Date: September 18, 2022
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: Galatians 1:11-24
All right. Good morning, everybody. Turn with me to Galatians chapter one. That’s where we’ll be today. While you’re turning if you did not, if you came in a little late today didn’t get to catch the video we showed at the beginning just want to encourage you to go back today at some point and listen to that. What an encouraging story, Linda and Kelby. I don’t know if they’re in this service or not but just yeah, thank you all for telling your story to us about how you heard the invitation of Jesus and responded to that and the relationship that you have with each other. Let me say, let me remind you, when we share those kinds of stories, it’s not just that we want to say, hey, Alpha, this place where you can invite folks who are exploring faith or asking questions, the safe place to do all that. But I want to remind you that we are trying to shape our life together as a church. Now you know that as a follower of Jesus, it’s not just that you’re being changed more and more every day to be like him, it’s that we together are being changed to be like him, does that make sense that we are being changed that we are doing life together, and being changed into the kind of church God wants to be, it’s not just that you individually being changed to the man or woman that God wants you to be that he’s changing us into the people he wants us to be. That’s part of the powerful expression of the gospel. So it takes people who are very disparate and different, and brings them together, makes them one and teaches them to bear one another’s burdens and to bear with one another and to do all kinds of interesting things. So when we think about that, I want to encourage you in something. The video you saw today was really about us having an invitational culture is something we want to have theologians when we talk in terms of gospel calling, we always talk in terms of the process of salvation, as the process of regeneration. We talk about sorry, regeneration, just a calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification, these are the steps in the process. So the thing I want to highlight there is that when we talk about calling, we’re talking about the fact that God calls people to Himself, would you say that’s invitational therefore we understand our God is an invitational God. Therefore, the gospel is an invitational thing. Therefore, we are to be an invitational people. Just to give a sense of that, wherever you live, wherever you’re from, whatever your family of origin is, there are things about that place that are very much a reflection of the gospel, that’s wonderful. That’s to be celebrated. There are things that are not like the gospel wants them to be. Those things should shift. When I first moved here, eight years, eight and a half years ago, now. Now we’re having a conversation with a dear friend, who said, happened to comment that somebody had moved to the area and said, they’re new to the area. Then I heard a little bit more of the conversation. I said, oh, so how long have they lived here? She said, something like 35 years. I said, So when is somebody not new? She said, when they’re born here? Now, that was funny at the moment, we laughed, and I was like, Yeah, it’s funny. I mean, I just come from a place where there were 109 new people moving in a day. If you’d been in Austin, more than three minutes, you were like, you’ve been here a long time. Right? So this was different, right? There’s some lovely things about that. But can I just tell you, that part of what that might communicate is a non Invitational culture, right? Like you may not belong here. If you ain’t from here. You can just say that’s not the gospel. Would we agree with that? The gospel is invitational, therefore, we will be an invitational church. We must be an invitational people, because it’s who God is and we want to be like him. Is that fair enough. So just want encourage you to be thinking about that’s why we tell stories like that. Because we want to be an invitational people and encourage you invite people into your home, invite people into your neighborhood, invite people in nature, if you move to this area, yesterday, you belong here. You’re invited here. We’re glad you’re here, join some of us are transplants, and we love it here, come join us, it’s a great place to be a great place to live. So that’s why we tell those kinds of stories now.
We’re in a series in Galatians. I want to start today with a bit of a recap get you up to speed some of you may not have been in the first couple of weeks. Last week, we celebrated baptism together. It’s our habit to do that twice a year and just to reflect on new life in Jesus. That’s part of the invitational culture He invites us in and baptism is a reminder of that. So we’re gonna celebrate that last week. But it means we weren’t studying the book of Galatians. So I need to catch up a little bit. All right, so let me remind you where we’ve been, and tell you where we’re going today. So as we launched into Galatians, the orient that we made kind of overviewing the book is that it’s a book whose primary theme is freedom, that this thing called the gospel, there’s good news that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world lived a perfect life, and therefore died not for his own sins, but for yours and mine was able to pay for those sins through His death. Then he rose from the dead and ascended to the Father and he’s coming back again. This is the gospel, that if we believe Him and believe that his work is effective, that is enough, as we saying, the work of the cross is sufficient. If we believe that we will have eternal life. We are reconciled to God. So we talked about what is freedom? What does? Why does the gospel? Why is able to offer that then we said that there are three types of freedom that Galatians centers in on. We’re prone to think differently than this in our culture, we tend to think of freedom as being able to do whatever we want, right, we sort of being free to follow our own desires or own wills. There’s a component of freedom in that to the shore. But the Bible defines freedom very differently. In particular, the book of Galatians is going to define it very differently. So what we learned is that freedom, the kind of freedom that Galatians Paul says in Galatians, the Gospel can bring is that it can bring three freedoms, freedom from death, freedom from the law, and freedom from sin. That’s what we saw freedom from death and the law from sin. Now, those are kind of very churchy words. So let me define them for you. Because that might help us, alright, and then I want to, I want to help you think of them in terms of love, because that always helps me, maybe to help you. So when we think about freedom from death, what we’re saying is the freedom from from being in wrong relationship with God, from being separated from him that death is to be eternally separated from God. It’s what we think about when we talk about this term that I used a minute ago called justification, that we are not right with God, and His death, Jesus death and belief in Him is able to make us right with God, that we are justified, we have right standing with God. That’s what we mean when we say freedom from death. Then we said freedom from the law. When we talk about freedom for law, what we’re talking about is the freedom to not have to make yourself right with God. But that God has done something to make you write with him. Your work is to respond to that is to respond in faith, my work is to respond in faith. That’s freedom from the law. Then when we talk about freedom from sin, that has a couple of nuances to it, but what we primarily mean, and what we’re gonna find in the last two chapters of Galatians, is that when Paul says you’re free from sin, the Gospel can set you free, not just from death, and not just from the law, but it can set you free from sin, what we’re going to find is that he’s he’s saying, it can set you free from having to follow your most basic desires, the desires that you find in yourself that you don’t want to do the things that you know, are wrong, and yet you find in yourself a desire to do those things. Because the gospel has so powerful, that it’s able to enter in not just to your mind, but into your heart through the Spirit of God, and bring about a change in those desires. So that you don’t just have to spend all of life fighting against the wrong desires, but embracing the new desires that come with it. Now that’s a time thing takes time, but the gospel changes your desires. So that yes, you will wrestle with certain desires, and not to do them, but you both have the power to put those to death and to put them away and to walk in a way that is not just like I must follow them. I mean, let around by my nose by the desires that I experience, right? But also that those desires change. So freedom from debt, freedom from the law, freedom from sin, that’s the argument of the book of Galatians, the Gospel can do this. Now. I said, I want to put in terms of love for you think about it this way, maybe it helps you because this is more relational and a little bit less technical, right. This helps me when I think about the freedom the gospel offers, it’s the freedom to be the object of God’s love, rather than his wrath, that now when he is directed towards me, he’s directed towards me in love, the Supreme Being in all the universe looks at me, and he loves me. That’s, in a sense, what justification is right with him. He loves me, then we think about freedom from the law. You can think about that in terms of not having to keep earning that love. God loves you. You don’t have to keep earning it with your performance day by day by day. That love is stable, it’s steadfast, it is rock solid. Maybe that’s the first time you’ve ever heard anybody talk about a love like that. Or maybe you’ve heard about it. But you’ve only ever experienced love that you had to earn in your family and your home and your workplace with your friends. Maybe it’s felt like you have constantly been in a cycle of trying to get people to keep their love for you. You don’t have to do that with him. The gospel is the freedom to have love continually directed at you from him. Then the last thing was your freedom from sin. Here’s here’s a great way the gospel sets us free. It’s the freedom to not ignore His love and go cheat on him with other lesser loves. It’s the freedom of not only saying he loves me, and I don’t have to keep earning it. That’s the freedom to say, and my heart will keep being directed in him towards love rather than towards those other things that ultimately destroy me an offer no satisfaction, no fulfillment. Now, can I ask this question, which is a true definition of freedom? Is it to do whatever you want, whenever you want, which is a summation. I think our culture’s definition of freedom. I think it’s a fair summation. Is that freedom or would it be free to have the most supreme being in all the universe directed towards you in love that you don’t have to keep earning. So you’re free from that performance trap and cycle. Then to have your heart directed in faithfulness towards him, so that the covenant is kept and you are enjoying him and finding joy in him and satisfaction and so that there’s this inner working, which sounds more like freedom. Let you sit with that. All right, my answers. I mean, I’m, it’s pretty obvious what I’m suggesting. Yes. But that’s where we started. Okay, we started with this idea of what is freedom? How does the gospel set us free. That’s the journey we’re going to be on throughout the book. Now, last week, Nate just did a wonderful job of taking the first step for us helping us take the first step in Galatians chapter one, when, if you’ve said the gospel can set you free, the the response that might be for some, that’s wonderful, but aren’t there many things that can set us free? Paul’s answer in the first 10 verses of Galatians was emphatically no, there is only one thing that can set you free, not many things. So he emphasized for us in this first 10, verses, this reality that there is one God, one Jesus one gospel, and therefore then one church born out of that gospel, and it is the people of God’s emphatic claim to say, there is only one way to be free. There’s only one gospel, there’s not multiple gospels. That’s where Paul started.
Now, if you’re skeptical, it may be this may be you, you may be skeptical. And the the probably question you would ask next, if I were going to anticipate it, right? I would say somebody came to you, and they said, hey, the Gospel can set you free. There’s only one gospel that can do it. There’s not multiple gospels not multiple ways, then the right next question would probably be, well, that’s a big claim, what’s the evidence of that? That’s exactly where Paul is gonna go. Almost like he anticipated our skepticism, how helpful, right, and so Paul is going to dive in now. He’s gonna say, I get that I’ve just made a really big claim. Now, let me explain to you why this claim is worthy of your trust. Now, here’s the thing, what you’re gonna find, as you read through it, Paul had this unique conversion experience where Jesus met him. We can’t even really say, a vision. We don’t know if Jesus was like, physically present, like the resurrected Jesus was physically present, or whether it was some kind of division. It was a supernatural occurrence. It was a supernatural event, he was persecuting the people of God, his name was Saul. He’s a Pharisee, he meets Jesus on the road to go persecute more Christians in a place called Damascus. Everything changes at that moment. He’s going to talk about that conversion experience. Now, in the in the, the verses we’re going to read, but all of it is so that he can say to the Galatians, here’s why I am someone you should listen to, as I tell you what the gospel is, rather than these other people who are telling you something different. Here’s what I’m to be listened to. So Paul’s primary agenda is to explain why he’s a trustworthy ambassador of the gospel, someone who should be listened to. Now Paul has a somewhat unique place within God’s purposes and a unique salvation story. I say it’s somewhat unique, God certainly still shows up in visions and does powerful supernatural things. But just out of curiosity, how many of you, God showed up in a vision of light and knocked you on your rear end? That’s how you came to know Jesus. Okay, same as last service, none of us. So most of us had a different kind of experience. So I’m not sure that as we look at Paul’s explaining of his experience that we go, well, that’s a one for one with my experience. But here’s what he’s really doing. When Paul’s explaining why he should be listened to what he’s actually really pointing out is why the gospel is believable. Why the Gospel itself should be listened to. So here’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to just try and ask the question, how do we know the gospel can be believed. If you’re a follower of Jesus, what I want you to walk out of here today with is I want you to be deeply encouraged. The Gospel in which you have placed your trust is trustworthy. It is deep and robust. You need not shrink back from it. It is intellectual and emotional, and powerful, and supernatural. I want to point I want to point that out to you. So you walk out here going today. Yes. Now if you’re if you’re skeptical, you’re not a follower of Jesus, you’re in the right place. We’re glad you’re here. I’m going to challenge you. Does your worldview have the same amount of evidence in favor of it as ours? I’ll poke a little bit. All right. I’m gonna do it in love. We’re glad you’re here. Keep coming. All right, keep our answering asking your questions. Keep challenging, but I want you to see why the gospel is trustworthy. All right.
Everybody, take a deep breath. Have we have we summer summarized well enough? You got a nod or something blank stares do nothing for me. Oh, I very good. You know, the online people are they’re off the hook. Okay, stay home online if you don’t want to nod at me. Kidding, don’t do that come we love you here. All right now, I’m gonna give you four reasons why the gospel is believable, why it’s trustworthy. Let’s read Galatians chapter one, verses 11 through 24. Right follow along with me, since for I would have, you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me, is not man’s gospel, for I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. But I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ, he’s talking about that road to Damascus experience. For you have heard of my former life and Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently, and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people. So extremely zealous was i for the traditions of my father’s. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone, nor did I go to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia and returned again to Damascus, you get there, what Paul is saying, there’s, it was, it’s so certain that my Gospel is true, because Jesus revealed to me I didn’t even have to seek consultation from the other apostles. Now he’s going to do that later. We’re gonna talk about that next week. But he’s just so certain that what he’s saying is true, because Jesus had shown up. Since then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Sisyphus, that’s Peter, and remain within 15 days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother, and what I am writing to you before God, I do not lie. Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he wants tried to destroy. They glorify God because of me. That’s a great capstone verse, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you love that to be the way somebody describes you? And they glorified God? Because they didn’t say, Paul, aren’t you wonderful? They said, Isn’t God great? Because of what had happened in Paul’s life. Praise God for that. Alright, so let’s look at the four things I’m going to tell you now. I only got through three of them last service. Okay.
So we’re gonna find out how we do this time. So the first thing that we see here is that Paul’s first piece of evidence that the gospel is believable, that it’s trustworthy. Now, again, friends, let me remind you, and this may help you if you’re, if your worldview is something outside of Christian faith, I cannot prove to you that the gospel, the good news that Christianity offers, I cannot prove it to you beyond with like, a here is the lock stock and barrel evidence that then proves I can’t do that if you come to Jesus, you’re gonna have to come by faith. There will always be faith. But I can tell you though, is there significant evidence in favor of its truth? So those are two different things. Right. To say it’s not unreasonable is different than to say it can be proved supernatural things can’t be proved you recognize that, right? So if you’re in science class, and they say, apply the scientific method to something, you cannot, by definition, prove something that is a supernatural interruption of natural laws, because it’s not repeatable. It is, by definition, an intervention into the natural laws, that does not repeat itself. It is done from outside inside. Is that making sense? Alright, so by definition, supernatural things are improvable or unprovable. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t without evidence. So the first thing Paul says here in verse 11, is that the reason to believe the gospel is that its origins are divine, not human. So look at verse 11. Again, because what did he say? He says, For I would have, you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. What he’s saying is the gospel is not man’s idea. It’s God’s idea. Because of course, one of the first objections you might offer, if you don’t believe or don’t want to believe, is to say, look, there’s lots of religions made up by a lot of people. In fact, a lot of them claim that they are divine in origin. So that’s a pretty big claim. You can’t just say that there you have to back that up. Alright, so the first thing Paul is saying is but the gospel is divine in origin, and he offers some of the reasons for that. But let me offer a couple of thoughts for you on this because here’s the first piece of evidence is that the gospel is though now again, Joseph Smith. Latter Day Saints they make the claim that their belief system is divine in origin. Muhammad, and Muslims make their claim that their belief system is divine and origin. Buddha makes the claim that his belief system is divine line in origin. So let me introduce you to a couple of fonts that might help you. We’re gonna be a little technical here. Everybody put on the thinking caps. Are we good? Can we go there? Alright, awesome, fantastic. So this always helps me it’s a balloon.
Alright, now, when we talk about whether something is divine in origin or human in origin, one of the things we always have to deal with is a thing called the problem of Revelation. Everybody say the problem of Revelation. Fantastic. This balloon is going to help us illustrate the problem of Revelation. Here’s what we mean when we say that. All right, did you know that scientists right now think with our technology, they detect that there are over 1 billion galaxies in the observable universe, we live in one galaxy in one solar system in one galaxy, they believe there are 1 billion or more more of those galaxies. They believe that as technology increases, it’s quite probable, possible and probable that we will discover that there are somewhere around 2 billion galaxies in our universe that’s there that scientists best estimation right now at least last I looked into it. Now, that’s remarkable. One of the things that tells us is that there is a lot in the creative war universe that is beyond our observation. Do we agree? Yes. All right. Now, I want you to imagine this balloon represents everything within those 2 billion galaxies. All 2 billion of them are in here. This represents the creation. Everything that is created is inside of this. Now, here’s the problem of Revelation is if you exist as a creative entity inside of all of creation, can you know what’s outside of it? No, you can’t see it, you can’t find it, you can’t prove it. So the question becomes, is there anything outside of this? Is there anything beyond the galaxies beyond the observable and the unobservable universe that scientists talk about? Is there any evidence accordingly, now, the problem of Revelation is this the only way we could know anything about what’s outside of this bubble outside of this balloon is if whatever is outside of it, chooses to reveal itself to those of us inside of it. You can imagine I put a little figurine in her little Lego Man, there was no way he can know that I’m out here. Unless I reveal Myself to him in there. It’s a bad illustration because Lego men don’t have brains, right? But yet everybody with me? Yeah, well, this is the part where you not if you get to get it, and you do this, if you don’t, right, fantastic. You know, there are some cultures where you’re doing this as Yes, that’s very confusing to me. So the problem of Revelation is sorry, just stay with me. All right. This is the problem of Revelation. Now the question becomes does so the atheist answer. So some of you, my friends, this might be you? The atheist answer is that there is nothing outside of this creation. There’s nothing that created as nothing that made it there’s nothing outside of it. But I want you to recognize that is not an argument. It is a presupposition. You know what I mean, when I say that, you’re not making an evidence based argument. Sometimes I will say my friends, who are atheists will act like that statement can be definitively proved. it cannot be the same way that I say I cannot prove the death and resurrection of Jesus definitively I can point to evidence for it. The same is true for your friends who have an atheistic worldview, they are stating a presupposition, they are not making an argument until they begin to argue about Revelation inside the balloon. That makes sense. Now, the theistic answer? Muslims, Christians, Jews, we are you there is a Creator. Then the question becomes, well, which revelation and they’re different from one another, they make different arguments, which one makes the most sense as the revelation of what might be or who might be outside of this creative order? What evidence inside the balloon is there to point to what is going on outside the balloon? So let me the answer for us is that Jesus is the revelation of God. That is the conclusion we have come to and if you surveyed every single one of us you get different reasons that brought us to that conclusion. Some of us are more scientific in nature, more sort of engineer mindset more Show me the evidence. Some of us are probably more drawn by feeling and love and those sorts of things. Now, let me say for those you my friends who are in the atheistic camp, you’re gonna have to answer the question of the supernatural. You’re gonna have to answer where to supernatural occurrences and there’s so many documented supernatural occurrences down through human history, you’re gonna have to answer where do they come from these interruptions in natural law? How do you explain them? You’re also going to have to explain realities like love, compassion, things that are real but unseen, and have to answer those in an atheistic worldview. A theistic worldview draws on God for those things. Now. As I said, the answer for us is that Jesus is the one revealing the God outside of the creative cosmos to us. And let me just point to a couple things. I’m going to try and do this quick because we could spend the entire time just on this. But can I give you a few without help? Yes. All right, good. Let me give you a few. Okay. So number oops, I just made the sermon go away. It’s back. Don’t worry. So everything and pull up a different one. No, your eat your broccoli, and you’ll like it. I gotta find my spot. I’m just killing time. All right. All right, who’s most likely to reveal the god who’s outside the bubble? So our answer is Jesus. Let me give you a couple reasons why. Number one, he didn’t just claim to be talking about the God outside the bubble, he claimed to be the God outside the bubble. Now the reason that’s important is because it comes with a significant burden of proof. It’s one thing to say I’m Mohamed, and I’m going to tell you about the God outside the bubble, because he’s revealed something to me, but I’m a human telling you about that, then you can try and make your convincing arguments. But if you’re Jesus, and you are in the bubble, you’re in the balloon. You say, Well, I’m not telling you about the God outside the balloon, I am the God outside the balloon, do you see that? You just raise your burden of proof by about 10 million percentage points? Yes. You just why would you do that? Unless you really believed it to be true. So that’s the first thing the burden of proof is significant when you make that claim. Then number two, Jesus points to the reality of what he’s claiming through miracles and supernatural events. This is what Acts I’m going to take you through Acts, chapter two, verse 20, to 23, and 24. So brilliant proclamation of the gospel. It’s Peter on the day of Pentecost, saying to 1000s of people, here’s who Jesus is. Here’s why he represents God. In Acts 222, says, Men of Israel hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you, by God, with what? With mighty works, and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know, that, here’s what Peter’s doing. He’s not claiming this 10 years removed from the death and resurrection of Jesus, he’s not claiming it two years removed, he’s claiming it, like 40 days removed. In other words, everything he’s saying in front of a group of 1000s of people could be verified, and he knows it. He’s saying, the fact that he healed, lame people and made them walk. The fact that he made the blind see, the fact that he raised Lazarus from the dead, oh, hey, Lazarus, you’re sitting over there. The fact that he did all those things could be verified. You don’t say that unless the thing you’re pointing to is verifiable. Not what Peter’s saying. He’s saying God gave testimony that Jesus was revealing who he truly is from inside the bubble, showing you who’s outside, that he’s the one revealing that to you, and God demonstrated through the supernatural works that Jesus did. So that’s a strong piece of evidence for consideration. Then the second thing that we see is the next verse, verse 23, when he didn’t just perform supernatural miracles, to verify his claims, he submitted to death for what he claimed. So then verse 23, Peter says, this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Now, first of all, you need to see that Peter there is saying this was God’s plan all along. The death of Jesus was not a bump in the road for God as if say, oops, I sent Jesus, he was supposed to show the world who I was, and they killed him. I’m in trouble now. He said, No, no, God intended for that to happen. God sent Jesus to die. That was his very purpose, so that he could take care of sin and pay its penalty for us for all who would believe now, that being the case, is we need to recognize Jesus is willing to die for the claims that he makes, and not only him, but his followers as well. He’s willing to die for the claims that he makes if Jesus is misunderstood, or if he’s lying, he can recant or clarify, and he does neither of those things. He does not recant and say, No, I’m not God, and He does not clarify you misunderstood. I wasn’t saying I’m God. He does neither of those things and therefore he dies. He’s willing to go to death for the claims that he made. That’s a strong piece of evidence. Then the next thing we see is the chief piece of evidence For all Christian faith in his that he rose from the dead. In verse 24 of Acts, chapter two, Peter goes there next and he says, God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death. Now I want you to hear the next sentence, losing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it, get the beauty of that language, because what Peter is saying is, when you are the creator of the universe, and you come into your creation, and you live a perfect sinless life, so that there is no penalty for you to bear death cannot hold you. You are over death, therefore, it is impossible for death to hold him. Now friends. In this one sermon, I do not have the time to go through all the evidence for the resurrection. Here’s what I’m gonna say, to those who my friends who don’t believe in it, I want to ask if you’ve done your homework. So I want to ask you, have you done your homework? have you investigated the claim? Have you looked at the evidence until you do? You are I would. Are you insufficient in data to make your decision, if you have concluded that Jesus is not the Son of God, and Christianity is not the truth about the the Divine Being outside of this created universe in which we live, if you have made that conclusion and gone in another direction, apart from investigating the claims around the resurrection, you are intentionally sidestepping the biggest piece of evidence you need to examine. You haven’t really examined the case until you’ve examined that. So that’s what I want to say, for now I know I’m kind of leaving your short chains there. I’m not going into every piece of it. It’s beyond our purpose for today. But I just want to say, you should look at the follower of Jesus, who have come to believe in that. His resurrection is the linchpin for everything. He is not dead, he is alive. Recognize I’m making a presupposition there, just as I talked about earlier, but I want to encourage you, there is a piece of evidence after piece of evidence after piece of evidence. He is not dead, he is risen and alive. And among us today, here now through His Spirit. Praise God. The last piece of thing and then we’re gonna move on. Okay. The last thing I want to say about like, who reveals the God outside of the balloon, okay, is that Jesus requirements match up with his claims. Here’s what I mean by and this is true of a lot of religions actually. But if you are the one who is the God who enters from outside the bubble, and you come inside, in order to do a mighty work of death and resurrection, in order to, to bring people reconcile them to God, if you do that, if you go to the great trouble and work of entering into your own creation, would it make sense to then say the requirement for those who would come after me is that they earn and lift themselves up out of their own situation, what would be the point of your coming, if you made the requirements after your coming, work? So the requirement of Jesus is what, repent and believe. You will be saved? Repent, and believe, friends. So the thing I want to show you is that the requirements of the gospel, that is the gospel of grace, and that it calls for you to believe, is, is actually perfectly aligned with the idea that God Himself would enter into the creation and do the work for us. Can I just ask this, maybe for all of us, as you look at the world and the problems in it, which seems like the most logical solution to you, for all the problems, you see that we would be able to lift ourselves out of those problems, or that we need divine intervention in order for those problems to be solved, which seems more to be the case, as you look at the challenges we face. So just a couple of things to think about. Alright. Another deep breath. Everybody good. So he was going 100 miles an hour, but did we follow at least a little bit? Yes. Sweet. Awesome. All right. There we go.
Did that hit you, huh? Alright, so now let’s move on to the second piece of evidence that we’re talking about the trustworthiness of the gospel. The first piece is that it’s divine in origin, not human and I wanted to kind of give you some bulk there. Now let me make some quicker points. The next piece of evidence that Paul is going to point to is that the gospel changes lives. Now if you’re the more emotive among us, here’s your sweet spot you’re reading. Look at what Paul’s gonna say in verse 13. In verse 13, after talking about being in divine origin, he says, For you have heard of my former life. In Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. What Paul is saying there is that I was one thing, and I am completely different. It’s why at the end, he says, they, they just heard that the one who was persecuting the church is now preaching the gospel, and they glorified God, because of me. One major piece of evidence for the believability of the gospel and his trustworthiness is how it changes and transforms lives. It convinces the unconvinced, and the least likely to be convinced one of the things I love about the gospel is if you do a study of kind of the history of the church, you will find again and again, people who are adamantly against it, who are absolutely radically transformed and believe it yet when I look at at other histories and other things, and I see people make choices to go down other worldview roads, I always think, yeah, that kind of makes sense. Given their presuppositions and their definitions. It doesn’t seem to be that this radical shift. But in Christianity, again, and again, one of the things that happens is that there are these opponents who become proponents, there are those who want to destroy it, who become in favor of it. Paul’s the first example, and that’s what he’s saying. He’s saying, I was absolutely against this. Now I am its chief proponent. I am the one proclaiming it and preaching it. I’ll give you two examples. Augustine and CS Lewis, two of my favorites. Augustine, in his confessions, writes about this now, if you want to be encouraged, obviously live in the like mid three, hundreds ad. If you want to see a debauched life, if you think man, we’re so far gone and our culture and day, just go read about Augustine, not much has changed, okay? So he is living the wildlife, he is enjoying everything there is to enjoy, and God gets a hold of him. He becomes that from the least convince to a church father, that we point to again and again as clarifying certain theological truths in the history of the church and richly and deeply following Jesus. Here’s his most famous quote, and it’s really so beautiful. Says I think we have for the screens because it’s a thick quote, he says, late have I loved you. Beauty so old, and so new, late have I loved you and see, you were within and I was in the external world and saw you there. In my unlovely state, I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me and I was not with you. In other words, he was enjoying created things without recognizing they came from God, seeking His satisfaction in them. The lovely things kept me far from you. Though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent. You put to flight, my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath, and now, pants after you. From desire for the things with a world to a panting desire for God. I tasted you and I feel that hunger and thirst for you, you touched me, and I’m set on fire to attain the piece which is yours. That’s from his seminal work called Confessions. Also from that book, he says, this, thou has made us for thyself, oh Lord, and our heart is restless, until it finds its rest in the the gospel convinces the unconvinced you want to learn more modern language here CS Lewis, in his book, surprised by joy, describing how he came to faith, see if this doesn’t resonate with you. It’s a great read, by the way. It says you must picture me alone in that room and Magdalene that’s his college, night after night feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I earnestly desired not to meet, that which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity term of 1929, I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed. Perhaps that night, the most objected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing. The Divine humility, which will accept a convert even on such terms. The prodigal son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore, that means give enough love that love, which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape. The words compel intrau which means compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shall to read them, but properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine Mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men. His compulsion is our liberation. That beautiful and might be you maybe you’re kicking and screaming, at the moment, this is the Divine Mercy. But even those who come kicking and screaming God drawers, now listen. God convinces the unconvinced, he also changes those who become convinced. Here’s what I want to say to you church. Number one evidence for the truth of the gospel is that it’s divine in origin, not human in origin. But number two is that it changes lives and your lives must be changed. Your lives must be changed. You are the evidence of the truth of the gospel. There’s another quote by Lewis, which I won’t read here that says, essentially, if you are not changed by what you have believed, so that it bears fruit in you, you give the world reason to believe it is not true. So the question for all of us, is the challenge. Am I being changed? Here’s the here’s the thing. Have you follower of Jesus found in yourself sometimes that God keeps pressing you and poking you? Saying, no, go do this thing? You think, do I really have to go again? Do I really have to? Do I really have to change that one more thing? To really have to take that next step? Do I really have to pursue reconciliation in that relationship? I don’t want to do I really have to go confess to my friend who I gossiped about that a gossip don’t really have to do that. I don’t want to do that. Then you wish you just kept your mouth shut? Don’t you dare really have to go admit this, I really have to confess this, I really have to get and he keeps going. Yeah. But how often when you have done those things, have you found on the other side of doing that hard work, that you are filled with joy, and that you do not regret what you have done? The Gospel changes us. The change that takes place in us is the evidence, or at least one piece of it. You with me some accents. So if you find yourself saying I don’t know that I’ve changed much in the last year, the last two years, last three years. Can I tell you? You need to weigh that? Because you are not we just had a conversation with our kids this morning. Why do we have to keep doing this thing I said, because we need to be changed. We’re going to do it every week, over and over and over and over, we’re going to keep doing it. Because we have to remember that we are not the center of the universe. We need to consider others more important than ourselves. Therefore, we will do this thing and they’re gone. But it’s harder than if we just do this other thing and does it Yeah. We’re gonna keep doing it. Because we have to, because we need to be changed, because we’re not there yet. They said, but we’re never going to be there. I said, bingo. They’re gonna win. When can we stop? I was like, well, never is the answer. The Gospel changes lives always has, and always will, because it has the power of God.
Now the last thing Oh, my goodness, guys. There’s two more on your on your sheet. I’m gonna give you one more. Okay. Well, I can’t not give you this one. All right, go and queue up. Guys. Can we queue up the thing I want to play there. The last thing I want to point out is that Paul says one other piece of evidence for the truth of the gospel is that it’s costly. It doesn’t just change lives. It’s costly. In verse 14, did you see there that he said I was excelling above many in my own of my own age. In Judaism in Pharisee ism, it’s the same thing. He says in Philippians, when he’s like I was a Hebrew of Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin. He was saying, but then he comes to say, and Philippians and I considered all those things to be what garbage compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. In other words, Paul paid a cost. He went from becoming a successful man from having a reputation that was untarnished, he went from being well respected, to being cast out, and ultimately dying for what he changed to believe the cost that he paid is part of the evidence is what he’s saying to the Galatians. I have given up everything to teach this gospel to you. Everything in my life was built on the opposite of this, and now I’ve given it up. It’s one of the pieces of evidence that what I’m telling you is true. Because it costs me everything. The cost that we pay is part of the evidence, and I want to play for you one thing and then we’ll we’re going to be done after that. But a great podcast, I’ve put the link in your sermon notes, called the maverick podcast from pioneers. I don’t often ask all of you to do something. I often will say, Hey, here’s a resource you might want to check it out. I would love for every single one of you to listen to this. It’s an eight episode podcast. tells the story of a man named Bashir, who comes to faith from a wealthy Muslim background in Central Africa. It tells the story of his journey. Just before the clip I’m about to play for you. It’s like a two and a half minute clip we’re gonna listen to just before this. We have heard in the story that Bashir is uncle has been commanded to kill him, put a gun to his head and pull the trigger twice. God has supernaturally rescued him from death. This is what happens next. So it didn’t work. Bashar was still very much alive and his uncle was freaked out. He figured that if he tried to kill him again, something really bad was going to happen to him as a repercussion. But he still needed to convince Bashar to recant, or at least punish him for becoming an infidel. So he started grabbing everything Beshara owned, and piling it outside. When my uncle realized he couldn’t shoot me, he said, I must be kicked out of the house. I watched my uncle take my clothes, my computer, and even grabbed my money. He put it all in a pile outside, he pulled a liter of gas, and burn everything. I was very upset. It was a hard moment. So he’s got nothing left. Losing everything is hard. But it’s not just about sending him away empty handed. It goes even deeper, in becomes even more painful when you understand that clothes are a big deal on that part of the world. There’s just a high value on them. It’s really absurd, even for a wealthy family to waste them. So for the chars uncle that burned his clothes, it was a statement, he was saying to everyone watching that those clothes are now worthless because they belong to Him. They’re dirty and unusable. By burning them, it was like he was trying to erase the stain of Bashar from the family. So what do you do with that? I mean, he’s just seen God show up and rescue him. But then he steps into the very next moment and watches his life be reduced to ash. In a way he’s up against these two characteristics of God. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God can save him from any circumstance. At the same time, he’s experiencing the reality that God will also allow him to walk through painful things, things he wishes God would save him from. I think that’s such a perfect microcosm of the chars journey, and really sort of a foreshadowing of the next couple years of his life. Before that moment, I wasn’t sure how strong my faith was. I knew I wanted to follow Jesus. But I was worried that I wasn’t going to be strong enough to suffer for him. Even though I was losing everything, I had peace at peace, piece two, because I had my answer. I choose Jesus. He was worthy.
As the tip of the iceberg to share his story, which is why I encourage you to listen to it doesn’t make a hero out of him, but to hear out of Jesus who rescues him. But I love that last word. I choose Jesus, because he’s worth friends, the cost that we pay to follow him, whether it be small or great, laying down our lives and day by day dying to ourselves and taking up our cross, saying I follow Him wherever He leads, is one of the pieces of evidence to a watching world that the gospel can be believed. So let’s pray together now. We’re Jesus, we praise You. We love you. We want to turn our attention now to sing to you. You’re worth it. Thanks for our brother who declared that to us. We know it’s fun to listen to his story and act like he’s not now existing on the other side of the world. We ask you now Lord Jesus, to put your hand upon Him, to draw him close to yourself. To use him mightily, and we pray that you use us. Thank you for our brother’s example of being willing to pay a great cost to follow you.Make us the same we pray in Jesus name, Amen.