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Freed to Be Alive

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2021 9:00 am

Freed to Be Alive

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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November 9, 2021 9:00 am

What does the Bible mean when it talks about our need for spiritual life? Pastor J.D. answers that question as he continues his series called, Freedom in the In-Between.

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Tam talks about spiritual freedom. What God is wanting to do is for you, so that the desires of our heart are in line with what he wants. He changes our hearts in the gospel so that we love him so that obeying the great commandment feels to us like freedom and how does he do that he does that by faith in the gospel with Dr. G Greer. I'm your host mailing the events were so glad you're back with us today, and if your hands are free at the moment, stop and fill your wrist or put a finger on the edge of your job if you do it right, you will be able to fill your own heartbeat and that's pretty convincing proof that your life right so if that's the case, then what does the Bible mean when it talks about our need for spiritual life truly is more than a metaphorical pulse check right after Jaeger tackles that subject today as he continues the teaching series freedom in between the title of today's message free to this week. 500 years ago. Luther mom with all the half-mile or so between his home in the castle church there in Wittenberg, Germany, and emailed up his 95 theses that claim to salvation came by faith alone and not by the works of the law and in so doing he changed history as you can see from that quote Luther believe that faith works together with the Holy Spirit to bring about spiritual change in our hearts. If there is a secret so to speak, of Christian growth that is that faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I told you before few weeks ago that Christians and churches like ours are really quite sure what to do with the Holy Spirit. We know that he is in there were just not sure exactly what he dies and we often relate to him. I explained you the way that most people relate. For example, to their gallbladder, I know that's in there. I know that it's important on lata gives me I guess golf or whatever purpose goal has come in May, but I don't really relate to my gallbladder and that's how people feel of the Holy Spirit is like buddies in there but what is he do see Paul in Galatians chapter 5 is going to show wise what role the Holy Spirit plays in our spiritual development.

Galatians 5 Paul's going to show us that the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for spiritual growth to show us how we are supposed to access his power and his presence in our lives now give you a warning look like this is a very familiar passage. If you been in church at all before Paul was out the fruits of the spirit and the problem with familiar passages is a quite often they go right one ear and out the other and you can miss what's really being taught here. So what you try as much as possible to put all the things you know about this passage on your mindless is rated refresh okay to start this discussion about the fruits of the spirit actually back at the end of chapter 4 because Paul begins his discussion.

There about how the Holy Spirit brings about change in our lives.

At the end of chapter 4 Paul returns again to the story of Abraham is done throughout the book of Galatians as an example of the right and wrong ways to pursue spiritual growth. Abraham, of course, was the biological father of the nation of Israel. But when we first encounter Abraham in Genesis 12 is a childless old man in his 80s who is married to a sterile old woman in her 70s and that is when God appears to them and promises them that they will give birth to a son who will father a nation will bring salvation into the world.

Now that's a pretty big promise for a childless octogenarian yet Abraham believes it, and when Abraham believes it. Two things happen.

Genesis tells us first. Abraham's faith was credited judicially as righteousness. Genesis 15 six says that when Abraham believed the promise. He was justified. That is, righteousness was credited to his account. Second Genesis tells us he Abraham and Sarah's old sterile bodies were infused with reproductive life and Paul find in this the perfect illustration of how human are saved today. Galatians 3. He explained that just like with Abraham. When we believe God's promise that Jesus who was great, great, Abraham's great great great great great great grandson. When we believe that he brought salvation into the world just like God promise that he would then our faith is credited judicially as righteousness, and spiritual life is infused into our old dad sin sick parts put the same way that Abraham will say that's the way that we are saved now at the end of chapter 4.

Paul's going to pull out another detail from Abraham's life that illustrates the mistake that he sees the Galatians may keep verse 21 tell me, tell me, you who want to be under the wall you actually hear the law is written that Abraham had two sons, one was by a slave and the other was by 41 but the one by the slave was born as a result of the flash while the one by the free woman was born through promise, right here.

Here's the story that he is referring to Abraham and Sarah when they believe the promise that God would give them a sign. Here's the detail you gotta get your mind they did not get pregnant immediately and I could go back and read the book of Genesis, there was a 25 year gap between when God made the promise in Genesis 12 that they would have a son, and when Sarah actually got pregnant.

Now, 25 years is a long time to wait for a son. When you're a newlywed, but when you are in your 90s. It probably feels like an eternity.

And so sometime in the 25 year process. Think about 15 or so years in on Sarah decided it was time to help got out a little bit so she brings out her household servant Hagar, who was young and beautiful and she says Abraham is a listen.

God has promised us that we have a son give birth to a nation and clearly that is not happening with me so maybe you should have one with her. Now listen, what is she doing she had quit believing the promise he still believes the God to give them a sign she just thinks that it's on her to make it happen. In other words, she is attempting to fulfill the promise of God was steam of the flesh, so she brings out her beautiful servant Abraham. Interestingly Abraham doesn't make much of a counterargument. He's like okay you say so. He seems to have more issues or the lack of faith, but shortly thereafter, Hagar gets pregnant by Abraham and they called their son, Abraham and Hagar son Ishmael, Ishmael, will himself brought to father a great nation but not the nation of promise in this. The apostle Paul says is exactly what the Galatians are doing when they tried to turn to the law to bring them closer to God. He said you were attempting to fulfill the promise of God was steam of the flesh are trying to help, got out, like Sarah, you haven't. Stop believing God's promise of salvation. You just think it's on you to accomplish it. In Paul's good drawl to really important lessons from this story of Abraham and Hagar. The first one is this God is much abler to accomplish his promise, then we are in verse 27, Paul's the quoted Old Testament prophecy about Sarah from the prophet Isaiah, in which Isaiah says this is written. Rejoice, childless woman that's Sarah unable to give birth burst in the Solomon shout you who were not in labor for the children of the desolate woman that Sarah will be many more numerous than those of a woman who has a husband which is a reference that Hagar and other words Baron Sarah will ultimately be more fruitful and beautiful Hagar you would never think that, of course, looking at the two of them.

One of them look like the ideal picture of motherhood. She was perfect for great potential for childbearing. The other had no potential at all for childbearing. But God chose the one with no potential to accomplish his promise.

And Paul says that is the good news of the gospel, God doesn't leave any potential for you to work miracles in you. It's like the prophet Zechariah said it's not by might not by power.

It's by my spirit says the Lord, which means you might think that you have no potential, but it's not about you anymore. It is about Christ in you surmise you are my favorite promises about the Holy Spirit in Luke chapter 7 when Jesus was talking about his favorite preacher according to Jesus, who was the greatest preacher ever to live that structure J rhymes with John the Baptist. John the Baptist is a great guest. John the Baptist receives favor preacher you love John the Baptist well evidently John the Baptist preached somewhere and so Jesus was talking about him and he said to his disciples. Surely I tell you there is nobody born among women who is greater than John the Baptist. He's the best of the best. Many turns to them.

He says yet I tell you I tell you the one who is least in my kingdom is greater then Sean just now, at least in my kingdom least in my kingdom means has the least potential right means. It means you have the least spiritual gifts, it means you're the least talented image of the least impressive. When we look at you right least in the kingdom there is somebody listening to me right now. One of our campuses. Who is the least in the kingdom of heaven in the cemetery's right to be mean but mathematically that has to be true where I am me right now you think. I think it might be me and God in heaven is going up it's you you're the bottom of the pile Jesus Jesus to save even if that were true even if that's true of you are correct about that you have more potential administrative John Baptist. Why because you have some John the Baptist never had and that is the hot Holy Spirit permanently fused to your soul and that that board. Therefore, it is no longer about the abilities that you bring in the ministry is only about your availability. It is not about you anymore.

It is about Christ in you, that means it does matter what you bring into this place, whether you come from the most jacked up background of your resume is a litany of failures. Maybe your high school dropout or you been in prison or you have an abortion or your divorce or even fire from your job or you had an alcohol problem. Maybe all those things are true of you all at once. God can still bring about his promise through you, no matter how spiritually barren you feel it is not about you. It is about Christ in you, you plus Christ equals everything I used to say amen right out of the house to myself that night to see if God can make something out Abraham, whom the Bible describes as as good as dead, that he can make something out of you granddaddy. Abraham is proof that got it done with any of us. Second, Paul says there will we learn is that those who are saved by grace will always be hated by those seeking salvation by the law. Verse 29. But just as then, but just as then the child born as a result of the flesh persecuted, the one born as a result of the spirit, so also the same is true to now is used Ishmael's descendents would become sworn adversaries of Israel all throughout the Bible in almost every book of the Bible.

They are the enemies of Israel that continues all the way down to this day. Interestingly, Muslims around the world proudly claim Ishmael as their spiritual father and Islam is a religion that from start to finish teaches you that you are saved by obedience to the works of the law. It's how well you do and how much you do that determines whether all law will receive you. Paul predicts that any who rely on obedience to the law.

Whether were talking about Judaizers in Paul's day, the Catholic Church in Martin Luther's day Muslims in our day, or even legalistic Christians in our own churches today predicts that they will hate and resent those who rely solely on the promise of grace for salvation because the gospel of grace test says to them all your striving all your zeal all your knowledge all your works does not bring you one week closer to God you are powerless to do anything that accomplishes your salvation. Salvation belongs only to God, and you can only receive it as a dagger by faith and receive it as a gift from him and see all that leads us in the chapter 5 for freedom. Ricin is free. Stand firm, then adults submit didn't sue the yoke of slavery. Why did Christ set us free to set us free for freedom. Freedom for what what you talking about is the freedom of love. When you love to do something you don't need a wall to command you to do it. Last week we talked about the dilemma of the great commandment would dilemma the great commandment is that were being commanded to do something to love God with all of our global the people of much of you love yourself for being commanded to do something that by definition cannot be commanded because if you love something you don't need to be commanded to do it and if you don't love it, and no command can actually change that you'll ever need to be commanded not to eat or touch vomit.

My you'll need a commanded you, that you find it disgusting if you encounter a pile of it out there on the sidewalk as you're leaving today. You don't try to see how close you can get to it because of what just want to be close to what I want to touch a little break the law. No you don't do that you think it's disgusting to you naturally stay away from it. I see only the command to make you do what you hate did on the other hand, I never have to be commanded to eat prime rib eye, loving you put in front of me will be gone in a matter of seconds.

See what God is wanting to do is for you, so that the desires of our heart are in line with what he wants. He changes our hearts in the gospel so that we love him so that obeying the great commandment feels to us like freedom and how does he do that he does that by faith in the gospel.

So Paul says, stand firm in that faith. That's where the power is in no go back to will all go back to Hagar scholars point out that the phrase stand firm right there is a is an explicitly military term goals talking about fighting fighting to stay in the faith. What he means is that unless we are actively keeping ourselves in that faith working to drift back into works righteousness, or the idea that that is that we are the ones you have to bring ourselves closer to God and were the ones who produce spiritual life in our hearts. Martin Luther and reflection on this said that we gotta constantly preach the gospel to ourselves because our hearts are hardwired works righteousness like a car that severely out of alignment the moment you take your hands off of the wheel. Consciously you will always drift off into the ditch of works righteousness is a you gotta constantly fight to keep yourself in the understanding that God's acceptance of you is a gift that he gave you in Christ. Paul says were to take note, I Paul am telling you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. In other words, if you go back to trying to do something yourself to get closer to God, you're actually cutting yourself off and the power of grace. You're turning back to Hagar your removing yourself from the power of the promise in other words you say you circumcise or cut an awful lot more than you realize. Verse six for in Christ Jesus.

Neither circumcision on circumcision. It was is anything what matters. All that matters is faith working through love. That's it. That's what God is producing in you. You want to produce in you a new heart that loves the right things that you asked what how is it. Therefore, though, that faith actually does like she does produce love. There's really two reasons.

Number one is because it restores God to us as father is he as long as you think of God, mainly as a judge, you're never really gonna love him. God wants you to learn to relate to him as father and the only way you can do that is for him to move himself as judge in the way that he did that was by judging Jesus in your place of others.

No more judgment left for you. The gospel restores God to us as father by the way limit really quickly here deal with the myth that a lot of people seem to believe about God. They believe that God wants us to be scared of his judgment, because then if were scared of his judgment then will be coerced to behave. It's like heaven is the character God holds out in front of us and that was the statement he has behind us and this is the way that he motivates us to obey.

Martin Luther called this the damnable doctrine of doubt, doubting whether it whether or not God was going to judge us. He said it is true.

It is true that when you're scared of God's judgment, it will produce. It will produce a surface level obedience. But underneath that thin veneer of obedience is going up rage, a heart of resentment and unbelief and anger toward God. He said there is no way that you will actually learn to love God when you're scared of his judgment. Real love for God can only grow in the security of the love of God for you. That's what Paul is saying is true about the gospel.

God didn't motivate us with the carrot of heaven with a stick of hell like one of the gospel.

The gospel is that God took the stick of hell and be Jesus wet it and they gave us the carrot of heaven that he deserved and gave it to us as a gift that we can only receive that's a persuasive God as his mother second bank is up with the spirit of love inside of us to put the spirit of love inside of us in the spirit so full of love that you start to exude out of you both point is you can experience the gospel. You just can experience the gospel and not become a person overflowing with generosity and love. This might be a little cheesy, I admit it, but friend of mine told me about his seven-year-old little girl who came to faith in Christ and he said he said about a week or two later, after she had prayed this prayer and asked Jesus to come in her heart and she comes me and said she had this look on her face and she said that I'm really confused and so yeah she said will daddy hell hole is Jesus, and I was a grown man from about my height will daddy I mean I'm a lot smaller helpful in my eyes like you like three footage of daddy Jesus as big as you and I mean sitting is gonna stick out everywhere. If he's in my heart and my friend said he because I knew I had my moment right there and I was like yes sees Jodi to get a stick out of every but does not like your thinking it just love for God and love for others will just become part of your life will start to characterize you because Jesus Christ cannot be inside of you is spirit cannot be in your heart without other people just seeing it everywhere. So Paul says in verse 16.

I say that wall by the spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh walk by the Spirit.

He will not carry out the desire of the flesh flesh right here is or is kind of a confusing word in English and Greek.

It's the word Starks we translate flash but don't think of it as Paul saying the body is bad and the soul is good reason. I know that is because in the list. He's about to give us of what the flesh, the fruits of the flesh is Melissa bunch of things that have nothing to do with the body you have everything to do with a heart and in another place called to tell us to actually use her body to glorify God through not saying that the bodies bad the soul is good/or Starks. It simply means that part of you that is not yet brought underneath the control of the spirit. The part that the spirit has yet to fill with resurrection power and renew a says that part of you would always be at war with spirit part for the flash desires what is against the spirit spirit desires what is against the flats.

These are opposed to each other. They hate each other so that you can't actually do what you want to do. You always got a war going on among you. Now he says the works of the flesh are obvious he's going to give us a list of 16 different things here that characterize our flesh. The kind of in three or four major groupings. The first three have to do with sexuality. He says sexual immorality.

That's a record for Naya and it just means any sex outside of a man and woman in a marriage relationship moral impurity.

That is where I got RCI and it refers to things are unnatural outside of Dodge original design for sex, promiscuity, Delsea, that just means things are out of control. You can control your sexual desires on the next two words that he uses are about religious corruption idolatry. When you love something else more than you love God sorceries.

When you do things try to manipulate God to be on your team. Whether that's good luck charms are more fake teaching or whatever it is these gives us eight words eight words that describe our relational conflicts, hatred, strife, Delsea outburst of anger, selfish ambition, decisions, factions, and make millions off the list with three words refer to substance abuse where you thought you need a hint of something in order to stay alive ago to have that dopamine release writers billboard an empty so that might be drugs might be. Alcohol might be pornography. I might be like some baseboard or impulsive shopping or evening that is good at something good about that. I don't actually feel alive, I'm warning you about these things as I warned you before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God that were practicing their means, not occasional lapses, where you fall back into it, but it means a life that is defined where you pursue those things where you just got to build a life around pursuing these give you delight in these things. And if you are pursuing those 16 things you have no part in the kingdom of God's heart away from them. This is been a conflicting message titled freed to be alive, don't miss tomorrow and pastor Judy Greer gives us the nine things that describe the character of the Christian you're listening to Summit life and we are teaching series called freedom in the in between.

Tomorrow is the last day to reserve your copy of the new Summit life Bible we customize it by adding a few pages at the front with a Bible reading plan so I recently asked JD what makes this reading plan helpful or unique to us the idea that we had behind the plan is. That's reading about 23 chapters per week and you like about the lighting that will okay let's say that that six days a week. Your reading list to say that like most of us you have that day and I know what you are one good solid grace day a week to six days this essay that's that's a little lesson for chapters a day. That's very doable of all the minutes you have in the day.

I will say that that is about as good of an investment as you can make. We've all had the experience of many of us have sit down to say I'm a read the Bible, do it this year and you get, you know, Genesis, Leviticus, you know, and then all of a sudden I'm skipped Exodus. There you dislike also use it, Leviticus, and it's like your finger run on the beach you sent me jump in the water go to almost a crawl. This will help you help you maintain a good clip. Through the Bible in a way that's giving you the overall arc of the Bible and it will move you along the way to get to the end.

I'm reading lesson for chapters a day with one week that you can miss.

You will get to the end of that and you will say I have read the Bible writers stand our government and then you can see both your life and God more clearly. I think it's a great resource. I've struggled for years I I don't admit this all the time, but I've struggled for years even after being a PhD in theology and pastor, sometimes reading to the Bible and I have loved resources like this. And so it's it's a delight for us to be able to provide want to our listeners. We must give you a copy of our new custom Summit life Bible today comes with our thinking utility to support this program on the radio, TV and online name listeners like you, telling you to name you got another think it's when you like fixing my gift to someone else. By doing your part is proving going today and remember to ask for your copy of the midnight Bible, 33 526-335-5220 or you can donate and request this resource online TV I'm not even events that let you join us today is your listening and next time it shares a steady character. That's right here on Senate life prayer ministry

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