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Watch 2022 online sermons » Christine Caine » Christine Caine - Amazing Grace - Part 1

Christine Caine - Amazing Grace - Part 1

Christine Caine - Amazing Grace - Part 1
Christine Caine - Amazing Grace - Part 1

Hey, everyone. I am so grateful that you have joined us today. I believe that God has a word for you that you haven't just logged in or tuned in by accident. I believe that you are here in the divine timing, the divine plan and the divine purpose of God. In the last few years, I'm sure you'll agree that we've seen a tsunami of fake news that has been unleashed and spread throughout the world by media outlets, by different officials and people on social media. And often here's the deal. You can't actually tell that it's fake news because it really truly sounds like it's true news.

Now, I can't tell you how many emails or texts or direct messages that I've received over the past, especially five years about misinformation that has been circulating on different websites and different social media platforms about human trafficking. I mean, people ask me, Chris, I heard this, is this true? Chris I heard that there's an investigation happening here, is this true? I mean, people that previously knew nothing about human trafficking. Are believing all of these news sites and saying, Chris is this true? And what we've had to do is we've got an entire team that is dedicated solely to fact checking and research because of course I don't want to waste the resources of our A21 team following up a whole bunch of false information.

I don't want to waste time, I don't want to waste money, I don't want to waste energy and out there, conspiracy theories, misinformation, or disinformation actually run rampant on the internet. And I think we've seen it certainly at that I've ever seen it in my lifetime, false and inaccurate news. It spreads rapidly all over social media. People don't even bother to check. It's just like, man, I read this here or I saw this here. Or I went down this rabbit hole here and people are not even checking whether it's true or not, but here is the deal. You know, the phenomena of fake news, it's not like a 21st century phenomena. It's not something that has suddenly happened. Misinformation and disinformation being spread. I know it's in the news all the time, but the fact is it's not really new.

Paul wrote the letter of Galatians to churches that were in the region of Galatia at the time, precisely to counteract fake news. There was fake news that was circulating at that time, both about the gospel and about Paul. And so he wrote an entire letter to a region of churches to counteract this fake news. So if you've ever heard something at school or work, or perhaps in your friendship group that was spread about you, that is not true, honestly, it hurts so bad and it actually makes you angry. You want to defend yourself, you want to get the truth out there. You want to correct people's misconceptions. And in the same way, Paul was a human being just like you and I, and he wrote this letter from a place of deep passion. You got to pick that up. He had great concern and he was intensely frustrated.

And so we see a lot of this emotion in this letter because Paul wanted to stop the spread of fake news. And he wanted to ensure that the true, good news, the gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ was the only thing that was being spread amongst the churches in that region. So the good news of the gospel is simply too good to be polluted by false myths, false facts or false expectations. It's just too good. And Paul was on an urgent mission in this letter. With so many false gospels out there today, it's hard to know what is true or what isn't true. You and I, as followers of Jesus, we need to ensure that we are living according to the good news of the gospel of grace. And certainly not living according to the fake news of religious legalism or religious liberalism. We must not add anything to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross to ensure that we gain our salvation.

There's nothing that we can do. We can't earn our salvation through our own good works. We can't earn our salvation by our own merit or by our own actions. I mean, what is enough? How many good works? How good do we need to be? How many good actions do I need to do in order to be saved? I think it's very liberating to remember that you and I, we are safe by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, period, period. So Paul wrote this letter because there were so many Jewish Christians who truly believed that for non-Jew to truly become a part of the family of God, which was happening at a great rate, that church was exploding at that time. They needed to obey all the laws of the Torah. They were thinking that some of these Jewish Christians had come to the churches of Galatia and they were undermining Paul and his teaching.

This is what they were doing. They were actually demanding that the non-Jewish males who were becoming followers of Jesus, they were saying they also had to be circumcised. They also had to follow the Torah and they also had to change their diet, like to a kosher diet and keep the sabbath. So basically what they were saying to them, in order to really, really be saved, you need Jesus plus circumcision, or you need like Jesus plus following the Torah or Jesus and adhering to a kosher diet or Jesus and keeping the sabbath. It was always as if Jesus and his life, his death, and his resurrection and defeating death and hell that that was not really enough to save them. No, no, no. You need Jesus plus all of these other things but what happens is Paul was saying, no, no, no, you don't need anything else, but Jesus. You and I did not need to help God out by doing a whole lot of other things in order to get saved as well.

Now, the fact is when Paul found out that this is what the force teachers were teaching, he was understandably, he was devastated and he was angry. And he was in fact, utterly bewildered that the Galatians had embraced a different gospel so quickly. They had reverted back to the law, which was essentially just a placeholder for grace. So Paul knew that legalism was like an aggressive form of cancer. You've got cut legalism out of the body immediately, or it will kill you. Now, can I remind us all today that what happened to these Galatians can easily happen to us. It is amazing how it just seeps in. It just creeps in. What you first received by grace, you then start adding things to it and we start judging other people by the same thing.

Now they can't really be forgiven. They've got to do this to earn the approval of God or this to earn the forgiveness of God or this to earn the love of God. Legalism will kill you whenever you add anything to the finished work of the Lord, Jesus Christ on the cross and you try to add that as a prerequisite of salvation, then you're in bondage and the very life is being sucked out of you because none of us will ever be good enough to earn or God's approval or to do enough good deeds to earn our way to salvation. Jesus did it all. And that is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So what we're going to do today is we're going to turn to the book of Galatians and we're going to look at verse, chapter one, verse 11 to chapter two, verse 10. And we're going to read Paul's response to this fake news that was out there. There was a lot of fake news. Man, if there was Facebook or Twitter or TikTok or Instagram back then, people would've been down some rabbit holes spreading this fake news saying, you need Jesus plus keeping the law or Jesus plus circumcision or Jesus plus having a kosher diet or Jesus plus keeping the sabbath, you need Jesus. Plus in order to be saved. And Paul would be down all of those rabbit trail saying, no, that's not it. We would be releasing this letter of Galatians down all of these different mediums and say, no, no, no, Jesus plus nothing. Just Jesus alone is what you need to be saved.

This is Paul's answer to all of that fake news circulating around the region of Galatia. He says, "For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin, for I did not receive it from a human source, and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism. I intensely persecuted God's church and tried to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God who from my mother's womb set me apart, called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I could preach him among the gentiles. I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who would become apostles before me, instead, I went to Arabia and I came back to Damascus. Then after three years, I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas and I stayed with him 15 days, but I didn't see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. I declare in the side of God. I am not lying in what I write to you".

I love this. He's just like: I'm not lying. This is not fake news.

"Afterward, I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia I remained personally unknown to the Judean churches that are in Christ. They simply kept hearing he who formally persecuted us now preaches the faith. He once tried to destroyed and they glorified God because of me. Then after 14 years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas taking Titus along also. I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the gentiles, but privately to those recognized as leaders. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running in vain, but not even Titus who was with me was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us but we did not give up and submit to these people for even a moment so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you. Now, from those recognized as important, what they once were makes no difference to me, God does not show favoritism. They added nothing to me. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter was for the circumcised. Since the one at work in Peter for an apostleship to the circumcised was also at work in me for the gentiles. When James, Cephas and John, those recognized as pillars acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to me and Barnabas, agreeing that we should go to the gentiles and they, to the circumcised. They asked only that we would remember the poor, which I had made every effort to do".

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. So Paul starts by defending the authenticity of his message and his authority as an apostle, based on the fact that he's defending himself, I guess we can guess that he was being attacked and that he was being accused by these false teachers of receiving this gospel message second hand and diluting the message to make it easier for non-Jewish people to convert and become Jesus' followers. Now when you preach the gospel of grace, some people get really, really nervous. They're nervous that you are watering down the gospel, that you're diluting the gospel, just making it easy for people to come in, saying people can live however they want to live and do whatever they want to do and believe whatever they want to believe. And they can come in. But what Paul is saying is he's stating that he didn't make this message up. Nobody taught it to him. He didn't go to school for it. He didn't get it from other teachers. In fact, he made sure that he wasn't around anybody else to get this from. God himself according to the text is the one that revealed it to him. It was God himself.

Now, do you remember in the Book of Acts chapter nine, verse seven to nine, it was Paul that had encountered Jesus during his like fully dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. And it was then, and it was that same God that taught him what the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was. It wasn't another human teacher. It was God after that great dramatic conversion. So in fact, we read that after his conversion, Paul went to Arabia for three years. So he didn't go off to get taught by anybody else. Then he went to Jerusalem and he saw Peter and James, and he went to Syria and Cilicia but he didn't come back to Jerusalem until a full 14 years later. And this time he brought Barnabas with him and he brought Titus with him. So it was God himself that gave him the gospel message. God spoke to him, God gave him the message.

Now remember the amazing thing is that it was Paul, who actually was the one that used to persecute Christians. I mean, he was there in acts chapter seven when Steven was martyr. Now remember in acts chapter eight, verse one, it says, Saul agreed with putting him to death. Can you imagine how Paul must have felt? I mean, he was the one, he was standing there and he agreed with people, stoning Steven, the first martyr to death. He was not only complicit. He encouraged it, he endorsed it, he affirmed it. Imagine what he would've felt. Paul was the one that traveled regionally to do everything humanly possible to stop this Jesus movement from spreading. I mean, he placed Jesus' followers, like in prison. He had them sentenced to death. So he was the one that not only persecuted Christians, he understood every minute detail of as in his own words. He was like the pharisee of pharisees. He was the most legalistic person that existed. I mean, he was the top of the tree. He was as steeped in Judaism, as you could possibly get. And this saint Paul.

So the guy that used to persecute the pharisee of pharisees is the most legalistic person that you would know, that same man is the one that is flabbergasted, that the Jesus' followers in the church's in Galatia were now going back to the exact same thing that he had left. I mean, he says in the book of Galatians, you foolish Galatians who has bewitched you? Who has bewitched you? Who's gotten inside of your head and made you turn from a gospel of grace to thinking that you have to add anything to get the approval or the love or the forgiveness of God.

Now, have you ever known anyone that was set free from something? And then that person freaks out if they ever see anyone going back to the thing that they were freed from. I've often seen this with people that have been delivered from drugs or alcohol. And if they see anyone slightly going back to the very that they were freed from, you watch them, they are in heart and soul. They're trying to do everything to stop you from going back to something that they were set free from. Now Paul is like, I have been set free from legalism. And now you guys are going back to that? I know the damage that that causes. I know that that is like a cancer that eats you from the inside out. It saps the life out of you, it saps the liberty out of you. It puts you in bondage, why? Who has bewitched you? Why would you go back to that?

I love that NT write says that Paul was essentially saying, you don't have to become a Jew before you become a Christian. You don't actually need to take on signs of Jewish identity, like keeping the sabbath or the food laws or circumcision in order to become a Jesus follower. What Paul was saying was that believers from a gentile background, they were full members of God's people, no matter what their ethnic or their moral background was. Now you have to realize that this was a radical concept. This was a radical concept for that time. And can I just say it's equally as radical today. This is good news for everybody, because Paul is saying this grace is available for whosoever will come.

There is nothing that we could do to earn the grace of God. There is nothing that we can do to deserve the grace of God. There is not one thing we could do to add to Jesus' finished work on the cross. Jesus paid it all. And because Jesus paid it all, the fact of the matter is every single person from every tribe, tongue nationality, ethnicity is invited in to join the family of God. This is a family for whosoever will come. This is the most inclusive family. Jesus says, "Whosoever will. You and I, we are the whosoever. You don't have to have been good enough, talented enough, eloquent enough, you don't have to have done enough good works or made few mistakes, you can just be who you are, come as you are. Jesus says, whosoever will is invited into this family".

Regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of ethnicity, all are invited in, in our divided world, in our world full of conflict, in our world, full of chaos, in our world full of pain, in our world full of suffering. How awesome would it be for the church of God, for the family of God, to reflect the grace of God, by opening our arms wide and say who so will, no matter what your background is, what you've done, where you've been, what your socioeconomic background is, your gender or your ethnicity, all the things that are used to pull us apart, all of the things that are used to divide us, Jesus says, "You all can come and be part of my family here on earth and reflect the glory, the love, the grace and the unity of God". This is the gospel of grace. This is the gospel of good news. This is what Paul is saying in the book of Galatians.
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