Straight gospel…that’s the way I would describe the last two weeks of sermons. It’s fascinating because often as a preacher, I find this temptation to make the gospel “more exhilarating” or “more interesting”…and then I think about that again…slowly…and I realize how dumb that is. The gospel is “the power of God for salvation”. It’s the dynamite of God. It hits the soul and explodes upon the human conscience. And I think I’m going to make it more exciting…what a dimwitted idea!
There is something else regarding this…preaching straight gospel is not easy. I’m sure it might’ve come to mind that Galatians would be an easy book to preach from, but it’s not. Trying to glean what Paul was dealing with and then exegete our congregation for what we need from that is really hard. I am so grateful for a church, like you, that appreciates the hard work that goes into this task. Many of you have thanked me recently and told me how much these sermons have meant to you personally. And I’m with you…I needed this series for my own soul. The simplicity, yet profundity, of the gospel is what we need. In a world of chaos, conflicts, and challenges, we need to get back to the thing that matters most.
From the cutting room floor:
There really wasn’t a ton that I cut this week from my sermon. I only used one quote, so I’ll throw some quotes I thought were really good into this.
I did cut the information about Galatians out of the sermon. And I actually did it on Sunday morning. I had been weighing it all week and just realize that it really did not add to the main point of the text and felt it should be used for musings. One of the things you will notice about the book of Galatians is how it is laid out:
- Chapters 1-2 are somewhat of a biographical sketch about Paul. His connection to Christ, his personal testimony, his interaction with other apostles, etc.
- Chapters 3-4 teach us about the intricate layers of the gospel of Jesus. Is it by faith alone or by faith plus our works?
- And then chapters 5-6 show us how to live out a gospel-centered life. Literally, if we believe in the gospel of grace, how does that change the way we live?
- This information is really helpful when you’re reading the book. You’re going to see this as we go. Paul is going to expound on the gospel, but then as he closes the book, he’s going to show us the implications of the gospel on our souls/lives. He actually does this in Ephesians and Colossians as well. This is the essence of “gospel-centered” living.
- “The gospel is not man’s good news about God; it is God’s good news for man.” Philip Ryken
- “This completes Paul’s airtight alibi. He neither invented nor inherited his gospel. He did not make it up on his own and he did not get it from anyone else—not before his conversion, not during his conversion, and not after. The gospel was not an invention, or a tradition, but a revelation. That is to say, it was something previously unknown that was unveiled by God.” Philip Ryken
From my heart:
For some reason, over the past month or so, the Lord has continually reminded me what a joy it is to pastor this church, in this town. I was on a phone call this morning with one of my closest friends who is contemplating a job change to something he’s always dreamed about. I told him, “it’s crazy to me that at 19, I said my dream job was to pastor a church in the foothills of the mountains and coach baseball for a Christian school in the area,” and here I am doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing. God has been so kind to me. Our little church is weighing some serious decisions about expansion (purchasing property for parking and expanding our building) and these things could be weighty…but I find my heart rejoicing in the goodness of God to us. CLF, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are truly a joy to pastor and serve.
From the sports scene:
A few things I’ve thought of in the past week about sports:
- I was not devastated by the Cowboys’ loss, as some of you might’ve thought. Funny thing is, back in teh 90’s when the Cowboys were good & before my kids were born, I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, trying to understand why the ‘Boys lost a game. It was such a shock to the system…and it was idolatry:). So, rest assured, I’m doing well…when you’re as used to your pro teams being bad as I am, you’re never devastated.
- Unrelated to this, somewhat is this thought, as a parent and a coach, that I need to keep in the forefront of my mind: sports are ‘a’ way to build sanctification and the gospel into my kids lives and into the lives of those I coach. They are not ‘the’ way. This was a thought from Dave Quilla recently that was really a great reminder. We’ve got to keep in mind that this is one of the avenues God has given us to help shape our kids for the gospel. If we were to win every championship or our kids signed pro contracts, but we lost their souls…what would we have gained?? When we forget this, we lose our minds over things that don’t matter in the end. Let’s keep the gospel central to our sports or any of our kids activities.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.