Sermons

Summary: There are forces at work undermining the Christian faith. Paul suggests that the forces seemingly come from within our Christian faith.

Body of Lies

Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe

Plot: A CIA operative, Roger Ferris, uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader suspected to be operating out of Jordan. When Ferris devises a plan to infiltrate his network, he must first win the backing of cunning CIA veteran Ed Hoffman and the collegial, but perhaps suspect, head of Jordanian intelligence.

In the opening scene – In Manchester, England, terrorists confirm their plans to attack Great Britain: “We will avenge the American wars on the Muslim world. We will come at them. Everywhere…” Terrorists continue working on their diabolical plans in their apartment when a heavily armed British intelligence team prepares for a raid outside. The terrorists stop and seem to hear the warning sounds of an oncoming attack. After uttering a quick prayer to Allah, they immediately hit a detonator -- killing themselves and the British elite in a violent explosion that rocks the entire block.

Intro:

There are forces at work undermining the Christian faith. It certainly can be viewed that these forces come from outside of our faith, government controls, other religions, non-believers. Paul however suggests that the forces can also seemingly come from within our Christian faith. Tonight we will look at three distortions of Christianity and explore how they can affect our Christian walk and how to avoid falling to them.

READ: Galatians 4:11-20

Video Illustration: Transformers

• Time: 1:19

• Start Time: 0:49:08

• End Time: 0:50:27

Start Cue: Boy riding bike by fence

End Cue: Boy on pavement with mouth open

Sam (Shia Lebouf) is on a bike being chased by his yellow Camaro. He stops under a bridge and is relieved when a black police car shows up (with “To Punish and Enslave” written on the side). He runs to the windshield of the police car and begins to explain his desperate situation. But instead of help, the car begins to knock him backwards -- almost running him over -- eventually transforming itself into a large evil robot.

Paul’s fear is that the Christians in Galatia had succumbed to other influences, in that they pretended to be Christians, but in fact they were hostile. They falsely represented Christianity with the brand of faith.

Paul suggests that at some point, the Galatians welcomed and tolerated him, even though he came to them with some kind of sickness. He then suggests that sometime after this, they turned on him, due to forces from within the group. Through the letter we can identify three distortions of Christianity:

1. Judaized Christianity: Christian Jews who recognized Jesus as the promised Saviour and therefore any gentile (non Jew) desiring to be a Christian must first be a Jew.

2. Legalized Christianity: Christians are those who by a long list of “don’ts.” God favour is earned by good behaviour.

3. Lawless Christianity: Christians live above the law. They need no guidelines. God’s Word is not as important as our personal sense of God’s guidance.

Tonight we will look at these three distortions and how to be aware of the dangers. These distortions come from genuine concerns, but we will see how an unbalanced view of them skews the Christian faith. Paul’s concerns is to see that we are aware of this, and that we avoid this at all cost, so not to weaken our Christian witness. At the heart of the matter is how we view people in our community.

1. Judaized Christianity: Christian Jews who recognized Jesus as the promised Saviour and therefore any gentile (non Jew) desiring to be a Christian must first be a Jew.

Some Christians have a high regard for the Scriptures and God’s choice of Jews as his people. They did not want to see God’s commands overlooked or broken.

Legitimate Claim? YES

However, as a result they tended to add human traditions and standards to God’s law. Thus they subtracted from the Scriptures God’s clear concern for all nations.

Genesis 17:5

“No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”

Isaiah 55:3-5

3 Give ear and come to me;

listen, that you may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

my faithful love promised to David.

4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,

a ruler and commander of the peoples.

5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,

and nations you do not know will come running to you,

because of the LORD your God,

the Holy One of Israel,

for he has endowed you with splendour.”

Romans 1:16

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

It had been God’s plan to use Israel as an example to ALL nations that God was interested in all people. This was completed in the person of Jesus Christ. Now he is the example that we follow.

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