|Series Theme: "Faith Sermons"|
Title: 3. Digging for the truth
• A study of 'Internet responses' shows that those who respond to articles very often only come with thoughtless or shallow comments.
• As Christians we need to dig for the truth and digging means time and effort if we are to be salt and light in our world.
• Very often people carry on in life, or just make comments about life, without any thought, but Jesus requires us to be alert and bearers of the truth.
B. Digging in Scripture – illustrations from Galatians
1. What's it all about?
We can write off Scripture because:
There is a need to read carefully the text before us.
Example 1 : Consider Gal 1:13-23 – Paul's description of his past activity
If you were a new Christian you might be excused for wondering what Paul was going on about. We need to read the text carefully to discover the truth.
Answer : The reason given: Gal 1:11,12 “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
i.e. the description showed how he didn't get the Gospel from any man or group.
The significance of this is that he was an independent witness to the Gospel: he got it by a ‘God-experience' which is all the more incredible when you consider
The original verses, speaking of all his activities, were to explain and highlight this truth.
It is important to realise this. Many of us read these verses without realising the wonder of what Paul was saying about his testimony.
2. How does it fit in the Bible?
We sometimes have a need to read beyond the present text. We give up sometimes because it requires effort to search. If we give up that easily with scripture, we're probably people who give up easily with people – and with ourselves!
Example 2 : Consider Gal 2:1-3 What was all this about?
"Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem , this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek."
If we think about this, it is legitimate to wonder what was going on and why they went up to Jerusalem . We need to look elsewhere for the answer.
Answer: The answer is found in Acts 15:1,2 - “ Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”
It is only there that we find the background to this letter.
3. What relevance does it have?
Sometimes there is a need to think beyond the text
Example 3: Consider Gal 5:2 “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all”
It is quite legitimate (if not essential) that we ask about relevancy.
What has circumcision got to do with us? We're not Jews? Why read about circumcision?
Answer: the letter is all about those who wanted Christians to ‘keep the Law'. Circumcision was just one example of that.
If we have a faith based on keeping the rules, we're doomed to failure.
Now what is very common is that we find Christians who:
Now this letter makes it very clear:
The distinction is quite clear:
Additional Note: Perfectionism
Some of us are very nervous about this message:
As crazy as this may sound to you, you need to: