Archive for the ‘Men’s Bible Study’ Category

Preached April 6, 2008 by Rob Sturdy

Our sermon series on the mission statement of the Church continues with “What is the Gospel?”  It is of obvious importance, as the mission statement is “To inspire all people, through the Power of the Gospel, to become living members of the body of Christ.”  We seek to inspire people through something quite specific, that is the “power of the Gospel,” but what is the Gospel? (more…)

Today we conclude a six-month study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. So I have asked myself, What should I look for in the people as evidence that the Word is bearing fruit? Andrew Hafvenstein and Jonathan Edwards warn me against looking for perfection. They warn me against looking for people who are proud of their growth, speak highly of their spiritual attainments, whose joy in the grace of God is not deepened by recurrent remorse because of failures to walk by the Spirit

What should I look for to see if the message of Galatians has begun to take root in our hearts? What I would like to do to answer that question is to notice with you how Paul in these last verses of his letter develops a contrast between two mindsets. The one is what he has been trying to drive out of the Galatian churches. The other is the one he seeks to live by and teach. He calls this second mindset a canon or a rule and says that those who are in sync with this rule receive God’s mercy and enjoy God’s peace. (more…)

This short letter has an importance out of all proportion to its size. There is always a tendency for people to think that their salvation (however it is understood) is something that is to be brought about by their own achievement. How they understand salvation may vary, and the kind of achievement they see as necessary may correspondingly vary. But that their eternal destiny rests in their own hands seems a truism, so obvious that it scarcely needs stating. Christianity has often been understood as nothing more than a system of morality, as the careful observance of a sacramental system, as conformity to standards, as a linking up with others in the church, and so on. There is always a need for Paul’s forthright setting out of the truth that justification comes only through faith in Christ. This must be said over against those who stress the importance of works done in accordance with the Torah or any other achievement of the sinner. (more…)

Whenever legalism rears its ugly head, slavery to the “basic principles of the world” is not far behind. 

Once enslaved to the basic principles of the world, the joy of the knowing that Christ has died for  the forgiveness of all our sins and that our Lord fulfilled the law for us so that we can be justified,  inevitably disappears. Ask a slave if there is joy in slavery. (more…)

The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor

Our conscience is free and quiet because it no longer has to fear the wrath of God. This is real liberty, compared with which every other kind of liberty is not worth mentioning. Who can adequately express the boon that comes to a person when he has the heart-assurance that God will nevermore be angry with him, but will forever be merciful to him for Christ’s sake? This is indeed a marvelous liberty, to have the sovereign God for our Friend and Father who will defend, maintain, and save us in this life and in the life to come.

As an outgrowth of this liberty, we are at the same time free from the Law, sin, death, the power of the devil, hell, etc. Since the wrath of God has been assuaged by Christ no Law, sin, or death may now accuse and condemn us. These foes of ours will continue to frighten us, but not too much. The worth of our Christian liberty cannot be exaggerated. (more…)

READ THE WHOLE THING!!!  From Luther’s Commentary on Galatians ch. 3 vs. 13:  “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
what did Christ take on?

what did Christ take on?

 

Paul does not say that Christ was made a curse for Himself. The accent is on the two words “for us.” Christ is personally innocent. Personally, He did not deserve to be hanged for any crime of His own doing. But because Christ took the place of others who were sinners, He was hanged like any other transgressor. The Law of Moses leaves no loopholes. It says that a transgressor should be hanged. Who are the other sinners? We are. The sentence of death and everlasting damnation had long been pronounced over us. But Christ took all our sins and died for them on the Cross. “He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (more…)

“It is clear that in Paul’s own mind the case of Abraham (receiving righteousness through faith) provides an obvious parallel to that of the Galatians (receiving the Spirit through hearing and believing the gospel and not by keeping the law). In other words, Paul takes it for granted that Abraham’s being justified by faith proves that the Galatians must have received the Spirit by faith also; and this argument from Scripture falls to the ground unless the reception of the Spirit is in some sense equated with justification.  For if this were not so, it could be objected that even though Abraham was indeed justified by faith, it does not necessarily follow that reception of the Spirit also has to be dependent on faith; conceivably while justification is by faith the gift of the Spirit could be conditioned on works.  We may take it, then, that Paul conceives of receiving the Spirit in such close connection with justification that the two can be regarded in some sense as synonymous, so that in the Galatians’ receiving the Spirit their justification was also involved. (more…)