Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. If you've ever had one moment of contentment in your life, you know, it is delicious, just one moment where you're just able to go, wow, I'm blessed.
I don't have everything, but I don't have to have everything, and I like what I have. That's a great thing. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, Galatians, as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina.
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Here is Alan Wright. We have people that want to say, don't preach that radical grace. You've got to add a little fear of punishment in there. But what is it that makes people lie and hide fear of punishment? What is it that enables people to be real and honest, to come to God when they're not afraid? People lie for a reason.
People steal for a reason. They're afraid. They won't have enough.
They're afraid that there won't be a provision. Grace announces the words of Jesus. Announces God loves you. Whatever hard time you're going through, it's not because God doesn't love you. You maybe go through a difficult time in your life, but there's a word here for you from the Lord that you see the sparrows, the birds of the air, they do not fall to the ground without the Lord's permission.
How much more so will He take care of you? Look at the lilies of the field. Solomon, in all his glory, is not arrayed like them. How much more would God, who cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, care for you, to clothe you, and to feed you? Grace announces God's unconditional love and the gifts of God. People covet because they're inwardly empty of grace. Void of grace, we covet. Void of an inward assurance of blessedness. The grace that Paul announces is the grace that declares a guarantee of blessedness in the saints.
I cannot overemphasize this. That when Paul says we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, this comes to us not of our own merit, but of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we will never be able to believe that we are blessed unless we receive grace. It is the grace of God, the gift of God, that makes us spiritually rich. And it is when we are spiritually rich and we know ourselves blessed that we are not tempted to covet.
It is when we feel unblest that we covet, and when we covet, we are miserable. Grace brings freedom because it makes us rich in the Lord. I want to pray for you today for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Open your heart to receive the riches of His kindness. I do not need to come down attacking sin with the law.
It does not work. Instead, I come with a mightier sword of the Spirit. He is mighty to save, and He saves by His grace. The reason that people get drunk is not because they are happy already and they want to get happier.
It is because they are not happy and they are looking for a way to be happy. Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. I dare you to get drunk in the Holy Spirit. You wake up with no headache and peace and love be filled with the Spirit.
Who would want to be throwing up on themselves when you can be filled with the Holy Spirit? Second major misconception. The first major misconception of freedom is that if we announce freedom like that, that people think that freedom is all about, oh, I get to go have a fun time sinning, and hopefully I have sufficiently mocked sin to make my point. Secondly, a major misconception is that freedom is measured by increased choices. This is a big part of the ideology of the age.
This is a big part of the lie of the spirit of this age, and we need to see it well and understand it well. The current ideology says that it's always better to keep the playing field open. The wider the playing field, the better. Keep your options open. And if you preach grace, grace, grace, the opponent would say, people will just gravitate to a life of no commitment.
That's implying that no commitments and keeping your options is a far better thing, and people always desire that. There was a study that was interesting done about, I can't remember, a decade ago or so, and it was by Sheena Ivingar, professor of business at Columbia University, wrote a book called The Art of Choosing. And at California Gourmet Market, Professor Ivingar and her research assistants set up a booth of samples of Wilkin & Sons jams. And every few hours they switched from offering a selection of 24 different jams to a group of six jams. And on average, customers tasted two jams.
So here's the picture. They put out 24 different flavors of jam, 24 different ones, and then they'd swap out and they'd put just six out there. And what they found, the customers came by for the free sample of it would sample on average two of them. Whether they were 24 choices or six choices, they'd sample two of them. So that was interesting in itself.
But this is where it got more interesting. They found out that 60 percent of the customers were drawn to the large assortment. So more people stopped by to sample when they had more choices. But 30 percent who sampled from the small assortment decided to buy some jam. Whereas only three percent of those who sampled from the two dozen jam jars purchased anything.
Ten times more people, okay, more people went to where there were more choices, but ten times more people who went to the small choices actually bought some. Part of the theory behind this is too many choices paralyzes you. Have you ever felt paralyzed by all the choices? I mean, it's eaten up my life sometimes, I feel like. I mean, it's tearing me up right now, the pieces of mail I get in that offer me something better than my cable TV and better Internet service and a better phone service. I'm pretty sure I'm not doing the right one. And I take all these things and I stack them up and I say, I'm going to look at that one of these days and see.
I think I could be saving a lot of money if I would switch. And there's such a deal on this. And yet I don't have time.
And so they just sit there and stare at me, mocking me. You are not making the best choice. There are too many choices out there. And sometimes the choices just paralyze you. This is related to one of the most important spiritual principles in the whole Bible that Jesus ever taught. And that is this, that broad is the way that leads to destruction. But narrow is the way that leads to life. Narrow is the gate that leads to abundant life.
And broad is the way that leads to a very constrained life. In other words, you envision two big fields that have a big, big fence around them. And you see one and it has this huge gate. And you could pass through it at any different points and it's just wide open.
But the image is this. It's like you step through this really wide gate and then once you step in and the gate closes behind you, all of a sudden you realize you were deceived and that the field is actually very small. Whereas the other is it looks like this very small gate that looks like you have to just barely fit in. But once you step in and the gate closes behind you, the field in front of you is far bigger than you ever imagined it would be. There's a tremendous expanse of freedom once you go through this narrow gate.
That's the image that Jesus is using. It's like saying, I mean, again, just because it's such an easy example, let's just talk about experimenting with drugs, for example. They're probably a better example, but let's just say there's some young person and they're like, I'm tired of everybody telling me what to do and I'm tired of the law and I'm tired of my mom and I'm tired of these people and I'm going to express my freedom and I'm going to try some crack cocaine.
It looks like, okay, I see this broad way here that allows me. I can try crack. I can try meth.
I can just try marijuana. I'm just using this as an example, how broad it looks. I've talked to several people trying to recover from crack cane addiction that said that from the first hit on crack cocaine, they knew they were hooked. I mean, it's like that. Crack can be like, you're just like that.
In other words, it's like, it looks so broad. I am free. I am free. That's what the message is. I can try anything I want to try and then try it and then your world shrinks and is confined.
Another way of saying it is broad is the way that leads to slavery and narrow is the way that leads to an inheritance of life. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Do you ever feel like something's holding you back, as if you lack an important key that could change everything?
Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how? What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Now, the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales, but this month, Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. The prodigal son, we call him the prodigal son, who left and spent all his inheritance and wild living because what? I'm going to keep my options open. I'm not going to stay here with my dad. I'm not going to stay here and do what he was like.
I'm going to go do what I want to do. He spends it on drinking. He spends it on women.
He spends it on everything with the idea that he's free. But what we see standing back here looking at the story is you're not free. You're a slave.
And when he finally comes home and he falls into his father's arms, we realize now you're free. This is... I don't got time to do this. I'm going to make mention of it, though, because somebody needs to say something. Now, this is very subject to being misunderstood, so let me make several disclaimers.
And please hear my disclaimers, especially the fact that probably about half the people hearing my voice are single, and some are single by calling, some are single by tragedy, some are single by choice, and God may be calling you to be single, and especially I want to say this disclaimer for everybody that is single and wants to be married, this is not about salt in the wound and those that have had a marriage that has failed and you're hurting. I'm sorry for any salt in the wound. I'm not talking about any of those things. So is that enough disclaimers to say that I like the title of Lori Gottlieb's book? I've not read the book, and I have no idea what it says. I'm just saying I like the title. It's written for women.
It's called Marry Him. And the subtitle is The Case for Settling for Mr. Goodenough. Her point being that there is so much in this world of choice that it gets into the thing where you've got to pick just the perfect person. But along with this is that the marrying age has moved up, up, up, up, and a lot of different reasons for this. I mean, granted, people are living longer, and they want to get out there and live some of their dreams before they get married. But some of this is related to the fact that people are afraid of marriage. And it just seemed like, you know, I'm out of my mind that I'm having to do this. But I have to talk to you about the benefits of marriage. I mean, because this is, I'm sorry, I'm just reporting the facts again.
All those disclaimers still apply, right, earlier that I made. But this doesn't apply to you if you're single, and I'm just going to still give you the statistic that in men who are alive, according to this one study that was done, men who are alive at 48 years old had a 90% chance of reaching age 65 if they were married, but only a 60% to 70% chance if they were single. That's a 250% higher mortality rate for the unmarried 48-year-old man. And I say this, I have no idea why that would prove to be true, but I say that in the face of all those people that are skeptics of marriage and think that marriage will kill you. And it is also important to know that married people, they actually, through other studies, show they have higher mental health.
One of the theories, you know, is that you just got somebody that's, you know, sitting there nagging you about you ought to go to the doctor. And married people are better off financially, according to all the studies. They have a better sex life, according to most of all the studies. They report themselves being physically and emotionally content more often than cohabiting people do.
Anyway, I'm out of my mind here having to say this, that there are benefits to marriage. But the reason I bring up this illustration, again, with apologies to anybody that's going through painful times and being single, is that I'm just a little bit tired of a culture that's trying to communicate to a young generation that if you want to really be happy, you need to keep your options open as long as you possibly can. Because what the Scripture announces is no, it's not a lot of choices that makes you happy, it's one good choice that makes you happy. It is a lie from the pit of hell to say, if you preach the gospel of grace, you're just going to give them a license to sin, because after all, that's what everybody wants to do, is just live a life of sin.
That's not true. And it's a lie to say that if you preach freedom, then what you're doing is you're just appealing to the fact that everybody just wants all these choices, when in fact, what the freedom that we're announcing is, is that it's a freedom that comes by a seemingly narrow way. We need to get this right. We need to be famous for our love. And we need to be able to announce this correctly, because it is breaking my heart that the world is so misunderstanding the church. And when we get labeled as being bigoted or judgmental, some of that has been earned. When we get labeled as being intolerant and hateful, some of that has been earned. But a lot of it is a giant conspiracy from hell to bring a massive judgment against the people of God to misunderstand the gospel. Because when we announce the gospel, and we're announcing what seems to be such a narrow way and so little choices other than the choice of Jesus, what we're announcing is a narrow gate that leads to a wide open life of abundance.
We really need to get this right. And we need not to be duped by our society. That's what I'm saying. Don't let anything interfere with your heart's ability to receive the grace of God.
Here's another misconception, the third one I mentioned. And that is that freedom is the absence of responsibility. Freedom is not the absence of responsibility. Freedom is defined by the ability to respond, which is responsibility. It might be the one person that says, I want to be free from having to go to work. It might be, say, I want to be free from having to report to anyone. Someone else might say, I want to be free to not take care of myself or not exercise. Whatever, when you begin to think that what freedom is is freedom from some responsibility, then rethink the definition of freedom because all you have to do, if you ever had that feeling like, man, I just wish I didn't have to go to work. I have too much responsibility. All you got to do is talk to a man in this economy who has been looking for work for two years and ask him what is the definition of freedom.
Is freedom defined by I don't have to go to work or is freedom defined by I get to go to work? When the people came out of their bondage in Egypt by the power of God that was demonstrated through the blood of the lamb, it was interesting that God had them come out and as they came out of Egypt, He told them to plunder the Egyptians. I've always been curious about that.
I mean, can you imagine that scene? They're coming out. All these plagues have come against Egypt and the final plague of the firstborn sons that are being killed in Egypt. And finally Pharaoh says, okay, you got your go.
You're free. And they're coming out. And what are they doing? They said plunder them as you go. And they're going, it's like, pardon me, I'd like to have that silver jewelry there also lest the Lord bring another plague against you and I'd like to have some. They're going out and they got these sacks on their back.
I don't know what. They've taken gold and silver and they're coming out rich. They're coming out rich. They're coming.
In other words, here's the picture. They were not just being set free. They were being turned into owners as they left which was prefiguring what they really were being called to was to take responsibility for a land that God had given them. And they didn't want to take responsibility for that land because it was very scary. They sent 12 spies in and they said there are giants in the land and we can't do this and they wandered in the wilderness. Their freedom was pictured in that land but in that land of promise there were many battles to fight. Isn't that odd?
Isn't that a paradox? That the place of freedom had more battles to fight than they were fighting. They had less battles to fight when they were slaves. They had more battles to fight in the promised land but when they were slaves they weren't free.
When they were in the promised land they had battles to fight. What I'm saying is that your responsibilities are not a sign that you don't have freedom. They are an expression of your freedom. Your responsibilities are your privileges. Every time that I walk out of the hospital after visiting one of the saints and I walk out into that garage and I walk out into that parking lot I look down at my legs and I thank God that I can walk.
Anybody's ever been sick? Anybody's ever been confined and their body can't be used? When you realize how precious it is you realize that exercising or taking care of your body is not a burdensome responsibility. It is a privilege.
Ask somebody who's been confined to a hospital bed for weeks whether it is freedom to be able to lie around or whether it's freedom to get up and work and exercise. Allen Wright and today's teaching on license not to sin. It's from our series on Galatians and Allen Wright is back here in the studio in a moment with us for additional insight on how this applies to our lives and today's final words.
Stay with us. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Allen Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Allen Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastorallen.org. Ever feel like something's holding you back? As if you lack an important key that could change everything? Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how?
What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book The Power to Bless which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Until now the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales but this month Allen Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover The Power to Bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Allen Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Allen Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastorallen.org. Contentment, Allen.
Can you describe what that looks like? Because on one hand I've heard it said even by preachers that contentment is for cows. And life just isn't that way for us. You're never going to sit there and just be, you know, you picture a cow chewing the cut and just have no worries. Or is it the gospel referred to as a piece that passes all understanding kind of thing? Yeah, well it's not contentment in the sense of, well, I don't care about anything.
I'm just sitting here and chew my cut. It's contentment really in the sense of wouldn't it be wonderful if instead of always feeling like you had to covet what somebody else had, that you realized you were blessed with what you have. I think contentment is not having everything you want but wanting the things you do have. And we're just learning how the gospel really sets us free from sin. And we shouldn't assume by the starting point being that, oh, people would really love the sin.
No, contentment is much better than covetousness, for example, and wouldn't we really want that? This is what the gospel is empowering us towards something that's much better than a sin riddled life. That's 877-544-4860. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching, delivered right to your email inbox, free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries. ... ...
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