Posts tagged Galatians
Faith working through love: Spiritual Life

Sunday we will return to the letter to the Galatian churches. Paul writes to them because members of the community were arguing that now that they are believers, they must adhere to Jewish law. They weren’t arguing against salvation by faith, but against faith alone

Paul begins by defending his Apostleship and his teaching. Then, in Galatians 2:15-21, he presents two aspects of the gospel: a person is justified by faith, not the law; life as a believer unites us to Christ, not the law. The section we move to begins his development of these two thoughts.

Paul asks a summary question: “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:3) He actually answers this question in Philippians 1:6, where he writes, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Here is a summary of the gospel of grace: Grace gets us in; grace keeps us in; grace finishes the work. 

Authentic Christianity is lived by faith in the finished work of Christ; looking to the Holy Spirit to finish the work he began. So join us Sunday and let’s consider what it means to live in the grace of God.

Faith Working Through Love: Life as a living sacrifice

Sunday, we ended our Advent series on Jesus: King of the Poor, by focusing on the humility of God and his opposition to the proud. Jesus shows us God when he divests himself—not of his deity, but of his glory, becoming man and serving his Father. God delights in exalting the lowly, the humble; but he abhors what the world exalts. All glory be to the Father, Son, and Spirit.

This week, Brian Ryu will take us to Romans 12:1-2 where the Apostle Paul calls believers to present themselves to God as living sacrifices.  What does the Apostle Paul mean by living sacrifices, and how does Christ's entering into this world by taking on human flesh help us understanding true worship and living?  Instead of being conformed to this world, we’re called to pursue God’s design and purpose for our lives.  God's design for our lives leads to true life.  His renewal transforms how we think about and live our lives, giving us a perspective different from that of the culture around us, and making us meaningful agents of renewal in our community.

As we begin the new year, let’s consider the work of God in our lives to make us his servants in East Cobb and beyond. Join us for worship on Sunday!

Faith Working Through Love: Remember the Poor

“Remember the poor.” These are the words of the apostles to Paul as they give him the right hand of fellowship and send him on his way. This might seem out of place; after all they are talking about the gospel. How do the poor fit in? Are the apostles simply philanthropists?

Obviously, it’s more than that. When John the Baptist asked Jesus if he was the Messiah, he responded, “Go and tell John what you hear and see…the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:4-6) Jesus is quoting Isaiah’s prophecy proclaiming the “year of the LORD’s favor.” (Isaiah 61:1,2) While the world champions the rich, God champions the poor, offering them His Kingdom. Through Christ, the poor inherit the earth!

For those who follow Jesus, we are the poor! Paul says that Jesus became poor, “so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) The gospel humbles us, exposing our dependence and poverty of righteousness, but it also gives us hope in our great Benefactor, Jesus Christ. To “remember the poor” is natural for those who live in the grace of God. So come Sunday, and let’s consider the poor!

~Pastor Tim

Faith Working Through Love: Freedom

Sunday we'll continue to study Paul's defense of the gospel. He began by sharing what happened to him personally when God revealed Jesus to him. In our text this week, Paul explains what happened when "false brothers" covertly tried to undermine the freedom believers enjoyed from Jewish traditions.

This is the first time he uses the word "freedom," and it's important. For Paul, the defining moment occurred when Titus, a Gentile, wasn't forced by the other apostles to follow Jewish practices. Titus was "free" to choose, because Jewish traditions didn't add or take away from the work of Jesus on his behalf.

Because God has made us right with him through Jesus, nothing we do can add or take away. This creates a situation Paul calls "freedom." Freedom is the ability to live out of love not obligation.

So join us Sunday, and invite someone who needs to be set free!

~Pastor Tim

Tim LockeGalatians
Faith Working Through Love: Grace

Paul opens his letter with a clear message that the Gentiles who don’t follow Jewish customs are brothers and sisters because of their faith in Christ. The people whom the Judaizers were excluding, Paul emphatically includes. His attack on this unlawful exclusion continues in verses 3-5. He calls God “our Father” and Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is not just Father and Lord of the Jews but of all who believe. The pronouns in this text are critical. Paul continues to speak of Jesus who gave himself for “our” sins, to rescue “us” from the evil age that is present. All who look to Jesus are included in the church and part of God’s family. This is peace!

Another key thought is that Jesus gave himself for our sins. This is an important statement of the gospel, that his sacrifice secures our rescue, as opposed to our works. This is God’s will, to glorify his Son by making him the sole source of deliverance. This will of God opposes humankind’s will to secure their own salvation on their own terms. We are in no position to set the terms of our rescue, and when we try, we betray our self-distortion. This is grace!

So join us Sunday, to hear about God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

~Pastor Tim

Faith Working Through Love

The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the global church. The resurrection of Christ is essential to our salvation. Without it there is no hope for God’s forgiveness, we are still in our sins, and the wrath of God hangs over us. In addition, if the message of the gospel comes to us through random, unauthenticated sources, then the message can’t be trusted. But, if the message comes through a direct line of witnesses and disciples, then it carries the weight of being Jesus’ teaching. Finally, if the gospel message comes from God, through appointed and verified messengers, than its implications for our community are important.

This is how the Apostle Paul begins the letter to the Galatians churches. The message of salvation through the resurrected Christ comes to us not through man, but from God himself through appointed messengers. This message gives us assurance that we are all brothers and sisters in the family of God through faith alone, regardless of our ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or progress in obedience.

So come Sunday, and let’s begin our study!

~Pastor Tim

Faith Working through Love

On Sunday we will begin a new series through the book of Galatians: “Faith Working Through Love.” We’ll spend much of the year in this book with the exceptions of Advent and Easter. The series theme comes from Galatians 5:6 where Paul says:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only

faith working through love.”

Did you catch that? In Christ, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Gentile or Jew, because if you’ve trusted in Jesus, you’ve been justified and adopted into God’s family. That’s what counts! That is what matters!

But it doesn’t stop there. Faith works through love. I like the NIV’s translation—“faith expressing itself through love.” Faith isn’t static but active finding its expression in love for God and others. When believers are rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the freedom of grace produces love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit who gave them life.

So come Sunday, and let’s dive into Galatians!

~Pastor Tim