Summary: My New Year’s Resolution is to be committed to the cause of Christ. What is yours?
January 1, 2012
Text: Galatians 3:1-14
Title: Faith and Commitment – Moving Forward With God
I think this is my favorite Sunday of the year. And no, it’s not because there are so many football games on TV. But the first Sunday in every new year provides us all with an opportunity to stop and look at our lives and make those New Year’s Resolutions that most of us make but never keep. But there’s something about it that keeps us making those resolutions. I think that is the hope that somehow we will find the willpower to make it happen.
Do you ever make the same resolutions over and over every year?
I will lose weight.
I will exercise more.
I will watch less TV.
I will spend more time with my wife.
I’ll spend less time on the computer.
I will back up my hard drive on my computer.
Come on now! Why don’t we make resolutions that we know we can keep?
I’ll gain as much weight as I can.
I will watch an exercised video.
I will watch more TV so I can know what is going on in the world.
I don’t even know what a hard drive is!
There, isn’t that much easier?
Most of my resolutions come from the spiritual standpoint. I want to become some spiritual giant and want to do all the right things and be everything to everyone at all times – to have all the answers… You all know that will never happen.
But here is one that is the truth.
I resolve to grow closer to the Lord this year.
How about this one?
I resolve to pray for revival every day.
I resolve to preach revival into the hearts of this congregation until it comes.
These spiritual resolutions that we make may be the hardest to keep, because above all else they require commitment. And we who have grown accustomed to our comfort zones often do not have that kind of commitment to change.
I want to share with you today Paul’s words to the churches in Galatia from Chapter 3:1-14.
Lord, I believe this is your word…
I believe all of it…
I accept it as mine…
I appropriate it to my life today…
In Jesus’ name!
If you want to be faithful to your spiritual resolutions you must…
I. BE COMITTED TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR STRENGTH… Paul is writing this letter to a church that has turned away from the message of faith that was preached to them by the great apostle. How disheartening it must have been for Paul to pour out his life in ministry to them and then have them act like they forgot everything they were ever taught. Look at how Paul confronts them in verse 1. 1 You foolish Galatians… The word “foolish” in the original Greek means “unintelligent”. I suppose that would have got their attention. Especially since their efforts in “good works” must have been based on their knowledge of scripture. The word can also be translated as “sensual” or being understood by the effect something has on our senses or what is coming from our “psuche” (natural man) as opposed to coming from the “pneuma” (spirit.) Who has bewitched you? Listen to the way the Amplified Bible reads – it really gives a clear representation of the Greek… 1O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you… Many in the church there were turning away from the gospel of grace and were beginning to rely on works. Here is the clear message Paul had preached to them, Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. The reason Paul called them fools is because what they were proposing made absolutely no sense. This is the same point he dealt with in the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 4:7, For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? Do we ever do that? Have we ever tried to accomplish what we want to do in our own power instead of relying on the One who has empowered us? 2 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? The key word in verse 2 is “believing”. It means, “being fully persuaded about someone or something”. Here Paul is referring to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that you receive when you are born again. But he takes it a step further, 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Folks, listen to me. Paul is addressing the very fabric of our Pentecostal belief – the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We all start with salvation by the Spirit and we will all end up in eternity by the work of the Spirit through God’s saving grace. But Paul isn’t addressing eternity here. He is addressing the right now. And that is where that second act of grace in the Holy Spirit comes. The baptism in the Spirit is for power while you walk this earth. 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? The word “suffered” means to experience a sensation or impression (usually but not always painful) It could be that Paul is asking, “Have you had all these great spiritual experiences for nothing?” 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. Who is the source of your strength? On whom have you placed your faith? Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. And we know that faith comes by hearing the word of God. So what God has begun “in the Spirit” shouldn’t we continue “in the Spirit”? If you want to be faithful to your spiritual resolutions you must…