Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
Try to stand firm in your freedom because every manner of diabolical, dark, destructive thing comes into our lives when we give up the gospel of grace and embrace legalistic thinking. 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. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month made to Alan Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, you can go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. Are you ready for some good news today? God is your Father, and you are free in Christ Jesus.
If you've been set free, you are free indeed. See, watching these Olympic athletes and watching their parents is just such a delight because any parent that's ever watched their kid try, work hard at something and then, you know, have their big moment like that, in some ways you're feeling it even more intensely than the athlete is feeling it. And to watch someone like Ali Raisman's parents who are just squirming and feeling every move that she makes in her routine, or to watch Donel Leyva's stepdad, Yen Alvarez, who is not just in this Olympics, but you can go back and find that he has been doing this for years. Every time that Donel does something good, he is running and pumping the air and kissing his son and hollering out, that's my boy. It got me so interested, I just looked him up a little bit more about the story. It turns out that Donel's biological father is actually in Spain, and so Yen Alvarez is his stepfather, who has not only essentially adopted him as his son into his heart, but has also been his coach, and is here with him because Yen defected from Cuba, swimming across the Rio Grande, to come and be with him. And in one of the clips, I just love where after Donel's, and you can just hear Yen saying, that's my boy, that's my boy. It's interesting, and a poignant picture, if while you contemplate those parents that are watching, celebrating, sometimes hurting with the kid who hasn't done as well, you see that parent watching so intently, you have to remember there's somebody else that's watching just as intently from a different perspective, the judges. Just picture in your mind Donel's stepdad running around, pumping his fists, just ready to come and just fall upon, and just kiss his son, and just tell him how proud he is of him. There's somebody else who has no emotion wrapped up in it whatsoever, who is simply a judge, and the job is to be objective, and to look for any mistake so you can deduct points.
Which brings me to my question of the day. Who is God to you? Is He like a judge who's watching and inspecting your every move, ready to deduct points if you mess up? Or is He your Father and your coach, rejoicing over you of every good thing, and longing for your every success at every point in your life?
Who also is a coach such that if you ever do fall down, He's there to pick you up and show you a better way. Who is your God? And if you want to get an answer at that question, there's an even deeper question underlying it probably, and that is, are you under law or are you under grace? For if you answer the question that God feels more to me like a judge who's inspecting me, it probably means that your mind still gravitates, as most do, towards a system of the law.
A performance-based system, wherein your idea of God is somehow founded, as is most people in America, on this wrong belief system, that if I'm a good person, then that's how I get into heaven. That if I do more righteous acts, then God will, for that, look upon me more favorably. If you think like that, if you have a worldview or religious ideology that thinks like that, that is what Paul is addressing in the letter to the Galatians, and he calls that being under the law, and he's contrasting that with this tremendous urgency in his heart with the gospel of grace. For what he's saying is that the gospel of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be mixed with any of that sort of thinking. For the very moment that you think that God will love you a little more if you do your floor routine a little better, the moment that you see God in that light, you have, Paul's going to show us today, put yourself back up under the law in legalistic thinking.
And there is such tremendous danger to this that really this constitutes much of the essence of the spiritual battle that we face every day. What we're going to learn today in Galatians chapter 5 verses 1 through 6 is the nature of what real Christian freedom is, and I want to show you today not only what this Christian freedom is like and what it is that we've been set free from, but I want to show you an unbelievably beautiful and powerful connection between the hope that we have in Christ and our ability to stand firm in our freedom. Galatians chapter 5. We've been in an unhurried study of Galatians, this now I think the 15th week, and we're still not in a hurry.
We want to take our time. This is one of the most lavish feasts of grace that I know of anywhere in God's word. It is my prayer again today that is like God has for us this unbelievably lavish buffet, and that for this moment and for your heart and for mine, that He would take and put upon our plate what we could digest for today, and it would be such delicious nourishment that we would leave both satisfied and hungering for more. Galatians chapter 5 verse 1. For freedom Christ has set us free.
Stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look, I Paul say to you that if you accept circumcision Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he's obligated to keep the whole law. You're severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law. You've fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit by faith we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. There's a longing in every heart for freedom, not like the brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land. Here at our seawashed sunset gate shall stand a mighty woman with a torch whose flame is the imprisoned lightning and her name mother of exiles. From her beaconed hand glows worldwide welcome.
Her mild eyes command the air bridged harbor, the twin city's frame. Keep ancient lands your storied pomp cries she with silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free the wretched refuge of your teeming shore.
Send these the homeless templates tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. It's not coincidence. It's not without reason that the most famous part of Emma Lazarus's sonnet that is posted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is this line. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free because we are made for breathing freedom. We are made for freedom.
It is in our design and therefore wars have been fought and the spiritual battle that we face. That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. 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, 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 spiritual warfare of our lives is centered on our freedom. And because this is so important, there's probably no other word or concept that is more misunderstood than the concept of freedom. The battle is for freedom. And note well that Paul does not say, stand firm and then you will be free.
What he does is you will be free. What he says is that Christ has set us free, therefore stand firm. If you want to get an idea of how it's even possible that a people could ever gravitate or be lured back or tempted towards slavery when they've tasted freedom, you need to go no further than the story of Exodus where we see after one long weekend how it is that the Israelites are ready to start doubting their whole deliverance and whether it was worth it. That just getting a little thirsty or hungry in the desert of life made them start wanting to think about going back to Egypt where they'd been slaves.
How could it ever be appealing to be a slave? And yet this is what's happening in the province of Galatia. If you're new to the study of Galatians, essentially what Paul has been saying is that these Judiastic teachers, false teachers had come in and had corrupted the thinking and theology of those young Galatian Christians. For Paul himself had proclaimed the gospel to them and he'd seen with his own eyes how it was that they'd been born anew, born of the Spirit.
And how it was that they began their life in Christ by His grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit. And yet now he was getting this word that false teachers had come in who were saying that in addition to accepting what Christ has done for you and in addition to accepting the cross and the resurrection of Jesus and that God came and died and took your place so that you would be justified, in addition to that these teachers were saying there are some additional laws that you ought to still keep if you want to be sure that you're fully included in the family of God. And so this became a focal point, the Old Testament ritual of circumcision as a sign of inclusion in the Old Covenant. And so they were insisting that Christians should also have this Old Testament ritual because if you don't then you may not be fully saved, you may not fully belong to God. They also were evidently emphasizing certain dietary laws from the Old Covenant or observing special days or festivals and any of these things, Paul is pleading with all of his heart and he's laying out rational reasonable arguments from them, he's drawing Old Testament allusions, he's doing everything that he can to make this point with the Galatian Christians.
No! Don't let anyone contaminate or pollute the gospel of grace because as soon as you add a little bit of law into the gospel of grace you've not only diluted it, you have poisoned it. And the very gospel that sets you free can end up binding you even further because once you bring in the thought that maybe I need to do this in order to make sure that I'm really saved, to make sure that I really can be blessed by God, once you start adding any of that in it's like a germ, it's like leaven, it's like a seed and it infects every part of the gospel. And so if you bring in a little bit of law you are doing more than just adding something to the gospel, you are ruining the power of the gospel and Paul will not sit still and watch the power of the gospel be eroded.
The gospel is too powerful and there's too much that is at stake and so he's saying to the Galatians by the time he gets to chapter 5 and he's explained justification, he's explained the power of the gospel and he comes to this point and you can hear him just almost shouting it, stand firm. This is a spiritual battle. There's so much at stake. Stand firm.
It's the language of warfare. You have been set free. Don't let anybody take your freedom from you. Freedom is so misunderstood and it is such a powerful Christian concept that I intend to come back to this in the next message as to the nature of freedom, how it is conveyed and works itself out in our lives. But let me by way of sneak preview just say that freedom from a Christian perspective is not a freedom from responsibility, it's the freedom to be responsible. It's not freedom from morality, it's the freedom to be morally upright. It's not freedom to sin, it's freedom to not have to sin. Think of it this way, watching all these Olympic athletes and hearing their stories of their unbelievable training.
They've been training most of their whole lives and getting up early in the morning and swimming all those laps, running all those miles, lifting all those weights. And so on the one hand you could look at it and say, wow, they have a really restricted life. They're not free like I am. I'm free to lie on the couch and eat potato chips. You could look at it that way.
Or you could look at it the other way and that is you could say to me, Alan, that's a pretty long aisle you got in the church there. Been watching those floor routines with some of those gymnasts and how about you just go running down there and then pop a little handstand and jump up and do a double flip with a twist. I'd have to say to you, I'm not free to do that. If you brought in those uneven bars and told me to leap up through the air and do a couple of dooflikies and turns and then grab onto the lower bar, I'd have to say, I'm not free to do that. In fact, if you told me to get in and swim the 400-meter butterfly, I'd have to say, I could give you 10 meters. I'm not free to do 400 meters of butterflies just now. I'm not ready for that.
I'm not trained for that. How do you see freedom, you see? Freedom, when we speak of it in the gospel, is not, oh, you're free so go ahead and just, you know, lie on the couch and sin the rest of your life. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a freedom that releases you into your destiny.
Freedom is glorious. Don't let anybody steal that from you. Don't let anybody bind you up, Paul's saying, because there's so much that is at stake. I mean, look at the incredibly stark things that Paul says. He says Christ, verse 2, will be of no advantage to you. If you start thinking legalistically, you put yourself under the law, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
Well, what is he saying? He says then after that, that if anyone accepts circumcision, if you accept a little piece of legalism, you're obligated to the whole law. You can't look on it and say, well, I'm going to just take a few little pieces of legalistic thinking and bring that in my life. What Paul's saying, no, it's more severe than that, because you're either under grace or you're under the law, and once you come under the law, you're under the whole law. That's what he's saying. He said if somebody's going to come and tell you that you need to keep a certain day or you need to practice a ritual of circumcision, then if you're going to agree to that, then you've also got to agree to every other jot and tittle of the law. That's what he's saying. It's because he's talking about a system, an ideology, a thought, a way of living.
That's how much does it state. He then says, verse 4, you're severed from Christ if you'd be justified by the law. If you want your way of salvation to come by keeping law, then you just separate yourself from the gift of Christ. He says you've fallen from grace. Now what he's saying here is not, he's speaking to Christians, he's not saying you're no longer saved because you've got this legalistic thinking. What he's saying is that you're severing yourself from the very nourishment that God has for you. You are removing yourself from the power of the Gospel that will fuel your success in living out that Gospel.
If you come under the law, you're removing from your life the very power of God. He's insistent on this. It's by the Spirit and by faith that you are to live. He's making it as not only pointed and passionate, but he's making a plea.
He's just like, please see this. Alan Wright and today's teaching, Free Indeed. It's from our series on Galatians and Alan 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 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. 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, 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. Freedom is worth fighting for. We've heard that. And it's true with Christian freedom as well, right? Yeah. The thing is, spiritual warfare and the resolve of our lives in Christ and the whole armor of God in all of this is to stand in our freedom and not become slaves again to the cycle of fear, shame, and control that comes with a system of law. And we need to recognize, Daniel, there's always going to be a temptation to revert back to old legalistic thinking rather than standing firm in the gospel of grace. And so our freedom in Christ, this is a big part of the spiritual battleground. And it's there in that spiritual battle that we're invited to stand. Old habits, old patterns, even when you were unlearned as a child, some of the things you did learn as a child or just grow accustomed to that was ingrained, I imagine, in the spiritual life. Exactly, exactly. Things that get ingrained. And then when we become new, there's just so often there's a pull back towards the old. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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