Summary: Examining the fact that we are accepted by God "In Christ Alone"
In Christ Alone (Part 2)
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Keith Hernandez (now retired) is one of baseball's top players. He is a lifetime .300 hitter who has won numerous Golden Glove awards for excellence in fielding. He's won a batting championship for having the highest average, the Most Valuable Player award in his league, and even the World Series. Yet with all his accomplishments, he has missed out on something crucially important to him -- his father's acceptance and recognition that what he has accomplished is valuable. Listen to what he had to say in a very candid interview about his relationship with his father: "One day Keith asked his father, 'Dad, I have a lifetime 300 batting average. What more do you want?' His father replied, 'someday you're going to look back and say, "I could have done more."'" - Gary Smalley & John Trent, Ph.D., The Gift of Honor, p. 116.
What a shame it is that a Father could not or would not accept his own flesh and blood. It is human nature to desire acceptance and approval.
Remember when you were a child and the team captains were picking their teams? You always wanted to be picked first, it was an honor for someone to recognize you abilities and desire that you be on their team. (Or you may have been like I was and you were just thankful when you weren’t the last one picked)
After High School graduation some of you applied to a certain college and you waited for months for that letter to come in the mail, everyday you ran to the mailbox as soon as it was delivered looking for that special envelope. Then one day it is there, you nervously open the letter and you see that you have been accepted…WHAT A GREAT FEELING!
When you submit an application for employment and make you way through the interview process and then are hired for the job, it is very fulfilling to be chosen by that employer.
Maybe you already have a job and your supervisor comes to you and says we have a job opening and we would like to promote you to fill that position because we feel that you would do the best job. It is a great feeling to be recognized and rewarded for you hard work.
* On the flip side, we have all suffered rejection at some point in our lives. You interviewed for that job and you weren’t hired… You applied for that promotion and someone else got it… You asked that guy or girl for a date and he/she laughed in your face! It is natural to despise rejection and to desire acceptance!
There is no greater joy than knowing that you have been accepted by God the Father. Listen to what Paul says about this in Ephesians 1:4 he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Not only have we been accepted… WE HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY GOD INTO HIS FAMILY! And all of this happened… IN CHRIST ALONE! I would like to return to Galatians 2:15-21 and continue to examine the subject “In Christ Alone”
Paul is still sharing with the Galatian believers an account of a confrontation that he had with Peter concerning some hypocritical actions that took place at Antioch. In Part I of this sermon we examined the fact that “We Are Justified Through Christ Alone”. Intertwined in this truth is the fact that we could not be accepted by the works of the Law or works of the flesh.
> The law is the light that reveals how dirty the room is, not the broom that sweeps it clean. - Dr. Phil Williams, DTS, 1976.
If that is the case, then how are we accepted by God? Notice:
II. We Are Accepted Though Christ Alone - v16b even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The works of the Law were not sufficient but Christ’s work was accepted by God. When it comes to salvation, Jesus has already completed the work! The Judaizers were attempting to add to the work that Jesus had already finished. And this is an issue that is still present today! Here in 2014, many still attempt to add to what Jesus has already done and in turn they are taking away from His work of Justification!