Set Apart And Called By Grace (Galatians 1)


  1. We’re in the book of Galatians where the main goal is to defend the gospel
    1. Some religious-looking people told the new converts there that they had to be circumcised to be saved
    2. That caused a lot of confusion, so Paul said very bluntly, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (1:8)
    3. It’s a very serious thing to add to the gospel because it takes away from Christ’s sacrifice and God’s grace
  2. Of course, this is a modern day problem as well
    1. Some churches say you’ve got to be baptized in their church
    2. Or you have to observe certain religious rituals or traditions
    3. Some say you have to worship on a certain day of the week
    4. Or pray a certain prayer, or confess sin every day, or live what they consider a holy life
  3. But the Scripture says we’re only saved by grace through faith
    1. Grace is when we don’t get the punishment we deserve
    2. Faith is trusting in God’s promise of Christ’s work on our behalf
      1. Faith says I’ll never get it right, but Christ did it for me
      2. So, by faith we receive Christ’s righteousness and all the Spirit’s fruit with it
    3. No amount of religion can ever do that
  4. So this is a message worth defending

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They Turned Back And Were More Corrupt Than Their Fathers (Judges 2)


NOTE: The audio cuts out in the last ten minutes. Sorry.


  1. Last week we started a study through Judges
    1. We saw that it gets its name from the leaders God sent to deliver Israel from their enemies
      1. Of course, they were only in trouble because of disobedience, but God heard their cries and had compassion
      2. Then they walked with him again for a while, but it wasn’t long before they fell away and were back in trouble
      3. So, God sent another judge and the cycle continued
  2. And they were prone to wander like this from the very beginning
    1. They broke the covenant before Moses could get back down the mountain
    2. They complained and rebelled all through the desert
    3. And all the tribes we read about last week failed to drive the Canaanites completely out
  3. So, God said, “I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” (2:3)
    1. Well, that caused the people to weep and offer sacrifices
    2. But it wasn’t take long before they fell away again


That’s kind of the point of the rest of chapter two…Read More »

No Other Gospel (Galatians 1)


  1. We’re going to start a study through Galatians today
  2. One of the biggest problems facing the early church was false teachers creeping in with a new gospel
    1. Sometimes it was blatant idolatry and worship of pagan gods
    2. But often it was a perverted kind of Christianity
    3. It was a lot of truth mixed with just a little error, so it was subtle and hard to see
    4. Typically, it came from people who grew up in the Jewish faith and had a hard time letting go of the law
      1. They were going around telling new converts they had to be circumcised if they wanted to be saved
      2. Basically, they were saying that faith wasn’t quite enough to make God happy
  3. Of course, this problem is relevant to us today since many churches preach a confusing, unbiblical and convoluted gospel
    1. They may say salvation is by grace through faith
    2. But, if you really press the issue, you’ll often find that it’s faith plus a little work
      1. Maybe that means baptism in a certain church or celebrating the Lord’s supper with the right priest
      2. Or maybe it’s worshiping on a certain day of the week
      3. Maybe it’s praying a certain prayer and really, really meaning it
      4. Or maybe it’s confessing sin every day or living what they consider a holy life
    3. But it’s always more than just faith
  4. Well, the Galatians had that very same problem, and today I want to see how Paul handled it
    1. There are a lot of verses we could pick from, but I think his main approach can be summarized in two of his questions:
      1. Look at chapter three, verses two and three:
      2. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:2-3)
    2. Over the next several weeks we’re going to ask those same questions
      1. At what point does God stop authoring and maintaining our salvation?
      2. And what do we have to do to pick up the slack?

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They Called The Place Bochim (Judges 1-2)


  1. We’re studying the Old Testament verse-by-verse, and we’ve finished Genesis through Joshua
    1. We began with creation and Adam’s fall
    2. The world became so polluted that God flooded it to start over with Noah and his family
    3. From there things continued until Abraham was called out of his idolatrous nation
    4. God gave him a son and a grandson
    5. That grandson was Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel
    6. Israel and his children fled to Egypt during a famine
    7. They settled there, and later generations were forced into slavery
    8. They stayed that way until God sent Moses
    9. Moses led them out and gave them the Law for a covenant
    10. He gave them the tabernacle, the priesthood, and the sacrificial system
      1. These things were the center of Israelite culture
      2. They were the things that differentiated them from the heathen
      3. They were Yahweh’s people, and he was their God
    11. After Moses died, Joshua became the leader and led Israel to conquer Canaan and divide the land to each tribe
      1. This was the climax and fulfillment of the promise
      2. Everything God said he would do was done
      3. Israel was now a nation and had a place to call home
  2. Now we’re ready for the book of Judges, and I want to give you a quick summary of its purpose
    1. It get its name from 2:16: “Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.”
      1. These judges weren’t necessarily the same as our judges today
      2. They were more like saviors and deliverers
        1. There was no king in Israel during this time
        2. Just as Moses and Joshua predicted, the people were prone to sin, and it didn’t take long for them to worship the local gods
        3. So, Yahweh intentionally turned them over to their enemies as punishment
        4. But then the people cried out, and God sent one of these judges to set them free
          1. These people were leaders who were empowered by God’s Spirit
          2. And they often had unusual amounts of strength or wisdom
          3. They were people who knew how to rescue God’s people from foreign domination
      3. Of course, they point us to Christ who is the ultimate Judge for his people, and that will be our primary focus
    2. There are three main parts to the book
      1. The first two chapters show us Israel’s rocky start
        1. This is what we’ll cover tonight, and you’ll see it’s a list of crimes and failures
        2. The people, it seems, cannot bring themselves to obey and keep the covenant despite all they’ve seen
        3. In fact, the end of the second chapter alludes to the hopelessness of the situation
          1. The Lord was eventually against them and allowed their enemies to conquer
          2. But then he raised up judges to deliver Israel from their terrible distress
          3. But it didn’t take long before “they did not listen to their judges” (v. 17)
          4. And so, they entered a period of cycles of sin, failure, and deliverance
      2. Those cycles are made specific in chapters 3-16 with the stories of at least thirteen individual judges
        1. Some are just mentioned in passing while others have several chapters worth of content
        2. But all of them add to Israel’s long list of cycles of failure and repentance
      3. And then the book ends with two stories showing Israel’s hopelessness to change
        1. Chapters 17-18 give us the story of a Levite who uses his religion and calling for money
        2. And then 19-21 give us a very depressing story of another Levite and his concubine
        3. One story shows us how little respect Israel had for their own religion
        4. The other shows how little they differed from the pagan nations around them
    3. And that’s the point: no one is saved by the Law because no one is any different.
      1. The Law can only judge, and Israel deserves judgment
      2. They need a Judge to save them from their spiritual enemies
      3. They need someone stronger than Samson, wiser than Deborah, and more faithful than Gideon
      4. They need the Messiah

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All Scripture Is God Breathed And Profitable (2 Timothy 3)


  1. Last week we started a study of 2 Timothy 3
    1. We saw how this section of Paul’s letter still speaks to the violence, immorality, and general craziness in the world
    2. We talked about how it helps us make sense of some of the things going on and how it keeps us from losing hope
    3. These last days are difficult because so many people have “the appearance of godliness” but they actually deny its power
      1. What he’s saying, in other words, is that the churches were and are often full of hypocrites
      2. They’re filled with people who say they love God, but they actually embrace wickedness and do whatever they think feels good
      3. And we talked about how this lifestyle isn’t reserved just for people in Christian churches
        1. People from all religions and even people with no religion often live by what they consider moral
        2. But their morals often conflict with what the Scripture says is right or wrong
        3. In our eyes, and in God’s eyes, they call evil good and good evil
        4. They do that because they’re “lovers of self,” “lovers of money,” and “lovers of pleasure
    4. And it vexes the souls of people who are righteous, just as Lot was vexed in Sodom

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Choose This Day (Joshua 24)


  1. We’re about to finish our study through the book of Joshua
  2. And I’d like to remind you of what we’ve studied to this point:
    1. Adam sinned and was driven from the Garden
    2. That sin corrupted everyone after him, so that, by Noah’s time, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and […] every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)
    3. So, God sent a flood that killed everyone but Noah and his family
    4. But the worlds was eventually repopulated until Abraham was born
      1. God called him from his homeland to show him the Promised Land
      2. He also promised that Abraham would have as many children as there are stars
    5. That promise was reiterated to Abraham’s son, Isaac, and to his son, Jacob
    6. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and he had twelve sons who became the tribes of Israel
    7. Those tribes ended up in Egypt during a famine, but at some point their fortunes changed and they found themselves in chains
    8. They stayed that way for more than 400 years until God sent Moses to lead them out and back to the Promised Land
      1. Moses gave them the Law and established the priesthood
    9. But he died before they arrived at the Promised Land, so Joshua became the new leader
      1. He led the people into the good land and conquered it
      2. He divided it up between each tribe so that everyone had a home within it
      3. And then a long time passed, and he knew he was near death
  3. That was what we studied last week as we saw his first farewell address
    1. In that speech, he reminded everyone that they only managed to win the Promised Land because God fought for them
      1. He says, “you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the LORD your God who has fought for you.” (v. 3)
      2. He “will push [your enemies] back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as [he] promised you.” (v. 5)
      3. He “has driven out before you great and strong nations.” (v. 9)
      4. In fact, “not one word has failed of all the good things that [he] promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you.” (v. 14)
    2. Joshua put so much emphasis on God because he knew he was about to die, and that might cause some anxiety or doubt for everyone
      1. But Yahweh was their Leader and Champion
      2. He was the secret of their victories
      3. And Joshua’s death wouldn’t change anything in the covenant
    3. So Israel must be very strong and very careful to love only Yahweh and obey his commands
      1. They’ll have to cling to him (v. 8)
      2. And, if they can do that, they’ll live a long time in the land
      3. But, if they can’t, they’ll be driven out and die

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Times Of Difficulty (2 Timothy 3)


  1. We’re finished with Revelation and I’d like to spend a little time in 2 Timothy 3
  2. I picked this verse because I think it’s relevant to all the violence, immorality, and general craziness in the world
    1. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything…
      1. School shootings aren’t even a surprise anymore
      2. If a person even just says that homosexuality is unnatural, he’s immediately called a homophobic bigot
      3. To speak out against the murder of babies is to be a religious zealot
      4. To even entertain the idea of any kind of Intelligent Design is to be at war with science
      5. There’s a very loud and growing number of people who believe religion is to blame for all the world’s problems
    2. All this bad news and hatred can get so overwhelming that it’s easy to lose hope…

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