*There was a time in many of our Baptist churches where right and wrong were clearly defined. People in the church KNEW what was acceptable behavior! People knew which establishments in the town were acceptable and which were not, people knew which forms of entertainment were God honoring and which were not, how to dress like a Christian, talk like a Christian, act like a Christian. How did they know? They knew because they heard it from the pulpit! Many heard preaching that defined in detail how their outward conduct should look. This morning, by God’s grace I hope to show you from the Scriptures why you won’t hear that kind of preaching from me.
Read 2:21 – did Christ die in vain? --- Then…
I. Do not Diminish the Death of Christ “Pastor – why even say that
A. By Legalizing
*Gambling, marijuana, “under law”
*Gal 2:16 & Rom 6:14
*Pastor – still don’t see why you say that” Have you ever…
B. By Hypocrisy
*Gal 2:11-13 You got in free, but you want to charge them?
*How will young believers know right from wrong? HEAR This – go away with this – God has equipped every believer to live under grace! Scripture II Tim 3:16 (man of God may be what? Even w/o our list of do’s and don’t’s?), Holy Spirit Eph 4:30, Prayer James 1:5, Conscience Rom 13:23 YES God has THOROUGHLY equipped us
*Not to mention the mind of Christ, your priesthood, we could go on and on…
*Pastor – how will our church maintain purity and right standards?
II. Forsake Man Made Righteousness
A. Because It’s Worthless –“if righteousness were by the law”
*Not the labors of my hand
*If it’s worthless – why do some cling to it the way they do? (control, pride, hide, glory, ease)
B. Because It’s Sin
*Gal 3:1 – You may impress people with manufactured righteousness, but God is not impressed
*Your soul is laid bare before God this morning? We’re looking at your appearance, but He is looking straight at the source – what does He see in your heart? Humble sinner or striving Pharisee / fruit of Spirit or fruit of flesh?
*Let me ask you some questions? Who is the most righteous man to walk the earth? Whose righteousness allows you to boldly approach the throne of grace? How are you going to improve on His righteousness?
*Then why bother with righteous living and good works at all? God’s process, and God’s plan (our love)
III. Do not Set Aside God’s Grace
A. Neither in Your Beliefs
*Gal 3:2-3 – health of our spiritual lives and purity of our church is not helped by extra-biblical rules and regs but in our firmly clinging to and proclaiming the grace in which we stand
*Gal 5:1 – I will not return to bondage – not the Old Testament law, not some new 21st century Baptist law
B. Nor in Your Practice
*Mt 18:21-33 – Exactly what we’re doing when we establish man-made rules and use them to judge and beat each other
*Ever notice how much grace we extend to a new believer? Why should we stop that grace? Expect growth yes – react in arrogance no. Why would Gal 6:1 say “considering yourself lest you also be tempted” because the spiritual among us are just as vulnerable to sin nature, world, devil as any of us apart from Christ
*When we ignore grace in our own lives or in the way we treat others – we growing apart from Christ