Have you ever felt like you’re locked out with God? What’s that all about and how do you get past it? This week, Kent starts unpacking Galatians and helping us see there’s a better path than just trying to be better. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom! GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: A few weeks ago our family had left to go do something and when we got back, our garage door wouldn’t go up… Now, you need to know something about my wife… You’ve heard the expression leave no rock unturned? My wife leaves no lock unturned. The moment that garage door didn’t go up, my heart sunk, because my wife locks everything. I started checking every door and window in the house and nothing was unlocked. I know what you’re thinking, “Kent, you don’t have a key?” I do have a key, but on our front door the house came with one of those hotel locks you flip the little metal loop over the knob and the door can open like 3 inches. And my wife… leaves no lock unturned!
I could get the door open 3 inches. So, after exhausting every solution I could think of, I did what every sane man would do in my situation. I decided it was time for me to show the door who was boss and hopefully do the least amount of damage to my house.
I stepped back from the door, put my 300lbs body into it with all my force… and… nothing… It didn’t budge…
Who knew those door locks actually work…
What do you do when you’re locked on the outside with no way in?
I’ll tell you what we did…I started brainstorming how I could keep from having to break a window and then I remembered, I had a hack saw out in our shed. I went out back and got the hacksaw. My entire family standing around me while I cut the lock off completely…
WE: We all know what it’s like to be locked out in life…We know what it’s like to feel the desperation of being locked out of a car or a house…
What do you do when you feel locked out from God?
Maybe you haven’t been living your life right or you used to be pretty good, but what at first was just a slow slip has just led to you feeling like there’s something missing with God
What most of us do when we feel locked out from God is we try and be better.bWe think that if we can just get our lives under control that we can fix the problem…
The problem is, that’s not how it works…
BIBLE STUDY: Ok, let’s get some terminology out of the way here…
That piece of you that feels locked out from God is called righteousness- doing right things
But how do you know what’s “right”
The bible calls this “the law”
The law says things like, “lying is bad” “don’t murder people” “don’t take advantage of poor people” “don’t call someone hot who isn’t your wife” ok, I made that last one up – but it’s true, Jesus says if you even look at a woman lustfully, in your heart you’ve already committed adultery with her – you just don’t have the guts to really go through with it – but you would if you could.
So here’s the problem
Most of us think, “if I can be good” = “obey the law” Then I’ll be good with God
but listen to what Paul says about this idea – he’s been talking about how God has made some promises…
Galatians 3:23-25 23 Before the coming of this faith,[a] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
Paul says “we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”
Law (being good) doesn’t bring you freedom – it actually locks you up…
Because all law does is show you that you aren’t and can’t be perfect…And because you can’t be perfect, you end up being locked up…
Paul is saying, God gave us the law as a guardian – it showed us exactly what God thought was right and wrong (good and evil)
The law isn’t good or evil – it only shows you what is owed…
ILLUSTRATION: You know, I have never once had a year where I haven’t owed taxes or paid in too much. I’m sure there’s some genius out there who can thread that needle perfectly and get their taxes to be a complete 0 at the end of every year. But for most of us, we almost always overpay or end up owing.
That’s law… We either go too far and become legalistic or we don’t go far enough and sin.
And what Paul is saying to the Galatians is that all the law does is lock you up…
You can’t win!
So, what do you do? What do I do if I want to get unlocked with God?
Paul said something curious at the beginning of that passage I read… did you hear it?
Galatians 3:23 23 Before the coming of this faith,[a] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.
Faith is a funny word – what most of us mean when we talk about it is belief
we mean that we believe something – that we intellectually have decided something…
But faith is more than belief, faith has an element of trust – faith moves into your body.
ILLUSTRATION: recently, we went back to Kansas and my mother-in-law bought a little 250 Suzuki motorcycle that she wanted brought back to her farm. She asked me to drive it. The wind was blowing 55 mph and gusting even higher than that. Now listen, I believed I could ride that motorcycle back to their house, but I found out pretty quickly that I had pretty little faith when I got on it… How did I know? My body told me…See, my body knew whether I had faith – because my backside was clinched as tight as it would go for the entire time I rode home…
I had “little faith”
Faith is a belief and trust that moves into your body
-your body will go the way of faith…
Paul is saying, the answer is not to try and be better, the answer is to try and get closer to the one who can make you better – have faith and move towards Him
Listen, I know some of you are like, “Kent, that sounds like froo froo nothing, I need something to do…”
The answer to unlocking a life with God is not to bust down the door but to go to the one who can cut off the locks…
So, let me give you some practical ways to live your life in faith…-what would it look like for you to start leaving an empty chair at business meetings so you could invite Jesus to fill it and leave it as a reminder to let Him speak?-what if when you are tempted to lust you started praying for the woman or man you are objectifying – or go one step further – pull your eyes back and see all the people around you your not thinking about and pray for them-what if you put $10 in your pocket every week and prayed for God to show you someone to give it to?
Living in faith is learning to position yourself with God to look for what He has next?
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: Look, following Jesus isn’t hard – but it does take a fundamental shift in your thinking – to shift from you being good enough and doing everything right to you learning to live by faith…