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Trick or Treat?

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2020 8:00 am

Trick or Treat?

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 23, 2020 8:00 am

The futility of seeking to be justified by observing the law; the treats we receive when we live by faith; based on Galatians 3:1-24.

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There are some blessings that come along with being part of the family of God. One of the advantages of surrendering and realizing that you're crucified with Christ is you get to enjoy God's partnership. Hello and welcome to this Wednesday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. We're glad to have you with us. Well, when you come to faith in Christ, you get a benefits package, and one of those benefits is that you get to enjoy a lifetime partnership with the Creator of the universe.

He'll never leave you, never forsake you. There are plenty of other perks for all of us as believers in Christ, and Pastor Paul shares them with us next. Stay right here or visit anytime to listen on demand.

You can also download the podcast at Google Podcasts or wherever you get yours. Now, here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Trick or Treat. Galatians chapter three. Let's look at the first nine verses, beginning with verse one. You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you before your very eyes?

Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish after beginning with the Spirit?

Are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? You have suffered so much for nothing if it really was for nothing. Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham. He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand then that those who believe are children of Abraham. The scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham. All nations will be blessed through you.

So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. I decided to entitle this message Trick or Treat because the apostle opens this section of the letter by saying, who has bewitched you? He uses a very strong word. Who has bewitched you?

Who has put a spell on you? What's wrong with y'all? It's kind of what Paul's getting at if you want to make it real common sounding.

And so I just chose to use that particular phrase which is common to us. I'm not preaching on Halloween so you can relax if that's a hot button issue for you. You know there are different views about Halloween in the body of Christ. There are those who say, hey as long as you're not dressing up as witches and warlocks and encouraging your kids to think those things are cool then you're alright. Then there's another category of believers who say, well we think Halloween ought to be avoided but because there are some activities around our children we like to offer positive alternatives. And so many churches will do something like hallelujah night instead of Halloween night or something like that.

And trunk or treat is one of the things that you'll see in certain places around the country. And so some believers say a positive alternative is a really good opportunity for us to keep the right themes before our children. And then there's the category of folks who say we should have nothing to do with it at all. We should recognize that because of its promotion as they would see it of some very negative, very harmful, very anti-Christian themes that we should do nothing in the way even of positive alternatives.

And so you have those three schools of thought and it's one of those debatable matters in the family of God. I think when it comes to debatable matters we need to constantly remind ourselves of the old adage, in essentials we should have unity. That is when it comes to doctrines that are really make it break it issues then we should have unity by all means. We ought to collectively affirm essential Christian doctrine.

So in essentials we should have unity. But in non-essentials, and I would put that in that category, we should practice liberty. The fact of the matter is you should be fully convicted about your own position. In your own heart you shouldn't let anybody move you from it if it is a well thought through position.

Be fully persuaded in your own mind. But give grace and liberty to your brothers and sisters who don't see it quite the way you do. And then in all things we should have charity.

And so if Halloween is a hot button issue for you and you don't even like that I use the title of the message trick or treat. Just forgive me please because I'm really not preaching on that. It's a good rule period when you're engaged in listening to the word of God, reading Christian books, going to conferences, whatever it is. Whenever you're engaged in instruction in the word of God, you are bound to run across some things where you have a different slant, a different view from instructors, teachers, authors, that sort of thing. I think we ought to learn to not be so narrow that we can't be blessed by what we can be blessed by.

I don't agree with everything I hear but I still allow myself to be as blessed as I can possibly be. And what I've practiced over the years is what I encourage people to practice. I call it the watermelon principle. Enjoy the fruit and spit the seeds. If there's a seed you don't like you don't throw the whole melon away. Whether it's watermelon or whatever melon you enjoy that has seeds in it, you don't throw the whole thing away because it has seeds. Oh, this has seeds in it. No, no, no, no. You enjoy the fruit and when you get a seed in your mouth and you feel it, that's a seed.

No, I don't want to swallow that. You just and you keep on going. And I think you ought to do that when you're reading Christian books or listening to messages, attending Christian conferences, whatever it is. Don't throw everything away just because you take issue with a thing or two.

Just learn to be a little more world class than that. And so forgive me. I ask in advance if you don't like my choice of title but I promise I'm going to preach truth out of Galatians chapter 3. And again, Paul uses a word that I cannot ignore.

He says, it's like you've been bewitched. I really don't understand how you Galatian believers can actually see yourself going from freedom back into bondage and not be disturbed. And he is trying to, as we've been saying throughout the series so far, he is trying to shake them to the reality that Christ has set us free from legalism, free from seeking to be saved by means of observing the law. And he wants them to learn to walk in and enjoy the freedom that they have in Christ and to get away from this pattern of walking in bondage.

And so when he moves into this section, now in the last message, we looked at the last verses of Galatians 2 and we saw that there is a key principle here. Paul says, I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet it's not I, but Christ is at work and alive in me. And the life I now live in this body, he says, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Now that's a key to learning how to walk with Christ is, as Paul says, and the point we made is, we must die to everything but Christ.

The Galatians had to die to their attempts to be justified by the law. Paul said, you've got to realize that when Jesus was on that cross, in a very real way, not only were your sins on the cross, but you yourself were on the cross. And that you should die to self and everything that self would try to do to be right with God. And instead, you ought to learn to live by the faith of the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you. And so built on that foundation of dying to self, of dying to an attempt to be justified according to the flesh, we suggested that many of us aren't necessarily in today's Christian world hung up on trying to be justified by the works of observing the law. That's not necessarily the hang up for many of us, but many of us seek to be justified while having flesh on the throne of your life. A lot of us, I said, want to kind of have a Burger King Christianity, have it your way.

But that works at Burger King, that doesn't work in the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God, we're called to die to self. We ought to have our own Gethsemane, a time where you say, Lord, here are some things that I would want to happen.

Here are some decisions I wish you would sign off on. Here are my desires, nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done. And all of us have to get to a place where we get to that nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. All of us have to get on the altar until everything is surrendered over to the Lord and we ourselves are on the altar so that we can be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable under God, which is our true spiritual act of worship. In other words, God doesn't want you just singing and shouting and praising him and then you try to hold on to the self-life. Because that's not true worship. Paul said in Romans 12, true worship is when I get on the altar and say, Lord, I might as well be dead because all I want is your life to come through me. And so we've got to learn that that is the will of God.

And Paul continues in that theme as he moves into chapter 3. And look at the way he addresses it. He says, you are bewitched and yet you are the people who saw the Lord crucified. You were able to experience it in your own time. You know that Christ was portrayed as crucified among you. The eyewitnesses have spoken directly to you. You know people who were there when Jesus died.

You have heard firsthand accounts from people you've been able to speak to. And of all people, he says, you ought to know that Jesus died and you ought to realize that he would not have died if there was any way you could justify yourself by observing the law. So he says, you must be under a spell.

You must have been bewitched. But what he goes on to say is, instead of being tricked, you ought to realize that God in Christ has given you some treats. And it's up to you to decide whether you're going to be tricked or whether you're going to enjoy the treats. I came to tell you there's some treats if you'll learn to live the way God wants you to live. Coming up next, the rest of today's message, Trick or Treat, with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. is the place to go to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's And while you're there, be sure to visit our online store for some great resources, including books and MP3 downloads from Pastor Paul. You can also watch selected video clips by subscribing to Pastor Paul on YouTube.

For more details and links to all of his social media, visit When Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised to send his disciples a parting gift. It's a gift he still gives believers in Christ today. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of this message, Trick or Treat.

There are some treats. There are some blessings that come along with being part of the family of God. And Paul lays out in chapter three, he lays out three things that I want to call treats in this message. The first thing he says is one of the advantages of surrendering and realizing that you're crucified with Christ. One of the advantages is you get to enjoy God's partnership.

Look at how he makes this case. He says that God has given you the Spirit. He says you have received the Spirit.

Now, he puts it in the form of a question. He says, did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? In other words, he's saying you all have received the Holy Spirit. That was a blessing from God. You didn't earn God's presence in your life, God's partnership in your life. You didn't earn it. You couldn't earn it. God, through his love and grace, gave you the treat of his partnership through the Holy Spirit.

Now, I want to make sure you understand what that means. If you try to observe the law, if you try to be justified by your own works, then you are operating according to just human effort, and that would fail. God knew it would fail.

God knew that no one would ever be justified in his sight by means of what they can do. So what did God do? He not only sent his son to die for our sins, but then the son said, now, I'm going back to heaven after my resurrection. He hung around for some 40 days and showed himself alive through many infallible truths, Paul taught in another letter. Jesus, having revealed himself as alive, more than 500 witnesses saw him.

Eyewitnesses saw him alive after his resurrection. But before Jesus left, he told his disciples, now, I'm going to go away, but you will know I made a safe trip to heaven because when I get there, I'm going to tag team the Holy Spirit. Now, why are you going to do that, Jesus?

Because if I leave you all in the world without my own partnership, then you will not be able to live the way I've called you to live. So I didn't come to die just for your sins and give you a clean slate for you to just dirty up again. Now, you need to understand that Jesus didn't save you just to say, OK, all your sins are forgiven. You are clean through the word I've spoken to you. Now, good luck living the rest of your life.

How sad would we be to get a clean slate and no ability to live differently thereafter? So he said, I didn't just come to save you and forgive you. I'm now going to send you the Holy Spirit.

What's his job? When you read John 14, Jesus makes it very plain. Read it when you get a chance in the Gospel of John Chapter 14. Jesus says, when I go away, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit to you. And he is going to be your personal guide, your personal comforter. King James says, counselor NIV says he is going to be someone who comes alongside you as a personal guidance counselor.

He is going to walk with you. In other words, God said, I am going to not just save you and leave you to yourself, because if I leave you to yourself, you'll mess up everything. What I'm going to do is save you and then I'm going to come get in you by the Holy Spirit and I will live the rest of your life with you.

And to the extent that you yield to me, you will experience many wonderful treats. And so that is the first benefit Paul lays out here for walking with the Lord and for being justified by faith. He says that you must understand that God has given you the treat of his own partnership. Salvation, I've said it many times before, but it bears repeating, salvation is not at its core religion. Christianity is really not religion, because religion, I know what we mean when we say it is and to an extent it is, but in the purest sense, religion is often man's attempt to try to be right before God. It is man's attempt to honor some deity or deities.

Christianity is at its core not religion but relationship. It is God coming, God becoming sin for us so that we could become righteousness in him and then God saying, now that I've made you clean, I'm going to walk with you, I'm going to give you my spirit, I'm going to develop a personal relationship with you so that you now have a personal companion with whom you can go through the rest of your life. And I want to let you know that is a wonderful benefit of Christianity, because what you get to do is you get to have God active in your life every day. Every day you get to wake up with God not only being omnipresent, he's all over the universe, but God being personally present with you. God being personally acquainted with what's going on in your life. He is touched with the feelings of your infirmities. He knows his plan for you. He knows what he wants you to avoid. He knows what he wants you to do.

He knows what he is working out in your life and he is there as a personal guide through life. I've come to tell somebody that you've got to learn to practice the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. You've got to learn to say, Lord, I thank you that you're with me. Now I'm getting ready to go to work and you know what's going on in my job, Jesus. Come on, I need you to go. If it was just me by myself, I'd be worried, but I thank you, Lord, that you're going with me. And I need you to lead me.

Now see, now let's pause for a moment, that's the problem. Now many of us know he is with us on some level, but the yielding part is what we've got to get good at. Yielding to him where he goes ahead, he's the leader and I tuck in behind him. A lot of us want to jump out in front.

Not you, but people I know want to jump out in front. We want to make the decision. We want to decide who to love and who to hate. We want to decide who to speak to and not speak to. We want to decide who to forgive and who not to forgive.

We want to decide how to handle feeling mistreated or disrespected. We want to decide he didn't come into your life to watch you fly the plane. I've told you many times before, if you had that bumper sticker, God is my co-pilot, please tear that off.

Please tear that off. I'm sure whoever coined that phrase, they meant well. They meant that God is a companion with me.

But the language is poor and inaccurate. The co-pilot sits over there, does a few things, but the pilot is responsible for the welfare of the flight. So now if God is the co-pilot, who are you?

Come on, can we talk? If he's the co-pilot, then he's sitting over there, just tell me what you need now, just tell me what you need. No, no, no, no, no, he won't be your co-pilot.

He won't watch you fly the plane until you get tired or until you get sick or sick of yourself or messing up. No, no, he came into your life to take the pilot's seat and to put you over here and to guide your life. Like I said, he will be a comforter, a counselor. He will be the person who guides you into truth.

Not just theological truth, guides you into experiential truth. Meaning he'll get your life on the right footing. He will make sure that you make solid, God-honoring decisions. But he must be the pilot. He's got to be in charge. And it's a wonderful treat when you get to turn your life over to the God who knows what you don't know.

When you think about it, why wouldn't you surrender to the Lord? He knows the end from the beginning. He knows where you're going and how to get you there. You don't even know where you're going.

Much less how to get there. Oh, come on, let's be honest. All we have is a pocket full of good intentions. Hopes and dreams and desires.

I hope my life works out okay. He says, I began the good work in you. I have promised to bring it to completion. And what you got to do is let me lead you and guide you from where you are to where I've destined you to be. Philippians 1, verse 6. He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. That's God's promise to you as your partner. And every promise God makes is a promise God keeps.

Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, Trick or Treat. Remember, is the place to go to hear any recent message on demand. That's

Well, we've done a little research and we can tell you what you may have already suspected. More people than ever are listening to Christian radio and internet programs like Destined for Victory. That's why your support is so critical today because people are searching for answers, searching for truth. Pastor Paul shares that truth every day, but he needs your help to do it.

For your generous donation to Destined for Victory, we have a gift we'd like to send your way. A study guide from InterVarsity Press called The Fruit of the Spirit. This great resource outlines some of the qualities to which every believer in Christ should aspire. Love, joy, peace, patience.

There are nine qualities in all. Fruit that God wants us to ripen in our own lives so that we can go out and share it with others. Again, that's Fruit of the Spirit, our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone. Or mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Block 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. You can also make a safe and secure donation from our website,

Thanks in advance for helping keep Destined for Victory on the air. Navigation system was on, address had been put in, and so what happened was, after I shot by and I looked down and I saw recalculating, in a moment there were new directions on the screen. They were directions of repentance.

Oh, I'm going to help somebody if you let me. They were telling me to repent. What can a GPS teach us about our walk with Christ? Find out tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Trick or Treat. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 13:46:25 / 2024-02-05 13:55:41 / 9

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