Sermons

Summary: To truly love others is to reduce theological knowledge to its lowest common denominator by bearing one another's burdens and so fulfill "the law of Christ" - the one that matters most.

IN HIS SERVICE, LOVE BEARS BURDENS FREELY

“In His Service” is how some of us in Christian ministry sign letters and communications intended for church members and non-members alike . . . how we who are called by His Name are expected by Him to live our lives . . . if freely given is a sure sign that true love reigns in the life of a professing Christian.

Where true love reigns: countless sacrifices are made without complaint . . . encouragement abounds with ease . . . forgiving others “their trespasses against us” occurs naturally, is not coerced . . . opportunities to serve others in Jesus’ Name are seized due to the probability that time may be of the essence.

For Paul, whose remaining years for finishing his course were fading fast, time was of the essence for: continuing to teach the basics to new converts . . . correcting false notions which were being fed to new converts by Judaizers . . . completing the task of seeking to reduce Christian theology to its lowest common denominator – for the sake of practical application.

Dr. L. D. Johnson, one of my mentors of highest caliber, once said, “The test of a good theologian is, can he write a tract?” That is to say: After he has expounded at great lengths about tremendous theological truths, can he reduce it to something that the ordinary person can understand and put into practice?

Under attack from a sect of Jewish Christians – “Judaizers” - who insisted that Christians not only be baptized but Judaized . . . demanded a summit conference in Jerusalem to “set Paul straight” . . . lost their argument at that meeting of church leaders, yet kept on dogging Paul wherever he went, seeking to undermine his teaching of salvation by grace not by works . . . showed up in Galatia after Paul left there to go elsewhere - Paul desperately, with time running out, sent “a letter of understanding” to the church at Galatia. Set the record straight!

In the first section of his letter Paul expounded exhaustively and eloquently on the subject of law vs grace, and he expanded his argument to say that a believer is not only delivered from the curse of the law but resides in the spiritual realm of freedom to serve the Lord - not out of compulsion or threat of punishment, but out of a heart of love and gratitude for so great a salvation.

Based on Paul’s exhortation, it would be a contradiction for a person saved by grace to serve the Lord because the law demands it, rather than the more excellent motivation of love. Love produces acts of service - in much the same way that a branch, sprouting from a vine, produces fruit as a result of its connection to the source of life - the vine -the love of Christ who likened himself to “the vine”, and we the believers to “the branches”.

The life connected to Christ is free to produce spiritual fruit, against which there is no law! “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

Caution! When you a professing Christian hear that word “liberty” - which is often spoken of in terms of “set free” - be careful to rightly divide the word of truth so as to avoid misinterpreting, then misapplying, Paul’s teaching on freedom that is ours in Christ. Remember this: Liberty is not license! Galatians 5:13-15 . . .

As surely as we are saved by grace, just as surely our salvation is manifested by works - motivated by love not by law. Love does not ask how little I can do to get by but how much more I can do to show why Jesus means all the world to me!

There is therefore no desire on my part or in my heart to say or do anything or go anywhere that, in so doing or going, might bring reproach upon His name.

“Christ in you” gives you: (1) the right reason and added strength to say “no” to pressures that at times seem insurmountable - academic . . . group . . . going along to get along . . . political . . . social . . . (2) the right motivation to say “yes” to opportunities that contribute to the well-being of society and of specific causes that do good . . . (3) the right direction for your life inasmuch as the Holy Spirit of God becomes your guide . . . your protector from potential harm from any evil associated with assaults on Christianity . . . your comforter in tough times.

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