The Called Out – The Gospel – Stephen Orr 09/01/22

Prepare

As we approach Sunday take time to read the passage: Galatians 1:1-10 and consider these questions:

  • Note any words that standout to you.
  • Compare the opening verses of Galatians with that of Colossians and Philippians.
  • How do they differ and what do you think this says about the Paul’s heart and motivation?
  • What do you think the problem was in Galatia?

Engage

The Called out:

Have Hearts driven by the Gospel

They:

  • Love Jesus
  • Love others
  • Know their role

Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is. Together with Barnabas, Paul had been responsible for the founding of the Christian congregations to which he was writing, and it grieved him beyond measure when some of those churches departed or were in the process of departing from the essentials of the gospel. 

Leon Morris, Galatians: Paul’s Charter of Christian Freedom

The anxiety and anger that Paul expresses is the same that any loving parent or friend would experience if a child or companion was going seriously astray.

Timothy Keller, Galatians For You

Pauls heart was driven by the gospel because he believed in the wonderful hope of the gospel.

The Called out:

Have the Hope of the Gospel

Paul will explain to us that the truths of the gospel change life from top to bottom; that they transform our hearts, our thinking and our approach to absolutely everything. The gospel—the message that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope—creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth, for obedience, for love. Galatians is all about the gospel, which all of us need throughout all of our lives.

Timothy Keller, Galatians For You

Jesus is our hope. We are rescued, taken out, from our old life by the power of the gospel.

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Because of the hope of the gospel which he had shared with others his desire was that they would:

The Called out:

Hold only to the Gospel

As Christians there are two dangers we can fall back into our old life as Paul talk about the flesh or we can be templed to add to the gospel and reduce the place and power of Jesus in our lives.

It is human nature to think that we can save ourselves.

this is the humbling truth that lies at the heart of Christianity. We love to be your own saviours…. So we find messages of self salvation extremely attractive, whether they are religious (keep these rules and you will earn eternal blessing) or secular (grab hold of these things in your experience blessing now). The gospel comes and turns them all upside down. It says: God in Jesus provides a rescue which gives you far more than any false salvation your heart may love to chase.

Timothy Keller, Galatians For You

As we think about this we need to ask ourselves:

  • What could you be adding to the gospel?
  • Who are you listening to?
  • Why do we listen?

Apply

This week take time out to reflect on this passage.

Focus on the Gospel and how it is the centre of our faith: the wonder of Jesus’ birth, life and resurrection.

Take time to consider are there any practices or traditions in your life that you are adding to the gospel?

As Paul finishes this section stating that he serves Christ not man, allow this statement to challenge you to live as Paul did.

Allow these verses from Philippians to encourage and challenge to this week.

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

As I reflect what have I found interesting? 

As I reflect what has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

Is there one practical step I can apply to my life to help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this help me to introduce others to Jesus?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should share with, pray with or encourage?

God With Us Through Insecurity – Stephen Orr 07/11/21

Passage: Psalm 33

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Paul to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 6)

The Battle

We are in a spiritual war and the devil will use apathy, anxiety, insecurity and abandonment, as part of his arsenal against us. And we know in our hearts that he uses them effectively. 

I believe the world, the flesh, and the devil are alive and well; and aided by our scepticism, they are wreaking havoc in our souls and society.

It’s a war on lies. And the problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc in our souls.

John Mark Comer, Live No Lies . SPCK. Kindle Edition.

We see in Ephesians 6 just how seriously we are to take this and our part in fighting the war, the devil the father of lies wants to use everything he can to destroy us, so we need to work hard at putting on the armour and fight back. 

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Psalm 33 focuses our attention on the faithfulness of God. 

The truth is that we can all have times of doubt and questions about God’s faithfulness, maybe through life-changing accidents or diagnoses or just in the course of normal life.

Insecurity might be defined as the state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection.

As we will see in this psalm, God is in control. 

We can have security, as we trust him. 

Another definition of insecurity is: uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

Everyone feels a little unsure at times. As humans, we constantly think, and some of our thoughts can be filled with doubt. This can lead to thoughts of insecurity. Too much insecurity can lead to other problems — in relationships and in your everyday life. However, there are ways you can work through your insecure thoughts and live life more confidently.

What is insecurity?

Insecurity is a feeling of inadequacy (not being good enough) and uncertainty. It produces anxiety about your goals, relationships, and ability to handle certain situations. 

Everybody deals with insecurity from time to time. It can appear in all areas of life and come from a variety of causes. It might stem from a traumatic event, patterns of previous experience, social conditioning (learning rules by observing others), or local environments such as school, work, or home. 

Understanding the nature of insecurities can help you manage your own and offer others the support they need.

Web MD

Lockdowns have probably compounded and exacerbated issues some of us may have had already.

These two forms of insecurity, insecurity in our faith and personal insecurity are massive arrows in the devil’s quiver. We need the shield of faith to extinguish them. 

How can Psalm 33 help us?

We need to hear the truth in this Psalm:

God is faithful  

And because he is faithful, we can have, confidence in who God is, and his plans for the world and our lives – even when we can’t see the way forward. 

Because God is faithful: we can have:

confidence to praise him

The call is to joy and praise. Insecurity messes with our emotions. To praise and worship fully engages our emotions, in the right way, in a way that is good for us. 

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Why should we praise God joyfully?

Consider:

  • Psalm 33 verse 4 (But how do we allow our confidence to grow – so that we actually trust what God has said and feel able to rely on him always being faithful and completely reliable?)
  • accounts throughout scripture of God’s faithfulness (Jesus restoring Thomas (everything he had believed was for nothing) and Peter (he denied Jesus and went back to fishing) in their darkest moments when their trust was at its lowest ebb and their securities threatened to overwhelm them (Do any other examples come to mind?)
  • the story of your own life (How has God accompanied you faithfully in the past?)
  • check out Psalm 33, verse 5 for more insights in into reasons for confidence in God and joyful praise (Do any of these particularly help you personally in your everyday walk?)
  • Read verse 6 aloud: By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. (Does awe come easily to you? What activities might allow awe to grow?)
  • 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (What is your response to this picture of God’s authority?)

Because God is faithful, we can have:

confidence in his plans 

Read aloud:

the truth that God is in control:

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

confidence in the benefit of following him

Read aloud:

the truth that we are enormously blessed – seen and known and chosen:

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. 13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth– 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

Confidence in him and nothing else

Read aloud:

the truth that no one can save themselves – anything else we put our confidence in will fail:

16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.

confidence in him in life and through challenges

Read aloud:

the truth that there is a solid basis for hope for those who are in right relationship with God:

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

Think back over what has been read aloud:

what word or idea has had most impact on you?

confidence and hope in him. 

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33.20-22

Father God,

Teach us to wait and hope in you, rejoicing and trusting your unfailing love.

May these truths help us to extinguish the devil’s arrows that seek to destroy our security in you

and and may we grow freely into the people you made us to be.

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage