before God. Now, let’s let’s talk about the take you back to something we talked about way early on in our series in Galatians. That let me give you three questions I asked regularly, because good works. Would you agree that good works are good things. It’s good and right to do good works. They are expected of a true faith that it would produce good works. But when you put them in the wrong place, then they become a problem. Think about it this way. The hair on your head is beautiful, it’s welcomed, it’s well groomed. If I walk into your house and find that same hair from your head on a bar of soap. It’s gross. It freaks me out. That work all right. If you like this one better, the fire in your fireplace is great. The fire in your living room has a problem. Something like that one better. I liked the hair on the bar soap thing. You take that hair you put in the wrong place, and it’s no longer a beautiful, wonderful thing, right? The same way good works are a beautiful, wonderful thing. But you put them the wrong place, you put them in the place of trying to justify yourself with them, and they are no longer a good thing. They are now deadly thing. All right.
So here’s three questions I’m learning to ask myself, and they seem to help me understand when do my good works? When do they begin to be? I begin to view them as merit producing words, how do I know? Because it’s subtle? Would you agree? It can be very subtle, really, of course, I want to do good works. How do I know when I’m doing them not as a free response to the love that’s given to me in Christ Jesus and the faith I have in him. Just that’s my response to his love my response to his grace, how do I know when I begin to treat them like they they’re earning me some merit? Because it can be so subtle and so slight? So three questions I asked. They’re helping me maybe they’ll help you. Now first question is, do I feel God owes me something? For the good work that I did? Do I feel like God urgent, so like, God, you owe me material blessing or God, you owe me that relationship with God, you owe me this relationship being fixed? Or because I you see all this good that I’m doing? Does that ever slip into my mind? You owe me because it’s second question I asked myself is do I love Jesus or myself more? As a result of the good work that I did? This comes through often has to do with where does my mind go after I do the good work? So whatever good work I did whatever way I served, or help some good work, use my spiritual gifts, maybe in some way? Does my mind go to being more pleased with myself more enamored with myself sort of more impressed with myself? Or does my mind go to being more impressed with Jesus, more enamored with Jesus? More awestruck by Jesus? Because he was doing that good work through me? Do you see the distinction? Then the third question I’m learning to ask is, do I love people more? Or do I feel superior to people? Because of the good work that I did? Do I love people more? Do I feel superior to them? So sometimes I can get in that mindset where I think, you know, I did this, and they don’t do that. I’m really pretty good. In fact, I’m better than they are not. Look, none of us are stupid. We don’t say that out loud. Maybe you do. I’ve just called you stupid. I’m very sorry. I’m presuming like, we know better than to do that we do better than to say, I’m better than they are. Because of all these things I do. But in reality, it enters into our mind sometimes. We start to feel superior to people who don’t have a ticket. Can I tell you pastors are the worst about this. Sometimes we come to our people that God has given us to shepherd and instead of just loving you, wherever you are in your spiritual life, and just saying, I just want you to grow from there. Let’s keep going. Let’s go forward. We act like upset with you that you haven’t achieved some degree of spiritual maturity. Then I think I’ve set with you What are we doing? We’re really comparing you to us and saying, like, well, I’m way ahead of you. You need to get it together. Like, pastors aren’t supposed to be angry at their people. You’re just supposed to help you grow. So wherever you are, day one day 500. Let’s take Jesus seriously. Let’s keep growing in him. So I mean, look, we’re pastors like me, were the guiltiest of this one. Letting our good works make us feel more superior to others, rather than actually producing more love for others, which is what they should do. My good work should make me love you more. Your good work should make you love the people in here more. Okay, so are those questions helpful? All right, awesome. You kind of have to say yes. If I asked you from up here, someone’s in the background? No, not at all. Okay, so there’s one more thing we have to reject, but it’s in verses seven through 11. So just like put a pin there. If we have time, we may not, we’ll come back to it. Okay. But go down to verses five and six and in your notes to the things now that we have to receive. Let me just tell you, there’s one thing we have to receive in this text that is going to point out and it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit, but he’s gonna give us two specific ways the Holy Spirit works. Okay, so read verses five and six with me, where we see these words. For, for through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus. neither circumcision or uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love, but only faith working Going through love Now, verse five, when he says, four through the Spirit by faith, and then he goes on to say there’s this hope is produced, right? What he’s saying is the opposite of what I just talked about the opposite of depending on your own merit your own works to get merit. The opposite of that is what happens when you come into Christ. What happens is, you receive the Spirit, which is why Paul is going to argue, Christ can produce a greater righteousness, a greater and more godly life than the works of the law ever could. That’s because the works of the law cannot justify you, therefore, they cannot bring the spirit into your life, but Christ can. Christ brings the spirit, the living indwelling Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, into your life. So learning, he’s going to go on to say, in the text that follows learning to keep in step with them, learning to bear his fruit, the whole rest of the chapter is going to be learning to walk in the Spirit, you’re gonna be learning how to develop relationship with the Spirit of God, who lives in dwells in you. That’s the key to walking in freedom. Now, he’s gonna give us two things in particular that the Spirit does. Because he does, then we can learn to look for them. Now, the two things he’s going to talk about is this in this text, is that the Spirit fills us with hope. The Spirit fills us with love. You can’t have freedom without either one of those. If you want to live like a free person, you have to be full of hope. You have to be full of love. But the good news is, you don’t have to fill yourself up with them. The spirit will do it. Now, when I think about the work of the Spirit and how to guide people in this, here’s what I want to encourage you in church family, this becomes very intangible for a lot of us, it’s like, well, how do you get your hands around, you know, kind of the work of the Spirit. So sometimes what we do is we we go to the Scriptures, and we get really systematic about the work of the Spirit. That can be helpful, but we get so rigid sometimes that we forget, it’s a relationship with a living being the third person of the Trinity who’s alive and living and, and a person, not a human person, but a divine person, right? Then sometimes we get so loosey goosey about it. We don’t look at scripture enough. We just kind of Oh, yeah, we attribute all kinds of things to the spirit. It’s like, no, that’s not the Spirit. The Spirit does not do that. He does not bring confusion and chaos. He brings order, and peace and joy. So listen, here’s the best way I know how to coach you. When you when you’re thinking about how to take hold of the work of the Spirit, which is going to be Paul’s arm, if you want to walk in freedom, you need to take hold of the work of the Spirit. If you want to take hold of it, then you have to want to know what the work of the Spirit is. Start looking for it. Then yield to it. Is that a pretty simple pathway, okay, know what it is and what it isn’t. Learn to look for it, like start looking in your daily life for oh, that’s the work in spirit. Like, I see that. Then the great news is you can’t manufacture the work of the Spirit, you cannot make him do anything that he does not want to do. The spirit is not a dog that operates on your command. There is no way to force the spirit to do something, or to manufacture the work of the Spirit, which is the sadness, sometimes believers who want to press into saying the spirits doing things he’s not doing and trying to manufacture things that aren’t from the Spirit. That’s not helpful. Know what he doesn’t want, he doesn’t look for it. Like actually keep your eyes open day to day. Then yield to it. You don’t have to manufacture it, you have to make it happen. You yield to it as he does it. As you yield to it, what happens is you grow in your experience. Does that make sense? Yes. Okay, awesome. So that’s what we want to learn to do. Look for it, keep our eyes open, and then yield to it. So let’s talk about those two words of the Spirit is where we spend the rest of our time really? I think so. Filling, how does he fill us with hope? Okay, so the first thing I need you to see is go back to verse five, get your eyes in the text. Llook what he says, four through the Spirit, by faith. Now it’s important because he doesn’t say, By faith through the Spirit, but he says through the Spirit by faith, he’s saying the spirits, the one who does whatever is going to come at the end of that sentence. How does the Spirit come to do that? He comes to do it through faith. In other words, what he’s saying is the Spirit enters into your life, not because you kept the law. It’s feared interest into your life because you have what? Faith. So think of it this way. If you are a tree, the roots are your faith, digging deep into the soil and the spirit that is the life giving water that those roots of faith bring up and bring throughout every branch of the tree and every leaf. The spirit is brought up into the tree through faith. That’s what he’s that’s the picture he’s painting. Now. He says Okay, so what’s the work the Spirit does, spirits given for faith pulled up into the tree and into its branches. So what does it then do? That spirit He says, Look at the end of verse five. We ourselves through that spirit, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. The picture is painting there, Paul is saying, what the spirits gonna do is he’s gonna give you hope. But it’s a very specific kind of hope. It’s not just a general generic kind of hope. It’s the hope that comes from being transported in your mind, and in your heart, and in your will, to that moment, when you will stand before God almost telescoping you to the end of your life. Saying, I’m going to show you spirit is saying, I’m going to show you the day that you are going to stand before the Lord and be declared perfectly righteous, because the blood of Jesus all his merit imparted to you, complete perfection and righteousness. Picture that for a moment that the Spirit does on a daily basis, as we yield to him as he takes us up into the heavenlies. He shows us our completed selves. He shows us that that’s where your hope is. It’s not an anything happening down here. Whatever the circumstances good, that you might rest and contentment in that goodness, rather than looking up here, or bad, so that you would think all this doesn’t matter. All that matters is the pain I feel right now. He’s saying no, no, in any circumstance, I’m going to take your mind, I’m going to take your heart, I’m going to put you up into the heavenly places. I’m going to show you your true hope. It’s the righteousness that will be yours. Now it’s ours in Christ, but it will be completed, perfected.
If you want to walk in freedom. If you want to live a free life, you can’t do it without hope. There is no freedom over sin. There’s no conquering sin, there’s no putting it to death, there’s no daily walking and increasing victory without that hope. Let me say a couple things about that. Number one, don’t settle for lesser hopes. Don’t settle for lesser hopes, don’t settle for a hope of life circumstances getting a little bit better. I mean to want that is fine. But don’t let that be the hope. The real hope is that day of righteousness that is coming. If you have that you can endure. You can also not be distracted by good circumstances. Here’s the beauty of the hope the Holy Spirit has to give. It’s the Holy Spirit giving it which means that it does not depend in any way shape or form upon your circumstances. There is no circumstance in which you cannot receive help. Think about that for a moment. Your most dire circumstances cannot deny you hope. Why? Because the circumstances not where the hope comes from. The spirit is where the hope comes from, is the spirit prevented from giving you hope? Because you’re in bad circumstances. So here’s my encouraged you don’t resist the hope he wants to give. Because here’s what happens sometimes, is we resist him taking us up and showing us our hope. We resist it because if we’re in trial, one of the things that happens is we think, Oh, that’s just placating me that doesn’t matter. What matters is right here right now. The Holy Spirit saying no, what matters? Yes, right here right now matters. I’m not denying the difficulty of that. But you will endure this difficulty when you see this. This is what matters. He points us up there. So don’t resist going up there. Because I find that sometimes if we resist it, because we feel like it’s it’s just like an opiate for you know, it’s just like, Oh, you’re just trying to placate me. That’s not what the Spirit is doing. The spirit is giving you what you actually need is taking you to your home. So this is a conversation that, you know, in terms of not resisting, not like yielding to the spirit, letting our attention be lifted to that place. This is a conversation that happens in our house on a regular basis. It’s adults and kids alike, right? There’s this thought and sometimes we have Yes, I can be held responsible for my actions, like I can control my actions, but I can’t control my thoughts. I can’t control where my mind goes. That’s not true. There is no circumstance or situation where I do not have the ability to choose to place my thoughts on the right things. That’s something we’re working with our kids on. Usually it’s in the middle of fear, something that that makes them feel afraid. Because they feel afraid, they think there’s no way I can get that there’s no way I can change my thoughts. One of the things that we say is no, that’s not true. Now, it can be challenging, it can be very difficult, but I always have the opportunity to take my mind and set it on things that are true, noble, right. pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. Think about the things, set your mind, not on the things that are below but on the things that are above. Set your gaze there. So friends, I just want to let’s just, let’s just dismiss that misnomer now forever. Like when somebody wrongs me, and I’m angry, and I want in my mind to rehearse all the ways that I’m going to get back at them, that feels good, doesn’t it? Because you’ve been there, and it’s hard to deny yourself that little pleasure. It’s hard to deny yourself that little Ivan, it’s kind of good to kind of feels good to rehearse the, and then I’m gonna say this to them, and then did it, and then maybe gotta get them. You know, we just kind of think down that road. Friends, don’t let your mind keep going down that road and you’re not powerless over that. You are not powerless over that you have the ability to say no, stop. I will choose that I can’t control sometimes that those things do pop into my mind. Okay. But what I can do is choose what I will do with him in that moment. When an image that’s ungodly appears in my mind, I have a choice to make in that moment. Not after I’ve chased that image down. Not after I’ve pondered that image for 510 minutes. Now I have a choice to make in the next five seconds. What am I about to do? I can always pick up your scriptures. Go back, set your mind on them, pray, be desperate for Jesus. Does that make sense? So the spirit is always so beautiful. He’s placing our attention on hope. That’s what he does. Now let’s go to the next thing. filling us with love. So the hope the Spirit fills us with hope the Spirit fills with love. Go to verse six. Here’s what he says. He says, For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision counts for anything. So you might have thought as he’s making his arm like Don’t be circumcised because if you’re submitting to the law, you’re submitting to a yoke of slavery, the law can’t free. This is a really freeing verse, because he’s saying to those Jews who had been circumcised because it’s part of their heritage, he’s like, look, it’s not that you’re cut off from God, because you as a Jew got circumcised, it doesn’t matter. You just can’t put the weight of your justification on that work. So he, he frees them up. He says circumcision doesn’t matter. uncircumcision doesn’t matter, whatever condition you’re in. Don’t worry about it. Then he goes on to say, that doesn’t count for anything. But only that word only is really important. That’s a big word. He doesn’t say, this doesn’t matter. But these things matters. But only this matters. What is he about to say? But only faith, those roots of the tree through which the life giving water the spirit comes in. Then the spirit isn’t specifically mentioned here, but we can presume it’s the Spirit doing it. But only faith, working through what church love, but only faith working through love. In other words, those roots of faith, bring up the spirit, the life giving water, the spirit, and that Spirit fills us with hope and fills us with love. To be full of love. That’s what he’s saying. Now, here’s as he’s acknowledging that as he’s marking that what he’s saying is this, he’s saying, to be full of love is the mark of true faith. Only faith working through love, only faith that produces love. That’s what matters. If you if you’re not increasing in love, you do not have faith. Because true faith produces love, love for God. Love for each other. Love for neighbor. I bet you can know the last one, but to say and for your enemy. Jesus pretty strong about those four places our love is meant to be directed. If we do not if we are not overwhelmed with an overwhelming kind of love. It is a marker of an insufficient faith. That’s what he’s saying this is the work of the Spirit. It produces this now the law can’t produce it. Why can’t the law produce it? Because the law makes a stingy it doesn’t make us loving because the law puts us in competition with one another. Everything you I’ve got to outdo them I’m not just going to keep all these I’ve got to show hi I do better than the other people around me so that I look better than them. That is not a recipe for love. Would you agree? Spiritual competition doesn’t produce love and the largest produces spiritual competition, who can keep the rules better. But in Jesus, we are overwhelmed with love now, as we said, so the key then is don’t resist the Spirit as He wants to pour that love into you and you know what I’m talking about? Because how many times have you known I need to love that person but I really don’t want to. They’ve made me angry. They’ve wronged me what however, the challenge is maybe they’re difficult, or they’ve just maybe they’ve talked about me behind my back, whatever it is. Yet the spirit is not giving you freedom to not be full of love. At no point does the Spirit say, you know, my work is to come and fill you with love, but maybe not towards that person. I mean, if I, I can’t speak 100% certainty for the spirit. But I think the spirit might say, when you say I don’t want to love that person, the spirit might say, I don’t care. You were loved, and you’re unloved. liest. I mean, there’s nothing about you, that warranted the love of God. Zero, I don’t care how much you think you were good. Your good works was filthy rags. There was nothing about you, that was compelling. I’m going to, I just have to love them as not true. Therefore, there’s no one to whom the Spirit will not direct us in love. It is the work of the Spirit to fill us with love. So don’t resist him. So I mean, here, let’s just say very simple things. How do we yield to the spirit pray, ask him for more love. Let’s be really simple. pray, I pray, Lord, I want to be a person who’s known for how much love I have. I want to be known as versus rich in love. I would love to be if someone just thought, who’s Trent and the first words that come out of your mouth was he loves people. He loves God and He loves people. I can die, I can die now. That would be enough. The other thing to pray there is pray for the kind of love that doesn’t round off the sharp edges of truth. Because friends, it’s not love. truth and love are never separated, never separated. So to act like we’re loving someone when we round off those sharp edges of truth, and that’s not love at all, it’s actually a subtle form of hate, to deny people that that connection of the truth and love to pray for that to pray for this deeply discerning really acute, sharp kind of love. But let it be love, not self righteousness. So Spirit comes into faith. Taking hold of the work of the Spirit is going to be the key throughout the rest of this book, for learning how to walk in freedom, how to live a free life. When we want to free life, yes, we don’t want to live in slavery. So if we want that, then we have to learn to yield to the work of the Spirit to see it and to yield to it. The first ones we’re gonna we’re focusing on today is his filling us with hope don’t resist him as he tries as he brings out about, and he’s consistent, because he’s unchanging, very God, a very God and He does not change. So if Is there any danger of thinking? Well, Paul said, This is what the Spirit does. But he was writing this in like 30, something 40 Something, ad, and now we’re 1000s years later, maybe the spirit doesn’t do that anymore. Is there any danger of that? No, because the spirit does not change. So the Spirit is doing this. He, he fills with hope. He fills with love. Yielding to that filling is how we walk in freedom. He’s gonna keep unpacking more of that. Now, let me say one more thing about the work of the Spirit. I already touched on this, but I want to make sure you understand it. The spirit is not in the habit of walking into your house in the morning, and laying down a set of rules on a piece of paper and saying all this needs to be accomplished. I’ll see you at the end of the day. Because the spirit is a divine person. It’s not same as a human person, but he’s a divine person, a divine being. As a person, that means he is relational in nature. God is relational in nature, the spirit is relational in nature. So one of the things that means is, we should expect taking hold of the work of the Spirit to be a relational process. To be very dynamic in that sense, that there is an ongoing conversation, an ongoing listening and ongoing building of affection that happens between myself and the very spirit of God who Jesus has sent into the world to purify unify revealed truth and power with gifts to comfort and convict. All of that is very relationally done. Do you see that? Sometimes we treat the spirit like okay, he just the spirits gonna give me this list of do’s and don’ts. That’s not what the Spirit does. There are certainly commands to be obeyed. But he’s going to spirit rather than lay down that list of commands and then walk out the door. wakes me up in the morning, grabs my hand and holds it the rest of the day and goes Come on, let’s go. He’s with me everywhere. Everywhere. He says we’re going here he goes There, it doesn’t depart neatly. So I just want you to learn to expect a relational approach to the Spirit. One of the beauties, one of the beautiful things is what we do every time we gather here, think about it this way. I’m always amazed on Sundays when someone comes up to me after a sermon, and tells me what they something they took from it. I’m like, I would have never thought of that. You know, and I’m like, and I yell at them for heresy, and then I send them away. I don’t do that. How to get no one to talk to you after a sermon? No, no, I don’t do that. Right. I, you come up, and you tell me something like, Oh, wow. But what’s happened? See, we’ve opened God’s word. There’s a there’s an abiding truth. That applies to all of us and all the time, right, and it’s unchanging. It’s true for you and me and every other person in here. It is very much corporately, we are led by the Spirit. There is one truth, you know, that we are clinging to, but then there are countless applications of that truth. That’s where I get amazed because the spirit is then taking that truth. He’s showing you what you need to do when you leave here. But he’s showing you something at the same time, he’s showing you something, somebody’s showing you something and it’s just everyone’s different. It’s amazing. It is both the individual personal relationship with the Spirit of God at the same time of his resounding teaching of the, the, you know, unmitigated truths of scripture that apply to all of us all the time. both those things come together in this beautiful marriage happens every time. Every time we unpack God’s word, whether the preacher does a great job or a lousy job, his word doesn’t return void. So it goes forth in dust, and it works something. It’s amazing. So as you think about the work of the Spirit, and yielding to it, seeing it, looking for it yielding to it, think about it in a relational dynamic, not just an a list, kind of a way. So we’re gonna wrap up there. The last thing to reduce dimension, you can go back and look at the Scriptures because again, the word of God is living out, you don’t need me, you have the Spirit and you have this word, right? So the verses seven through 11, if you go back and read them, he’s just saying, the other thing to reject is the influence of people who deny the gospel with their works, and saying they’re dangerous little leaven leavens the whole lump, you know, these legal lists that want to, they want to lead you astray. Don’t listen to him, stop listen to so now, here’s what you can presume. Because someone who denies justification by faith who denies the gospel, they don’t have the Spirit of God, therefore, they will not be full of hope. Therefore they will not be full of love, because that’s what the Spirit does. So when you see a lack of hope, when you see a lack of love, don’t listen to that person. That’s kind of the short version of verses seven to 11. But you can go dig into that a little deeper. Let’s pray together. Then let’s respond to God’s Word in song together, just praising God as a way of yielding to the work of the Spirit, shall we?
Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank you for the sufficiency of the cross of Jesus and we’ve just met, we were never gonna get tired of saying that. All Praise to you, Father, for sending the son all Praise to you, son, for coming and accomplishing the work of redemption, reconciling this to the Father and I’ll praise to You spirit for coming now and guiding us in life and in holiness in righteousness, for the glory of Jesus and the Father. We pray, you would use us more and more. Make us a church of Grace Church where your spirit is yielded to father. We long to see glorified and exalted. So receive this song and we’re gonna sing it and we’re singing it as a way of responding to you. May it be a really a commitment in our hearts to yield to your work. Moment by moment. We ask in Jesus name, Amen.