Title: Christ Has Redeemed Us From the Curse (Galatians 3:10-14)
In this part of Paul's letter to the Galatians, Paul is helping the people there "transfer over" to "New Testament" theology. What does that mean? The principles and laws of the Old Testament are finished because Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law. Jesus took it all on Him, accomplishing, finishing it as the standard to gain access to and favor with God. In that, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of failing at fulfilling the Law if you trust in Him. And that's all Christ asks. All Jesus asks is to have faith in Him and faith in His word, and that is the standard for all who receive Him. If you don't trust Him, then that is where a person is judged by the standard of the Law when he/she meets God face to face. With Christ, it is finished, and we are justified by faith in Him.
Paul has been so adamantly defending the Gospel message in his letter to the Galatians, and stressing that it is by faith that the Spirit moves, not works. Why is Paul so adamant? This is hugely significant because Paul was once a Pharisaic Scholar, meaning that he was not only an advocate for the Law of Moses, but He was also a zealous defender of it. What changed him was that he met Jesus face to face, it cost him his sight, and the Holy Spirit moved him to such a degree, both in theology and experience, that he ends up writing scripture (and in that writing most of the New Testament). Paul challenges the reader to question what sense does it make to start with faith and from there, perfect yourself when you can't change you? You have to yield yourself to Christ and from there, allow Him to do the changing from within, and the Holy Spirit is instrumental in accomplishing this.
Paul confronted Peter about his comradely with other Jews and the distance he was showing towards the Gentiles. The Gentiles were offended by this because they felt alienated by Peter. You see, Gentiles were messy, messed up people to the point where even their worship involved prostitution in their practices. That said, it was very difficult for Peter to deal with people of this nature, act out his ministry with grace (by showing it) and, in a way, "undo" the influence of the Jewish way of life and the Jewish, Godly approach to things that he had all his life. But what does this all boil down to? Jesus can work wonders when you are justified by Christ alone. And the catalyst to that is faith: putting your faith in Christ and letting Christ live through you, as Peter had to learn. .
In this segment from Galatians chapter 2, Paul calls Peter out on one very important thing; his prejudices. What does that mean? Peter's life and background was inherently Jewish, and so he was accustomed to Jewish practices, life, and people. When Peter was evangelizing to the Gentiles (in this case, the people of Galatia), Peter hung around with those who were Jewish and were not hanging around those who were Gentiles. This offended the Gentiles, and when Paul went to Galatia, the Gentiles aired their grievances to Paul. So Paul saw this, heard Peter's message, and called Peter out in front of everybody, challenging him on what he's saying. The significance of this is striking. Paul was the most hardcore of Jews, lived a Jewish life, was an authority in Judeo practices, and followed the Law of Moses stringently. Yet when Christ met Paul, He humbled him, and did a work in Him that would change Him forever. From that effort, Paul challenged Peter on what he was saying and doing. What are Christians justified by? Christ crucified and raised from the dead. He did it all. So Paul challenges Peter on why he is compelling Gentiles to live as Jews in his messaging, when that's not the Gospel message, and calling him out to check his prejudices.
To the church in Galatia, Paul speaks of the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. What does that mean? The Jews at this time used the Judeo practice of circumcision to justify their communion with God. Pastor Troy explains that dynamic more in depth. You see religious people think that there is some kind of burden to carry so that they can be "right with God". Such people rely on religiosity, self-righteousness, and believe they have merit with God. The reality is; Christ's people accept and receive what He did for us on the cross, trust that, and take Him at His word. His actions are what justifies us when we believe and put our trust in this and this alone. The burdens that people think they need to carry to enter Heaven apart from this truth are of their own making.
Special Guest, Ret. U.S. Navy Seal Michael Imhof brings a bold and powerful message on "What It Means To Surrender". Mr. Imhof explains what having faith means when the rubber hits the road, explains how you can't KNOW somebody unless you spend time with them (knowing God is speaking to Him, reading His Word, discerning the Spirit), makes the distinction between remorse and repentance, explains what components drag down a person's faith, and many other dynamics that weigh down the power of faith in one's life. Michael also discusses the power of "corporate agreement" in a church (Matthew 18:20), how actions serve as a powerful witness in and of itself, the importance of peace being the "umpire" of your spirit, and a host of other things that will revitalize, encourage, and energize your faith.
Title: He Who Formerly Persecuted Us Now Preaches (Galatians 1:18-24)
As a believer have you truly been changed? That an underlying question which serves as a critical basis for the authenticity of your faith. What does that mean? After Paul, once Saul, the former chief Jewish persecuted of Christians, encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, He changed, and tried to re-evaluate the Old Testament in regards to Jesus Christ. So he sought Peter and stayed with him for 15 days to get his firsthand experience with Christ, and find out more of who Jesus was and what He was like. After all, Christ met Paul with authority, and the disciples experienced the wise and loving side of him, and spent more time with Him. Also look at Jesus's family. His family was like everyone else until after the resurrection. Today, we have the Word of God and the power of Christ which works in us if we simply spend time with Him and His Word. Many of today's "Christians" don't see the reality of God. Why is that? Because they fail to spend time with Him and be in His Word. When you care about your relationship with God, what He does in you and through you begins a track record of experience, experience you can depend and rely on.
After Jesus rose from the dead, and before He left earth to sit at the right hand of the Father, He said that He was going to send a helper, a Spirit that would lead those who put their faith and trust in Christ into all truth (John 16:13). 50 days after Christ's ascension into Heaven, that promise was fulfilled on what we now call "Pentecost Sunday". In this Pentecost Sunday message, Pastor Troy Billow reminds us of the POWER of the Holy Spirit, the power that enables, motivates, and moves us to do do the work of the Lord and effectively speak our witness. When the disciples first received the Holy Spirit, they all were of one accord, and when they followed Him, they had resounding impact. Today, He works the same way. Believers who follow the Holy Spirit have impact, and the simple act of obedience enables the power of the Holy Spirit to get involved and help you share your witness for Christ for others to take notice.
In this part of Paul's letter, Paul reveals the ultimate purpose of the believer. Paul explains that God wants Himself to be revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ, and He wants His Son to be revealed in/through us believers. Eternity rests on you having faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and that begins the moment you accept that. Pastor Troy expounds on this section of Paul's letter further in this message.
Title: A Woman Who Fears the Lord Shall Be Praised (Proverbs 31:25-31)
In this special Mother's Day service, Pastor Troy zeroes in on some sage advice offered by King Lamuel's mother, a godly woman who brought up her son as a godly man. The result was that he turned out to be a wise King. What's interesting about this is that these truths are hearty, alive, and potent today if they are applied, and work strongly in those whose lives they are applied to. Good mothers are also sacrificial, caring, and take on a lot of responsibility, and in this service, we honor them in a special way.