There are so many messages about how to gain traction spiritually in life, how do you know what to listen to? Join us as we continue in Galatians and look at what message matters most. 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: Years ago, I was getting ready to go to sleep when my phone rang – this was before “do not disturb” on phones and before “spam” alerts. So, I answered my phone. On the other end was this guy who said, “is this Pastor Kent?” I thought, “oh no, someone’s in trouble,” I said, “it is, how can I help you?” he told me his name and then immediately began to go into a tirade about how Christians are dumb for not believing in science and how he was an atheist who randomly calls Pastors to debate them and tell them how dumb they are.
I had two choices at this point, hang up or engage… I of course decided to engage 🙂
I think we talked for an hour. What I found out is this guy had grown up in a conservative Christian household and he had been confronted with a lot of other ideas when he went to school and college and eventually completely flipped on his faith and now sees it as his goal to stop pastors from filling peoples heads with nonsense…
He’s not alone, right?
We live in a world that is full of competing messages about what to put your faith in.
On top of that, there are even more messages telling you what living out that faith should look like.
I just spent a little time the other thinking about the different versions of spirituality you can find in our world with about a 3-second search on google or turning on the radio station…
-It’s a popular thing to meditate now – I’m reading a business leadership book and one of the major points was for people to “meditate” – although he was wouldn’t to tell them what to meditate on-jump on tic tock and get advice about anything spiritual-people who only want a church that will say what they want to hear -some people think good people get into heaven, some people say no one’s good enough to get into heaven-Even country music has a version of faith that has you in church on Sunday, in the bar on Friday
How do you know what to believe in a world of competing messages?
We live in a world with so many messages about spirituality what do you believe?
Here’s where I come back to every time, and it’s what I came back to with that science guy on the phone…
The only thing that matters is what you believe about Jesus…
Because if Jesus is really real and did what He said He did, then that changes everything, if He didn’t, then you can believe whatever you want.
I think so many of us aren’t settled, really settled, on Jesus, and because of that, we can quickly get sucked into other things
Paul saw this with the Galatian church…
Listen to what he said to them…
Galatians 1:6-7 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Paul normally starts out his letters by saying nice things to the people he’s writing to – “I thank God every time I think of you…”
Not the Galatian churches – this is the only letter he writes where he actually doesn’t say anything nice to them at the beginning…
Instead, he starts with
“I am astonished”
I am bamboozled at you, I have utterly no words… is the sentiment… I am flabbergasted
Paul is taken aback…
ILLUSTRATION: years ago, my son had his tonsils removed… We didn’t know it, but after you get your tonsils removed, you can at times have TERRIBLE breath.
Have you ever walked into a room and had a smell hit you? I mean, this thing went up into my brain and was attempting to remove my brain through my nose. It was terrible.
Paul, is looking at the Galatians and what’s going on and he’s saying, “something stinks here”
He is astonished…What’s he astonished about?
They have deserted the one who called them to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
We need to real quick stop and define our terms-you may have heard the word gospel before
Gospel simply means “Good News”bSo, these people are turning to a good news that’s different than living in the grace of Jesus
Do you know what the spirituality was they were turning to?
There were people who had come into the church and said, “you can’t be a Christian without first being Jewish…” Do you know how someone becomes Jewish?
You get circumcised… not just that, but that you would obey all the Jewish laws…Yup, circumcised – that’s why when Paul said in vs. 7 “[you] are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all.”
All the men shook their heads “yes” [make your eyes real big]This wasn’t good news…
It’s because this good news was predicated on the same thing all other religious systems are predicated upon…
“You be good, and you get in!”
Every other religious system is about you being good enough – even some of the ways people have talked about Christianity – but that’s not the gospel…
The good news isn’t that you can be good enough, the good news is that God was good enough to come after you!
The Christ-follower doesn’t do good things because it “gets us into heaven” we do good things because we’ve already gotten in and want to bring heaven down into the hell that exists in our world!
That’s why Paul says…
Galatians 1:8-9 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 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!
There is only one way, one truth… Jesus is
Paul is so passionate about this, that he tells them anything else is a shot in the dark – and the person should be cursed…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: years ago Jen and I lived in this trailer out in the country. I heard these dogs on the porch and almost opened the door to try and scare them away, but my wife was smarter than me and looked out the window to see a skunk that had trapped the dogs. I immediately went into action and grabbed our bow (no arrows of course)… In my mind, I was gonna wave it around and scare off the dog – cause of course a skunk would be afraid of me with a bow in my hand waving around like a crazy when a giant german shepherd didn’t phase it at all… I went around the house and saw just how fast a skunk was… Pepe le pew fast. I realized the tool I had wasn’t going to work. finally, I saw some lawn chairs sitting around a fire pit we had. I started lobbing lawn chairs at this skunk to get rid of it. The dogs jumped off and ran away and the skunk stayed under the house. I had just driven it deeper…
Our neighbors came over, who owned the house. Barb was her name. Barb’s son had a little 36 special revolver, Barb was telling him to shoot it. He shot several times and missed the skunk. Finally, this old woman, Barb, grabbed the gun out of his hand, got down on one knee, and like Annie Oakley, shot the skunk – it just fell over dead.
Look, you can listen to all the different voices in this world trying to tell you how to fix yourself and what you should do better… But most of the time, you will just drive the problem deeper inside you…
What you need is not to be better, you need someone who knows how to deal with the problem.
There are a lot of ideas out there trying to tell you what to believe.
I’m telling you, Jesus came to die for you – He took aim at sin and death and He took care of it once and for all.
When are you going to make a decision to stop trying to be better, and start making a concerted effort to be His? to live squarely in the good news!