A day in a world caught up in a race,
busy streets, polluted air, forlorn face.
Taking a birds eye view, of a complicated world.
a frantic trap waiting to be hurled.
Yet a hand divine displays a picture of God Himself.
through His creation, His endless wealth.
We are so small yet an intricate part of a fabric blend of perfect art.
Though the groaning of our heart, eat away and tare us apart.
He grafts within a wounded soul
His love, His grace, so strong, so full.
To different heights, He gently leads, through desert lands . . .
then mountain weeds.
But each step we take, not alone
for God the Father calls us on . . .
Prodding us, watching us from sunrise to sunset.
His hand of love holding us abreast.
To strengthen, prepare us for what days lie ahead.
breathing life to our dry bones that seem very dead.
So Praise the Lord, whether you are happy or sad.
Remember who is really your Dad.
Be His child, so sweet and so pure.
For not, but rest, in His loving arms.
The days seem weary and you don’t feel strong.
The wait may seem to tarry along.
The end result will be a fruitful song.
“Be still and know that I am God”
Copyright – August 19, 1998
The first time I held my precious, new born grandson in my arms. Oh, what love I instantly felt in my heart for this little new born baby. I couldn’t help but shout out a loud “Praise Jesus” and thank your Lord, when I first heard the news that Lucas had arrived. I looked at this tiny baby that I was holding and felt such awe. He is so perfectly made.
There are so many horrible things going on in this world. Any thoughts of them slipped out of my mind during those moments when I looked at Lucas. I felt such joy and wonder, beyond words really. He brought such a sincere, happy and eventful, time of praise to God. It is easy to praise God in the exciting times. Sometimes the troubles of life and the sadness and evil we see around us steals the thankfulness from within.
It is so interesting to me that only that same week, I had read this psalm of praise and it spoke to my heart. God’s Word has so much to teach us. I love to worship in song. I am on a worship team at a local church. Of course as I read Psalm 66, this is how the words spoke to me: To me the Psalm really teaches us of true worship and praise of Almighty God. Often our praises can become routine songs we sing once in a while. The psalmist tells so much more about praise. Hopefully, you enjoy this psalm as much as I do. I hope it gives some room for thought about how and why we praise our Mighty and deserving God.
English Standard Version (ESV) http://biblegateway.com
“How Awesome Are Your Deeds
To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.
66 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah
5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8 Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on[a] my tongue.[b]
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!”
Theme – Praise and Worship
Recognizing the deeds of God and how awesome they are. This psalm is a call to worship God who is worthy of all praise. The introduction to the Choir Master, is called a song and a psalm.
Psalm 66: 1-7
In these verses the psalmist calls upon all people to praise God, all lands, all the earth, all the inhabitants of the world that are capable of praising God, Ps. 66:1.
1. These verses speak of the glory of God and telling us that God is worthy to be praised by all, for he is good to all and furnishes every nation with matter for praise. This shows that all are to praise God, not just a few within the congregation or some people, but all people everywhere. “The duty of man, that all are obliged to praise God; it is part of the law of creation, and therefore is required of every creature. God has always been praised and always will be praised. If man does not praise God then even the rocks and stones will cry out and praise God.”
Luke 19:40 English Standard Version (ESV)
40 “He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
2. Through Jesus Christ we are under a Covenant of love and Grace and Mercy, so how much more should we praise our God and Saviour? Praise to God is of great importance to God. “Let us therefore see God’s works and observe the instances of his wisdom, power, and faithfulness in them (Ps. 66:5), and then speak of them, and speak of them to him”. We speak of God’s works through our worship. We sing of his great works and in doing so glorify God. We sing praise to Him and in doing so show Him our thankfulness and exaltation to God. It shows that we acknowledge that God is greater than all. He alone is praised.
3. In a heartfelt gesture to God, the psalmist encourages a good work of praising God. The psalmist abounds in praising God and wishes that God might have his tribute paid him by all the nations of the earth and not by the land of Israel only. He excites all lands.
Points to be noted:
a. To make a joyful noise to God. Holy joy is that devout affection which should animate all our praises; and, though it is not making a noise in religion that God will accept. For example the praise of hypocrites who are said to cause their voice to be heard on high. I think this refers to those who praise with their lips and not with their hearts. The stage can be full of musicians and not necessarily worshippers. In other words, God won’t listen to lip service. (Isa. 58:4), yet, in praising God, [1.] “We must be hearty and zealous, and must do what we do with all our might, with all that is within us, with all our hearts, souls, mind and strength.”
b. We must be open and public, as those that are not ashamed of our God. And both these are implied in making a noise, a joyful noise.
c. To sing with pleasure, and to sing forth, for the edification of others, the honour of God’s name, that is, in recognition of all that God has made known, Ps. 66:2. That which is the honour of God’s name ought to be the matter of our praise.
d. To make his praise glorious as far as we can. In praising God we must do it so as to glorify God, and that must be reason of all our praises. It is the highest honour we the creature can offer to God our Creator.
Psalm 66 7- 15
These verses show us how that during the time this Psalm was written that the Israelites recognized the testing that God put them through.
“6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.”
They witnessed God’s mighty hand at work when he split the water in two as they crossed through the dry land. Oh how mighty is God. His eyes keep watch on the nations. God knows who is rebellious. God’s testing often reveals the truth of a man or woman’s heart or their motives. We see God’s miracles every day as did the Israelites. How quickly forgotten. Today, do we take time to praise God. His miracles are all around us. Look at the birth of a baby, oh how wondrous and beautiful and intricate every detail from conception to birth. If we read the journey of the Israelites, we know that there were times when they stopped praising God and at times even began to praise false God’s. People have not changed in that respect. Believers often praise God in the good times, but in the bad times turn from God to other things.
The psalmist tells us to praise Him, don’t stop praising Him even during times of testing. In fact praise God more for those who truly trust in the Lord know that in that testing God is doing something far greater than we can even understand.
“For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.”
When silver is melted down all the impurities come out as is with gold. The things that are impure come to the top. For us when we are tested like silver, our true and impure thoughts and the wickedness within our hearts and the sin nature can be revealed to others and to God through the testing process.
I’m sure every one of us can get up and testify to a time within our life, where we have been tested as silver. You know, because it was during that testing you may have begun to question your faith in God. The doubt, the fear, the rebellion began to boil to the top. Some of us know very well the ugliness within our own hearts, the wickedness within that needs to be scooped from us during that process. The dross (impurities) come to the surface and that impurity needs to be removed. It is a continual process. Some of us might be going through that refiner’s fire right now. If you read the Old Testament, we see time and again the testing of God at work. We see the pattern of failure looming so large. We also see the repentant heart of the Psalmist like David who knew that the impurities could be cleansed by repentance and He praised God for the testing. It made Him a better person; a more trusted observer of the God He loved so much. David was a man who struggled with sin (adultery, murder and so on . . . but he was a man of repentance. We see example after example of God’s forgiveness toward David and the Israelites when they repentant and turned back to God. That is what made David a man after God’s own heart; a man who loved God and understood the love God had for him.
Psalm 66:13 – 15
“13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”
The Psalmist at that time wanted to make amends. He wanted to right the wrongs; he wanted to give to God what he could give.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on[a] my tongue.[b]
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
The power in this last stanza is powerful. The psalmist reveals the main elements needed to enter into the highest of praise (fear God, cry out to God and remove sin).
Psalm 111:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!”
Proverbs 1:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 9:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
a. Recognizing what God has done for each of us, in giving His Son Jesus Christ, in paying that burnt offering for us. No longer to we have to sacrifice burnt offerings as they did in the day of the psalmist. Jesus became that offering and that sacrifice. He was the perfect Lamb of God, without sin. His blood to atone for our sin.
b. A cry of praise to the Lord for what He has done. What did God do for you through His Son Jesus Christ? God the Father gave a gift of Grace and Mercy. What does that mean? Grace – God giving us what we don’t deserve which is atonement for our sins, eternal life and forgiveness. And Mercy – God not giving us what we do deserve, eternal death and destruction.
c. Romans 6:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We should all think about that scripture verse and ask ourselves if we have truly received that gift God offers? As in any gift given, a person has to take hold and accept that gift from the giver.
How much do we want to praise Jesus for this? The psalmist said he cried out and the highest praise was on his lips. How about when we worship? We all need to examine ourselves to honestly know ourselves and where we are in this place of worship to God?
Next take this as literal. Praise him with a song, with your lips to God and to other people. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for by sharing it, you are also praising God and what He has done.
In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to share the gospel of Jesus Christ because world views are changing drastically from what God’s Word teaches. We often want to be peace keepers rather than gospel givers. We choose to compromise the Word of God and in doing so, we are doing the farthest thing from praising God. In fact when I think about it, is it any different than Peter denying Christ three times when they were about to crucify Jesus? How sad that often, fear in its many forms, can immobilize us and in this battle against evil and sin, our love for self can be stronger than our love and praise to God. How difficult it can be to deny ourselves and take up that cross for Jesus. The testing’s are here and they will increase as the days grow even more dark. However, we have one who is greater than our fear and more powerful than the battle we may be in. He will supply us with the weapons needed to win whatever that battle might be. The key to winning any battle is that we have take the Saviour Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit with us.
d. The psalmist recognized the importance of integrity. Folks, we can’t hang on to the sins we love. If we do then we begin to cherish the sin, more than God. He will not hear our praises.
“8 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.”
4. 19 But truly God has listened, he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” The psalmist new the need for repentance and also the love of God and the power of God and that God heard his praise and his prayer. Oh what blessed assurance we can have if we take the Psalmist’s example and do likewise – pray, repent and obey the voice of God.
Conclusion of my thoughts on Psalm 66
Let us therefore see God’s works and observe the instances of his wisdom, power, and faithfulness in them (Ps. 66:5), and then speak of them, and speak of them to him.
Praise God in all things, at all times, in all places. Let the praise of the one who deserves all honour glory and praise hear a humble and contrite heart and a heart of worship.
Now is the time to come and worship the King. Do you have a relationship with the Father God through His Son Jesus Christ?
If not come now and ask him to forgive your sins and receive the greatest gift of all – the one who grants God’s grace and Mercy. Pray (talk) to God on a daily basis. Receive and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and given the gift of eternal life.
Praise be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ who is worthy of the highest praise. For even the angels rejoice, twirl and spin when one sinner comes to repentance and saving grace.
Click on Link below and Worship the Lord – Song – Here I am to Worship.
All Scripture from Biblegateway.com ESV version – more information see source commentary notes.
Hermeneutic Assignment Galatians
I chose Galatians to examine the scriptures using hermeneutics, to determine the correct biblical doctrine taught by the Apostle Paul in regards to whether or not Christians must continue to observe (613 laws). The passages I have chosen to build my thesis on, is taken from Galatians 3:1-14, Galatians 2:15 and also other passages of scripture for validation.
My focus will be on subjects of modern day controversy still affecting churches today. Example – Do Christians have to observe the commands such as: circumcision, abstaining from eating pork and also the observance of the Sabbath from Friday to Saturday evening rather than Sunday?
My aim is to find out what the bible teaches in regards to the New Covenant and what it means to no longer be slaves to the law. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 ESV)
By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
What is the Law? There are 613 laws mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible.
History – According to bible NIV commentary – There are two views regarding the date and destination of the letter to Galatians.
1. The North Galatian theory is that the letter was addressed to churches located in Asia Minor between A.D. 53 and 57 from Ephesus or Macedonia.
2. The South Galatian theory takes the view that the letter was addressed to churches in the southern area of the Roman province of Galatia, written from Syrian Antioch in 48-49 after Paul’s first journey and before the Jerusalem council meeting. (Acts15). Others say that the letter of Galatians was written in Syrian Antioch or Corinth between 51 and 53. We can estimate the time of writing to be between 51 to 57 A.D.
Identifying the Audience God Intended – Who, Where and What for Whom is this letter intended?
Who is the Author of the Book of Galatians?
Written by the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-11) Saul/Paul was once a Jew who persecuted Christians from the early church of the way. He was Jewish and very knowledgable in the Jewish faith. Through conversion – the act of changing one’s beliefs from the Jewish faith to teaching the gospel of Christ and then teaching others to follow that teaching. Saul became a follower of Christ Jesus the Messiah and was given the name Paul by The Lord. He then became known as an Apostle for Christ.
Where, what and for whom?
In Galatia he is speaking to the Judaizers (Jewish Christians) to new converts to Christianity as a warning about false teachings. As the early church began, some Judaizers came against Paul’s teachings. These Jewish Christians continued to teach that Old Testament Jewish customs and religious rights, had to be kept, and they were trying to convert them back to Judaism, (which meant back under some of the old laws) They believed that a number of the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament still needed to be done. Example – circumcision and not eating pork.
Example of OT practices – See Exodus 24:6-9 “And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Judaizers argued that Old Testament practices are still binding on the New Testament Church. (that would be todays Christian churches). The Judaizers argued that Paul was not an authentic apostle and that out of a desire to make the message more appealing to Gentiles, he had removed from the gospel certain legal requirements. With apostolic authority of the gospel, Paul makes his case (defence) for Christ in his letter to the Galatians. Further Biblical study will show the teachings of the Judaizers became a common problem. Paul warned others to beware of (those of the law) and false teachers. (Titus 1, 1Timothy, 2 Corinthians 3, scripture verses are further along in this document). Paul’s adversaries (Judaizers) added requirements for justification (e.g. works of the law). In doing so, Paul said they perverted the gospel of grace. He warned against such false teachings and to adhere to sound doctrine (authority of God as the author) which would include living a life of faith alone and a new life in the freedom of the Spirit.
(Commentary note) This letter of Galatians stands as a vigorous apologetic for the essential NT truth that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ and nothing more or nothing less and not by legalistic works but by obedience that comes through faith in God, grace and Holy Spirit.
Through study, I will either confirm B. or disprove this commentary note.
Let us look at (Galatians 3:1-14 ESV) as my first set of passages for study.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” (This was a covenant with Abraham). So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged upon a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
Analyzing Thought Structure Chapter
Paul asks the Galatians some very strong questions in defense of Gospel of Christ:
1. “O foolish Galatians!” A strong figurative statement.The Galatians were not mentally deficient but lacked correct perception. Example of foolishness. compare text (Luke 24:25 ESV) “And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
2. “Who has bewitched you?” – bewitched—fascinated you so that you have lost your wits. Themistius says the Galatians were naturally very acute in intellect. Paul wonders why they could be so misled in this case.(Word Search)The word bewitched means – to be under the control of an evil magician or demonic spell. The word used is figurative. Paul’s question has a tone of rebuke that expresses deep concern for the Galatian believers who are being lead astray by persuasive teachers of the law (Judaizers). cross reference (Titus 1:14)
Example – (Galatians 4:8-10 ESV)
(Historical) “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. (Presently) But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
Note – When the Galatians were pagans, they thought that the beings they worshiped were gods; but when they became Christians, they learned better. Now they were turning back to the old beliefs.
3. “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” A strong reminder to refocus them back to Christ and His crucifixion.” (Literal there were eye witnesses of the Crucifixion of Christ)
Compare texts: Using The Process of Synthesizing to form a hypothesis of the Scripture’s unity.
(1 Corinthians 1:22, 23 ESV)- 22 “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. Could be used as a parallel element:
(Numbers 21:9 ESV) “So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” (signs and wonders in old testament vs science or Greek mythology, wisdom of man and then there is what Paul preaches – the absolute truth (gospel of Christ)
The tense of the verb crucified indicates that Paul’s vivid portrayal of Christ crucified was not only of the historical event (bronze serpent set it on a pole) but also of the present, saving power of the cross of Christ for all who believe in him. Christ’s death on the cross to the symbolic example of the bronze serpent on a pole for the Jew.
4. Gal. 3 vs 2 “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”
This question seeks a thought out answer where they may have been confused. (Two opposing views. Paul’s question gets the Galatians thinking about their own experience of God. We should not get into the habit of relying on our personal experience to teach us scripture, as it is often shaded by emotions. In this case the questions break through the incorrect teachings and like a shepherds staff direct us in the right direction. One has to decide the correct answer. They were leaning to the incorrect answer which leads to Paul’s second harsh but necessary question. (Ref. Holy Spirit – Ephesians 1:13, Acts 2:38, 8:15, 10:44, 15:8,14, Hebrews 6:4)
5. Gal. 3 vs 3 “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
Paul’s specific point is that the Galatians’ alternative is between living by the Spirit, whom they received when they believed the message of Christ crucified, and seeking perfection by circumcision (and other rites such as food laws and sabbath observance), which would identify them as proselyte Jews (noun) (a gentile who has converted to Judaism). Trying to attain perfection by the flesh in that context meant the attempt to attain spiritual status by conforming to Jewish customs in order to become Jews. The contrast between beginning with the Spirit and trying to attain your goal by the flesh (NIV translates “flesh” as human effort) sets up the antithesis (contrast) between spirit and flesh which recurs in Galatians 4:29, (Gal 5:16-23) and (Gal 6:8). In (Gal 4:23 and 29) the son born according to the flesh (“born in the ordinary way”) is a reference to Jews who hold to the Sinai covenant (Gal 4:24) also (Exodus 19-34) and to the present Jerusalem (Gal 4:25) as the basis of their identity. These are the same ones who desire to boast in circumcised flesh. In other words, in the proselytization of Gentile believers at Galatia (6:13).
Paul preached salvation and sanctification are the work of Holy Spirit not of the flesh (by human effort) or works of the law (obeying 613 laws). Paul refers to Holy Spirit sixteen times. Salvation and sanctification are the work of the Holy Spirit not human effort (flesh). Trying to achieve righteousness by works, including circumcision, was a part of the life in the flesh.
Ref. (Ephesians 2-18) “11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, malienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (See Col. 2:14, 20)
Hebrews 8:13 -13 – When God speaks of a “New” Covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. The old covenants which are many still exist, just like the writings of the Old Testament exist? The Jews could never uphold all the commands, laws or ordinances (613 laws). We do not throw away the Old Covenants, as they had a purpose to fulfil within the prophesied coming of Christ and the New Covenant. We don’t break covenants with God, but God replaces Old Covenants with new.
footnote: Logos commentary – made … old—“hath (at the time of speaking the prophecy) antiquated the first covenant.” From the time of God’s mention of a new covenant (since God’s words are all realities) the first covenant might be regarded as ever dwindling away, until its complete abolition on the actual introduction of the Gospel. Both covenants cannot exist side by side. Mark how verbal inspiration is proved in Paul’s argument turning wholly on the one word “new” (covenant), occurring but once in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 9:15-28 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
God’s promise can be trusted (Genesis 9:17)- God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:17 ESV)
Jesus established a new covenant (Luke 22:20) – And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:20 ESV)
God’s covenant brings life (2 Corinthians, chapter 3) Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:1-18 ESV)
6. Galatians 3 vs 4 – Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?”
Paul is again asking a question to make them look at their history and all they suffered. In vain as one who looks in the mirror and immediately forgets what they look like. Was it all for nothing? (Gal 3:4) Paul is saying that those who go back into the old way are being mislead and he wants them to come back to the true gospel which is Christ Crucified and the work of the Holy Spirit. See – (1 Timothy 1:6, 7 ESV) “Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”
7. Galatians 3 vs 5 -6 ” Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith – (Here we could apply cultural understanding of the Jewish as descendants and under the law of Moses.” Also (Consider Abraham) just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”.
Another question which directs them to consider and choose the right answer between law or faith.
In summary of verses Galatians 3:1-5
Paul’s – questions focus on three aspects of the Galatians:
a) experience of the Spirit: their initial reception of the Spirit (3:1-2)
b) their progress toward maturity by the Spirit (3:3)
c) and their experience of miracles by the Spirit (3:4-5).
8. Galatians 3:7 “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
The general principle tells us it is conditional on faith whether or not they are sons of Abraham. In contemporary terms those of faith are (Christians) followers of Christ. Romans 3:30 – “Justification of uncircumcised or circumcised by faith. The word faith in vs 7 is literal meaning of faith.
9. Galatians 3:8 “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
The Greek word Gentiles – KJV Heathen) The word nations can also be translated Gentiles depending on context.
10. Galatians 3:9-10 “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them.”
11. Gal. 3:11-14 “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith. 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” This is saying: All those who put themselves under the law are under a curse. If you try working for you salvation you are putting yourself under the laws.
Compare texts and (pg. 222 Understanding and Applying the Bible) studied (pg. 261 Bible Prophecy) through OT regarding Abraham to confirm our faith through the fulfilled prophesy of God’s promise to Abraham regarding the Christ. This prophecy influences every believer:
(Prophesy Quote) “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3 ESV)
“The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?”(Genesis 18:17, 18 ESV)
Reference to Galatians 2:16 – We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15, 16 ESV) It is impossible to keep all the laws that is why creation needed the perfect sacrifice (Christ Jesus).
(Romans 4:13-16 ESV) For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” note (Heir to the world The word ‘world’ means all creation.)
(Romans 4:20-25 ESV) No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead – Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
(Hebrews 11:8, 9 ESV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
(John 8:33-47 ESV)”They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Summary verses 7-10
a) those of the faith – anyone who is a believer and follower of Christ Jesus. (Gentiles and Jews) By faith Abraham believed in the coming promise.
b) sons of Abraham – Abraham was a figurative spiritual father to the Jewish.
c) justification comes through faith in Christ. Romans 4:12
d) What was the promise? Gen 13:16 – possession of the land of the peoples on earth will be blessed through him Gen 12:3 and his offspring. Gen 22:18 Authoritative word that God purposed through Abraham. His offspring would work out their destiny and inheritance when Christ returns and those justified by faith receive the blessings which would include forgiveness of sins. A new covenant. see (Romans Chapter 4)
Summary verses 11-14
Paul contrasts the two states in their essential nature and principle.
a) Curse – which is death – “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 ESV)
b) Spirit – Gal 3:2 – promised Spirit – prophecy
c) faith – literally
d) blessing – life, justification, promise
e) OT Curse – NT Christ became Curse for sinners – law vs faith. Curse vs blessing.
Within the New Testament letters the apostles continued to send similar warnings as sent to Galatians, for new converts to Christianity to be aware of the false teachers. See examples – Book of Titus, Book of 1Timothy
(Titus 1:9-16 ESV) He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. (Judaizers -Jewish Christians) They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (not devoting themselves to Jewish myths) and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. (To the pure, all things are pure,) but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. (They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.) They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Taken from the letter to Titus. Titus was one of Paul’s early converts to Christianity. He was a gentile. Paul sent him to Crete, which was in the Mediterranean – This letter was written by Paul after his release from Roman Prison (Acts 28:17-31)
There was a lot of heresy being taught especially from those of the circumcision group. See Galatians 2:12) and (Titus 1:10-16) specifically (literal) wording and warning to teach sound doctrine. Warning of trouble makers, distorting the doctrine. There was three main characteristics:
1. Believed that for salvation or sanctification or both, it was necessary to be circumcised and to keep the Jewish ceremonial law (See Galatians)
2. They held to unscriptural Jewish myths vs (Titus 1:14) and genealogies -“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” (Titus 3:9 ESV) “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” (1 Timothy 1:3, 4 ESV)
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:5-11 ESV)
Incompatible Passages: These appear to be incompatible passages even contradictory when read in wrong context. Many use these verses to prove they must still live under the law. I myself have been baffled for a quick response. After researching I am gaining a clearer perspective of interpretation.
Incompatible Verses for study.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20 ESV)
Some use this verse to defend living under the old law. (Mat. 5:18—“one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law “the word of God shall stand forever”).
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Confirmation of my thesis by Systematic Theology texts from Logos Bible.
Footnote Systematic Theology in reference to (Mat. 5:18—“one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law “the word of God shall stand forever”).
“In God’s veracity we have the guarantee that our faculties in their normal exercise do not deceive us; that the laws of thought are also laws of things; that the external world, and second causes in it, have objective existence; that the same causes will always produce the same effects; that the threats of the moral nature will be executed upon the unrepentant transgressor; that man’s moral nature is made in the image of God’s; and that we may draw just conclusions from what conscience is in us to what holiness is in him. We may therefore expect that all past revelations, whether in nature or in his word, will not only not be contradicted by our future knowledge, but will rather prove to have in them more of truth than we ever dreamed. Man’s word may pass away, but God’s word abides forever.”
To this view we urge the following objections: note Systematic Theology
(a) That since the law is a transcript of the holiness of God, its demands as a moral rule are unchanging. Only as a system of penalty and a method of salvation is the law abolished in Christ’s death.
(b) That the union between Christ and the believer secures not only the bearing of the penalty of the law by Christ, but also the impartation of Christ’s spirit of obedience to the believer,—in other words, brings him into communion with Christ’s work, and leads him to ratify it in his own experience.
(c) That the freedom from the law of which the Scriptures speak, is therefore simply that freedom from the constraint and bondage of the law, which characterizes those who have become one with Christ by faith.
“Jesus also gave instruction of what to do and what not to do. He summed the commandments by giving us the greatest commandment: “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)
We would be hard pressed to truthfully say any one of us could completely fulfill this great commandment. Can anyone fully love The Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and if you see other verses which say,”strength”? We may strive and desire to obey and reach that level of devotion and obedience to God, but we cannot fully do this when we love other people or things or think of other things etc. We naturally love other things as well as God. We love our spouses, children, family, and friends too. In this way, we don’t love God with all our hearts do we? That makes us all sinners. For no one fully loves God with all their heart. Again, it is only through the righteousness of Christ that we can stand before God forgiven of sin. There is a condition – To attain His Christ’s righteousness we must believe in our hearts and minds in regards to the one true Christ – God the Son, Jesus as our Saviour. The only one high priest who can be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus in His birth, death and resurrection proved that He is the fulfillment of the New Covenant between God and creation. He himself also said He has come to fulfill the law.
After much research, I conclude that we have a moral responsibility to obey God. Moral commandments apply to all people in all times. We must also know the Word of God and live under the Authority of God, while being set free from the death of sin (breaking of the law) but only through:
a) experience of the Spirit: their initial reception of the Spirit (Gal. 3:1-2)
b) progress toward maturity by the Spirit (Gal. 3:3)
c) experience of miracles by the Spirit (Gal. 3:4-5).
d) Christ crucified, faith in Christ, justification for Jews or Gentiles who believe. `
e) Not by works of the law, but by faith in Christ alone.
f) God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled through Christ’s death on the Cross (fulfilled Old Covenant by His shed blood) “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
h) “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
The Greek word Gentiles – KJV Heathen) The word nations can also be translated Gentiles depending on context.
I) “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:9)
It is an incorrect teaching which tells Christians they must still live under the old laws. It is to go back into slavery from that which Christ set us free (free from the curse – Christ became curse for us). It is also clear that the New Covenant has added even higher standards being a follower of Christ Jesus (Christian) A moral standard written not on tablets but on our hearts. Holy Spirit will help us live to such a calling.
For further study:
Also, a commentary Galatians CHAPTER 3
Ga 3:1–29. Reproof of the Galatians for Abandoning Faith for Legalism. Justification by Faith Vindicated: The Law Shown to Be Subsequent to the Promise: Believers Are the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, Who Was Justified by Faith. The Law Was Our Schoolmaster to Bring Us to Christ, that We Might Become Children of God by Faith.
1. that ye should not obey the truth—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
you—emphatical. “You, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been graphically set forth (literally, in writing, namely, by vivid portraiture in preaching) among you, crucified” (so the sense and Greek order require rather than English Version). As Christ was “crucified,” so ye ought to have been by faith “crucified with Christ,” and so “dead to the law” (Ga 2:19, 20). Reference to the “eyes” is appropriate, as fascination was supposed to be exercised through the eyes. The sight of Christ crucified ought to have been enough to counteract all fascination.
2. “Was it by the works of the law that ye received the Spirit (manifested by outward miracles, Ga 3:5; Mk 16:17; Heb 2:4; and by spiritual graces, Ga 3:14; Ga 4:5, 6; Eph 1:13), or by the hearing of faith?” The “only” implies, “I desire, omitting other arguments, to rest the question on this alone”; I who was your teacher, desire now to “learn” this one thing from you. The epithet “Holy” is not prefixed to “Spirit” because that epithet is a joyous one, whereas this Epistle is stern and reproving [Bengel]. hearing of faith—Faith consists not in working, but in receiving (Ro 10:16, 17).
3. begun—the Christian life (Php 1:6).
In the Spirit—Not merely was Christ crucified “graphically set forth” in my preaching, but also “the Spirit” confirmed the word preached, by imparting His spiritual gifts. “Having thus begun” with the receiving His spiritual gifts, “are ye now being made perfect” (so the Greek), that is, are ye seeking to be made perfect with “fleshly” ordinances of the law? [Estius]. Compare Ro 2:28; Php 3:3; Heb 9:10. Having begun in the Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit ruling your spiritual life as its “essence and active principle” [Ellicott], in contrast to “the flesh,” the element in which the law works [Alford]. Having begun your Christianity in the Spirit, that is, in the divine life that proceeds from faith, are ye seeking after something higher still (the perfecting of your Christianity) in the sensuous and the earthly, which cannot possibly elevate the inner life of the Spirit, namely, outward ceremonies? [Neander]. No doubt the Galatians thought that they were going more deeply into the Spirit; for the flesh may be easily mistaken for the Spirit, even by those who have made progress, unless they continue to maintain a pure faith [Bengel].
4. Have ye suffered so many things—namely, persecution from Jews and from unbelieving fellow countrymen, incited by the Jews, at the time of your conversion.
in vain—fruitlessly, needlessly, since ye might have avoided them by professing Judaism [Grotius]. Or, shall ye, by falling from grace, lose the reward promised for all your sufferings, so that they shall be “in vain” (Ga 4:11; 1 Co 15:2, 17–19, 29–32; 2 Th 1:5–7; 2 Jn 1:8)?
yet—rather, “If it be really (or ‘indeed’) in yet—rather, “If it be really (or ‘indeed’) in vain” [Ellicott]. “If, as it must be, what I have said, ‘in vain,’ is really the fact” [Alford]. I prefer understanding it as a mitigation of the preceding words. I hope better things of you, for I trust you will return from legalism to grace; if so, as I confidently expect, you will not have “suffered so many things in vain” [Estius]. For “God has given you the Spirit and has wrought mighty works among you” (Ga 3:5; Heb 10:32–36) [Bengel].
5. He … that ministereth—or “supplieth,” God (2 Co 9:10). He who supplied and supplies to you the Spirit still, to the present time. These miracles do not prove grace to be in the heart (Mk 9:38, 39). He speaks of these miracles as a matter of unquestioned notoriety among those addressed; an undesigned proof of their genuineness (compare 1 Co 12:1–31).
worketh miracles among you—rather, “in you,” as Ga 2:8; Mt 14:2; Eph 2:2; Php 2:13; at your conversion and since [Alford].
doeth he it by the works of the law—that is, as a consequence resulting from (so the Greek) the works of the law (compare Ga 3:2). This cannot be because the law was then unknown to you when you received those gifts of the Spirit.
6. The answer to the question in Galatians 3:5 is here taken for granted, It was by the hearing of faith: following this up, he says, “Even as Abraham believed,” &c. (Ge 15:4–6; Ro 4:3). God supplies unto you the Spirit as the result of faith, not works, just as Abraham obtained justification by faith, not by works (Ga 3:6, 8, 16; Ga 3:6, 8, 16, Ga 4:22, 26, 28). Where justification is, there the Spirit is, so that if the former comes by faith, the latter must also. 7. they which are of faith—as the source and starting-point of their spiritual life. The same phrase is in the Greek of Ro 3:26.
the same—these, and these alone, to the exclusion of all the other descendants of Abraham.
children—Greek, “sons” (Ga 3:29).
8. And—Greek, “Moreover.”
foreseeing—One great excellency of Scripture is, that in it all points liable ever to be controverted, are, with prescient wisdom, decided in the most appropriate language.
would justify—rather, “justifieth.” Present indicative. It is now, and at all times, God’s one way of justification.
the heathen—rather, “the Gentiles”; or “the nations,” as the same Greek is translated at the end of the verse. God justifieth the Jews, too, “by faith, not by works.”
ESV Bible Vision
Commentary Critical and explanatory
By: Rebecca Robinson
THE CASE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
When it comes to Christianity – For centuries, many people have sat as judge and jury without looking at any of the evidence presented within the bible or at some historical documentation. Others have taken theology courses and the study of hermeneutics and other topics of study, as to gain a correct translation of the Bible’s teachings. Many people study through the bible word-for-word and verse-by-verse and with the knowledge they attained or lack of, they have delivered their verdict. For some people, it is as simple as faith. They can believe without having much evidence.
There are many names to faith: simple faith, saving faith, believing faith, childlike faith, no faith. You see the chair and sit in it without even checking to see if the chair will hold you up. You just believe it will hold you up when you sit in it. That would be a faith, that just does, without thinking about it. Big faith, little faith, and faith as big as a mustard seed. They can all do the same thing. It is called faith. Faith is believing in something we can’t see. (based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof). We either believe in Jesus is God the Son or we don’t.
Years ago, I sat in a church and without much bible study, I just knew that I wanted to have a relationship with the Father God. I was convicted of my sinfulness and I heard the gospel of Christ. I knew I needed a Saviour and I believed and received Jesus as that Saviour. Since that day, I have walked with Him and He with me every day. There have been good times and bad times, difficult times; times when I even felt far away from God. I always have known in my heart that God has been and is always with me, no matter how I may feel. I couldn’t believe anything stronger.
Being a follower of Christ for so many years, I have desired to know Him more and more. That is why I study the Bible and write about sermons and the truths I learn along the way. Jesus is the reason why I sing songs and why I write and live. For me, He is “The Risen Saviour and my God”. I want everyone to have this same RELATIONSHIP and LIFE that I have found in Christ Jesus. When we allow Him into our lives, it puts the living hope into our lives, no matter what we might be going through. HOPE! LIFE! PURPOSE! AND SO MUCH MORE.
I really enjoyed the sermon from Resurrection Sunday. I want to share it with you. Pastor Bryan’s jury duty proved to be very enlightening to me. I hope you will get on this jury for yourself and weigh or sift through the evidence presented. If you are still not quite convinced after this trial, pray and receive Jesus. Holy Spirit will give you all the evidence you need when you begin to receive and believe. Remember “faith”.
SERMON FOR RESURRECTION SUNDAY – Pastor Bryan Vaughan
His Resurection (preached April 2014)
The Resurrection is either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever or it is the most fantastic fact of history. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.”
I want to distill the overwhelming data about the Resurrection into some bite-size chunks. And, I want to ask you to serve on a jury. Imagine this auditorium as a courtroom and each of you are sitting in the jury box.
In my opening argument I want to help you understand the correct story about what happened on that Resurrection morning. With all the information available in the world today, I will show that most of it is irrelevant and not very useful. Its just data floating around cyberspace. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter supremely, is whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus staked His entire reputation on the Resurrection. If it didn’t happen, everything that Jesus said and did is open to question.
The issue before the court, is not that of a crime, but a claim; a claim so spectacular and so crucial that it is either the cornerstone of Christianity or it’s a fatal flaw. Members of the jury, the claim is that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead. The Resurrection is the supreme miracle of Christianity. It’s at the very heart of the faith.
– If it never happened, Christianity collapses into mythology and billions of people have been deceived.
– If it did happen, it authenticates everything Jesus did and said — and believers have the guarantee of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.
In the words of the Apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 15:17: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.”
So, The Resurrection is either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever or it is the most fantastic fact of history. I will show you overwhelming proof that Jesus Christ did exactly what He predicted He would do, on the third day. He rose from the dead.
Acts 1:3 – states that “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.”
I’m going to present three pieces of evidence, that when taken together, will provide convincing proof that Jesus rose from the dead.
Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb
The first piece of evidence, I want to bring before the court is Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb.
-The Bible teaches that after professional executioners crucified Jesus, His corpse was placed in a solid rock tomb which belonged to a man named Joseph of Arimathia.
-After His body was covered with about 100 pounds of spices, it was extensively wrapped in strips of linen cloth.
-A very large stone, estimated to weigh about 2 tons, was then rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb.
-After this boulder was in place, a contingent of up to 16 Roman soldiers was assigned to secure the tomb. Some pictures you may have seen, show one or two men standing around in mini-skirts, holding a spear in their hands. That’s simply not the case. These men were human fighting machines. These gladiators were trained to protect the area around the tomb against an entire battalion.
Matthew 27:66 – tells us that in addition to the Roman guard, they put a tamper-proof official Roman seal on the stone. Anyone who happened to make it past the Roman soldiers would then have to break this seal. Once you break this seal you have just called down the wrath of Roman Law upon yourself.
In spite of all these precautions – the stone, the soldiers, and the seal – the tomb was empty on Resurrection morning!
When the first people arrived to peer in, they saw only one thing: the blood-stained burial cloths. It was as if Jesus had materialized right through them.The empty tomb serves as Exhibit A. It is a powerful testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus. Critics down through the years have not been able to refute the empty tomb: Instead they’ve come up with other possibilities. Maybe the disciples stole the body? But this seems far-fetched when you consider that this group of cowards would have had to overpower armed soldiers, roll away a two-ton boulder, dispose of the body, and then manufacture a myth about His resurrection: A myth that they eventually gave their lives for. That doesn’t seem plausible.
Another possibility, would be that the religious leaders disposed of the body. But, this has some serious flaws as well. If they had removed the body, all they would have had to do is parade the remains through the streets of Jerusalem and they would have derailed Christianity from the very start. But, they couldn’t produce the body because the body was no longer dead. Jesus had been raised to life again.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, Christianity rises or falls on the empty tomb. It is the one silent and infallible witness. Critics cannot explain it away. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then where is the body? Leaders of every other religion died and stayed dead. Their bones are decaying in the ground. That’s not the case with Jesus. He claimed that He would rise from the dead on the third day — and that’s exactly what He did. The empty tomb validates His claim.
While this alone provides substantial evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, I will grant you that this fact was not convincing in itself to the original followers of Jesus. Even though Jesus had predicted that He would rise from the dead, it’s obvious, from their behaviour, that they were not expecting it. They needed more evidence — something that would remove all doubt from their minds.
Exhibit B: Multiple Witnesses
Men and women of the jury, I’d now like to enter into evidence Exhibit B: Multiple Witnesses.
The early followers of Jesus did not believe Jesus had risen just because of the empty tomb, they believed because they saw Him with their own eyes. When they talked to others about Jesus, they did not say, “We found an empty tomb,” Instead, they said, “We saw Jesus alive!”
The most outstanding proof that Jesus rose from the dead is that more than 515 eyewitnesses saw him on 12 different occasions. Acts 1:3 says that, “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
Jesus gave unquestionable proof that He was alive! After His resurrection, He made an appearance to a woman in the cemetery. Later that same day, He appeared in the middle of a group of disciples who were having a meeting and Jesus also talked with his frightened followers who were huddled in Jerusalem. In the evening, he walked side-by-side with two men as they made their way down a road. He appeared to believers and doubters; to tough-minded people and tender hearted souls.
Several people saw Him on more than one occasion, some alone, and some with large groups; sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. The apostle Paul, when writing a letter to a group of new Christians, laid it all out in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
Let me illustrate. Let us say that you were in a car accident. Since the accident happened early in the morning, there were no eyewitnesses. When the police officer arrives on the scene, the first thing he wants to know is whether or not anyone had witnessed the accident. Because if no one had, he couldn’t really be sure what happened. You can tell him your story and the other guy can tell his story, but who is the officer to believe?
Now, imagine if there was one eyewitness who saw everything and testified that your version of the story was true. Officer Friendly would be more inclined to believe your account, wouldn’t he? How about if there were three eyewitnesses corroborating your take of what happened? It’d be even stronger if twelve people were willing to testify that you were in the right as you drove your trusty Pinto through that dangerous intersection. Can you imagine how strong your case would be if 100 people saw what happened? It would be airtight, and totally convincing if over 515 people were lined up at that intersection and saw everything unfold in front of their very eyes. Can you imagine? Who is going to contest your statement when over 500 witnesses saw the accident and say that it wasn’t your fault?
Friends, that’s how strong the case is for the resurrection of Jesus! Over 500 different individuals were willing to testify that they had seen the resurrected Christ. When people were running around telling everyone that they had seen the risen Jesus, this was the beginning of the Christian Church. And when parts of the Bible were written only 25 years later, their were still many witnesses alive who could say that what was being written was a lie or the truth. We have nothing written by historians saying that lies were being written about the risen Jesus by His followers.
Think about it. If you didn’t believe what they were saying, they could say to you well, go talk to those people down the street, they all saw Jesus after He rose from the dead.
As you ponder the facts that I’m presenting this morning, I urge you to consider Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb and Exhibit B: The Multiple Witnesses.
Exhibit C: Changed Lives
There’s one more compelling argument for the Resurrection. Distinguished members of the jury. I enter into evidence Exhibit C: Changed Lives.
Those who met the Resurrected Jesus have had their lives totally transformed. The Resurrection is validated by the changed lives of His followers.
Something happened to radically reorient this original group of followers. After Jesus was put to death, the disciples scattered. The Bible tells us that they were gathered in a locked room on the top floor of a building. They were filled with fear. Their leader had been executed. They were probably afraid that they would be next.
Let us look in on a scene that would forever change their outlook — and their lives:
John 20:19-20 “On the evening of that first day of the week (Resurrection Sunday evening), when the disciples were together with the doors locked out of fear…Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you! After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
Instead of confronting the disciples for not standing with Him in His time of need, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” This overwhelming peace cut through their own guilt and feelings of failure. Their fear was replaced with joy. Peter was changed from a coward who had denied Christ three times, to a man who would go into the streets at any cost and proclaim the good news about the Messiah/ Jesus.
These ordinary men were transformed from frightened wimps into one of the most effective missionary organizations the world has ever seen. Let me ask you a question: What motivated them to go everywhere and proclaim the message of the risen Christ? Was it for money? Power? Fame? No.
Every one of them had come from doubt to determination, from confusion to conviction, from fear to faith. Listen to how they died and see if it sounds like they were just making up the Resurrection: Through historical writings it is said that:
• Matthew was killed in Ethiopia
• Mark was dragged through the streets until he was dead
• Peter, Simeon, Andrew, and Philip were crucified
• James was beheaded
• Bartholomew was flayed alive
• Thomas was pierced with lances
• James, the less, was thrown from the temple and stoned to death
• Jude was shot to death with arrows
• Paul was boiled in hot oil and beheaded
Members of the jury, would you be willing to die for a lie? May I suggest that the only thing that could have possibly changed their lives so dramatically was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Every one of these guys could have lived if they had said just one statement: “He is dead.” But they refused because they knew He was alive!
Exhibit C is changed lives. Not only did the resurrected Christ impact this group of individuals, His life-changing power has transformed people from the third decade of the first century down through today. The combined testimony of changed lives attributed to the risen Christ, runs into the billions. From every nation and tribe and language in the world. Despite the various intellectual and social backgrounds, followers of Jesus are united in their conviction that Jesus Christ is alive.
The risen Jesus has changed my life. And I know that many of you have had your lives changed by the risen Jesus. His life-changing power is just as available to us today as it was to that group of frightened followers on that Resurrection Sunday night.
“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV)
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV)
I would now like to make my closing argument. In considering the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, thinking men and women will take the time to sort through all the available information and study the evidence. First of all, how do you explain away the empty tomb? Second, how do you argue against multiple witnesses? Finally, how do you get away from the fact that the Resurrected Christ changes lives?
The evidence is strong and compelling. In fact, many skeptics have approached the resurrection with the goal of disproving it. As they gathered all the data, they discovered that the evidence leads to a resurrected Jesus.
Members of the jury, what’s your verdict on the Resurrection?
Though you might agree with the strong evidence for the Resurrection, some of you are bored with it. It doesn’t do much for you. The data, simply put, does not seem relevant to your life. Hey, I know that some news makes you snooze. I’m a lot like you — I want some news that I can use.
Before you just file this talk away into your brain storage where it will be lost forever. I want to close my case by arguing that the Resurrection is full of news that you can use — it applies in a remarkable way to your life.
After investigating the evidence for the Resurrection, the question ultimately comes down to this: So what? What difference does it make in my life?
Resurrection answers to at least 5 questions that we all have:
1. The question of doubt. Is it true? How can I know it’s true? What is truth? Like Thomas, who wouldn’t believe unless he actually could touch the wounds of Jesus, the evidence for the Resurrection can displace doubt from your mind.
2. The question of loneliness. Does anyone really care about me? Do I matter? The Resurrection proves that you matter deeply to God. Jesus died for you as payment for your sins and rose again to demonstrate how important you are to Him. He can now meet your deepest need for a relationship with Him because He’s alive.
3. The question of weakness. How can I find the power to change? Why can’t I break those bad habits in my life? Friend, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you. He can transform you just like he radically changed that first group of weakened disciples. An encounter with the living Christ can give you strength and confidence like you’ve never had before.
4. The question of guilt. How can I get rid of my guilt for all that I’ve done? Do you want some good news — some news that you can really use? The Resurrection is final proof that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus as a substitute for your sin. Jesus has forgiven us for our sins; He’s removed the guilt. Our guilt was nailed to the cross with Jesus. He took our sin upon Himself therefore if we have no sin there can be no guilt.
5. The question of death. What happens when I die? Because of what Jesus did, you can now know that there is life beyond the grave. It’s not just a theory — it’s a proven reality. Because Jesus is alive, death will never have the last word; when we die we will also be raised back to life with a new body just like Jesus’ body when He was raised. It is a body that we can recognize but it is glorified in that it will never die again. No more death, no more disease, no more pain. Friend, you can’t sit in judgment forever. The evidence for the Resurrection is overwhelming — and relevant to your life. What is the verdict that you will reach? It’s time to make your decision. It’s time to encounter the living Christ for yourself. If you want irrefutable proof for the Resurrection, then let Jesus change your life. Open yourself up to Him. Turn to Him now. Embrace the living Lord Jesus.
Take the next step and believe. Put your faith in the Resurrected Christ and ask Him to save you from your sins and change you from the inside out.
Sermon notes – Pastor Bryan Vaughan
Hope For Today Fellowship