Write it Down, Live it Out, Pass it On

Galatians: The Longer Reach of Freedom

Is the truth worth fighting for? As Paul concludes his letter to the Galatians, he exhorts his readers to stand firm against the temptation to be dragged back into performance-based forms of worship that can lead to pride. What truly pleases God is a humble, contrite heart that boasts only in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Todd WagnerMay 25, 2008
Galatians 6:11-18

In This Series (6)
Write it Down, Live it Out, Pass it On
Todd WagnerMay 25, 2008
So What's the Big Deal About What You Sow? And How Long Does it Take to Make a "Donkey" of Yourself?
Todd WagnerMay 11, 2008
To Ignore, Impale or Encourage: What it Means to Bear One Another's Burdens
Todd WagnerMay 4, 2008
"Is He in You?" What That Means, What it Doesn't, and Why it Matters
Todd WagnerApr 27, 2008
Three Ways to Respond but Only One Way to Really Live
Todd WagnerApr 13, 2008
Freedom: Defined, Defended and Demonstrated
Todd WagnerApr 6, 2008

I was just looking at some stuff this week. I came across a quote, and I couldn't agree with it more. There's a lot that is out there that is equating Christianity with pacifism, and they could not be more wrong. I want to encourage you. If you want to understand a biblical view on war, get a little message I did a number of years ago called War, What's it Good For?

You can download that free like all the stuff that we do at watermark.org, and you can stream every message we ever do through iTunes that way. You can watch it on video since September and listen to anything for free. If you want a hard copy of it, there are folks every week trying to serve you.

There's a great statement by a guy named John Stuart Mill saying, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse." I could not agree more. There are certain things worth fighting for.

As we wrap up our little study of the book of Galatians, you're going to find there was a guy named Paul who said something is worth fighting for. Even more than the United States of America. Infinitely more. We are not an ultimately American church. We are a biblical church. We will never love America more than we love our Bible, and we love our country.

I am grateful I'm in this country. I am not an American. I am a Christian, and I happen to be blessed because I'm a Christian who lives in America. I'm grateful for that. But I will never let my allegiance to the Scripture be in any way compromised by my love for the flag. I'm grateful I live in a country that doesn't ask me to do that. Nathan Hale said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

What I really want to talk to you about this morning is I want to celebrate that I have one life to give for my Lord. Every single day is an opportunity for me to go all in. War is an ugly thing, but there's something uglier than war, and that is men who have never figured out what there is in this world worth fighting for. I'm going to let you see that Paul was pretty clear about the thing he thought was worth fighting for. It was truth.

The law of noncontradiction says this. If there are two different statements about the same issue or fact and they are different in nature or contradict themselves in statement, then there is one of two possibilities. Either one of them is true and the other is false or they are both false. They can't both be true.

When you go and look at the major belief systems in our world out there, you will find out that every world religious system has something in common except one. If you look at every major world religion, at every invention of man, you will find out they all depend on human effort, human works. Religion, by definition, is that which you do to accomplish your own righteousness.

When people ask me if I'm religious, I'll say to them, "Define that. What do you mean?" Ultimately, I don't consider myself religious. I consider myself somebody who is in relationship with a lover who has sought me. Christianity is alone unique among world systems because it is not of this world. It's a God-exalting, man-deprecating religion. It's not a religion we'd invent if we could because it makes us look bad. It tells us we are incapable of earning God's favor and love, and we don't typically like that.

It is contrary to my flesh, which likes to be self-sufficient, self-dependent. Christianity says, "This is what you need to know about your flesh and the world and its systems. You can't cover your problem, and you can't correct your problem. Paul says, "This is worth fighting for."

He says in fact, in Galatians 1:9 when he started this whole book, "I've said it to you before, and I'll say it to you again. If any man says anything to you other than this, if they teach you about any other method of being reconciled to God other than this, if they teach any gospel other than this, let them be accursed. I don't care if they're an angel."

It's interesting how many world religions claim their inspiration from angels: Moroni for Mormonism, Gabriel for Islam, and on and on and on and on. "I've had an angel appear to me and tell me this is the way." We have had no angel. God himself has spoken. He has revealed and pulled back the veil and said, "This is truth." It will offend you because it tells you that you are lost and unable to in any way earn his favor.

If you want to talk about great doctrines within Christendom, you will hear about a doctrine called total depravity. Total depravity doesn't mean that everything that every man always does is bad. In fact, there are some things men do that we would say are in the classification of moral goodness. What total depravity means is that man is totally unable, he is so flawed in his nature, he is imperfect, that he can never attain perfection, which makes sense to us.

Once you make a mistake, you can never be a person who has never made a mistake. I don't know anybody who has ever claimed anywhere (except one) that he never made a mistake. In fact, the one I know who claimed to have never made a mistake did in the presence of his enemies when he was being criticized. He stood up, and he said, "Which one of you convicts me of doing wrong?"

If I ever do that here, we're going to have to form a line and cancel lunch. You can convict me of a lot of wrongs, and that's why I'd make an awful savior. I never thought of myself as one, but I hope to sing to you of the greatness of my Savior, who we memorialize every day of our life. This is what makes Christianity alone unique. It is not based on human bravado. It is based on divine provision. It is not what men can do to earn God's favor. It is celebrating what God has done.

I want to let you know the good news is that God has done it. He is a lover. He is just. He is absolutely just, and he meant what he said. "If you turn from me, you will surely die because I am the Author and giver of life. So if you separate yourself from me, you separate yourself from life." The wages of sin, which you earn by that action, is death. It's spiritual death which is evidenced in our physical death.

What you'll find from the very beginning is that man struggled to understand that God required death. So what's the very first thing man does when they were deceived that they didn't need God and they realized, in making that choice, they were now separated from God and exposed to their brokenness and shame?

They tried to cover their shame with things that made sense to them. So they went and got leaves, it said, and they sewed those leaves together in the form of some sort of covering. They think now they're acceptable because their nakedness, the fact that they're exposed and not righteous, is now covered.

God says, "That won't do. The efforts of men to cover their shame will never ultimately deal with the issue. The problem is not externally what you see. The problem is internal. I have zero program to remodel you. I'm not trying to curb your flesh. Your flesh needs to be crucified." So what God did is he took the skins of an animal. Where did he get the skins of animal except from the animal. An innocent sacrifice, innocent blood was shed in order to cover the sin of humanity as an anticipation that one day, an ultimate sacrifice would come.

You'll find one chapter later, from Genesis 3 and 4 where God said, "I want you to memorialize me. I want you to remember that grace has been predicted, and grace will come. You should bring to me an offering of flesh." You'll find that there was a man who happened to work in the fields. His name was Cain. He said, "God, I'll bring you the best I have. I'll bring you the first of my fruits. I'll bring you the best of my fruits. I will sacrifice them on the altar. I will give you the works of my hand. If that's not good enough, the heck with you."

You'll see that God rejected the sacrifice of Cain. Why? He told Cain, "I don't want your best. I want what I said is necessary to appease me, which is death." So in Genesis 4, if you read that, you'll find out that God rejected the sacrifice of Cain. Not because Cain did not bring God his very best but because he did not bring it in faith in God's provision.

See, Adam and Eve had to receive God's provision to cover them to be righteous. Cain had to have faith in what God said was an acceptable sacrifice. In the arrogance and pride of Cain, being a man who tilled the soil, was that he didn't want to ask his brother, Abel who was a shepherd for an animal he could offer as a sacrifice. You'll find that Jesus came at the Pharisees stronger than anybody because they were men who the Scripture says loved to broaden their phylacteries. They loved to look externally righteous.

God said, "These guys say some good things, but don't do what they do. Listen to what they say, but don't try and do what they do, which is to attain my favor through external acts that they think will please me. These men honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their problem isn't that they don't look holy on the outside. The problem is they're not holy on the inside. If anybody ever tells you you can be holy (you could be righteous in my eyes) apart from an internal makeover, let them be accursed. It's worth going to war for. It's worth getting personally involved."

Look at Galatians 6:11-18. It's the end of the book. What you'll find at the end of this little book is that Paul is going to dive in. He is going to now take the pen. It was common during this day in age that when you would write a letter you would often dictate it to a professional scribe who would write it out. It wasn't easy to write on the different tablets or parchments they had back then, and also so folks could read it, professional scribes would be involved.

It was the common course of things. Almost all communication, at the end of a letter, the person who was dictating it or was authoring it or was behind it would grab the pen and would write a short summary to show that this was from them and, in fact, often summarize the main points. That's where we are at the very end of this book, celebrating the grace of God. This is what Paul says.

"See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand." In other words, he's going to say, "I'm going to summarize right now the main points of what I've been telling you these last six chapters. It was as if he had a computer, and he was going to italicize, bold, and underline. That's really what's going on right here in verse 11.

"Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ." In other words, he's going to say right here, "There are people who are coming after you, and they're trying to get you to externally behave in certain ways so they won't be criticized as individuals who have lost you to trusting in Christ alone."

They were primarily in Galatia. They were men who were called Judaizers who were trying to get you to do certain things that Jews had always done and to not lose individuals to a different belief system. They were more concerned that you would continue to conform to certain external behaviors than you would cling to the soul provision that God has said is acceptable. It says these men were men who wanted to boast in your flesh. Look at verse 13.

"For those who are circumcised [whose goal is external conformity] do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh." So they can say, "Look, he's one of us. We haven't lost these guys all the way to Jesus. They still hang out with us, have the sign of us." There are lots of people, false teachers, who their primary concern is not what's going on in your heart but where you are externally.

One of the things that drives me crazy when I get around other men and women who are in leadership of ministries is they're like a bunch of dogs at a dog park that walk around in loops and sniff each other and find out how many folks you're hanging out with, how many folks are coming to your programs, and what you're getting people to do externally to somehow validate your existence.

Really, I think number counting, nose counting, butts-in-seats counting is a manifestation today of people who were making a big deal out of certain external behaviors back in Paul's time, specifically that they would be a part of a certain group through some external branding in what they would do. Paul said these men weren't really concerned about your hearts. They're not concerned about where you are in your walk with Christ. They're concerned with how they, people responsible for that area, aren't losing Jews to the cross.

When I think about you, and when I think about those who we're ministering to week in and week out, I don't think about how many of you are involved in certain behaviors that validate our existence. I've said this before. Too many times, what drives me crazy about the dead church is that it is only concerned about you showing up and you paying up. They don't really care about what's really going on in your life.

In fact, they're not going to mess with you too much. They're not going to speak into your life. They're not going to talk to you about your choices. They're not going to talk to you about how you're investing your resources. They're not going to talk to you about how you're responding to God's Word because you may not like that.

You might want to just show up and largely behave and keep the lights on. I've said this before, and I want to say it again because it fits right here. There's a deal that's cut in most churches in the West and frankly, as I've been around the world, around the world. There's a lack of courageous leadership in the church.

The deal is this. "I want you to come and validate my existence by being here and putting enough money in those slots or when the baskets passed to keep the lights on. That's what you do, and I won't ask too much of you. I won't make your life too uncomfortable. We'll both tell each other were doing what God wants to us to do." They cut that deal. That's a deal I never want to cut with you. What I want to share with you is that the gospel is a whole lot more than "punch your ticket and get to heaven."

The gospel of Jesus Christ has an aspect of dealing with your sin issues so you can be reconciled to God and be ruled by the truth of God's standard, so you might have peace with God but also so you might be made new, so you might live in a way that you would be the hope of the world, that you would experience the kingdom of heaven, the presence of God. You would have a Father who would walk with you through life and all things and begin to experience a peace that passes understanding.

In other words, the gospel is not just something you embrace so you're secure in the moment of judgment. The gospel, rightly understood, is something you embrace moment by moment every day in a way that radically transforms every aspect of your being. We here want to encourage you and love you.

We're not primarily concerned with where you are externally, but what's going on internally in your heart. Not where are you on Sundays. That matters, but that matters because God says that's a means through which you can be reminded of his goodness. You can be a part of a community that together is serving the head, and that you might be encouraged continually to persevere in doing good knowing that in due time you will reap if you don't grow weary.

We are primarily concerned with what's going on in your heart. We want to have conversations with each other here. God wants you to be blessed and to experience life now. The gospel is that life is available now. "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD…"

So we don't want to just say, "Blessed is the man who goes to church." Blessed is the man who lives with Christ and whose heart has been captured by the God who became a man and humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, who memorializes him in every breath. That's the man who is blessed.

Paul says there are guys who are coming around who only want to glory in their flesh in what they can get you to do externally. They are validated by the size of their followers and not by the health of their followers. Do you know what Paul said? "You want my letter of accommodation? It is you. It's the way you live, the way you love, the way you walk with Christ."

People say to me a lot because of what's been happening here, "Are you so encouraged by the number of folks who are hanging out at Watermark?" I say, "No. I'm encouraged by the number of folks who are hanging out with Jesus. I'm a part of a body where people are loving me and spurring me on. I am more of a devoted follower of Christ today than I've ever been because of my friends who I hang out with at 7540 LBJ on Sundays. I'm not impressed with the size. I'm impressed with the heart that God is producing in each one of us."

When God's producing that kind of heart as a result of our fellowship, I want more hearts to engage with you all. So I'm telling people all the time, "Come and see. Come and check out what God can do in a group of people who are surrendered to him. Not who have said certain things about him, but who are surrendered to him and who are loving each other."

What is the counsel of the wicked that we are prone to listen to? What is the path of sinners we are prone to stand in? What is the seat of scoffers we are prone to sit in? Let's not be those men. Let's meditate on the Word of God day and night, so we can experience the fullness of life God intends for us. It's worth going to war for.

I'm so grateful I don't go to church with you guys, that I go to war with you guys, and we do everything we can to not entangle ourselves on the affairs of everyday life in order that we might please the one who has enlisted us as soldiers. Amen? It's worth celebrating. Look what it says in verse 14.

"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…" I want to boast in how he humbled himself, how he gave himself, how he died on the cross, how he gave us new life. It was his power. It was his grace. It was his provision. It's not what we do for him. It's what he has done for us. That is why we sing, "How great is our God," not, "How awesome is our résumé. How amazing our philanthropy."

At times we celebrate what God is doing in our life that we are stewarding here. Millions of dollars and millions of hours are stewarded here, and we celebrate that because it is evidence that we are freely giving things that the world worships in order to honor God. Can I say that again? I am so grateful for those of you who have invested in structures we can gather in and serve people in. There is more opportunity for that.

I am so grateful for those of you who invest in the things we do to gather together and make the mission happen and run and create things for you to serve together and honor him. I'm so amazed at the things that you all do with your lives week in and week out to honor other people and to serve Christ. Why? You are freely giving to things which the world worships as evidence that this world is not your home and your first love is not you and your comfort.

So you look for a discretionary time this way. You go, "I don't have discretionary time. Every aspect of my life is a response to Christ, who died for me. I don't have discretionary income. All my income is God's income." Paul says, "I don't want to boast in anything except what Jesus has done through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." I love this statement.

The Greek word for world is kósmos. It is the antonym of the Greek word khaos, which we get disorder from. The word khaos is a transliteration to us, and it really is that which means disorder. Kósmos means to tend or to bring order to. It comes from the word which means to take care of and to assemble, if you will.

I'll tell you what's great about this. What English word sounds likes "cosmo"? Cosmetics. Doesn't it? The root of that is when women put on cosmetics they are bringing order to that which is not orderly. They're trying to get their world together, so they are presentable. That is the etymology of that word. You look at people sometimes and go, "What in the world is wrong with you?" You're saying, "Why is there disorder in your being?"

Look at this. First Peter 3:3-4. This is amazing when you look at this. This will help you in a way you've never understood this verse. Look what it says. "Your adornment…" That is the word kósmos. "…must not be merely external…" **Isn't this great?"…braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."**

I love that. In my working on this, this week is when I looked at that. I started thinking, "This is what God is saying." When I saw that the word kósmos was obviously the root word for cosmetic, which I had never really thought about before, I started thinking about 1 Peter 3 right away, and I go, "That's what he meant." Then I was shocked to see that the word adornment,when I looked at it, was the word for world. " Your world must not be merely external."

This is what religion is. It is a man-made system where you order your world to do certain tasks that we then say, "Great. You've done what God wanted you to do. You have paid him off. You have tithed your day, your life. You have taken a piece of your bounty and given it to him. Now you are free."

We see God as an IRS agent. He taxes us, but once we've paid our taxes, we are free, and we do what we want with our money. God says, "That isn't free. You're still a slave to the corrupt desires that are in your heart. You're not free to spend your money on things that lead to life." That's why men who seek to have more money so they can have more life, have pierced themselves with many a pang.

More money with a corrupt heart informing it doesn't lead to life. It leads to isolation and loneliness and brokenness and fear and insecurity. You're scared to death that your world is going to come to an end. That's why the Word says, "Seek me, and you'll find life."

What is some component of every great Mafia movie ever made? Religion. The most religious people in all of moviedom are the Mob. They're always talking to priests. They're always making sure they're working their way through their beads. They're always going through their system because, in a superstitious way, they have to cut God in lest he blows up their business. They make God out to deal with them the way they deal with everybody else.

"You can have a bakery on my block, but it's my block. So you give me X percent of your bakery, or I'll blow your bakery up." They think God is just like them. "I have to give God X amount of my Mob business, or he'll blow my business up." This is the way of the world. This is the system of men. What a mockery. How many of you guys are inspired to follow the God of a mobster? You go, "That's hypocrisy at its height."

Look at 2 Timothy 3:1-5 for me. They are devout. They build more churches because they have more green. So they have favor curried them by their leaders. They want those guys, and they tell them what they have to do to appease God. They say, "When you do this, externally respond this way, I don't really care about your heart. I don't really care about where you are really with God, just give this much, do these things, and you're clean, and be a part of my church."

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…" See also Goodfellas.

What you just saw in verse 1 through 4 is the script to Goodfellas, which is the way of the world. Do you want to be a goodfella? Do these things. Watch what it says in verse 5. "…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." If you have a world view that doesn't deal with your heart, that tries to conform your external behavior to bowing a certain number of times a day a certain direction or having an eightfold path to enlightenment or finding certain activates you will do that will earn you meritorious favor or make you some part of a select 144,000, then you have no gospel.

It is a form of godliness which looks spiritual which the world sees men get in circles and spin around a rock or make a journey towards a certain destination, but in the end, their hearts are still corrupt. God doesn't want external coverings, but he says, "You get a Spirit that is gentle and quiet before me."

Blessed are the what? Those who journey to Mecca? Those who give 10 percent? "Blessed are the poor in Spirit who don't adorn themselves with external works of righteousness but whose hearts change and don't just cut me in on certain percentages, who don't just cut me in on certain days, who don't fast during certain seasons, but whose hearts have been captured by my love for them and their love for me."

Our world loves forms of godliness that don't change. We think we're free. Once I've checked the box and done what the world religion has told me to do. The night before I worship Allah, I can go to strip clubs and feed my flesh. How crazy is that? It's Goodfellas, and God says, "It's people separated from me." Look what it says here in Galatians. "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation."

What's going on with your heart? Don't just put on a ring. Be devoted to Christ. Don't just get baptized. Don't just take Communion. Don't just go to church. Give your life to Christ. Leave, which means adjust or refocus, every relationship or activity, in order that you might become one with him, and cleave,which means let everything run through the filter of, "Will this drive me closer to my lover or take me away from them," so that you might be one with him restored through the provision of his blood sacrifice for you.

Paul goes on to say this in verse 16. "And those who will walk by this rule…" In other words, those who think this way, who understand that man can never, ever earn their way to the favor of God, but that God in his grace and provision has come to them, has died for them, has become the perfect sacrifice to satisfy a perfectly holy and just God.

Men who have been poor in spirit, who haven't clothed themselves in fig leaves, who haven't brought their best from their fields, who don't broaden their phylacteries or go through certain external practices, but men who have cried out for God to remake them, not remodel their external behavior, but to remake their heart. These men have peace and mercy.

You want peace with God? There's one way to get it. Accept God's sacrifice for your sins. It is Jesus Christ, crucified for you alone who can allow you to be reconciled to God, to have mercy, which means to escape the coming judgment. That alone will bring it to you. Those who walk by this rule, "…peace and mercy be upon them…"

"That's the true Israel of God," it says right there in verse 16. Paul goes on to say, "From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus." Paul is saying, "Don't break my heart. I have suffered deeply for this gospel. It's an encouragement to you that I've suffered this deeply because God would let me, his Son, be beaten within an inch of his life and left for dead because you matter to him. Just like my glory is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ."

I would go, "Who am I?" That's the same question David asks. "Who is man that you consider him?" Not just consider him, but who are we that you would leave your eternal glory in heaven to become one like me to live a life on this earth that is completely otherworldly and to die on a cross because that is what I deserve? Who am I?

God says, "You are one who is greatly loved." Really God is saying, "I am one who is a great lover. You are the object of my love by my choosing." The angels marvel, and God is glorified when his grace is magnified. When you reject the grace of God necessary for your redemption, you make God out to be an idiot and a fool, not a lover.

"If you're able to save yourself, then Christ died needlessly," Paul wrote in Galatians 2:21. This is why he's writing this with his own hand. It's like if you're is standing on a pier, and somebody jumps in the water to save you from drowning, and he drowns trying to save you while you're on the pier. That is not a great act of sacrifice. It is stupidity.

What Paul is saying is, if you're not drowning, if you're not dying and Christ died to get you out of the water, then he is not a God to be worshiped. He is a fool of fools. The reason Christ went to a cross is because you're not on the pier. You're dead in the bottom of the ocean. He went in and brought you life through his own death and sacrifice. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…"

May you live in grace, not in law. May you live according to faith, not according to works. May you live according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh. May you live with an internal transformation, not external conformity. Guess what happens when your heart changes? What happens when your heart changes is your hands change. You start to do the things that religion tries to coerce and intimidate people into doing.

Are you having a hard time investing worldly mammon in eternal things? It's because you haven't had a heart change. Are you having a hard time loving other people? It's because you haven't had a heart change. You don't see people with the eyes of God. Are you having a hard time saying no to your flesh? Are you always listening to your own emotions, your own passions, your own urges? It's because you haven't had a heart change. It's because you're not living with a mind of Christ.

Paul says, "May God's grace be on you and in you and through you, and may you honor him." What I love about Paul is this wasn't just some broad idea for him. He cared about the Galatians. That's why he spent some time investing in them. He wrote them a note. He said, "Don't you see with my own hands, my own life, my own blood I've spilt trying to reach you, I love you. There is in this a model for you and me.

When you came in today, in your little Watermark News you saw an envelope, right? Here's what I wanted to give you a chance to do right here. I want to give you a chance to write a note with your own hand to somebody who you love as much as Paul loved the Galatians. Do you know somebody like that? Anybody who needs encouragement to persevere in doing good? Do you know anybody who the grace of God is something they need to continue to live in and through?

Do you know somebody who is far from God, who is stuck in religion, and needs to know about the relationship of Jesus Christ that you could write a letter with your own hand to and encourage them to consider one more time like Paul did? This is your moment. I want you to take a second and write them a letter with your own hand. I'm going to give you about five minutes right now to do it.

Tell them, "I love you. I'm for you. May you continue either in truth or may you come to understand the truth that set me free." If you need a pen, raise your hand. There are folks walking around with pens. If for some reason your envelope fell out, let us know but we're going to give you a second to take a moment right now in the service and write with your own hands a letter of encouragement.

If you are out there and you aren't yourself somebody who has embraced Christ, here's what I want to tell you. We want to invest our lives in you, and all I want you to do is write down the things that confuse you about Jesus, that bother you about Christ, the questions you'd like to ask and wonder if it's okay to ask them. It is okay to ask them.

We beg you to say, "This is what bothers me about the Scripture. This what bothers me about what you said today. These are the questions that I've had." It doesn't do us any good if you don't tell us how to get ahold of you. You have to tell us where you live so we can visit your Galatian heinie. Spend some time right now.

I'd love for somebody to care for me the way Paul obviously cared for these people and to talk to me about these things because if it's true what you said, I want to get on board with truth, and we'll spend some time with you. At the end of the service when everybody else takes their cards and addresses them and mails them, that's what you need to do with this letter. Bring your card right up and throw it right on this carpet. We will follow up with you in a way that would please our hearts.

Take a moment. Care for somebody. If we have experienced the grace of Christ, then the heart of Christ should live in us as it lived in Paul. We should be missionaries. I know this is a weekend where folks are out doing a lot of things, but every time I come in here and there is an empty seat, it breaks my heart. It does. Because there's an opportunity we miss to have somebody come and hang with us and to say, "Consider the things of truth that will set you free." God loves folks, and we have to love them. So write with a missionary's heart, and then we'll sing together in just a moment.

About 'Galatians: The Longer Reach of Freedom'

Performance-based acceptance vs. acceptance-based performance. Galatians, more than in any other in the Bible, explains the difference between the two. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul makes it clear that we can never perform our way into a relationship with Christ, and that the law was in place as a demonstration of God?s standards, rather than a means for us to earn our salvation. In short, Galatians paints a vivid picture of why we all are in need of a Savior.<br /> &nbsp;Examining chapters 5 and 6 of Galatians, Todd Wagner explains why bondage to legalism and performance is so dangerous to the Christian life. And what being truly free from the need to earn God's love looks like, how we live it out, and how it will ultimately bless us and honor Christ.