Well, hi everyone. And welcome. Uh, if this is your first time, we are delighted that you're with us. If you come every week, welcome back. It's good to have you. It's hard to believe that summer is here, but summer has arrived. And that means for me that I'm getting ready to go on my annual summer study leave, which will take me.
Through the months of June and July. And then at the beginning of August, I'll be back, but there's a couple of things happening at the beginning of August. And I want to make sure that you know about in fact, so let me start like at the far edge and just make you aware of what's happening. Okay. On August 11th, we're going to bring back in Gilbert, the Thursday night service, we were doing this before COVID and in a different world.
And there were reasons we felt like we couldn't continue it, but in this world where the. We have absolutely no reason that we can't do that. So it was going to be at six o'clock, Thursday nights, only in Gilbert. But if it, if that works for you or, you know, anyone that would work for, uh, one encourage you to get here or get them here, uh, we're going to have, um, the children's ministry is going to be up and running and it's just going to be a wonderful, wonderful thing.
So Thursday night starting, uh, the 11th of August. In August on the 7th of August, that weekend, I want to remind you that students will be coming into the worship center, our seventh grade on up, and they're going to join us and you might be thinking, well, there's no way they're going to get it. There's no way they're going to understand it.
I want to show you. An email that I received this very week, just for, I mean, I, I have no idea why this was sent to me this week with just this very week. I was sent, um, a screenshot of a number of notes that were taken in sermons that I had preached in the worship center, uh, over the past month. Uh, by a seventh grader named Kyla weights and she literally takes notes on her phone.
I want to actually show you just an excerpt of, of what she wrote. And this has to do with the sermon I preached. You might remember it was in the series before we were in Galatians and we were talking about in Godwin. And I was talking about in her notes that she's, it's about the apple tree. If you remember the illustration of the apple tree, let me just show you her notes.
They're going to come up here. Apple tree. Kyle has a big bag with apples. He picks a big red juicy apple from the bag. First one you choose is off limits and it goes to God and don't eat the apple. If it's God's. Who knew Cal liked the apples and God really must like red apples cows really hungry because he has not eaten in his third message today.
Oh no, you did not. Cal, he took the red apple. God's apple. We're coming for you. Pictures of the police. And I tell you what I got such a kick out of, see of this, and I I'm telling you. She fully understood that message. I think she probably understood a lot better than the rest of us. And so we're excited to have, uh, the students join us and, and, uh, it's going to change our church and we think so much for the better.
And we're just absolutely thrilled. Okay. Now that, uh, that's uh, at the end of the summer, that's when we get to August, I want to let you know what's going to happen next week. Next week, we're gonna begin a summer series. Uh, it's called the travels with. And then what we're going to do is we're going to hit the road with different people in the Bible who actually had an encounter with God on the road somewhere at some time.
And we're going to talk about the adventures of our lives, where we can encounter God and literally. Teach you through the old Testament, particularly about these different moments where God met people on the, on the road and it'll shape our thinking, it'll help us with our lives. And so we're super, super thrilled about that.
And again, that begins next week. Now here's the deal. You've got to bring your Bible. You got to bring your. Uh, because we're going to teach you about different players in the word of God and you absolutely want to come prepared with that. Okay. With that said, let me pray. And then we're going to dive into where we're going today.
So father, thank you for our church and thank you for what you're doing. God, we're excited for the summer and we're excited for this series. It's going to start next week and we're anxious for what's going to happen when students join us in. And then we're excited for the coming Thursday night service and Gilbert, and just how you're, you're changing us.
And God we're, we're, we're just feeling the wind in ourselves and we're, and we're super thrilled and grateful that your spirit is moving. So, uh, bless us father, as we continue to pursue you now today, and what we're going to wrap up the series we're in on Galatians, God gives us the ability to see it, uh, from your perspective.
So we ask. Uh, boldly in the name of your son. Jesus. Amen. Okay, so let's jump into the word. Now, if you're gonna open your Bible, please do to the book of Galatians. We have been in the book of Galatians since the month of March and today we're going to conclude our series a that we we've been studying this book.
And I think gotten just so much out of this book of the theme that we've developed since we started, this was set free to live. That you, you were set free to live free. And, uh, but before we wrap this up, which today we're just going to read the last verses of the book and we'll put a bow on it and we'll close it out.
And, but before we do that, um, I want to make sure something's happened. I'm going to make sure that we have comprehended, uh, what we've been reading. And it's really easy that we could close this book out and go. I don't really, I missed the point. I didn't even see the point. So I want to do something today.
Uh, I'm going to get to the end, uh, the, the verses that we're going to close out with today, we're going to take a few minutes. But I want to do something I want to, I want to literally put a camera on a drone and fly this drone up high across the land. And I want to look down on the context of this book in huge ways.
This is just going to be a review so we can finish this book and we go, I got it. I understood it. It made sense to me. I got the point. Um, but we're gonna, we're going to go above it. We're going to zoom out to make sure we see. The bigger picture of what Paul has been dealing with in this book. So let me just say this let's begin what I'm going to call a very, very important review of the book of Galatians.
And so let's just unpack it. Let me kind of walk you through some stuff. Okay. Now the book of Galatians was a letter written to churches in a certain region. Called glacier. It would be where modern day Turkey is. And these churches were planted by the apostle Paul and he established them. Uh, he, he taught them the truth of life in Jesus.
That life in Jesus is about living with grace, living in grace and accepting and receiving the grace of God and finding your health there. Now, Paul knew a great deal about the grace of God because he lived it. He had experienced it. Now let's back the story up a little bit in. Which is how we built the series and make sure that we understand kind of what was going on with this guy named Paul.
Now, Paul once was an extremely religious man that did everything within his power to advance the cause of this thing. We're going to call Judaism. All right. Now you might or might not be familiar with that word, but it's literally a commitment. He made a commitment to a way of. That God gave Moses. And when he gave the 10 commandments, he gave the law and he established, this is how it works.
And Judaism was, uh, the, kind of the commitment that we're going to do this. And there's a little bit more historical baggage to that, but the idea is, is that we're going to do, here's what you need to understand. All you got to do is just think old Testament, think old. And this is what Paul had committed his life to the old Testament was all about the nation of Israel, this little tiny nation on the planet.
That was, uh, that was literally, uh, uh, God through Abraham guided Abraham to this little nation called Israel. And. Th this, this people that Abraham, uh, kind of founded w we're committed to following the ways of God. And, and th God said that if you'll follow me, you will be a blessing to literally all the nations.
That was the promise. Let's go as a Genesis chapter 12 and beginning of the beginning of that chapter, particularly verses three on down. And so anyway, um, there were going to be a blessing to all the nations instead, something else happened. And what happened was they became. Conscious of the fact that they were blessed by God.
And instead of thinking about how God was trying to use that nation to bless all other nations, they basically prided themselves in the fact that we got God that we're the chosen people that God's on our side and the guards out God is ours. And, uh, the, the. There was a marker that kind of differentiated those who were in and those who are out, it was a big deal.
It was a big deal. We talked about it in our series. It's the thing called circumcision and circumcision was a Rite of passage. The inner introduce you into the fold as it were into the Jewish nation. All right. And so if you were circumcised, you were in, if you weren't. Now here's what you need to understand.
Advancing the cause of Judaism was the life passion of this guy named Paul. Now, technically in the time his name was Saul and I don't want to get into all that, but I'm just going to go by the name, Paul. So we understand cause God's going to literally redirect his life. But anyway, Judaism was just life.
It was his world. It was what mattered to him most now to say it clearly you'd have to say that what it was was, it was. Well, there's a list of do's and don'ts so think of the 10 commandments and then they added a bunch more to that hundreds more, and it became a way of life, a rule to live by as it were.
And so they would, they would be very, very careful how they live. They were very conscious of where they violated and it was all about their good works that they felt qualified them to be accepted and received by God and your righteousness or something. You personally. Now more specifically the apostle Paul before he was the apostle Paul, he was a part of a group of people called the Pharisees and the Pharisees were the separated ones, the set apart ones.
They were the pride of the nation as you would the most spiritual band of brothers and a very powerful, very elite group of religious leaders. They were held in very, very high regard. Uh, they were an intimidating group, um, that convinced the crowd. That we are super close to God. And, uh, we're above you, uh, in the way that we live our lives.
And don't even imagine that you are anywhere near as righteous as we are. And that's what Paul was. And he was loving life and he was a part of the click and it was all good. And then Jesus entered into history. So this thing has been going and growing and, and Paul was a part of it. And Paul was, it was his day.
And then Jesus entered the story. Okay. Now, when Jesus entered history, people began to take notice of Jesus and a few things in particular caught people's attention, which again, we can spend a lot of time on, but I can just tell you, it had to do with miracles that he was doing, he was doing stuff and he was doing something that people could explain and people were telling people and people were coming from great distances because they heard that he could do things like feed thousands of people with nothing and walk on water and raise people from the dead.
Anyway, all these miracles caught everybody's attention and then his teacher. Uh, it says that he taught as one, having an authority that may people astonished. They absolutely Marvel. And they wondered how in the world was he able to teach like this? You got to understand Jesus was at the talk of the town.
So his reputation spread. So it was his miracles. It was his teaching, but most specifically it was the way he lived and ultimately the way he died that caused everyone to realize that we need to think about this guy, why he was alive. He spoke of establishing a new covenant. Now you got to understand, these were the words of Jesus, a new covenant.
It was built on the old, but it was a fulfillment of the old, it wasn't a replacement. It was the fulfillment. It was literally that then this, that had his purpose. And then, and so, so he was very clear that he didn't come to destroy everything that came before him, but that he was. Fulfilling what everyone was expecting as far as what the promises were in the scripture.
So Matthew five 17, Jesus said these words do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. W w w what Jesus has, did you catch that? Jesus is the fulfillment. The fulfillment of the law. Jesus is the fulfillment of the profits and the profits.
Jesus is the conclusion that all of that was to guide you to get to that's literally what it means. What does the word fulfill mean? Here we go from a dictionary to carry out or bring to realization as a prophecy or promise to satisfy that it was all culminated in Jesus. In other words, all of that old Testament stuff was to point you to GE.
When Jesus came, that was it. It was done. It had done it, that covenant was completed fulfilled. And then Jesus established a new covenant and it was different. That was a covenant given to Moses. And there were sacrifices when you violated it by animals, the new covenant is going to be about the lamb of God.
Jesus. Who's going to shed his very own blood for the atonement of our sins. And. This new covenant was not based on how well you kept old Testament laws is not based on your works of righteousness. It was not based on your goodness at all. It was all based on Jesus's goodness. So in Luke 2220, just before, he's literally gonna, uh, be crucified in the upper room.
Jesus said this in the same way after supper, he took the cup saying this cop and it was a cup of wine. This cup is the new covenant. In my blood, which is poured out for you, a new day has come. A new reality has entered into the scene and he said, I fulfilled the old, and now I'm establishing something new.
So your Bible is divided into two parts, the old covenant and the new covenant. You might notice the old Testament and the new tests. The new Testament begins with Jesus. The old Testament ends before Jesus comes, but when Jesus comes, he says, I've come to fulfill that. Now, let me just say this. Okay. Once Jesus hit the scene, um, not everyone was excited.
A lot of people were thrilled, but there was a group of people that didn't care for him. They, they happened to be the religious leaders of the day. All right. Uh, they happened to have a lot at stake. And he challenged the group's kind of sense of self-righteousness he basically challenged this group of people as has that what you appear to be.
I know you're not, I know that you're you're faking it. I know that it's it's it's surface and it doesn't go deeper. What group is he challenging? The group that this apostle named Paul is a part of, but he's not an apostle and he's not gone by Paul yet. He still saw the Pharisee and Jesus comes along and he assaults everything that Saul stands for.
All right. And, uh, he challenged their image as it were. And let me just give you a little taste of the kind of conflict that Jesus had with these religious people who felt like God was theirs and there was a. In Matthew chapter 23, verses 27 to 28. He said, woe to you, whoa, to you, teachers of the lob Pharisees, you hypocrites, you are like whitewashed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean in the same way on the outside, you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside, you are full of Apocrypha and wickedness.
Let me just say that that's a little strange. That's a little bit intense just before he said that. And he said this, what are you teachers of the law and Pharisees you hypocrites, you shut the door of the kingdom of heaven on people's faces. You yourself do not enter, nor would you let, let those who are trying to enter.
What are you teachers, the law and Pharisees. You hypocrites, you travel over land and sea to win a single convert. And when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Let me just say it. Wasn't very tackled. Okay. So let's just understand the intensity with which he said what he said, um, to say that he threatened their way of life is an absolute and total understatement.
Um, now eventually his people orchestrated his death. They orchestrated his crucifixion. They, they use Rome to accomplish the power of Rome, the literally the army of Rome, uh, to accomplish the act of his crucifix. But they were the force behind it and make no mistake about that. So from way up on our drone looking down, uh, it looks like, okay, we're done with that problem.
Jesus has eliminated. The threat is gone. Uh, the problems behind us, uh, we're going to be done with him once and for all, but it didn't end there because that wasn't the end of Jesus. All right. You, you could make the argument. That's where it's really all began. Because what happened is word began to circulate that this guy, this, this, this guy that was walking around, that this guy, uh, actually had risen from the dead.
And, and what's really, really interesting as people began to see that, um, he, they see him with their own eyes and, and, and at certain times, like 500 plus people, and there were like going, I don't know, man, I'm telling you, I shot. They saw him. He was alive and, and that started to spread and they started to realize who is this guy?
Now, I want you to understand, um, that when Jesus started doing this, these kinds of things, teaching what he taught during the miracles and living the way he lived in dying, the way he died, and then coming back from life, uh, from the come back to life from the day. A new faith began to emerge a faith that up until this point was different, it was born out of Judaism.
Uh, but it was much different, very much different. See, see this, this faith was about God, all right, which is similar. But God has explained and manifest by the life of Jesus, who basically claimed that he was God in the human form, that he was literally the son of God. And that his father had sent him so that he could explain to people what it was really all about.
Now that'll let you know that before he was crucified, before he rose from the dead, he established this thing that he referred to as his church. He said that the gates of hell or Hades would not be able to prevail against the church that the church church would ultimately succeed against all the forces of evil.
It would be a community that would carry on. His will on earth that whenever they gathered together, he would show up and be they're very much a part of what's going on. And I got to tell you, it was incredibly attractive. Thousands of people, uh, as on some days were joining the church, they were converting, they were going, I don't want anything to do with that anymore.
I want to do with. And, and more and more people were coming to faith in Jesus and saying, this is my future. So the church began to grow and more and more people joined the cause. And to say that that was a major problem for the Jewish leaders is a, uh, understatement, uh, caught them by surprise. I had no idea that by killing Jesus, they were actually gonna, uh, rocket him forward as it were.
But, um, It rocked their world and they just determined this has gotta be stopped. This, this new thing called the church, this new faith that they started saying, people who believe in him that w what we're calling them, Christians, these Christians, it's getting out of hand. If we don't stop this before long, the entire city of Jerusalem is going to believe in.
And once that happens in all over the land of Israel, and then all over the world, people are going to come to believe. Now, here's what I need you to understand that when they realized that the church was a third. Then the apostle Paul, but it wasn't the apostle Paul yet. He still saw he's still a Pharisee and he is like, put me on it.
I will squelch us. I will get rid of this. And it will come to an end is right there in the middle of it. He began orchestrating the, uh, the, literally the, the death, uh, the punishment gathering up. Uh, uh, you know, rounding up believers of what was called the way, uh, followers of Jesus and persecuting them.
And he was going after them with an intensity before, uh, never seen, uh, in his own words, this guy, and I'll explain what happened to him, but in his own words, as he was looking back on what happened to him, he said these words, and this is acts chapter 20. And he was saying this to people who would understand what he was saying.
I am a Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, I studied under Gamilia and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as jealous for zealous for God, as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison as a high priest and all the council can get themselves testify.
I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus and, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. He says, I am on this, but then something happened. And what happened is Paul encountered Jesus. He encountered Jesus is entire life changed. The minute that he encountered Jesus, he, he basically came to understand what Jesus was all about.
He came to understand that this new covenant was not the same as the old covenant, that the new covenant was the fulfillment of the old covenant, but it was something beginning and that he had spent his entire life on the wrong. He put his ladder up against the wrong building. And he, he came to a point in his life where he said, you know what, um, I'm, I'm fighting for the wrong costs.
And he made a very, very difficult decision. In fact, he records, uh, the decision that he made to walk away from all the paths, all that he had known all that. He had been trained, all that. He had grown up with all that his family was all about all of his tribe, all of his politics, all of, all of that. He walked away from, in fact, this is how he said it in Philippians chapter three, but whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage. Now, technically the word is dung. Now, technically it's worse than dung, but we're going to leave it at that. I consider all of this or that.
I used treasure. So highly mirror garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a righteousness of my own. That comes from the law. That's duty is. But that, which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith, he basically said I'm done with works, and I'm going to start now living by faith and he made a swap.
Now, can I just say this changing your belief system is perhaps the hardest thing you'll ever be challenged to do in life. If you come to a point in your life where you used to believe this, but now you believe this, uh, making a decision. What you're going to do about that can be very difficult. And some of you know, this firsthand, they can pit you against your family.
It can pit you against your friends. It will certainly pit you against your past. Many people just won't pay the price. They just won't pay the price, even though they've come to believe differently. They make a decision. I'm just not going to rock the boat. I'm just going to keep going along. They, they continue to go along on the outside with what they formerly believed on the inside.
But now on the inside, they know that the outside is just a shell. It's a game. It's just, I'm doing this for appearance sake. Cause I don't want to, I don't want to upset certain people in my family or my friends or whoever. And it leads them to a very superficial life with a very superficial thing. And going through your motions, going through the motions, your heart's not in it.
Isn't going to bring life to anybody. Um, here's what I need you to understand. Paul absolutely refused to do this. He refused to do this, uh, his decision to follow Jesus. Absolutely put him at odds with his family and his peers and his past. And he became literally here. You're gonna see he's gonna become public enemy.
Number two. To the people that were once his teammates that were on his, it was on, there is a part of them. They were tried the Pharisees of the Jewish sect. And now he's public enemy, number two, just behind public enemy. Number one, which of course, you know, is Jesus. Now let's go back to the book of Galatians.
All right. Because what you got going on here is after Paul. Saul became a believer. He became a very outspoken advocate on behalf of the cause of Jesus Christ. He told people everywhere, he met about Jesus. He held nothing back it because of that, he actually hit the road. He literally hit the road. He would travel all over Asia and Europe and different places.
And he would just, I'm going to go tell people about Jesus. Now I'm traveling not to find them, round them up to kill them, but I'm rounding the. To let them know how incredible Jesus is. So what he did was he planted churches all over the place, but in the context of where we've been planted churches in the region of glacier, and he established these churches and he got them started and established and he taught them about the grace of God.
And then he would move on to the next city. And you can read about that in the book of acts, but what happened, and this is where we've been for the past month. Jewish people found out what he was doing. They basically said, wait a minute. And then they followed behind him. And th they were fine. If you want to believe in Jesus, we don't care.
But if you're gonna, if you're gonna believe in Jesus, you got to buy into everything that the old Testament is all about. There were known as Judaizers, and they basically said, you can follow Jesus. We don't really care, but you've got to submit yourself to all the rules and the customs and the laws, the traditional.
All of that is the old covenant. You have to buy into all of that and, and you got to conform to the demands and then you can follow the new covenant. See what was happening is they were actually convincing these people who had only known the grace of God, that they were missing something. There was something better and involved being a good rule keeper and, and checking the boxes and following the script and folks that is.
Well, the entire book of Galatians is all about Paul is addressing these churches because of the influence of these people. And he's basically saying you can not listen to them. Um, it's, uh, it's this plea do not exchange the grace of God for the works of your own righteousness. Do not exp don't exchange the spirit of God for the accomplishments of your flesh.
Do not exchange Jesus's goodness for your own goodness. He is he, he knew works and he knew grace. There was no question in his mind, which was better, which was truer and which was right. The book of Galatians is him pleading with these people do not give up what you have for what you think they're telling you.
You're missing now. We can just do the last couple of words. And if you've been with us for the past three months, you've been able to kind of follow the storyline, but it all comes down to the words to close and we'll just, we'll wrap it up and we'll see what he says is he kinda concludes it. Okay. The first would be what the texts.
We're going to read escalation six, 11 to 18. Now again, I know it's taking me a long time to get here. That's the bulk of what we wanted to talk about was that, get that big picture. So let's just get to these simple words he uses to close out the letter. Uh, this look at verse 11, Galatians six 11. See what large letters I.
As I write to you with my own hand, he rush, this was awkward. This was not his typical style. Typically he has a scribe, right? And then he just signs his name to it, but he says, Hey, he says, I want you to know I'm, hand-writing the end of this from this point on, I want you to see, I wrote this. He, he, there's a lot of speculation as to why, but it's almost it is, is the only place he does.
This is almost as if he's saying, listen, if you don't understand how invested I am in you, if you