Rule-follower or Rebel?
Book in the Bible really a letter
- Written by a man named Saul/Paul
- To several churches
- Modern day Turkey
- Which seems very far away and very different than the world we live in
- BROOKWOOD CORE BELIEFS God’s word is timeless – speaks to us today
So far we’ve been:
- Considering what it means to have Christ at the center of our lives
- Living by faith
- The role of obedience and works in the Christian life
- Living in the promise God gave to Abraham ~ 4000 years ago.
How’s it Going?
- How is life working for you?
- How is faith in God, having a relationship with God, playing itself out for you in your everyday life?
- What is your experience of God like on an average Tuesday afternoon in the middle of school, work, diapers, football practice?
Grand Canyon – gravity takes your breath away.
- Christianity was supposed to be like that.
- Supposed to be the story that set us free.
A. For many of us, life is like…
Living in prison.
This may sound extreme at first… but hear Paul’s words in Galatians 3:23
Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Galatians 3:23 (NLT)
Paul is not declaring that we’ve been given a life sentence,
that’s a concept we find in other passages.
But his point here is that…
Until Christ came, the experience of God’s people was
IN A VERY REAL SENSE like being in prison
Knew they were CHILDREN OF GOD – also UNDER LAW
These 2 phrases UNDER GUARD, PROTECTIVE CUSTODY
carry the idea
Under guard, protective custody = confined, restrained, like having an officer standing over you
Like having a jailor, constantly keeping watch over you
Did they have to go sacrifice a goat every time they sinned?
but the way sacrifices and offerings were planned out for them…
- Was a daily, and even constant reminder of how we are not capable, on our own, to live the life God created us to live.
- Reminder of the brokenness of humanity.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
- Larger story of history – the time before Jesus came, etc.
- Personal sense – our experience of coming to know Jesus in our lives
Questions for us to wrestle through…
- Have you ever been in a place, SEASON, or even several days, that
all you can think about is what you’ve done wrong?
- What are you living under?
- Overwhelmed at the gap between
who God made you to be and who you’ve become?
- Even as followers of Christ, those who have come to know Jesus, experienced forgiveness. We can go through seasons, feeling the weight of decisions we’ve made and who we’ve become.
- GROWING IN CHRIST IS A PROCESS
- What patterns (anger, pornography, avoidance, the desperate need to control everything) have developed in your life that you feel like you’ll never get out from under?
- Where do you go with your guilt and shame?
One of the horrifying things about prison is isolation
- Do you ever feel deeply alone?
- Ever look around and think
- I must be the only one
- Everyone around me seems to have it all together
- There must be something deeply really wrong with me
If you feel…
- Deeply alone
- Feel the gap between the life God designed you to live and who you’ve become
- weighed down in sin and feel like your brokenness is too much
It can feel like a prison, and
You need to know THE WAY OF FAITH HAS COME…
- it’s been fully realized
- fully unveiled in Jesus
- You don’t have to live under that anymore
Jesus bought your freedom and it’s time to come home
Some of you may not be experiencing life exactly like what it’s like to be in prison, but likely many more of us are…
B. Others are…
Living out of duty and obligation.
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. Galatians 3:24 (NLT)
Customary for parents to hire servants to serve as guardians, nanny
Sometimes this oversight was harsh, but at the very least, for the child it was a life of constantly being corrected, being kept in line, being told what is right and what is wrong
Guardian = strict tutor, schoolmaster, disciplinarian
WHIPPED from behind to make it go faster – DOESN’T WORK
PULLING reigns and bridle to keep it RIGHT DIRECTION
This idea of living out of duty and obligation is not referring to…
- taking responsibility
- being grateful
- working hard – THOSE ARE GOOD THINGS
But it has to do with what our motivation WHY we do what we do
Been REFERRING to the law a lot – NOT UNDER LAW
YOU MIGHT BE THINKING
I’m not really concerned about fulfilling OT law
WHO HAS… 613 mitzvot
Idea of being driven by Duty / Obligation
- Take on the demands and expectations of others
many of which aren’t even real
- Many of us create expectations for ourselves that
God hasn’t even thought of
- LOOK AT other people’s lives - COMPARE OURSELVES
HERE’S THE POINT:
Galatians were being told that their relationship with God was
still based, at least in part, on their behavior.
Paul continues to develop this idea… Chapter 4. Vs. 1
Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.
Galatians 4:1-3 (NLT)
Living as SLAVES to principles
OVERLY driven by behavior and performance
How can you tell if this is you?
You can tell if your life is driven duty and obligation:
- You find yourself too busy to spend time with God
- WORK FOR God has squeezed out your LIFE WITH God
- The word SHOULD is in your regular vocabulary
- Praying more
- Reading my bible
- Reaching out to my neighbor
- Some of you should be…
- But not out of duty, obligation and guilt
GROWING Phenomena – high school athletes
- Feel like you need to go do something good to make up for…
- Live by “scales”
- More like Islam or Catholicism
- Live from a checklist rather than a relationship with God
– I read my bible, check that off the list – BIBLE READING PLANS
- Tired, a lot
- There are seasons where life is more busy than others
not sure how it happened, somehow ended up with 4 - 1 ½ years apart - So LIFE IS BUSY
- But our general way of life, our daily routine, was never meant to be waking up, checking off the endless to-do list, going to bed, then getting up and doing it all over again.
- TRUTH: God does not call us to a life we don't have time for.
To allow yourself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit yourself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.
Can you relate to the striving, going, running?
You may not be living in prison, or out of duty and obligation
Many different places you could be living:
- MILDLY Curious
But whatever your life is like
- No matter what you’ve done
- No matter what assumptions you have about Christianity
- You need to know, that more than anything else in this entire world…
C. God invites us to…
Live as His sons and daughters.
And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.
Galatians 3:25; 4:4-7 (NLT)
Jesus is our older brother, and he came FIND US and bring us home.
What it looks like to live as a son or daughter of God…
· Experiencing intimacy
- All ONE IN CHRIST
- IN CHRIST– 160+ times in NT by Paul
- United, in union
- So intertwined that his life is our life.
With Each Other
- church is becoming family
- Deep, abiding friendships – my moment of clarity in SEMINARY
· Living from a new identity
- You’re seeing yourself through God’s eyes, not from what others think of you, not from accomplishments, job title, how well your kids are behaving, how much money you make
- Moms – every effort you put forth
- Younger girls – you need to know that in Christ, God thinks you are absolutely beautiful – DOESN’T HAVE TO DO WITH…
so you don’t have to go looking for approval from boys
When you go to jail
- Take all your belongings and put them in a bag
- They give you the bag back
Christianity is not like that
- When you come to Christ, new identity.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as His bride.
As a son or a daughter of God, you might still end up doing the same things you’re already doing, but it comes from a different place.
Goes with and comes out of God’s delight in you
· Divisions between us begin to disappear
- No longer slave – free, Jew – non Jew, insider – outsider
- Rather than categorizing, stereo-typing people –
- Seeing other people as human beings
- As fellow sojourners stumbling to find God in this life
· Feeling provided for > more than living out of scarcity
- HEIR - Not really about money
- Have what you need so you can give freely
- John Eldredge his kids get to raid his fridge
· Experiencing God as Father
- More than just an abstract idea
- ABBA FATHER
- You don’t have to figure this life out on your own – CRUEL
- Running to him more often
Religion says “I messed up. My dad is going to kill me”
The gospel says, “I messed up. I need to call my dad”
Where are you?
Adam and Eve – GO TO CHURCH MORE, READ YOUR BIBLE MORE
Through the perfect sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, we
are now invited to live as sons and daughters of God.