Key Text:Gal. 2:11-5:13
Mark shared how he had been struggling since early November with some the lethargic responses he had been seeing in our church family. Nothing worthy of the “sin” label necessarily, just an approach to life, faith & church that was with a slack hand. As he had these thoughts he wondered – “Have I pressed the fact of our freedom in Christ too much?”
Then he began to think that it was probably due to questions like these that the “preachers” of a century ago began to create “Bible based to-do lists” in order to guide the people from selfishness in their freedoms into dedication WITH their freedoms. These lists however, were not the answer because they have resulted in so much bondage, shame, “mask wearing” (false fronts) and glib, patterned answers to spiritual issues. It has become another form of Law to be “UNDER”. The intensions were probably good, but clearly the end results reveal how the methods were misguided.
So then Mark asked the Lord, “How then do you rejoice in and enjoy your freedoms in Christ, without becoming lethargic, selfish and slack?” The answer came in the form of a reminder of the life and letters of our beloved Apostle Paul. He had to deal with both sides of the spectrum, and wrote letters addressing these issues. In the end, when Paul new his children int he faith were slipping into lethargy or lawlessness, he encouraged them with a stirring towards Grace – he never condemned them. This beautiful pattern, clearly revealed in scripture does not play down the sinfulness of sin, nor overlook it’s deadly consequences. In fact, Paul often reminds them of the very warnings he gave them about sin while he was physically with them. In the end though, the answer is to do as Paul did,
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” ~ Gal. 2:17-21 NKJV
It is from these thoughts, that this series of teachings came from…