Summary: Love, Faith, Service
The 3 C’s of a Healthy Church - The Love Connection
Galatians 5:6 (p. 812) January 22, 2017
So your boss walks into your office and you say, “Hi Boss.” And He says, “Hey.” But then he says, “Listen I stopped in this morning because I want you to focus on one thing today…seriously, one focus on one thing today…seriously, one thing…I need that Simon’s plan completed…I need all the numbers…I need the strategy worked out…It’s the only thing that really counts today…got it.”
And you understand just how important it is to him and you respond…“Got it!”
After he walks out you grab the Simon’s file, but the phone rings, so you answer it…after you get off the phone you decide you’ve got time to answer some emails and go talk with some members of your team….that lasts a while so you head to lunch with them…after you get back you look at the file, but get distracted by a game of solitaire…and then organize your desk.
When your Boss stops back in at 3:00 he wants what he asked for, but it’s not done…not even close…How happy is He going to be…you’re probably going to hear…“Man…it’s the one thing I needed from you…didn’t you understand it’s the only thing that counts today.” He might not fire you but he’s not going to trust you with a big project again anytime soon….and he might fire you!
When the Apostle Paul writes: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” to the Galatians and to us He wants us to understand what’s most important…He wants us to understand that this is the first priority of our faith.
Because it’s really easy:
I. TO START DOING STUFF AND FORGET ABOUT LOVING PEOPLE
The book of Galatians has been called the “mini book of Romans” because both deal with the issues of faith, grace and the Law.
Paul visited the Galatians on all three of his missionary journeys…and initially the Galatians received him warmly…they were very open to the gospel message…but then later some individuals began to question his leadership as well as prevent the gospel by saying, “You must obey all the traditions of the Jewish Law as well as accept Jesus by faith.” They especially required that “circumcision” was essential. Paul’s answer “neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything: what counts is the new creation.” (Gal. 6:15)
Let me share passionately that God’s church needs servants…The harvest is plentiful but the workers…are few.”
Without you fulfilling your calling and gift there will always be gaps…usually those gaps have to be, filled by people who are already serving in many areas, but don’t want the church to suffer…They end up doing too much and burn out…they also deal with the frustration of seeing people constantly sitting on the sidelines.
For 36 years I’ve witnessed the 20 percent doing 80 percent of the work…it’s been true at a church of 100 and a church of 1000. Older folks feel like they’ve done enough and it’s time for younger folks to step in…Younger folks feel unready or too busy with their lives…so a small core of the committed and the leadership scurry to cover all the basis…it’s not healthy but sad to say…it’s the norm.
I share this because the Galatians were being told…unless you do the right stuff, including “working out all the Law” you cannot be saved.
Paul says, “This theology makes you feel like a slave:
GALATIANS 5:1-5 (p. 812)
It’s a catch 22 “We were saved to serve” not to “serve so we can be saved.”
You see what connects us to Christ is our faith…and an absolute thankfulness for God’s grace.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
EPHESIANS 2:8-13 (p. 815)
Paul’s reminder is…no human work saves us…whether Jew or Gentile…God’s grace saved us whether you were a Jew who had the law and the covenant of circumcision…or a Gentile who had no such former relationship with God…In Christ Jesus, even though we were far away from God…His blood bridged the gap…He made a way.
[There’s a big difference between trying to be good enough, or work hard enough to be saved and serving someone who loved you so much they saved your life…
In Max Lucado’s book the “Applause of Heaven” reads, Even though by the “book” I’m guilty, by God’s love I get another chance. Even though by the law I’m indicted, by mercy I’m given a fresh start.
“For it is by grace you have been saved…not by works, so that no one can boast.”
No other world religion offers such a message. All others demand the right performance, the right sacrifice, the right chant, the right ritual, the right séance or experience. Theirs is a kingdom of trade-offs and barterdom. You do this, and God will give you that.