Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
We're going to be diving deep into not just asking what does the Gospel really mean, but why is it that Paul is so, so upset with the Galatians, and he's speaking so, so strongly. 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 called Unleashed as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. You can find out more about it and even receive a copy of your very own for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer at pastoralan.org. Find out more about it and make your request or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Again, our website, pastoralan.org. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. Okay, are you ready for some good news?
Yes. The reason I ask you if you're ready for some good news is because the good news of the gospel is what preaching is all about. To preach gospel means to preach good news.
And so therefore, it's important to acknowledge every time that what we're gathering around is good news. We've been looking at this kind of inaugural sermon of Jesus's in Luke chapter four. Luke chapter four, he takes the scroll of Isaiah in verse 17, and he unrolled the scroll and found the place where it's written, the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
And what I'm focusing in on is this. He came to proclaim good news to the poor. And then I want to take you over tonight to our primary text in Galatians in chapter four. Galatians chapter four, verse eight. Formally, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world whose slaves you want to be once more?
You observe days and months and seasons and years. He's talking there about you're observing all these Jewish festivals. You feel like you have to legalistically keep the Sabbath or keep certain festivals.
You're just kind of going back on this legalism is what he's talking about. Verse 11. Verse 11. He listens to the pain in Paul's heart. I'm afraid that I may have labored over you in vain. So I thought the gospel had taken root.
Now here you've gone back to all of this. And then he continues at verse 21, using an example that we're going to be talking about tonight. Tell me you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
Now this may be interpreted allegorically. These women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery. She's Hagar.
Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. She corresponds to the present Jerusalem for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free and she is our mother. Look at verse 28. Now you brothers like Isaac are children of promise, but just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit, so also it is now. But what does the scripture say? Cast out the slave woman and her son for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. So brothers, we are not children of the slave, but of the free woman. He's referring back to a story in Genesis and we're going to be looking at that in a few moments and all this is going to make sense because at first, unless you're real familiar with the stories, it wouldn't make much sense.
But you can see this is one of the most powerful and poignant images Paul ever uses to describe how beautiful, wonderful and radical the gospel of the grace of Lord Jesus Christ really is. Some years ago, many years ago, my wife and I hosted a young adults group at our home. And as we were just getting started the second week that we were meeting and I didn't know all of these young adults that were coming. I was just beginning to get to know them. And the second week we're meeting, we'd already started our meeting, the front doorbell rang and I went to get the door and there on my front porch steps was a highway patrolman in full uniform. My heart sank and I could feel a little fear just came up within me. And my thought was, I haven't even been driving here in a while.
How can I be getting a ticket now? And then I started thinking, what else could I have done wrong? And why would he even be here? And I just said, yes, sir. I was this young man. And he said, hey, Pastor Alan. He said, I'm Randy. He said, I'm here for the Bible study. I said, oh, Randy. He said, yeah, I'm sorry. I'd been in uniform. I just got off duty. And I said, come on in, man.
Yeah, sure. And I thought until I knew that he was my friend, you know, I didn't, I didn't, I thought he was going to give me a ticket. In other words, you, you, you see what seems to be the symbol of the law. And you immediately started thinking about what might be condemning me. And a lot of people, this is the way they've come to view the church is that if there was someone who were representing God, then I have a little fear that comes up.
Some kind of condemnation is going to be coming soon. And his very good book, what's so amazing about grace, Phil Yancey tells about a friend who had a ministry amongst people who were on the streets of Chicago. And one woman who had been selling herself on the streets of Chicago and this friend of Yancey's was trying to help her. And at one point the friend asked this woman on the streets of Chicago said, have you ever thought about going to church? And she said, church? She said, I already feel terrible about myself.
She said, they would just make me feel worse. And whatever's happened, especially in our culture, there's a lot of sentiment and misunderstanding. A lot of people have the thing that that's what church is about, or even what gospel is about or what the word evangelical is about, which is based on the word that means gospel. And so tonight we're going to be diving deep into not just asking, what does the gospel really mean? But why is it that Paul is so, so upset with the Galatians and he's speaking so, so strongly. He is saying that the gospel cannot be infected with any law-based living or else it is like introducing a persecution spirit right into the midst of the home and the way that happened with Ishmael and Isaac.
And we'll explain that. It is to, for our purposes, as we think about gospel proclamation that we love supporting all over the world to clarify what we really mean by preaching. You know, I was a little disappointed, not a little, a lot disappointed in looking up Merriam-Webster's definition of the word preach.
I'm a preacher. And the first definition is plain vanilla to deliver a sermon. But listen to the second definition, to urge acceptance of an idea or course of action.
That's so far so good, I guess. But then it says specifically to exhort in an officious or tiresome manner. That's what people think it means to preach. You know, it's like somebody, if somebody is going through a hard time or they feel like they are, they're or they're trapped in some kind of sinful behavior, you know, and somebody starts talking and they're like, oh, don't preach to me. Last thing I need somebody preaching at me. And we don't understand that the word preach that is used in Luke 4, when Jesus takes that scroll from Isaiah, the word for preach is a word that is to say, proclaim good news.
That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. This is what the Lord says. I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Now, these are the final days this offer is being made available to you this month. 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. Let me show you this. Make sure that we get this straight. Proclaim good news is the Greek word euangelizumai, and euangelizumai comes from the euangelion. The this is the evangel. This is the euangelion is the Greek word for good news, and that's our word for gospel. So to preach is to euangelizumai. It is to proclaim the euangelion.
It is to proclaim good news. There's a word euangelion. It comes from this prefix eu. You see this in things like a eulogy, right? Eulogy comes from the words eu like good and logos word.
It's like to give a good word about somebody. And the second part of the euangelion is just angelos, which is messenger. You know, angel means messenger.
So that's what this means. It means that it is the proclamation of a good news announcement. And the comparable word in the Old Testament, basar, was a word that was just used to announce something like the birth of a child or the victory of a battle.
It's one of the most wonderful words. It's the announcement of good news. But what Paul is going to say is we're going to see is that when you start mixing in any law, then you introduce this unlimited capacity for fear and condemnation, and the good news loses its goodness. And that's the problem in Galatia.
So here's what happened. Paul had preached the gospel. It was received with great joy there amongst the Galatian Christians. They were filled with the spirit. They had miracles in their midst.
It was it was a wonderful gospel community. And then these Judaizers had entered the scene. Now, it's a word that is used to describe false teachers who came in and began to try to convince the the converts in Galatia that in order to be a true great Christian, that you not only needed what Jesus had done and accepted by faith, you need that. But in addition to that, they said there are other things if you want to really be close to God, then you'll keep certain days and you'll legalistically keep the festivals.
And specifically, they said, and you'll keep practicing the Jewish ritual of circumcision. And Paul is just furious about this. And you wonder, why is he so mad until you realize that what Paul is mad about is that when you introduce any mixture into the gospel where it's like, yes, it's about Jesus and what he's done for me, but it's also a little bit about what I need to do. Now you've got a mixed message and and it's paralyzing.
And even worse than that, it is poisonous to the to the soul. That's essentially what he's saying. I had the opportunity to be going down to Moultrie, Georgia, earlier this week to speak at a banquet there as a church there in Moultrie that I did a conference a couple of years in a row, maybe a decade ago, and I hold that church in my heart. And so they invited me back to come down and speak at an event and I had a counseling center. And so I said, sure, I'll come. Well, it's a long story short, it's it's hard to get to Moultrie, Georgia on airplanes. And I was kind of tired. I was coming back home and my flight had a connection in Charlotte to get back in and go to Raleigh and then drive home to Raleigh.
And about this time I'm getting kind of tired on Tuesday and I get into the Charlotte airport. We were a little bit late and I realized I was going to have to run to make my connection. And I'm getting too old for this stuff, you know, running through airports.
But I said, OK, I'm going to run. And I received a text on my phone that said that the airplane was going to be at gate D1. And but I always like to check the monitor at the airport. Right. Anybody you guys that travel check the monitor because the monitor is what's the live thing.
Right. So I checked the monitor. It said C19, which is it D1 or C19. And my plane had just gated at E28, which in the Charlotte airport is as far away as you can get.
They need to have a train or a bus from E28, but they don't. And so I just said, I got to make a decision here and I don't know what to do. I'm just going to run for C19 because that's what the monitor says. I stopped two other times, checked C19. Every monitor in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport said C19 for my flight. And I literally ran.
I'm sweating, I'm huffing, I'm puffing. And I got to the sea concourse in 19s at the end. It's the last one down there. And so I went down and there I saw that, you know, there were some people boarding and so forth. And it said Newark. And I was trying to remember that not just was I preacher, but I was a Christian. I was forgetting all of that about that time. And I said something like every monitor in the airport says C19, and now I might miss my flight.
And please call over there. It didn't, it may become quite as nicely as, that's a mixed message, right? I did make the flight.
I ran to D1 as they were closing the gate. And a mixed message is a message that will have you left worried and weary. Psychologists talk about in some of our parenting or our relationships that somebody wanted what we call a double bind. And double bind message is where, I don't know, let's say the child spills milk and mom says, I love you, but really, it's a double message.
Okay, do you love me or am I less loved because I spilled the milk? And so it leaves you wondering a little bit about that. It's like saying, I don't know, I feel trapped here between two things. And what Paul is saying is that I came and I preached you a gospel that was the good news of what God's done for you in Jesus Christ, so that it is not about your merits. It's not about your righteousness.
It's not about you keeping any laws because you can't manage to keep the law by your own power. And now these false teachers have come in and you've begun believing this and you're starting succumbing to this. And what's happening with this is it is leaving you with this mixed message. And the very power of the gospel is being eroded from you. And what Paul's concerned about is it as soon as you have a mixture of the gospel, then it introduces the capacity for fear to come into your life in a whole new way.
Because if you are wondering whether you're keeping the little bit of the law that you're supposed to, even though it's mostly gospel, it can just rob you of the joy you have in the gospel. I remember some years ago reading about a father who was emotionally distant from his son and sometimes abusive to the son, but the boy loved fishing. And the only thing they ever did together was sometimes they'd go fishing together. And he'd had this rod and reel that he wanted so badly. And his birthday rolled around and his dad came and gave him a rod and reel. But as he gave him the rod and reel, he said, now I expect you to be sure and have all your chores done on time. And remember, he said, he's walking away. He said, I gave it to you. I can always take it away from you.
And the little boy said, in reflection on it, writing many years later, he said, I almost didn't want the gift because I was so afraid of losing it. When you introduce law, even if it's like gospel, gospel, gospel, good news, good news, good news, but then you introduce the bad news of, but if you're not good enough and you don't measure up, then maybe you won't have all the affection of God. If you introduce that, even though you might talk a lot about the grace of God, you have infected it and it's like poison into the whole system. Our radio ministry that is through Sharing the Light Ministries is celebrating 10 years and we're very thankful. Reynolda Church has a strategic partnership with Sharing the Light Ministry and so we're celebrating 10 years of radio ministry. And one of the things we've been doing is just going back and looking at some of the letters of encouragement and testimonies over the last 10 years.
It's a very encouraging thing to do to see people all around the nation that have been receiving this message through radio. But as we began that first year, I was looking back over there and saw a note that really in some ways it haunted me and also motivated me because we received it. I think in the first year we were on the radio, it was from a man named Herman and he wrote this note and he said, I love the Lord and I want to grow in His grace and knowledge. My only desire is to please God, but I know that I come up short. Did I say the right words at the right time when I tried to witness to someone? Did I study God's word long enough? Did I pray right? He writes, I witness every chance I get. I study the word one to two hours a day. I listen to preaching and teaching on the radio, but I still feel guilty of not giving the Lord enough when I think of what Jesus has done for me. I'm 60 years old, he wrote, but I cry often because I can never do enough for the Lord.
Pray for me. That kind of slavery and bondage is what Paul is talking about. It gets introduced when you start introducing, but it's more than just fear that gets introduced when you start introducing legalism into the gospel. It's not just that you become afraid or that you feel paralyzed by a mixed message. It's that it becomes part of your identity and this is the worst part and this is the worst part of all. I've been reading a book by a woman named Tara Westover.
It's a New York Times number one bestseller. She was raised in a strange home in Idaho in which her parents were very strict Mormons who had a survivalist ideology and hoarded oil and food and believed there was a big conspiracy and that they needed to keep their children from the outside world. And so, for example, Tara didn't even have a birth certificate until it was needed much later in her life and she was able to finally get one, but they had no, they said they homeschooled, but they didn't offer any education. They had a junkyard and the kids were expected to work in the junkyard and where they were injured often and they didn't believe, they believed medical practice was bad and evil, so when they were injured, they wouldn't get medical help. Instead, they did home remedies. Her older brother was abusive towards her.
This is all she knew, but she taught herself enough about reading enough about reading and arithmetic to eventually take the standardized ACT test and after the second attempt, she was admitted to Brigham Young University. Alan Wright. Then we're placing a bookmark right here and we'll come back and pick up the conclusion of the story and this teaching. It's titled Freedom for the Captives Through Gospel Proclamation in the series Unleashed. I encourage you to stay with us though. Alan is back here in the studio here in just a moment sharing a parting good news thought for the day you can hold on to. This is what the Lord says. I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Now we are in our final days of offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. Back here in the studio to share Alan's parting good news thought for the day. And Alan, what's your prayer for everyone listening after a message like this? Well, we're going to be seeing the image of Paul and Galatians saying, get rid of the slave woman and referring to the image of Hagar. It was kind of the earthly solution to a problem that actually God Himself was supernaturally going to need. God was going to give them their own biological son, Abraham and Sarah. But in their hurry and in patience, they brought in Hagar and Ishmael was born. And my prayer is that in seeing the power of the gospel of grace, that all the temptation to rely on human effort would be set aside so that you could enjoy God and trust God.
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