[00:00:00] Well, good morning, everybody. And I want to welcome those of you who are on any of our campuses. Welcome to the service to those of you who are watching this online. Welcome to you. And I want to say a very special welcome to those of you who are actually in the room with me today. We're going to give you a certificate of achievement as you exit because you were able to get through the barricades to actually get onto our church property.
So congratulations, you are all winners. I don't think it would be possible to make it harder to come to church. Then the city of Gilbert has made us on this campus. Can I get an amen? They're good people, but they like to put barricades up. So Hey, proud of you for finding it. All right. So we're going to continue today in a series that we started last week.
It's a series in the book of Galatians and the title of this series is set free to live. And if you would, right now open your Bible to the book of Galatians, and we're going to be in chapter one, we're going to pick up where we left off last week. And again, I just want to [00:01:00] encourage you bring a Bible.
And when you come to church, bring a Bible because you will use it and the, you actually will learn and it will be worth your time. So bring a Bible. All right. So let me, let me say this. I want to say something that I think is sad or something that I think is maybe even tragic. A lot of people when they think about entering into a relationship with God and this.
A lot of people think of it as, but like, if I do that, then I got a, there's a bunch of do's and don'ts, there's a bunch of can and cans, you know, when I think about like, if I'm going to walk with God, then I got to keep lists and I got to check boxes, you know? And I got to, I got it. It's more like if I follow God, it's one of I'm putting on a burden than if I'm taking off.
And tragically. That's really what a lot of people think of when they think of walking with God. Now, I want to tell you that's 100% opposite of the truth, but people have made [00:02:00] walking with God into something that can be overbearing and literally miserable. Jesus Christ himself said this, and he said this in John 10, 10.
He said, I have come that they, you may have. And have it abundantly that what God has for you is not this incredible burden for you to bear the rest of your life if you walk with him, but he wants to give you a thing called life, abundant life, a better life, a life beyond anything you've ever experienced or imagined.
And the book of Galatians was written to make certain that you are informed about that life and that you understand that life is not what a lot of people get the grace of God. The grace of God and freedom in our faith. Those are the themes of the book of Galatians. And Paul's just going to hammer this over and over and over again.
And when you get this message I'm telling you, it will change your life. I know that sounds so melodramatic. I'm telling you, when you understand what the book of Galatians is trying to communicate, it will change your [00:03:00] life. Martin Luther, who was instrumental in starting what we know as the Protestant reformation back in the sixth of the 15, 17.
Uh, he said this about the book of Galatians, the epistle to the Galatians is my epistle to it. I am, as it were in wedlock, you could credit the Protestant reformation to what is in this book, this book that we're going to study together. It's a book about how to live by faith and how to be set free. Let me just give you the big idea of the semesters today.
And my hope is that when we get done and you walk out, you see something, maybe you've never. You understand something, maybe you've never understood it. It's a big goal, but I think the subject that we're going to talk about is that important. So here's the big idea. All right, here it is. If the grace of God doesn't strike you as too good to be true.
You're not getting the message. If the grace of God, [00:04:00] doesn't strike you as too good to be true. You're not listening. You're not. 'cause w when you understand what it is, this grace of God, it'll blow your mind and it will change your life. So let me just do a quick review for those of you who weren't with us last week, we'll do this fast.
The, the letter to the Galatians that were studying, it was written by the apostle Paul. Now the apostle Paul didn't always go by the name, Paul. He used to go by the name salt, right. And Saul was a very devout Jewish man. He was zealous for. And he was meticulous about his faith. He was very serious and he belonged to a group of people.
And I referenced this group right here called the Pharisees and the Pharisees were the hyper committed Jewish people. All right. Particularly the men. So these were the ones who took the law of Moses and we're going to live by this and we're going to not mess up at all. Of course, they didn't. But there were so like, we're going to be rural keepers [00:05:00] and lock keepers, and we're going to watch over everybody and they felt like they were an elite group better than everybody else.
In fact, the name Pharisee means separated one. So what happened to Paul? By the way? Again, he was one of these is that he had an encounter with the founder of something different than that. And that's this group I talked about last week. This is the. That didn't exist until Jesus Christ came and then Jesus founded the church and Paul hated this group.
He hated this group. And so we read about how he persecuted and how he tracked down and how he helped kill people who were a part of this group. Okay. The church and these were Christ followers. All right. So what happened to Paul was firmly entrenched in this. Fully hating that camp. He has an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus that literally knocks him on his butt.
He can't see, he hears a voice come out [00:06:00] of heaven. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Like, what are you doing? Who are you Lord? And he said, I'm Jesus, what are you doing? And that encounter with Jesus changed his life. Never to be the same again. And what Paul did is he changed camps. He moved over here, which has remarked.
When you realize how anti church Paul was, how antichrist Paul was. And then you got to understand that this guy that made this conversion, he wrote two thirds of the new Testament that you and I have. If you have a Bible, again, just two thirds of the, of the new Testament was written by this guy. And he had a lot to say, and the Galatians is one of those books.
He wrote by way of reference. It was written about 52. So give or take a couple of years either way. We're not really sure. So just getting an idea of about the time and it was written not to a city, but to a region. And I got to get, I just got to show you this map from last [00:07:00] week. So Glacia, you can see it on the right-hand side towards the top.
It's not a city, it's an error. It's a. And in that province, there's some various cities. Now you've got to follow what I'm about to say often what Paul would do would write to the church in the city. And so I'm going to show you another map and I'll try to explain this map to you. So when you see the red boxes on the, what would be your left hand side, you see Philippi Corinth emphasis.
The, I just pulled these just to make the point. But the book of Ephesians is to the church in emphasis. The book of Philippians is to the church in Philippi first and second Corinthians to the church in Corinth. And you get the idea. All right, now I want you to see the blue line and it looks like a big circle, not a circle, but a like a loop.
That is what is known as Paul's first missionary journey. And we're going to talk about. Uh, so he sets off and I'll show you how that happened in just a minute. He sets off and he visits [00:08:00] cities. And so the green boxes, and I know you can't read this, you see the box and you'll get the idea are various cities that are in the area of.
And so in the Bible in acts chapter 13 and acts chapter 14, which would be a fantastic side read. If you want to understand how all this comes together, read those two chapters. But in, in those two chapters, he visits the cities and he plants churches, cities, like like Derby. Like I conium like the city in Antioch.
And you'll read about that in the. Okay. And so he's going around doing that. And in fact, let's do this. Let's go. You don't need to turn to this. I'll just put it on the screen. Acts chapter 13 is the beginning of that missionary journey in which he's going to plant these churches. So let me just show you how it started.
All right. So acts 13 verses two and three says this while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting. This is the church in Jerusalem. The holy spirit said set apart for me, Barnabas and Saul. [00:09:00] That's our guy. And for the work to which I have called them. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and they sent them off on this first missionary journey that we're talking about first of three journeys, by the way.
So in the second journey, Paul's actually going to get to those other cities I just pointed out and the third, and you'll start to see that. All right. Now, here's what I need you to understand this. So the reason Paul's writing the book of Galatians is because he goes and he plants these churches and it gets them off to a great start.
And very quickly he gets word that something bad has been happening in the churches. And what has happened is they've been taken over by people who are telling them things that are not true. They're telling them that what Paul said, isn't true. And this is what is true. And they've been messing with their minds and messing with the.
So Galatians is a letter to the church to get it right. And I'm telling you, blow your mind when you [00:10:00] understand what's being said here now, now here's what I need to do right now. I got to show you something. You have to conceptually grasp this. So these are the Jewish legal scholars, the Pharisees, all right, who prided themselves on being the elite.
And they're the keepers of the laws and the rules. This is the church over here. And here's what started happening. People started taking that and trying to infiltrate that, and they created a third thing right here. It's kind of halfway between that, and that is kind of about rules and laws. And it's about grace and the mercy of God, but you can't do that.
So they created a third group right here and we can call them one of, two things are referred to as Judy. Judaizers. Now I'll explain it is this group. And they believing that you got to become this before you can become that. Or we could call them Christian Pharisees, just Christian Pharisees, who want to take all [00:11:00] of this mentality of keep all the rules and make it about Christianity.
And so they represent the kind of this middle group. Now I want to explain that they blend a lot of the old. This is so crucial. This is so important. We understand they want, they want the old covenant and the new covenant that they want to live under the old covenant where they want, and the one living under the new covenant where they want.
And they basically said, and this is the important point before you can ever become, so this group right here before you can ever become that, you must first become that. And then you'll move here. And we're the ones that got it. A lot of that infiltrated a lot of that. And Paul's going to go, not a chance.
Now, let me, let me just say this. All right. There's always been kind of the, the rule keeper, Christian tribe. If you would, please. I don't mean to be offensive, but I need to explain something because when I [00:12:00] walk through this, you're going to, you're going to relate to this. There's just a tendency in Christianity to want to make rules, and everybody's got to follow the.
And it's, uh, it's, it's about, you know, the idea of, if you want to live right with God, you got to know the rules and you got to abide by the rules. And when you do, you're really special, you're better than everybody else. You're part of the elite group and you fit in here now. Here's what I need you to see.
This is important. That was Paul's roots. That was his. He left all of that behind. And he moved all the way over here. He didn't move there. He went all the way over here. And he said, that is not where life is found. That's not where life has found. It's found over here. And Jesus, by the way, also said, that's not where life is.
I read something Jesus said, and this is Luke 1146. Yes. And I can be even more explicit. Your hopeless this group right here. You're hopeless. You [00:13:00] religion scholars, you load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but you never even lift a finger to help you don't care what you're doing to people you're destroying people's lives because you're making it all about religion and folks.
I don't know how to tell you this, but to this very day right now, right now, right, this very. If you're not careful, the relationship you began with Jesus is going to deteriorate into a religion of rules and it's not going to be a relationship is going to be a religion that is not the good news of the gospel.
That is not what Jesus died to give you. Now let's jump into the book of Galatians. We're only going to look at it like. And I'm going to take him in three sections verses six and seven verses seven and eight, and then verse six and seven, eight and nine, and then verse 10. So it's just three little chunks.
We'll we'll get that. So again, bring a Bible follow along. If you don't, I'll put it up here, but for you to just be able to look at your own, [00:14:00] this is what he says. All right. So grace and peace that was last week. Remember grace and peace. If you were, if you get grace, you have a chance to. If you want to skip grace, don't even think about having a piece that was last week, right.
Is how this one begins. Verse verse six. I am astonished. Yeah, we're doing great. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserving. The one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different. Which has really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert.
The gospel of Christ was a mouthful. Now, the first thing you need to notice is it's intense. He normally starts off his letters. You could read them grace and peace to you, and oh, I've heard such good things about you and how you love and how you're different. You're making nothing good here. He's just blisters into it.
I am a star. [00:15:00] I am stunned to hear. I am sad. I am so disappointed. I am distraught that you have so quickly, which also means easily you have left what you had and you've moved because they brought them this way and he goes, I can't even believe you let this happen. They've abandoned the gospel. He says, this is not the gospel.
That's the. You'll understand this. You say you pay attention. You get this. This is not the gospel. Jesus died to give you all right. They took the good news and they switched it out for legalism or Christian Phariseeism. And I want you to notice here. He said this, they were deserving. The one who called you to live in the grace of Christ.
He's not talking about Paul. He's talking about Jesus. Jesus is the one who gave you this gift and you've deserted him. And he's like, I don't want you to just hear of it. I don't want you to just know of it. I want you to live in it. Find life in it, [00:16:00] live life in it. Now these perverts, hers, he says who have distorted the word that's distorted.
It could be some translations disturbed you is the idea of the exact opposite of peace that we talked about last week. Peace is Shalom, wholeness, all the pieces coming. He says, what happens is as you've substituted, the thing that will bring you peace, the grace of God, you've taken that out of the equation.
And what you've got left is now this broken religion that won't do anything. Now let me try really hard to make this make sense. What was it about this that they kept trying to get these people to do? Well, first and foremost, if you know anything about the Jewish. The sign of the Jewish nation is that you would be circumcised.
And if you don't know what that is, that's for another week, all right. You'd be circumcised. It would be that that's what set you apart. [00:17:00] So these people here said, if you want to become that, you have to do that. And you'll read about circumcision to the book of Galatians. We'll come across it we'll circle around it anyway.
So you got to do that. And then they had all kinds of dietary. All kinds of dietary restrictions, kosher, what you can and can't eat, you got to sign up for all of that. And by the way, there's certain days you have to honor and you can't get around these days. These are very special religious days and you have to be very big about that.
And so, again, it's very simple to understand what's happening here. They're simply trying to turn these people into these people and Paul's going, don't let it. So, let me just take you, let me take you out through the book of acts. I want to show you something I think is really interesting. So chapters 13 and 14 are about Paul's first missionary journey, and this thing gets so heated, so hot that they literally make a decision.
They have to go back to [00:18:00] Jerusalem. So that's that circle you saw that loop, not a circle, but it's a loop. They got to go back to Jerusalem because the, like the leaders, the pillars of the faith have to weigh in. Big because this is a hot debate. Do you have to do all that stuff or can you not do that and have Jesus?
And so acts chapter 15 is about going back and kind of what happened. So let me just, let me read this to you. I'll read quickly versus a one to 11. Now, some men came down from Judea to Antioch and we're teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised. According to the custom taught by Moses, you can't be.
There's no salvation outside of keeping the rules. It doesn't exist. This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed along with some other believers to go up to Jerusalem, to see the apostles and elders about this. That kind of parentheses the church, sent them on the way, and that [00:19:00] say traveled to Phoenicia in some area, they told how the Gentiles had converted great news people coming to faith.
This has made all the brothers very glad. Now when they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders to whom they reported everything that God had done through them. Watch this. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up. And said the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the laws of Moses Christian Pharisees.
They're in this group and they're in the church in Jerusalem as well. And they have gone out there and tried to convince people, you must become a Jew before you can become a Christian. That's the argument. And it led to what is in acts chapter 15, the first church council of which there will be a number that will follow in the centuries.
With the church leaders come together and go, we have to make a decision about this. And so the church council [00:20:00] comes together and it's headed by Jesus's brother James. And so it's kind of like, we got to figure this out. So I'm going to read to you the conclusion of the council. They meet, they pray, they seek God.
And then they're going to tell them, they're going to tell the church out there where Paul's going, planting churches. This is the truth. Okay. Here's what they said. I'm going to read verses 23 to 29. Greeting. All right. Now we have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed.
You troubling your minds by what they said, these duty, ICERs these Christian Pharisees. So we all agreed and, and to choose some men and send them with you, to you with our dear friends, Barnabas, and salt. In other words, we're going to back up what we're about to say with some additional horsepower so that you will.
That this is from us. And so men who have risked up the Barnabas and Paul men who have risked [00:21:00] their lives to the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas, not Judas, Iscariot, different Judas, Judas, and Silas to confirm by word of mouth, that what we are writing. All right. So we're going to tell you what we're writing and they're going to go.
That's exactly what they said. It seemed, here's a conclusion. It seemed good to the holy spirit into. Not to burden you not to, not to load you up, not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements. And they lay out for your, to abstain from food sacrificed, to idols from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, to all of that has to do with a very popular thing with the gods of that day, which is how you worship the gods of that day.
You sacrifice. So they have to address that. Okay. Stay away from that. And then they add a fourth one and from sexual immorality, stay away from that. [00:22:00] That's okay. That's it. And then they say this line, you will do well to avoid these things farewell. That's it don't get into idolatry and don't fall into sexual immorality.
That's our wisdom of what you needed from that, that you need to. Now I want to say something here, even with all of this, as clear as it could be, most of us, and I'm counting, you probably grown up in a church or gone to a church that loved to tell you the rules of Christianity, what you can and can't do the lists.
And I don't know what was on your list and I'll give you a short list of some, this isn't by any means all of them, but for the sake of time, let me just limit it. There'll be no. If you're a Christian, no dancing. There'll be no playing of cards. There will be no going to movies. There will be no getting of a tattoo.
There will be no long hair on men. There will be no touching alcohol. There will be no touching [00:23:00] tobacco. There will be listening to no music other than devout Christian music. And that's a short list. And if you have ever grown up in a church like this, these rules get imprinted on your brain and you go, I can't do this.
If I dance, I've violated the Wolf. And by the way, the other thing that can happen is they can take something really good, make a rule out of it and ruin it. Like it's a really good thing. If you open your Bible every day as a really good thing, if you open your heart and you pray every day, it's a really good thing.
If you come to church every weekend, it's a good thing. But what happens is the minute you turn it into a law, and then I got to read my Bible. Now I gotta pray. I gotta go to church. And the experience becomes miserable. And I'll tell you what here's, here's another insidious part of this is so often what happens is we get these rules.
We start following these rules and we don't even know why we don't even know where we got them. Let me, let me give you, let me remind you of a story I've told you. Cause this one was one of the stories in my life that will never leave me. I became a believer at a Christian camp, [00:24:00] you know, Christian youth camp.
When I was a senior in high school, junior, senior in high school, there was a man at that camp who ran the camp, who was a camp manager by the name of Lee Shaw. I loved this guy. He was like, grandpa. And again, I didn't have a dad. Lee Shaw took me in and just loved on me and he was always so excited to see me also cited.
See him and Lee Shaw was the greatest. And one of the things that Lee taught me was that whenever you go into the dining hall at camp, you take your hat off. It's a Reverend to have a hat on in the dining hall. And I so adored him. It's like, if he says it's irreverent to have a hat on in the dining hall, it's a Reverend to have a hat on him in the dining hall.
And so Lee would stand by the front. And if as you were going into the dining hall, if he had a hat on, he popped your head. Not literally, but pop your hat off your head. And he's a son oh yeah. I'm sorry. Sorry, Lee, you put your hat away. Let me tell you the rest of the story. The lead died went to his funeral years passed.
I became the Dean of camps of [00:25:00] that camp, which means you're the pastor who's running the camp and you know what. You know what I said about hats in the dining hall. It's a Reverend to have hats on in the diamond hall and I stood at the door and pop people's hats off and they would look at me and they, I go, Hey son, son, no, you just got to understand it.
You don't have a hat on, in the dining hall. Oh yeah. Yeah. Thanks pat. Pastor Cal. Sure. Okay. I take their hats off and it was going swimmingly. It was awesome until a friend of mine who was a pastor at a church in Phoenix, who was a roommate of mine years ago had. He came up to camp. He brought his kids up to the camp and I'm standing at the post knocking hats off like Lee used to do.
And kin my college roommate came walking in. He's a pastor. He had a hat on that popped his hat off and he said, what did you, what are you doing? I go, Hey, hats don't belong in the dining hall. He said, what? I go kin. Everybody knows that he goes, what are you [00:26:00] talking? It's a Reverend to have a hat on in the.
And he just looked at me like, what are you insane? And I go, Kenny, everybody knows that. He goes, who told you that? Lee sharp told me that. Then he said, who's Lee Shaw. Like, how dare you ask that question? He's the guy that means so much to me. How could you question what Lee said? And then he looked me in the eye.
He's a good friend. He goes, show me in the Bible. Oh, bring the Bible into it. You ruin. And here's the point I was stunned. I had never thought about it ever. Never once that I questioned, could you eat food with a hat on it made no sense that you'd even ponder it. That's how insidious these rules can get.
You're doing stuff. Somebody told you and they're acting like it's in the Bible and that that's what God wanted and it's not folks. So here's what I need you to understand. [00:27:00] Paul is going. You guys are about to get sucked up into a machine. That's going to take your joy out of your walk. And so then he says this, look at the next few verses, look at this, but even if we, or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel, other than the one that we preach to you, let them be under God's.
As we have already said. So now I say again, if anybody is preaching to you, a gospel, other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse. He is dead serious. Do not move from there to here. And if anyone is trying to convince you, may they be cursed by God. If I try to convince you to do this, may I be crisp?
If an angel from heaven were to try to tell you it's about rules and it's about regulations.
Which is really interesting because in the late seventh century, a guy named Mohammad said that the angel Gabriel visited him and told him to start a new religion. [00:28:00] We know what is Islam closer to home in the early 19th century, amending Joseph Smith said that an angel Moroni visited him and said, Hey, here's the truth.
It's a different, but here's the. And we know that is Mormonism. Here's what you've got to understand. Paul is emphatic. Don't let anyone put you under this yoke of slavery. Don't go there. And yet people are doing it all the time because it sounds so right to have to keep all kinds of rules. I gotta show you a verse 10, and then I'm going to take her one more place you will be done.
So then Paul ends this when I'll pick this up next week, because I'll use this to launch. Paul says this am I, am I trying now? Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people, if I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Why is he saying that?
Because these guys are saying the only reason [00:29:00] you have anyone following you, Paul, is you've taken all the hard stuff out of Christianity and you've just made it so simple. You made it just about grace. And the only reason you're doing that is to be. You've made it so easy that anybody could join you because you want a following and Pago, geesh.
Seriously, think that's what I'm doing. If I was here trying to please people you think I would try to follow Christ. You gotta be kidding. Now. I want to, I want to spend a moment cause I want to explain, and please, please, don't check out. I want to explain to you this gospel, this incredible. It's about grace and it's not probably what you think it is.
So please let me teach you something from the word. What is grace? Grace is the merited favor or blessing of God. Unmerited means you don't deserve it. See, grace is about you not getting what you deserve because you know what you deserve. [00:30:00] You deserve to go to hell as you. I for the wrongs are committed.
That's what you deserve. You deserve to go to hell and God is fully just sending you. But he's not trying to give you what you deserve. Grace is about getting what you don't deserve, which has to be forgiven to be released from that. You see grace is about something given to you, not because of what you did, but because of what somebody else did, what Jesus did, it's not because you're good.
It's because he's. It's not about a bunch of things that are gonna make you feel so good about yourself, that you're going to believe you earned your way into heaven. Cause you're so good. It's about realizing I'm not good enough to earn my way into heaven and God never intended for me to do that.
Reading from the book of Ephesians chapter two, verse eight on down now listen carefully. Same author, different city. Same problem for it is by grace that you have been. [00:31:00] Through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast for. We are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You are not, Hey, look what I've done with my life. You are the handiwork of God is what God can do in a life over here. It's not, I'm going to do all kinds of things. All be. It's you were saved. And so God wants to do all kinds of cool things in your life. I wrote this sentence. We do good works because we are saved by grace.
We don't do good works for the sake of being saved. It's a totally different gospel. It's a totally different motivation. I'm not earning anything when I do something, right. I'm not scoring points with God, getting him to love me more than he loved me. And Paul also, I just got to show you this pub is very emphatic.
There is no life in [00:32:00] this, this keeping of the law. And by the way, just so you understand what we're talking about ever heard of the 10 commandments. That's the law. As you know that there were 613 additions to the 10 commandments that people added. So if you're going to be a rule keeper, you got 623 of these suckers.
You've got to keep. And can I tell you why God gave the 10 commandments get ready to get shocked? And I'm telling you if you'll read your Bible, No way he gave you the 10 commandments. So you could be convinced of how good you are. No, the exact opposite. So you be convinced. You're not that good. Not that this is the standard.
And if you ever violate it, I'm going to send you to hell. He gets a standard that he knows you're not going to keep you can't keep it. The only person who ever kept it was Jesus, but it makes you realize I'm screwed up. I need some help and God goes, I know I got a solution for you. And I'm going to do it for you, and it's not going to be about you.
Now. Paul said this, we [00:33:00] may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law, say it out loud. No one will be justified. No one, no one by the works of the law, it's going to be justified. So. The gospel interest, the story you need help. Cognos. I got you, man. I got ya.
Titus three, five, again from Paul to a guy named Titus. He saved us. Jesus saved us the catchiest, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy, he saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the holy spirit whom he poured out on us. Through Jesus Christ our savior.
See this what I'm saying to you. If the grace of God, doesn't strike you as too good to be true, you're not listening. You're not getting the message. It's an incredible thing. Then let me tell you what, it's always been the [00:34:00] opposition to the grace of God, because if you tell people you don't have to give a bunch of rules, there's just going to go out and sin and they're gonna do all kinds of stuff.
There's going to run a muck. And that's what these people were saying. Paul that's what you're teaching people to do is just do anything you want. You get away with. And again, Paul goes, you know what? It is not, grace has not a licensed to sin. In fact, he says this in the book of Romans once, have we say this?
Shall we go on sitting? So the Grace May increase. Grace is such a great thing. Why don't we spend more? So we get more grace by no means we are those who have died to sin. How can we live in it any longer? And I will explain that in just a moment. It's not a license to sin. It's not a freedom to be. What is grace.
If it's not that folks I'm telling you, this is the greatest motivator to live, right? That you'll ever experience in your life. There is nothing greater than experiencing this gift from God [00:35:00] and realizing that it changes you, man, when you realize what God's done for you, it changes you, it changes your motives.
And so Paul said this to the. Um, do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness? You have like an attitude towards this goodness of God, forbearance and patience for his kindness for parents and not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent. Why would I repent? Because I'm so incredibly grateful for what God has done for me, because I've had a change of heart because I have the holy spirit in my life.
And I would say it this way. We do good. Not to be. But because we are saved not to be saved, but I'm saved. Of course, I want to do good. It's a response to what God has done for me. Well, let me close. I want to just say a couple of statements that I want you to hear. If you would, we are saved church. We're saved by grace.
Not by works. [00:36:00] We're saved by grace. We are to live by grace. We to live by. That's the first thing. Here's the second thing I want to tell you. Grace has to be protected and preserved. I have to say this. This thinks the strongly, because it is so easy to make it about this, and let's just reduce it down to a list.
Do's and don'ts and boxes to check in. You don't have that in grace, but I want you to understand something. Listen, very carefully. Somebody died to give you this.
And other people are dying to take it away from you. Jesus died to give you this gift and people are dying to remove it. I wanna tell you about something Dallas Willard once said that I'm not going to quote him verbatim. It's going to tell you the gist of it. He said, you know, the greatest thing that could ever happen to you as a parent is that your heart and your values get transferred to [00:37:00] your kids.
But they just get you, they just get you. And when your kids are little, you have to watch over them. You have to keep an eye on them. You have to punish them and you have to course correct. And you have to do all that kind of stuff while they're little. But the greatest thing that could happen to your kids is that when they grow up, they're just kinda like you, they have your heart, they have your character, they have your nature.
Then he went on to say, could it be possible that the greatest thing that God would ever want out of us as his. It's to grow up and not have to be punished to do the right thing, but to do the right thing, because it's our nature because it's the father's nature. That's in dwelling in us. And I don't want to do wrong because it breaks the relationship between me and my father.
It's not our family's values. And then Dallas Willard said, this was just compelled my mind. I had this. What would it take for you to grow so far? [00:38:00] So close to God that God could literally set you free in the entire universe? Never once have to check in on you because he's absolutely confident you wouldn't be doing what you shouldn't be doing.
What would that take? And I'll tell you why I'm not there, but I, that compels me to think deeply. Oh, I wish I were. God moved me that way. I don't want to do. I don't want to, I want to have your heart. God. I want to do your values in my life. So this is too good to be true, man. You gotta be kidding. That's just sounds too good to be true, but I'll tell you what, this will change your heart.
You won't be able to send freely. You won't be able to do wrong with no conscience. It's not in your nature when you become one of these people. So last verse first, Peter. You know what Jesus did for you. And for me, he himself bore our sins [00:39:00] in his body, on the cross. Why? So? So we might die to sins and live for righteousness for, by his wounds.
You are healed. It's a gift, not what you did. It's not because you're good. Cause he's good. And he loves. It's crazy about you. I'm going to do something right now. That's different. I will do this across all of our campuses. If we don't do this, typically this message is just too good. This grace message.
Not my message, but grace, it's just too good to just go and let's go, let's go grab a, you know, a biscuit at waffle house. It's too good. A news, and I'm not going to let the service close here on any of our campuses or online. Until we just said, Hey, you interested in a different life. You interested in not rules and regulations and boxes and stuff.
You got to, you want to be set free. Like you've never been free [00:40:00] before. This is the offer God's giving you right now. And let's just be candid. The last two years have been brutal. The last two years have brought us to our knees in ways we didn't think we were vulnerable. W, uh, guys, I don't know, are we on the cusp of world war three?
I don't know. There's a thousand things to be worried about right now. There are a thousand things, so should keep you up at night if you're aware, but you know, one that should not bother you at all is where you'll spend eternity. Every barricade that has been put up by somebody else to keep you out of heaven.
Jesus has. And you know what you gotta do. You just got to open your heart. You don't have to do a bunch of spiritual gymnastics. You just open your heart, you just received this gift. That's what it says. Just received the gift. And you start to understand that once you do, God's going to put you on your own missionary journey.
You're going to go crazy places with God. He's going to do [00:41:00] incredible things in your life, and you're going to go, man. I just suck. And people are going to look at you and goes, you're so different than you using. Because it used to have no joy. It used to just be about rules. Now it's about a relationship.
And so I just don't want to close. And again, here, there, wherever you are, until we say, Hey, you want to receive a gift today. You want to go home with a gift. You want to receive the grace of God into your life. We don't typically do this, but we're going to do it today. I'm going to ask in just a moment, we're going to get some people up.
And I'm going to invite you to actually make a public statement I'm in. I just need you to know. And by, by the way, I'm in just not, I don't know that I'm declaring and if you've never declared that you want the grace of God in your heart and you want to live in a relationship, not a religion, I'm gonna invite you to come forward and meet one of these folks.
And we'll kind of help you on your journey. We'll make sure you get on the right on the right path. All right. So here's, what's gonna happen. I'm gonna bring the band out. Am I. [00:42:00] There's part of the band there slowly. Let's go ahead and make our way out here so we can go. I'm gonna, I'm going to pray. And then as I'm praying, we're gonna have some people come up front here and I'm just going to ask you not to leave.
Just don't leave you. You can't get out of the parking lot anyway. Uh, so stay, just stay and be praying with me for people who are living a lie. And not having the gift of God. So I want to pray and there they're going to sing. We're all going to stand right now. Well, just stand. And then if you want to get this gift from God, I want to ask you to come forward and declare publicly you believe so.
Let me pray. So God, right now, we just thank you for this incredible gift. God people want to corrupt it. You died to give us this gift and people are dying to take it away from us. And God, I pray that we don't let that. That nobody is able to put a yoke of slavery back on us to rules and God, it's not going to [00:43:00] corrupt us.
This grace, it's going to set us free to live the life you wanted us to live for all the right reasons. But God, the stress of these last several years have so reduced us. We're so broken and we're fearful of so many things, but one thing we never need to be fearful of. Where will we go when we die? No reason to be afraid.
You've done everything for us, bless us with everything. We just have to receive it. So I pray if there's anyone here or on the campuses or online, God, I pray that they would respond right now with courageous hearts. The clearing I receive you. Jesus. And it's in your name that we pray. Amen. Come on down.