Start Strong, Finish Well | TBN

Start Strong, Finish Well

Watch Start Strong, Finish Well
October 27, 2019
27:30

Touching Lives with James Merritt

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Start Strong, Finish Well

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  • by the friends and partners of "Touching Lives
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  • by the friends and partners of "Touching Lives."
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  • Dr. James Merritt: If you don't see that Jesus is enough,
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  • you'll never know when enough is enough,
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  • because nothing will ever be enough.
  • 00:00:10.030 --> 00:00:14.010
  • Paul said, "Listen, Jesus is all we need and the only thing we
  • 00:00:14.020 --> 00:00:17.130
  • need to be permanently related to God."
  • 00:00:17.140 --> 00:00:21.020
  • male announcer: Teaching people everywhere who Jesus is
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  • and why they need him.
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  • This is "Touching Lives" with James Merritt.
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  • Dr. James Merritt: Your performance has nothing to do
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  • with God's acceptance.
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  • Your acceptance is based on God's provision of grace
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  • through Jesus.
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  • And so, what Paul is about to tell these Galatians
  • 00:00:39.000 --> 00:00:41.090
  • in Galatians chapter 3 is something I want to tell all
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  • of us today.
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  • I want you to listen very carefully.
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  • The way you start with God is the way you finish with God.
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  • However that is, the way you start with God is the way you
  • 00:00:52.250 --> 00:00:56.240
  • finish with God.
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  • Well, how do you start with God?
  • 00:00:58.070 --> 00:00:59.210
  • You start with God through his grace and your faith, and that's
  • 00:00:59.220 --> 00:01:04.260
  • the way you finish.
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  • If you start with God with grace, you finish with God
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  • with grace.
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  • If you start with God with faith, you finish with God
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  • with faith.
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  • And that is the only way you can avoid the shackles of legalism.
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  • That's the only way you can breathe the fresh ear--fresh
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  • air of liberty, because you remember what Jesus said?
  • 00:01:20.100 --> 00:01:23.220
  • Jesus said, "If you will know the truth."
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  • He didn't say the truth will bind you with rules,
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  • and regulations, and restrictions.
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  • He said, "No, if you know the truth, the truth
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  • will set you," what?
  • 00:01:32.260 --> 00:01:34.270
  • "Free."
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  • He said the truth will set you free.
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  • Jesus did not come to enslave us.
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  • He didn't come to get us into bondage, he came to get us
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  • out of bondage.
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  • So the question is, how do you get free with God?
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  • How do you enjoy that liberty?
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  • How do you enjoy that freedom?
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  • Well, there are three things you have to always do the rest
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  • of your life, and if you don't, somebody will come
  • 00:01:55.160 --> 00:01:58.070
  • along and they're gonna handcuff you in their laws, and their
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  • legalistic ways, and in their rules, and their regulations,
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  • and their restrictions.
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  • Okay, so how do you stay free?
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  • Number one, you look to the Son.
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  • You look to the Son.
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  • Now, Paul is so--every time I read this book, I think, "Man, I
  • 00:02:15.050 --> 00:02:18.220
  • wish I had half the brains this guy did."
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  • He's both a compassionate pastor and he is a wise counselor,
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  • because he realizes there's always gonna be this struggle.
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  • Look, we've all struggled with this.
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  • Let's just be honest.
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  • There's always gonna be this struggle that God accepts us
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  • just because of his grace and that God's acceptance of us
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  • has nothing to do with our goodness.
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  • We all struggle with that.
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  • We sometimes think it just can't be that true.
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  • It's too good to be true.
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  • Surely, I've got to do something to earn God's acceptance.
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  • Surely, I've got to perform in a certain way to make God
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  • happy and to make God pleased.
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  • And so, you're goin' to see immediately he's so frustrated
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  • because he's appealing not just to their head, to their heart.
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  • And he's so frustrated, he so aggravated because he was
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  • so crystal clear in the message that he preached to them and now
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  • that they're confused and he's so bothered by it.
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  • Listen to what he says.
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  • He says, "You foolish Galatians!"
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  • You can just hear it in his voice.
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  • He's like going, "I just can't believe I'm even haven' to deal
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  • with this."
  • 00:03:24.080 --> 00:03:25.180
  • "You foolish Galatians!
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  • Who has bewitched you?
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  • Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as
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  • crucified."
  • 00:03:34.230 --> 00:03:36.030
  • Paul is taking them back to when he first met them.
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  • When he first started talking to them, they didn't know
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  • who he was.
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  • And he goes back to when many of them, their eyes were opened,
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  • the light came on, their heart was changed.
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  • They gave their life to Christ because Paul had clearly
  • 00:03:46.290 --> 00:03:50.100
  • preached to them how Jesus had done everything.
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  • Not most things, not the big things, Jesus had done
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  • everything necessary on the cross for them to be
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  • accepted by God.
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  • He thought he had finally freed them from this notion that
  • 00:04:03.020 --> 00:04:05.270
  • somehow they had to be good enough for God, and now they're
  • 00:04:05.280 --> 00:04:11.050
  • being tempted to go right back into the slavery of legalism,
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  • the bondage of religion, the burden of trying to keep
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  • the commandments and do the best that you can.
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  • In fact, I want to call your attention to two words.
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  • He calls these Galatians "foolish."
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  • Now, that word literally means without knowledge or reasons.
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  • So first of all, he's appealing to their head.
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  • What he's saying is this.
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  • He's saying, "First of all, you're being illogical.
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  • You're being unreasonable.
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  • I want you to think this through."
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  • He said, "Look, once you understand what Jesus did,
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  • and who Jesus is, and once you understand what happened
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  • on the cross, that he made a full, final payment for all
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  • of our sins, he gave us permanent access to God."
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  • He said, "If you really understand that, it doesn't even
  • 00:04:55.150 --> 00:04:59.030
  • make any sense to try to add anything to the cross.
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  • It doesn't make--it doesn't make any sense to try to rescind
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  • or amend his offer of grace."
  • 00:05:05.150 --> 00:05:09.080
  • In other words, what Paul was saying is if you'll just think
  • 00:05:09.090 --> 00:05:11.140
  • it through, once you experience Christ, you don't want to add
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  • to him.
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  • Why would you want to take away from him?
  • 00:05:17.140 --> 00:05:19.280
  • He said, "Why would you even think about doing that?
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  • It's foolish."
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  • But he's a good guy.
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  • He's a great counselor.
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  • He knows you don't primarily reach people through their head,
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  • you reach them through their heart.
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  • So, he turns from their head to their heart.
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  • He says, "You know, you're not only being foolish,
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  • you've been bewitched."
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  • Very interesting word.
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  • It means to look at with an evil eye.
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  • I've been workin' on this.
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  • Look at with an evil eye.
  • 00:05:48.020 --> 00:05:50.040
  • It means to cast an evil spell.
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  • Now, you know, you know, theoretically speaking, if
  • 00:05:54.000 --> 00:05:56.120
  • you're under a spell, right, you're not thinking the way you
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  • normally think.
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  • You're not really seeing things the way you ought to see them.
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  • And what Paul is saying is the vast majority of the world
  • 00:06:03.250 --> 00:06:07.000
  • has been bewitched.
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  • The vast majority--listen, most of the people you live next door
  • 00:06:08.290 --> 00:06:11.230
  • to, most of the people you work with, most of the people you do
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  • business with, they're under this spell that they can
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  • earn their way to God, that they could work their way to God,
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  • that the way you get to God is you just do the best you can.
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  • You know, if the good outweighs the bad, and if you keep enough
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  • rules, and you abide by enough regulations, and you avoid
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  • enough restrictions, maybe God will accept you.
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  • Well, there are two problems with that.
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  • Let's just say that's true.
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  • Let's just say that I'm wrong and the other crowd is right.
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  • Let's just say the vast majority of the world has it
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  • the way it really is.
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  • You want to get to God, you gotta go through religion.
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  • You've got to keep the rules.
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  • You gotta keep the regulations.
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  • You gotta abide by the restrictions.
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  • Let's just say that's true.
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  • Well, you got two problems.
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  • The first problem is it makes Jesus dying
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  • on the cross meaningless.
  • 00:07:03.030 --> 00:07:06.260
  • It makes Jesus dying on the cross null and void,
  • 00:07:06.270 --> 00:07:11.000
  • because it's not enough to say, "Well, I believe that God sent
  • 00:07:11.010 --> 00:07:13.200
  • Jesus to die on the cross."
  • 00:07:13.210 --> 00:07:15.010
  • Well, wait a minute.
  • 00:07:15.020 --> 00:07:17.260
  • Why would God both send and allow his Son to come
  • 00:07:17.270 --> 00:07:23.270
  • and to die on a cross if you can earn your way to God?
  • 00:07:24.120 --> 00:07:29.070
  • I mean, let me just be honest.
  • 00:07:29.080 --> 00:07:30.260
  • I don't want to serve a God like that.
  • 00:07:30.270 --> 00:07:33.090
  • I don't wanna worship a God like that.
  • 00:07:33.100 --> 00:07:35.200
  • But the truth of the matter is, the cross says you cannot earn
  • 00:07:35.210 --> 00:07:39.100
  • your way to God.
  • 00:07:39.110 --> 00:07:40.210
  • You will never be good enough for God.
  • 00:07:40.220 --> 00:07:42.180
  • But there's a bigger problem, because if it really is true
  • 00:07:42.190 --> 00:07:46.260
  • that the way to God is through religion, and the way
  • 00:07:46.270 --> 00:07:49.180
  • to God is you doing your best, and the way to God is keeping
  • 00:07:49.190 --> 00:07:52.210
  • the rules, observing the regulations, avoiding
  • 00:07:52.220 --> 00:07:56.060
  • the restrictions, if that really is true, then you gotta answer
  • 00:07:56.070 --> 00:08:00.190
  • the question.
  • 00:08:00.200 --> 00:08:03.020
  • Okay, so how many rules do I have to follow?
  • 00:08:03.030 --> 00:08:07.280
  • And how perfectly do I have to follow them?
  • 00:08:07.290 --> 00:08:11.040
  • How many regulations do I have to keep?
  • 00:08:11.050 --> 00:08:12.290
  • And by the way, where do I find all these regulations?
  • 00:08:13.000 --> 00:08:16.110
  • And what restrictions must I observe?
  • 00:08:16.120 --> 00:08:18.130
  • And by the way, whose restrictions are they?
  • 00:08:18.140 --> 00:08:21.160
  • Now, can I tell you what I just did?
  • 00:08:21.170 --> 00:08:23.020
  • I asked you a question you can't answer.
  • 00:08:23.030 --> 00:08:25.230
  • I asked you a question for which there is no answer.
  • 00:08:25.240 --> 00:08:28.140
  • And so, once you begin to try to answer these questions,
  • 00:08:28.150 --> 00:08:31.050
  • here's what happens.
  • 00:08:31.060 --> 00:08:32.160
  • You just left the freedom of God's provision and you went
  • 00:08:32.170 --> 00:08:36.100
  • right back into the prison of your performance.
  • 00:08:36.110 --> 00:08:39.090
  • He said, "Here's what you're doing."
  • 00:08:39.100 --> 00:08:40.190
  • This is what he was saying to the Galatians.
  • 00:08:40.200 --> 00:08:42.030
  • You just voluntarily put yourself back into the handcuffs
  • 00:08:42.040 --> 00:08:46.040
  • of religion.
  • 00:08:46.050 --> 00:08:47.150
  • You're just voluntarily locked the door of legalism,
  • 00:08:47.160 --> 00:08:50.220
  • and the only key that will unlock those handcuffs
  • 00:08:50.230 --> 00:08:54.030
  • and the only key that will open that prison door is the cross
  • 00:08:54.040 --> 00:08:58.000
  • of Jesus, which is why Paul reminds them, "Before your very
  • 00:08:58.010 --> 00:09:02.150
  • eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified."
  • 00:09:02.160 --> 00:09:08.160
  • Now that verb there for "crucified" is in a tense
  • 00:09:08.170 --> 00:09:11.090
  • in the Greek language that means it refers to something that
  • 00:09:11.100 --> 00:09:14.140
  • happened in the past, which it had, but the effects of it
  • 00:09:14.150 --> 00:09:18.100
  • continue in the present and in the future.
  • 00:09:18.110 --> 00:09:20.230
  • Paul said, "You know what?
  • 00:09:20.240 --> 00:09:22.040
  • When I came to you, I painted this picture of Christ
  • 00:09:22.050 --> 00:09:24.200
  • on the cross.
  • 00:09:24.210 --> 00:09:26.000
  • I gave you an R-rated, graphic picture of just what happened
  • 00:09:26.010 --> 00:09:29.030
  • on that cross.
  • 00:09:29.040 --> 00:09:30.140
  • And when I talked to you about that cross, I showed you
  • 00:09:30.150 --> 00:09:32.120
  • how the cross was like a fountain from which
  • 00:09:32.130 --> 00:09:35.180
  • the river of grace, and mercy, and peace is flowing."
  • 00:09:35.190 --> 00:09:39.130
  • He said, "I did everything I could to tell you that Jesus is
  • 00:09:39.140 --> 00:09:43.110
  • not just what you need, Jesus is all you need.
  • 00:09:43.120 --> 00:09:48.100
  • I clearly portrayed that."
  • 00:09:48.110 --> 00:09:51.060
  • And Paul wanted them to understand that the gospel is
  • 00:09:51.070 --> 00:09:54.220
  • not an invitation for you to do something for God.
  • 00:09:54.230 --> 00:09:59.190
  • The gospel is a declaration that through Jesus, God has done
  • 00:09:59.200 --> 00:10:04.070
  • everything for you.
  • 00:10:04.080 --> 00:10:06.150
  • And why--the reason why Paul is so irritated, and so aggravated,
  • 00:10:06.160 --> 00:10:11.060
  • and so frustrated is because in effect these Galatians were
  • 00:10:11.070 --> 00:10:15.070
  • guilty of spiritual treason.
  • 00:10:15.080 --> 00:10:17.070
  • Because here's what they were saying, "Jesus is inadequate.
  • 00:10:17.080 --> 00:10:21.240
  • Jesus is insufficient.
  • 00:10:21.250 --> 00:10:24.080
  • Jesus is incomplete."
  • 00:10:24.090 --> 00:10:26.190
  • And let me tell ya something.
  • 00:10:26.200 --> 00:10:28.000
  • The moment you add anything to Jesus, the moment you take
  • 00:10:28.010 --> 00:10:31.180
  • away anything from Jesus, the moment you even imply,
  • 00:10:31.190 --> 00:10:35.020
  • "Jesus, you're inadequate.
  • 00:10:35.030 --> 00:10:36.210
  • Jesus, you're insufficient.
  • 00:10:36.220 --> 00:10:38.130
  • Jesus, you're incomplete," that is an insult to Jesus.
  • 00:10:38.140 --> 00:10:42.250
  • That is a slap in the face of Jesus.
  • 00:10:42.260 --> 00:10:45.120
  • 'Cause here's the problem, if you don't see that Jesus is
  • 00:10:45.130 --> 00:10:48.260
  • enough, you will never know when enough is enough,
  • 00:10:48.270 --> 00:10:54.160
  • because nothing will ever be enough.
  • 00:10:54.170 --> 00:10:57.250
  • That's so good I'm gonna say it again.
  • 00:10:57.260 --> 00:10:59.280
  • If you don't see that Jesus is enough--
  • 00:10:59.290 --> 00:11:01.250
  • I'm going to amen myself.
  • 00:11:01.260 --> 00:11:03.210
  • Listen, if you don't see that Jesus is enough, you'll never
  • 00:11:03.220 --> 00:11:07.000
  • know when enough is enough, because nothing
  • 00:11:07.010 --> 00:11:09.280
  • will ever be enough.
  • 00:11:09.290 --> 00:11:12.280
  • Paul said, "Listen, Jesus is all we need and the only thing we
  • 00:11:12.290 --> 00:11:16.110
  • need to be permanently related to God."
  • 00:11:16.120 --> 00:11:20.030
  • So, key number one, look to the Son.
  • 00:11:20.040 --> 00:11:24.030
  • Don't look to the preacher.
  • 00:11:24.040 --> 00:11:26.270
  • Don't look to the professor.
  • 00:11:26.280 --> 00:11:29.050
  • Don't look to the pastor.
  • 00:11:29.060 --> 00:11:31.040
  • Don't look to the Pope.
  • 00:11:31.050 --> 00:11:33.020
  • Look to the son.
  • 00:11:33.030 --> 00:11:35.290
  • Then he says there's a third thing and the second thing you
  • 00:11:36.000 --> 00:11:37.260
  • have to do.
  • 00:11:37.270 --> 00:11:39.060
  • You look to the Son, then he said you live in the Spirit.
  • 00:11:39.070 --> 00:11:43.040
  • You live in the Spirit.
  • 00:11:43.050 --> 00:11:44.230
  • Now, Paul cuts to the chase and he asks these key questions
  • 00:11:44.240 --> 00:11:48.160
  • that these Galatians need to answer very clearly
  • 00:11:48.170 --> 00:11:51.000
  • and very concisely.
  • 00:11:51.010 --> 00:11:53.000
  • This is what he says.
  • 00:11:53.010 --> 00:11:54.110
  • He is so good.
  • 00:11:54.120 --> 00:11:55.210
  • I mean, he is really digging down deep.
  • 00:11:55.220 --> 00:11:57.020
  • I want you to stay with him.
  • 00:11:57.030 --> 00:11:58.120
  • Listen to what--listen what he says.
  • 00:11:58.130 --> 00:11:59.230
  • He says, "I'd like to learn just one thing from you."
  • 00:11:59.240 --> 00:12:01.140
  • This is so good.
  • 00:12:01.150 --> 00:12:03.290
  • "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law,
  • 00:12:04.000 --> 00:12:07.120
  • or by believing what you heard?"
  • 00:12:07.130 --> 00:12:12.020
  • Now I'll be honest, I would have never thought about
  • 00:12:12.030 --> 00:12:13.190
  • asking that question.
  • 00:12:13.200 --> 00:12:15.200
  • That's why Paul's Paul.
  • 00:12:15.210 --> 00:12:17.000
  • That's why I'm me, right?
  • 00:12:17.010 --> 00:12:18.110
  • I'm preaching what he said, okay?
  • 00:12:18.120 --> 00:12:19.210
  • Paul only has one question, and Paul knows--and by the way,
  • 00:12:19.220 --> 00:12:21.260
  • this is true for all of us right now.
  • 00:12:21.270 --> 00:12:23.260
  • Paul knows if you'll answer this question truthfully, and if they
  • 00:12:23.270 --> 00:12:28.230
  • will answer the question truthfully, in effect they will
  • 00:12:28.240 --> 00:12:31.250
  • solve their own problem.
  • 00:12:31.260 --> 00:12:33.170
  • Because here's what he does whether you realize this or not,
  • 00:12:33.180 --> 00:12:36.050
  • Paul in verse 2--you know what Paul just did in verse 2?
  • 00:12:36.060 --> 00:12:38.140
  • I bet you don't know.
  • 00:12:38.150 --> 00:12:41.180
  • Paul just gave the classic definition of a real Christian.
  • 00:12:41.190 --> 00:12:47.190
  • You wanna know what a real Christian is?
  • 00:12:48.240 --> 00:12:50.030
  • Can I tell you what a real Christian is?
  • 00:12:50.040 --> 00:12:53.160
  • Watch this.
  • 00:12:53.170 --> 00:12:55.030
  • To be a Christian means you have received the Spirit of God,
  • 00:12:55.040 --> 00:12:59.100
  • or when you've received the Spirit of God, then you
  • 00:12:59.110 --> 00:13:03.030
  • become a Christian.
  • 00:13:03.040 --> 00:13:06.030
  • See, you wonder why there's so many people who claim to be
  • 00:13:06.040 --> 00:13:12.030
  • Christians but they don't live any differently.
  • 00:13:12.120 --> 00:13:15.240
  • They don't act any differently.
  • 00:13:15.250 --> 00:13:18.010
  • They don't talk any differently.
  • 00:13:18.020 --> 00:13:20.070
  • They don't walk any differently than anybody else that doesn't
  • 00:13:20.080 --> 00:13:23.250
  • know Jesus.
  • 00:13:23.260 --> 00:13:25.050
  • Now, I don't know if this is true for all of them.
  • 00:13:25.060 --> 00:13:26.170
  • I'm not anybody's judge, but can I tell you the reason why
  • 00:13:26.180 --> 00:13:29.050
  • the vast majority of people are like that?
  • 00:13:29.060 --> 00:13:31.000
  • They're not Christians.
  • 00:13:31.010 --> 00:13:33.160
  • And the reason why they don't act like a Christian, and walk
  • 00:13:33.170 --> 00:13:35.250
  • like a Christian, and talk like a Christian, and conduct
  • 00:13:35.260 --> 00:13:37.290
  • themselves like a Christian is because they've never received
  • 00:13:38.000 --> 00:13:41.020
  • the Spirit of God.
  • 00:13:41.030 --> 00:13:42.220
  • Because here's the dilemma, you ready?
  • 00:13:42.230 --> 00:13:45.020
  • The Spirit of God never bypasses the Son of God.
  • 00:13:45.030 --> 00:13:49.000
  • The Spirit of God never bypasses the Son of God.
  • 00:13:49.030 --> 00:13:52.040
  • The only way the Spirit of God will come into you is
  • 00:13:52.050 --> 00:13:55.160
  • through the cross of the Son of God.
  • 00:13:55.170 --> 00:13:57.200
  • That's why this is so important you understand this.
  • 00:13:57.210 --> 00:14:00.030
  • It is not enough to hear the gospel with your ears.
  • 00:14:00.040 --> 00:14:04.230
  • It is not enough just to believe the gospel in your head.
  • 00:14:04.240 --> 00:14:09.220
  • You must receive the gospel in your heart.
  • 00:14:09.230 --> 00:14:13.040
  • And when you believe in the Son of God, you receive the Spirit
  • 00:14:13.050 --> 00:14:17.060
  • of God, and he is the one that makes you different.
  • 00:14:17.070 --> 00:14:20.090
  • He is the one that changes your life.
  • 00:14:20.100 --> 00:14:23.000
  • And the question about the Spirit of God is not
  • 00:14:23.010 --> 00:14:25.200
  • when they received him or how they received him, because it
  • 00:14:25.210 --> 00:14:29.080
  • wasn't by--it wasn't by obeying any law.
  • 00:14:29.090 --> 00:14:31.220
  • Paul said, "Look, go back to when you received the Spirit.
  • 00:14:31.230 --> 00:14:35.080
  • Go back to when the Spirit of God came into you.
  • 00:14:35.090 --> 00:14:36.290
  • Go back to when you knew."
  • 00:14:37.000 --> 00:14:38.110
  • You didn't understand at the time, but you knew,
  • 00:14:38.120 --> 00:14:40.050
  • "My life is different.
  • 00:14:40.060 --> 00:14:41.250
  • My life is changed.
  • 00:14:41.260 --> 00:14:43.060
  • I've been transformed."
  • 00:14:43.070 --> 00:14:44.160
  • He said, "I'm not talking about just when you received
  • 00:14:44.170 --> 00:14:46.060
  • him, how you received him."
  • 00:14:46.070 --> 00:14:47.160
  • He said, "How did you receive the Holy Spirit?"
  • 00:14:47.170 --> 00:14:49.040
  • It wasn't by obeying any law.
  • 00:14:49.050 --> 00:14:52.150
  • It wasn't by keeping any rules.
  • 00:14:52.160 --> 00:14:55.070
  • It wasn't by observing any regulations.
  • 00:14:55.080 --> 00:14:58.030
  • It wasn't by abiding any restrictions.
  • 00:14:58.040 --> 00:15:01.050
  • He said, "You know when you received the Spirit of God?
  • 00:15:01.060 --> 00:15:03.110
  • When you heard the simple gospel.
  • 00:15:03.120 --> 00:15:07.020
  • When I simply came to you, and I took you to a cross, and I took
  • 00:15:07.030 --> 00:15:10.160
  • you to an empty tomb, and you heard it, and you believed it,
  • 00:15:10.170 --> 00:15:13.150
  • and you received it, that's when you received the Spirit."
  • 00:15:13.160 --> 00:15:16.110
  • And the only letter this letter's--the only reason this
  • 00:15:16.120 --> 00:15:19.010
  • letter's even in the Bible, the only reason this letter is
  • 00:15:19.020 --> 00:15:22.190
  • even--has even been written is because there had been
  • 00:15:22.200 --> 00:15:25.200
  • a spiritual change in their life.
  • 00:15:25.210 --> 00:15:28.030
  • They were a totally different people and that change had been
  • 00:15:28.040 --> 00:15:31.070
  • brought about when they believed in the Son of God and they
  • 00:15:31.080 --> 00:15:34.090
  • received the Spirit of God.
  • 00:15:34.100 --> 00:15:35.270
  • And what he's saying is you need to go back to that experience
  • 00:15:35.280 --> 00:15:38.150
  • of when that happened.
  • 00:15:38.160 --> 00:15:40.250
  • You need to go back and realize when your life was changed
  • 00:15:40.260 --> 00:15:43.180
  • and how your life was changed, and you'll realize it had
  • 00:15:43.190 --> 00:15:46.160
  • nothing to do with religion, it had everything to do
  • 00:15:46.170 --> 00:15:49.150
  • with a relationship.
  • 00:15:49.160 --> 00:15:50.260
  • I mean, listen, that's why Paul in exasperation asks
  • 00:15:50.270 --> 00:15:53.060
  • the next question.
  • 00:15:53.070 --> 00:15:55.060
  • He says, "Are you so foolish?"
  • 00:15:55.070 --> 00:15:56.170
  • He's so frustrated he repeats himself.
  • 00:15:56.180 --> 00:15:58.120
  • "Are you so foolish?
  • 00:15:58.130 --> 00:16:00.140
  • After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now
  • 00:16:00.150 --> 00:16:04.200
  • trying to finish by means of the flesh?"
  • 00:16:04.210 --> 00:16:09.060
  • Now, this is so very important.
  • 00:16:09.070 --> 00:16:12.210
  • What I'm about to tell you is so important, I've kinda
  • 00:16:12.220 --> 00:16:14.220
  • underlined it in my notes here.
  • 00:16:14.230 --> 00:16:16.030
  • It's so important, so very important, that this is the crux
  • 00:16:16.040 --> 00:16:20.140
  • of the whole message here.
  • 00:16:20.150 --> 00:16:21.250
  • Listen, how God starts with you is how God finishes with you.
  • 00:16:21.260 --> 00:16:27.260
  • Now, how does God start with everybody?
  • 00:16:32.150 --> 00:16:37.070
  • I'm gonna give you a clue.
  • 00:16:37.080 --> 00:16:38.180
  • It starts with a G.
  • 00:16:38.190 --> 00:16:39.280
  • What's that word?
  • 00:16:39.290 --> 00:16:41.090
  • Grace.
  • 00:16:41.100 --> 00:16:42.190
  • That's how God starts with you.
  • 00:16:42.200 --> 00:16:44.240
  • God doesn't look at you and go, "You know, you've been a pretty
  • 00:16:44.250 --> 00:16:47.120
  • good guy.
  • 00:16:47.130 --> 00:16:48.230
  • I think I'll deal with you."
  • 00:16:48.240 --> 00:16:50.130
  • He doesn't look at you and say, "You know, you've been goin'
  • 00:16:50.140 --> 00:16:52.140
  • to church pretty regularly.
  • 00:16:52.150 --> 00:16:53.240
  • I think you and I could do business."
  • 00:16:53.250 --> 00:16:55.200
  • He never starts that way.
  • 00:16:55.210 --> 00:16:57.220
  • He always starts with grace.
  • 00:16:57.230 --> 00:17:00.220
  • That's why he starts the same way with a person sitting
  • 00:17:00.230 --> 00:17:04.050
  • in the front row of a church on Sunday morning or a person
  • 00:17:04.060 --> 00:17:07.170
  • sitting on death row in a prison tomorrow morning.
  • 00:17:07.180 --> 00:17:10.110
  • Same way.
  • 00:17:10.120 --> 00:17:11.210
  • He always starts with grace.
  • 00:17:11.220 --> 00:17:14.090
  • Now, think about this.
  • 00:17:14.100 --> 00:17:20.080
  • How God starts with you is how god finishes with you,
  • 00:17:20.090 --> 00:17:24.020
  • with grace, okay?
  • 00:17:24.030 --> 00:17:25.210
  • Same thing's true about us.
  • 00:17:25.220 --> 00:17:27.170
  • How you start with God is how you finish with God.
  • 00:17:27.180 --> 00:17:32.120
  • Now, how God starts with you is grace.
  • 00:17:32.130 --> 00:17:35.220
  • How we start with God is a five letter word that starts
  • 00:17:35.230 --> 00:17:38.110
  • with an F.
  • 00:17:38.120 --> 00:17:39.220
  • What's that word?
  • 00:17:39.230 --> 00:17:41.020
  • Faith.
  • 00:17:41.030 --> 00:17:42.130
  • So, how you start with God's how you finish with God.
  • 00:17:42.140 --> 00:17:43.230
  • How he starts with you is grace.
  • 00:17:43.240 --> 00:17:45.040
  • That's how he finishes with you.
  • 00:17:45.050 --> 00:17:46.140
  • How you start with him, faith, that's how you finish with him.
  • 00:17:46.150 --> 00:17:49.000
  • Because of God's grace and your faith, you receive the Spirit
  • 00:17:49.010 --> 00:17:52.140
  • of God and you forevermore live in the Spirit.
  • 00:17:52.150 --> 00:17:55.230
  • When you look to the Son, you live in the Spirit.
  • 00:17:55.240 --> 00:17:59.240
  • Got it?
  • 00:17:59.250 --> 00:18:01.060
  • So, you look to the Son, you live in the Spirit, and then
  • 00:18:01.070 --> 00:18:05.160
  • here's the last thing that will keep you from ever falling
  • 00:18:05.170 --> 00:18:07.160
  • into this trap of performance, and legalism, and laws,
  • 00:18:07.170 --> 00:18:10.220
  • and rules, and regulations, and restrictions.
  • 00:18:10.230 --> 00:18:12.290
  • You listen to the Scripture.
  • 00:18:13.000 --> 00:18:15.060
  • You listen to the Scripture.
  • 00:18:15.070 --> 00:18:16.170
  • Now, stroke of genius.
  • 00:18:16.180 --> 00:18:17.290
  • Look what Paul does.
  • 00:18:18.000 --> 00:18:19.090
  • This is so good.
  • 00:18:19.100 --> 00:18:20.200
  • Paul's not just talking to the Galatians, right?
  • 00:18:20.210 --> 00:18:23.110
  • Let's see how good your memory is.
  • 00:18:23.120 --> 00:18:24.210
  • Who's the other group causing trouble in the church?
  • 00:18:24.220 --> 00:18:26.080
  • What did we call them?
  • 00:18:26.090 --> 00:18:28.010
  • .
  • 00:18:28.020 --> 00:18:29.110
  • Let's say that together, .
  • 00:18:29.120 --> 00:18:30.250
  • Okay, church still has today,
  • 00:18:30.260 --> 00:18:32.090
  • trust me, okay, everywhere.
  • 00:18:32.100 --> 00:18:33.280
  • We got Pharisees everywhere, everywhere.
  • 00:18:33.290 --> 00:18:35.290
  • So, he's talking to the .
  • 00:18:36.000 --> 00:18:38.120
  • These are people, remember, they're trying to add to Jesus.
  • 00:18:38.130 --> 00:18:41.100
  • Jesus is not enough.
  • 00:18:41.110 --> 00:18:42.280
  • God's grace is not enough.
  • 00:18:42.290 --> 00:18:44.160
  • Your faith is not enough for God to accept you.
  • 00:18:44.170 --> 00:18:47.040
  • You gotta perform.
  • 00:18:47.050 --> 00:18:48.140
  • You gotta live to a certain standard.
  • 00:18:48.150 --> 00:18:49.290
  • You gotta keep the rules.
  • 00:18:50.000 --> 00:18:51.100
  • You gotta keep the regulations.
  • 00:18:51.110 --> 00:18:52.210
  • You don't defy the restrictions.
  • 00:18:52.220 --> 00:18:54.170
  • So, now he's going to talk to these .
  • 00:18:54.180 --> 00:18:57.080
  • They don't know it, he's about to nail 'em.
  • 00:18:57.090 --> 00:19:00.100
  • And matter of fact, he puts the nail in the coffin of that
  • 00:19:00.110 --> 00:19:03.140
  • kind of legalistic thinking.
  • 00:19:03.150 --> 00:19:05.070
  • Look what he-- this is so brilliant.
  • 00:19:05.080 --> 00:19:07.250
  • He refers to the Godfather of all the Jews.
  • 00:19:07.260 --> 00:19:12.020
  • He refers to the patriarch of the Jewish family.
  • 00:19:12.030 --> 00:19:15.210
  • He refers to who they call even today the founder
  • 00:19:15.220 --> 00:19:18.180
  • of their religion.
  • 00:19:18.190 --> 00:19:20.190
  • What's his name?
  • 00:19:20.200 --> 00:19:22.080
  • Abraham.
  • 00:19:22.090 --> 00:19:23.200
  • So, look what he does.
  • 00:19:23.210 --> 00:19:25.220
  • "So also Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him
  • 00:19:25.230 --> 00:19:31.180
  • as righteousness."
  • 00:19:31.190 --> 00:19:33.120
  • Now, Paul does something you probably wouldn't notice
  • 00:19:33.130 --> 00:19:35.080
  • or think about, but it's one the most important things he
  • 00:19:35.090 --> 00:19:37.190
  • ever did in his ministry.
  • 00:19:37.200 --> 00:19:39.230
  • In the first five verses, he is referring the Galatians back
  • 00:19:39.240 --> 00:19:43.240
  • to their experience, right?
  • 00:19:43.250 --> 00:19:45.090
  • Don't you remember what happened to you?
  • 00:19:45.100 --> 00:19:46.250
  • Don't you remember how I preached Christ to you?
  • 00:19:46.260 --> 00:19:48.190
  • Don't you remember how you responded to the gospel?
  • 00:19:48.200 --> 00:19:50.180
  • Don't you remember how you got saved?
  • 00:19:50.190 --> 00:19:52.110
  • Don't you remember how your life was changed?
  • 00:19:52.120 --> 00:19:54.040
  • So, first five verses, he goes to their experience,
  • 00:19:54.050 --> 00:19:56.190
  • but then he does this.
  • 00:19:56.200 --> 00:19:58.200
  • He takes them back to Scripture.
  • 00:19:58.210 --> 00:20:01.260
  • You say, "Well, why is that such a big deal, Pastor?
  • 00:20:01.270 --> 00:20:05.060
  • Why is that so important?"
  • 00:20:05.070 --> 00:20:06.280
  • So, this is a good place to make this statement, okay, and I'm
  • 00:20:06.290 --> 00:20:09.280
  • kinda goin' out of the neighborhood
  • 00:20:09.290 --> 00:20:11.090
  • for a minute, but you'll see why.
  • 00:20:11.100 --> 00:20:14.070
  • In case you've wondered or in case, you know, you've
  • 00:20:14.080 --> 00:20:16.000
  • been sold a bill of goods, the God of the Old Testament is
  • 00:20:16.010 --> 00:20:22.000
  • identical to the God of the New Testament.
  • 00:20:23.190 --> 00:20:28.000
  • There's no difference.
  • 00:20:28.010 --> 00:20:30.000
  • He's not mean lo' God in the Old Testament and good lo' God
  • 00:20:30.010 --> 00:20:34.030
  • in the New Testament.
  • 00:20:34.040 --> 00:20:35.130
  • He is the same God.
  • 00:20:35.140 --> 00:20:37.210
  • And Paul proves it.
  • 00:20:37.220 --> 00:20:39.290
  • If I say to you today, "So, how are we saved?"
  • 00:20:40.000 --> 00:20:42.180
  • You'd say, "Well, we're saved by God's grace and our faith."
  • 00:20:42.190 --> 00:20:46.050
  • Exactly.
  • 00:20:46.060 --> 00:20:47.170
  • So, pop quiz.
  • 00:20:47.180 --> 00:20:49.100
  • How was Abraham saved?
  • 00:20:49.110 --> 00:20:51.290
  • I'm listening.
  • 00:20:52.000 --> 00:20:53.140
  • Yeah, by God's grace and his faith.
  • 00:20:53.150 --> 00:20:56.040
  • Nothing changed.
  • 00:20:56.050 --> 00:20:57.150
  • Exactly the same.
  • 00:20:57.160 --> 00:20:59.170
  • And by the way, everyone who has ever come to God and has ever
  • 00:20:59.180 --> 00:21:03.100
  • been accepted by God has come by faith.
  • 00:21:03.110 --> 00:21:06.240
  • There wasn't one way to come to God in the Old Testament
  • 00:21:06.250 --> 00:21:09.170
  • and a different way to come to God in the New Testament.
  • 00:21:09.180 --> 00:21:11.290
  • It's always been the same way.
  • 00:21:12.000 --> 00:21:14.000
  • The sacrifices of the Old Testament simply pointed
  • 00:21:14.010 --> 00:21:17.220
  • to the ultimate sacrifice in the New Testament.
  • 00:21:17.230 --> 00:21:20.220
  • The lambs that were slain in the Old Testament always
  • 00:21:20.230 --> 00:21:23.220
  • pointed to the Lamb that was slain before the foundation
  • 00:21:23.230 --> 00:21:26.170
  • of the World.
  • 00:21:26.180 --> 00:21:27.280
  • And God has always been about grace and every
  • 00:21:27.290 --> 00:21:31.190
  • relationship to God has always been based on faith.
  • 00:21:31.200 --> 00:21:35.130
  • That's why I'm telling you, don't ever fall
  • 00:21:35.140 --> 00:21:37.290
  • into the performance trap.
  • 00:21:38.000 --> 00:21:40.160
  • Don't never let anybody come along and say to you or imply
  • 00:21:40.170 --> 00:21:43.210
  • to you Jesus is not enough, grace is not enough, faith is
  • 00:21:43.220 --> 00:21:47.230
  • not enough, the gospel is not enough, because being accepted
  • 00:21:47.240 --> 00:21:51.040
  • by God is not in any way related to what we do for him, but what
  • 00:21:51.050 --> 00:21:54.210
  • he has done for us in the cross of Jesus Christ.
  • 00:21:54.220 --> 00:21:57.100
  • And this is the lesson I want us to learn today.
  • 00:21:57.110 --> 00:21:59.090
  • When you take your eyes off of God, and you take your
  • 00:21:59.100 --> 00:22:03.090
  • ears off of the gospel, and you take your heart off of grace,
  • 00:22:03.100 --> 00:22:07.110
  • you just set yourself up for satanic deception.
  • 00:22:07.120 --> 00:22:11.290
  • You just set yourself up to go back into prison.
  • 00:22:12.000 --> 00:22:15.280
  • So to be crystal clear, no you don't have to be baptized.
  • 00:22:15.290 --> 00:22:21.290
  • You don't have to be circumcised.
  • 00:22:23.050 --> 00:22:26.080
  • You don't have to join a church.
  • 00:22:26.090 --> 00:22:29.060
  • You don't have to keep the Ten Commandments.
  • 00:22:29.070 --> 00:22:31.290
  • You don't have to give any money.
  • 00:22:32.000 --> 00:22:34.160
  • You don't have to do any good works to be accepted by God.
  • 00:22:34.170 --> 00:22:40.190
  • Now, if you heard that real clearly, raise your hand.
  • 00:22:40.200 --> 00:22:42.100
  • I want a unanimous vote.
  • 00:22:42.110 --> 00:22:43.210
  • Everybody heard that, right?
  • 00:22:43.220 --> 00:22:45.030
  • Okay, but I'm not done.
  • 00:22:45.040 --> 00:22:49.070
  • But when you are truly accepted by God, when your faith truly
  • 00:22:49.080 --> 00:22:54.220
  • connects with his grace, your "have to"
  • 00:22:54.230 --> 00:22:59.220
  • will become a "want to."
  • 00:22:59.230 --> 00:23:02.200
  • You'll want to be baptized.
  • 00:23:02.210 --> 00:23:05.020
  • You'll want to join a church.
  • 00:23:05.030 --> 00:23:07.190
  • You'll want to give money.
  • 00:23:07.200 --> 00:23:09.280
  • You'll want to keep the Ten Commandments.
  • 00:23:09.290 --> 00:23:12.090
  • You'll want to do good works.
  • 00:23:12.100 --> 00:23:14.060
  • Not so you will earn the love of God, but because you're
  • 00:23:14.070 --> 00:23:17.110
  • grateful for the love of God.
  • 00:23:17.120 --> 00:23:19.270
  • So, if you don't think what I preach today is powerful, let me
  • 00:23:19.280 --> 00:23:24.020
  • just show you how powerful this truth is, 'cause I'm gonna show
  • 00:23:24.030 --> 00:23:28.100
  • you something and you're gonna go, "I never thought
  • 00:23:28.110 --> 00:23:30.020
  • about that."
  • 00:23:30.030 --> 00:23:32.180
  • Do you understand that what I've said to you today, if it's true
  • 00:23:32.190 --> 00:23:35.050
  • in what Paul wrote, you understand, if it's true,
  • 00:23:35.060 --> 00:23:39.110
  • it's the answer to self-esteem issues.
  • 00:23:39.120 --> 00:23:43.130
  • It's the answer to guilt issues.
  • 00:23:43.140 --> 00:23:46.280
  • It's the answer to relationship issues.
  • 00:23:46.290 --> 00:23:50.050
  • You say, "I don't get it."
  • 00:23:50.060 --> 00:23:52.240
  • All right, watch this.
  • 00:23:52.250 --> 00:23:56.190
  • God has accepted me by his grace.
  • 00:23:56.200 --> 00:24:02.120
  • Got it?
  • 00:24:02.130 --> 00:24:03.230
  • God has accepted me by his grace.
  • 00:24:03.240 --> 00:24:08.130
  • I accept God's acceptance of me by my faith.
  • 00:24:08.140 --> 00:24:14.140
  • So, God says, "James, just by my grace, I accept you."
  • 00:24:14.150 --> 00:24:18.260
  • I say, "Lord, just by my faith, I accept your acceptance of me."
  • 00:24:18.270 --> 00:24:22.270
  • Okay, everybody got it?
  • 00:24:22.280 --> 00:24:24.070
  • Oh, it gets better.
  • 00:24:24.080 --> 00:24:25.230
  • Because God has accepted me, I can accept me.
  • 00:24:25.240 --> 00:24:30.290
  • I don't have to feel like I'm inferior
  • 00:24:31.000 --> 00:24:32.220
  • to anybody else anymore.
  • 00:24:32.230 --> 00:24:34.220
  • I don't have to be jealous of anybody because they've got
  • 00:24:34.230 --> 00:24:36.130
  • gifts and abilities I don't have,
  • 00:24:36.140 --> 00:24:37.250
  • 'cause God made me who I am.
  • 00:24:37.260 --> 00:24:40.180
  • God's accepted me just the way I am.
  • 00:24:40.190 --> 00:24:41.290
  • I'm just as important to him as anybody else.
  • 00:24:42.000 --> 00:24:43.250
  • So, I don't have to worry about all those self-esteem
  • 00:24:43.260 --> 00:24:45.230
  • issues anymore.
  • 00:24:45.240 --> 00:24:47.140
  • Oh, but it gets better.
  • 00:24:47.150 --> 00:24:49.080
  • When I accept me, I can accept others.
  • 00:24:49.090 --> 00:24:53.170
  • Does away with racism.
  • 00:24:53.180 --> 00:24:55.140
  • Does away the prejudice.
  • 00:24:55.150 --> 00:24:57.010
  • Does away with bias.
  • 00:24:57.020 --> 00:24:58.180
  • Do you see how grace, do you see how God, do you see how
  • 00:24:58.190 --> 00:25:02.050
  • the gospel answers all of these deep, difficult questions?
  • 00:25:02.060 --> 00:25:07.030
  • It's amazing.
  • 00:25:07.040 --> 00:25:08.160
  • So, the big question we've got to answer is this.
  • 00:25:08.170 --> 00:25:11.100
  • What's more important to you, what Jesus has done for you
  • 00:25:11.110 --> 00:25:14.230
  • or what you do for God?
  • 00:25:14.240 --> 00:25:17.090
  • Here's the good news and we're done.
  • 00:25:17.100 --> 00:25:19.030
  • God wants you to start strong, but God wants you
  • 00:25:19.040 --> 00:25:22.240
  • to finish well.
  • 00:25:22.250 --> 00:25:24.250
  • God started with you by grace, you started with him by faith.
  • 00:25:24.260 --> 00:25:28.160
  • God will finish with you by grace, you finished with him
  • 00:25:28.170 --> 00:25:31.150
  • by faith.
  • 00:25:31.160 --> 00:25:32.250
  • And when you do, you'll start strong, and you'll finish well,
  • 00:25:32.260 --> 00:25:39.000
  • and you'll be forever free.
  • 00:25:39.010 --> 00:25:42.200
  • male announcer: To watch an extended version of today's
  • 00:25:42.210 --> 00:25:45.000
  • teaching message with
  • 00:25:45.010 --> 00:25:46.100
  • Dr. James Merritt, go to touchinglives.org.
  • 00:25:46.110 --> 00:25:52.020
  • 00:25:52.030 --> 00:26:02.020
  • 00:26:02.030 --> 00:26:12.020
  • 00:26:12.030 --> 00:26:22.020
  • 00:26:22.030 --> 00:26:27.020
  • 00:26:27.030 --> 00:26:34.020
  • Dr. James Merritt: You know, you probably heard me say this
  • 00:26:39.050 --> 00:26:40.140
  • before, but I really do hope you have a local church that you
  • 00:26:40.150 --> 00:26:43.020
  • attend regularly.
  • 00:26:43.030 --> 00:26:44.200
  • Paul teaches us a great truth in Galatians as he indicates
  • 00:26:44.210 --> 00:26:47.190
  • the church should be about three things: God, grace,
  • 00:26:47.200 --> 00:26:51.200
  • and the gospel.
  • 00:26:51.210 --> 00:26:53.040
  • I hope your local church relies solely on God, preaches grace,
  • 00:26:53.050 --> 00:26:57.070
  • and lives out the gospel.
  • 00:26:57.080 --> 00:26:59.030
  • Be faithful in attendance.
  • 00:26:59.040 --> 00:27:00.180
  • Be fruitful in your giving.
  • 00:27:00.190 --> 00:27:02.090
  • Be willing to share the good news of Jesus with those who
  • 00:27:02.100 --> 00:27:04.260
  • need to hear it.
  • 00:27:04.270 --> 00:27:06.190
  • Again, we are no substitute for your church.
  • 00:27:06.200 --> 00:27:09.200
  • Find that church, and thanks for watching.
  • 00:27:09.210 --> 00:27:12.030
  • Appreciate your prayers and your support for "Touching Lives."
  • 00:27:12.040 --> 00:27:16.270
  • male announcer: "Touching Lives," teaching people
  • 00:27:16.280 --> 00:27:18.210
  • everywhere who Jesus is and why they need him.
  • 00:27:18.220 --> 00:27:21.290
  • This program is sponsored by Touching Lives Ministries
  • 00:27:22.000 --> 00:27:24.180
  • and is made possible by the grace of God and your
  • 00:27:24.190 --> 00:27:27.100
  • faithful prayers and gifts.
  • 00:27:27.110 --> 00:27:29.110