The Only Thing That Counts | TBN

The Only Thing That Counts

Watch The Only Thing That Counts
November 10, 2019
27:30

Touching Lives with James Merritt

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The Only Thing That Counts

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  • for by the friends and partners of "Touching Lives
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  • for by the friends and partners of "Touching Lives."
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  • James Merritt: You don't have to be good enough for God, you
  • 00:00:05.070 --> 00:00:08.100
  • never have to be good enough for God, you can't be good
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  • enough for God.
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  • You know why?
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  • You know why you don't have to worry about that?
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  • Because Jesus is good enough for you.
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  • male announcer: Teaching people everywhere who Jesus is and why
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  • they need him.
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  • This is "Touching Lives" with James Merritt.
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  • James Merritt: I believe that everybody that walks
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  • into the doors of this building on Sunday morning...
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  • ought to find two things.
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  • If they don't find those two things we ought to close shop,
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  • sell this property and go find another place to go to church.
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  • They oughta find the God of Grace.
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  • And they ought to find the grace of God.
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  • Every time you walk in here you ought to find the God of Grace
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  • and you ought to find the grace of God.
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  • Because here's what happens when you just add more rules,
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  • and stricter regulations, and tighter restrictions,
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  • and better religion.
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  • All you just did is you put God's Grace on the shelf and you
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  • put our goodness on the table.
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  • And at the end of the day, you're goin' to see grace is
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  • the only thing that counts-- only thing.
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  • And this is so vitally important both for believers
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  • and unbelievers.
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  • See as believers, we ought to be about the only thing that
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  • counts-- that's grace.
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  • And for unbelievers, they ought to see that we understand that
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  • the only thing that counts is grace.
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  • So in the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul says there
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  • are three things we ought to always do every single moment
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  • of our life about the wonderful grace of God.
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  • Number one, we ought to stand firm for grace.
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  • We ought to stand firm for grace.
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  • Now, here's what Paul's done.
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  • Paul is basically wrapping up everything he's been saying
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  • and four chapters of this book.
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  • And he wraps it all up in two sentences in this chapter,
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  • verse 1.
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  • He said "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
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  • Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again
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  • by a yoke of slavery."
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  • Now if you want to know what the book of Galatians is about,
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  • memorize that verse.
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  • The next time you read through the book of Galatians,
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  • just kinda speed speed read your way to this verse, highlight
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  • this is what Paul's been saying for four chapters.
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  • He begins reminding us Jesus did not come to Earth to establish
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  • a new religion, to give us more rules, to add more regulations,
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  • to burden us with more restrictions.
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  • He said Jesus came for one reason.
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  • Freedom.
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  • He came to set us free.
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  • Now let me just stop right there-- think about that.
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  • Jesus not only came to give us freedom, Jesus came to show us
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  • what real freedom is.
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  • You say well, what is real freedom?
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  • I've said to you before.
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  • Freedom is not the ability to do what I want to do, it is
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  • the power to do what I ought to do.
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  • So Jesus came to free us from the law-- but this is where
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  • people get confused.
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  • Because freedom from the law is not freedom to sin.
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  • Freedom from the law doesn't mean, oh, goody-goody, I get
  • 00:03:12.260 --> 00:03:15.270
  • to do whatever I want to do.
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  • Here's what freedom from the law is.
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  • Freedom from the law is finally getting free from this thought
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  • that I've got to be good enough, that I've gotta do enough,
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  • that I've gotta work enough, that I've gotta give enough,
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  • that I've gotta serve enough, that I've gotta obey enough
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  • to have a relationship with God.
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  • And the problem Paul is pointing out is this: until you finally
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  • realize you'll never be good enough, you'll never do enough,
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  • you'll never work enough, you'll never give enough to God to be
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  • right with God, you will always be in bondage.
  • 00:03:45.230 --> 00:03:49.040
  • I didn't even know what happened to me when I gave my life
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  • to Christ as a 9-year-old boy.
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  • And I don't remember exactly when the light came on,
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  • but there was a day for might for me when the light finally
  • 00:03:56.040 --> 00:03:58.230
  • came on, and I finally realized: God's Grace to me
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  • and my faith in him is the only thing
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  • that was necessary to have a relationship with him.
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  • And when I finally got that down and I finally started
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  • living like it was true is when I got real freedom.
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  • That's why Paul said we need to stand firm for grace, we must
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  • never let anybody add anything to grace or take anything away
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  • from grace.
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  • By the way, that word stand firm, it's a military term.
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  • It's the order that a general gives to an army just
  • 00:04:33.150 --> 00:04:36.050
  • before they're about to go into battle.
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  • It's when a general stands before his men,
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  • and he says, "Men, we're about to go into battle.
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  • Here here's your orders.
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  • You fight to the last drop of your blood.
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  • Don't you turn.
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  • Don't you run.
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  • Don't you retreat.
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  • You stand your ground."
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  • That's exactly the strong word that Paul is using.
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  • You stand firm for grace.
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  • Don't you give an inch to anything that either denies
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  • Jesus, or dilutes Jesus, or downgrades Jesus.
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  • Jesus has come to set us free.
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  • Free from the wrath of God, free from the power of Satan,
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  • free from the guilt of sin, free from the fear of death,
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  • free from the expectations of other people.
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  • Paul said that's what it's all about,
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  • that's the most important thing,
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  • and we got to stand firm for grace.
  • 00:05:26.220 --> 00:05:32.050
  • But then he says something else.
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  • The way to stand firm for grace, is to stay focused on grace.
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  • You stand firm for grace when you stay focused on grace.
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  • Now remember who Paul was dealing with.
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  • Paul is dealing with Jewish Christians who still believe you
  • 00:05:46.020 --> 00:05:49.110
  • really want to be a Christian alright, you gotta be
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  • a Jewish Christian.
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  • You got to act like a Jew, you gotta live like a Jew, you gotta
  • 00:05:53.130 --> 00:05:55.260
  • obey like a Jew, you gotta do what a Jew does, you've got
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  • to really become a Jew.
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  • Of course, one of the marks of being Jewish for men
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  • was circumcision.
  • 00:06:02.240 --> 00:06:04.140
  • So they were teaching these Galatians, you know what, grace
  • 00:06:04.150 --> 00:06:06.290
  • is not enough, Jesus is not enough, faith is not enough,
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  • you've got to be circumcised.
  • 00:06:10.260 --> 00:06:13.170
  • Now I may have said this last week, I don't remember, but it
  • 00:06:13.180 --> 00:06:15.260
  • doesn't matter.
  • 00:06:15.270 --> 00:06:17.060
  • You know you've forgotten, I've already forgot what I preached
  • 00:06:17.070 --> 00:06:18.170
  • last week too.
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  • Listen, every religion in the world, in one form
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  • or another is a circumcision religion.
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  • Every religion in the world in one form or another,
  • 00:06:28.140 --> 00:06:32.010
  • is a circumcision religion.
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  • See, every religion will tell you, unless you blank--
  • 00:06:34.160 --> 00:06:40.160
  • and then you fill in the blank.
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  • Unless you get baptized, unless you join our church,
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  • unless you make this march,
  • 00:06:46.170 --> 00:06:48.280
  • unless you practice these religious rituals,
  • 00:06:48.290 --> 00:06:52.020
  • unless you follow our rules, unless you observe
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  • our obligations: you can't come to God, you can't know God,
  • 00:06:54.120 --> 00:06:57.280
  • you can't experience God, you can't have God.
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  • And here's the problem, when you take your eyes off the road
  • 00:07:00.180 --> 00:07:04.100
  • of Grace, you'll always start running into all kinds
  • 00:07:04.110 --> 00:07:08.080
  • of ditches and you'll start experiencing all kinds
  • 00:07:08.090 --> 00:07:11.000
  • of problems.
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  • You say well, what problems? Well, Paul lays them out.
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  • Listen to what he says in verse 2.
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  • He says, "Mark my words!
  • 00:07:16.060 --> 00:07:18.130
  • I, Paul, tell you if you let yourselves be circumcised,
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  • Christ will be of no value to you at all."
  • 00:07:23.240 --> 00:07:28.280
  • Now think about what a strong statement that is.
  • 00:07:28.290 --> 00:07:31.060
  • He said you know what, when you add anything to Jesus you just
  • 00:07:31.070 --> 00:07:37.070
  • subtracted Jesus from everything.
  • 00:07:38.070 --> 00:07:41.070
  • When you add anything to Jesus, you just subtracted Jesus
  • 00:07:41.080 --> 00:07:45.060
  • from everything.
  • 00:07:45.070 --> 00:07:46.160
  • So Paul was saying hey, guys.
  • 00:07:46.170 --> 00:07:48.160
  • You can choose circumcision, or you can choose Christ,
  • 00:07:48.170 --> 00:07:52.080
  • you cannot choose both.
  • 00:07:52.090 --> 00:07:53.190
  • See today I would say it this way.
  • 00:07:53.200 --> 00:07:55.240
  • You can choose religion, or you can choose redemption.
  • 00:07:55.250 --> 00:07:59.220
  • You can choose your goodness, or you can choose God's Grace.
  • 00:07:59.230 --> 00:08:04.010
  • You can choose rules, or you can choose a relationship--
  • 00:08:04.020 --> 00:08:07.150
  • but you can't choose both.
  • 00:08:07.160 --> 00:08:10.020
  • Because once you add anything to Jesus, you lose all the value
  • 00:08:10.030 --> 00:08:14.000
  • of what he did by his death and his burial
  • 00:08:14.010 --> 00:08:16.210
  • and his resurrection.
  • 00:08:16.220 --> 00:08:18.210
  • I was reading the other day-- I didn't know this--
  • 00:08:18.220 --> 00:08:21.140
  • I was reading the other day about wine.
  • 00:08:21.150 --> 00:08:23.200
  • When you open a bottle of red wine, oxygen enters into that
  • 00:08:23.210 --> 00:08:27.270
  • wine, and it causes an oxidation reaction that maybe three
  • 00:08:27.280 --> 00:08:32.220
  • or four days at most it just ruins the wine.
  • 00:08:32.230 --> 00:08:37.030
  • I didn't know that.
  • 00:08:37.040 --> 00:08:38.220
  • And I thought about that and I thought, you know what that's
  • 00:08:38.230 --> 00:08:40.180
  • exactly what happens to grace, and to faith.
  • 00:08:40.190 --> 00:08:43.090
  • The moment you add anything to grace, or you add anything
  • 00:08:43.100 --> 00:08:46.170
  • to faith, you just ruined the gospel.
  • 00:08:46.180 --> 00:08:49.110
  • You just tainted the gospel and it's not a--it's just
  • 00:08:49.120 --> 00:08:52.010
  • a matter of time before it becomes something else
  • 00:08:52.020 --> 00:08:54.200
  • altogether.
  • 00:08:54.210 --> 00:08:56.110
  • So, to put it mathematically: grace plus faith
  • 00:08:56.120 --> 00:08:59.000
  • equals salvation.
  • 00:08:59.010 --> 00:09:00.220
  • And what Paul is saying is, if you add anything to this side
  • 00:09:00.230 --> 00:09:04.170
  • of the equation you just lost this side of the equation.
  • 00:09:04.180 --> 00:09:08.000
  • You can't add anything to it, because when you add something
  • 00:09:08.010 --> 00:09:11.030
  • here, you subtract something there.
  • 00:09:11.040 --> 00:09:13.220
  • So if you add anything else, you no longer have salvation.
  • 00:09:13.230 --> 00:09:18.190
  • Then you face the problem that all religions face.
  • 00:09:18.200 --> 00:09:22.000
  • Listen to what he says in verse 3.
  • 00:09:22.010 --> 00:09:23.290
  • "Again I declare to you-- every man who lets himself
  • 00:09:24.000 --> 00:09:28.210
  • be circumcised..."
  • 00:09:28.220 --> 00:09:30.110
  • Now watch what Paul says.
  • 00:09:30.120 --> 00:09:32.090
  • "...he is obligated to obey the whole law."
  • 00:09:32.100 --> 00:09:37.280
  • Now, here's the point.
  • 00:09:37.290 --> 00:09:39.090
  • This is so deep. But listen.
  • 00:09:39.100 --> 00:09:42.150
  • Paul said when you add anything to grace, or you add anything
  • 00:09:42.160 --> 00:09:48.070
  • to faith, you just added everything to grace.
  • 00:09:48.080 --> 00:09:53.070
  • And you just added everything to faith.
  • 00:09:53.080 --> 00:09:56.020
  • In other words, Paul said this: once you believe, you've got
  • 00:09:56.030 --> 00:10:00.290
  • to do anything to be accepted by God.
  • 00:10:01.000 --> 00:10:04.210
  • You must do everything to be accepted by God.
  • 00:10:04.220 --> 00:10:09.000
  • Once you do anything to be accepted by God, you've got
  • 00:10:09.010 --> 00:10:12.110
  • to do everything to be accepted by God.
  • 00:10:12.120 --> 00:10:15.220
  • 'Cause I told you last week, there's only one passing grade
  • 00:10:15.230 --> 00:10:18.220
  • with God, it's 100%.
  • 00:10:18.230 --> 00:10:21.250
  • You make 99%, you flunked.
  • 00:10:21.260 --> 00:10:23.210
  • You make 99.99%, you flunked.
  • 00:10:23.220 --> 00:10:26.280
  • So if you decide you're gonna be good enough for God, you're
  • 00:10:26.290 --> 00:10:29.210
  • gonna run under a problem that you'll never solve.
  • 00:10:29.220 --> 00:10:31.260
  • And that's the problem of trying to be good enough for God, when
  • 00:10:31.270 --> 00:10:34.280
  • you can never be sure that you're ever good enough for God.
  • 00:10:34.290 --> 00:10:38.130
  • And that's why grace is so beautiful, and that's why
  • 00:10:38.140 --> 00:10:41.110
  • the Gospel is so wonderful.
  • 00:10:41.120 --> 00:10:43.030
  • Because what grace tells us is this.
  • 00:10:43.040 --> 00:10:45.100
  • Grace says you never-- listen--
  • 00:10:45.110 --> 00:10:48.190
  • you never have to be good enough for God.
  • 00:10:48.200 --> 00:10:52.290
  • And you don't have to be good enough for God.
  • 00:10:53.000 --> 00:10:57.090
  • Why?
  • 00:10:57.100 --> 00:10:58.200
  • I hope you know this by now.
  • 00:10:58.210 --> 00:11:01.050
  • You don't have to be good enough for God.
  • 00:11:01.060 --> 00:11:04.130
  • You never have to be good enough for God.
  • 00:11:04.140 --> 00:11:07.040
  • You can't be good enough for God.
  • 00:11:07.050 --> 00:11:08.240
  • And you know why?
  • 00:11:08.250 --> 00:11:10.040
  • You know why you don't have to worry about that?
  • 00:11:10.050 --> 00:11:12.060
  • Because Jesus is good enough for you.
  • 00:11:12.070 --> 00:11:15.200
  • That simple.
  • 00:11:15.210 --> 00:11:17.000
  • I don't have to be good enough for you God because Jesus is
  • 00:11:17.010 --> 00:11:20.230
  • good enough for me.
  • 00:11:20.240 --> 00:11:22.090
  • Then Paul lowers the boom.
  • 00:11:22.100 --> 00:11:24.260
  • Listen to what he says, verse 4.
  • 00:11:24.270 --> 00:11:27.070
  • "You who are trying to be justified by the law..."
  • 00:11:27.080 --> 00:11:31.030
  • Let me just stop right there.
  • 00:11:31.040 --> 00:11:32.140
  • So you just fill in the blank.
  • 00:11:32.150 --> 00:11:34.030
  • So, you're trying to be justified because you go
  • 00:11:34.040 --> 00:11:36.040
  • to church.
  • 00:11:36.050 --> 00:11:37.140
  • You're tryin' to be justified because you're a member, you're
  • 00:11:37.150 --> 00:11:38.240
  • trying to be justified because you were baptized, you're tryin'
  • 00:11:38.250 --> 00:11:41.110
  • to be justified because you're not as bad as the guy in prison,
  • 00:11:41.120 --> 00:11:43.280
  • you're trying to be justified because you're not a perfect
  • 00:11:43.290 --> 00:11:45.280
  • person, but you're a whole lot better than the vast majority
  • 00:11:45.290 --> 00:11:48.050
  • of people you know.
  • 00:11:48.060 --> 00:11:49.150
  • That's how you're tryin' to get it, that's how you're tryin'
  • 00:11:49.160 --> 00:11:51.170
  • to make it.
  • 00:11:51.180 --> 00:11:52.270
  • He says you are trying to be justified by the law, you have
  • 00:11:52.280 --> 00:11:55.170
  • been alienated from Christ.
  • 00:11:55.180 --> 00:11:57.120
  • Then he makes this strong statement: you have fallen away
  • 00:11:57.130 --> 00:12:01.240
  • from grace.
  • 00:12:01.250 --> 00:12:04.160
  • He said, if you don't stay focused on grace,
  • 00:12:04.170 --> 00:12:07.260
  • you will fall from grace.
  • 00:12:07.270 --> 00:12:10.070
  • Now I'm gonna deal with an issue here.
  • 00:12:10.080 --> 00:12:12.000
  • Many people have read that and they say, okay, so that
  • 00:12:12.010 --> 00:12:15.000
  • teaches you can lose your salvation.
  • 00:12:15.010 --> 00:12:16.250
  • That teaches that people who have truly been saved can lose
  • 00:12:16.260 --> 00:12:20.240
  • their salvation.
  • 00:12:20.250 --> 00:12:22.050
  • Well, let me tell you why I know that can't be true
  • 00:12:22.060 --> 00:12:23.190
  • for two reasons.
  • 00:12:23.200 --> 00:12:25.090
  • First of all we've preached on this not long ago, the Bible,
  • 00:12:25.100 --> 00:12:27.270
  • God's word clearly teaches that is impossible.
  • 00:12:27.280 --> 00:12:31.130
  • It's absolutely impossible for a person who's truly been
  • 00:12:31.140 --> 00:12:34.190
  • saved to lose their salvation.
  • 00:12:34.200 --> 00:12:37.030
  • Now I don't have time to go into that, but let me tell you
  • 00:12:37.040 --> 00:12:39.020
  • why I also now that's not what Paul means here, that's not even
  • 00:12:39.030 --> 00:12:41.250
  • what Paul's talking about.
  • 00:12:41.260 --> 00:12:43.250
  • That's not even what Paul is addressing here.
  • 00:12:43.260 --> 00:12:46.130
  • I read the other day about two pastors that lived
  • 00:12:46.140 --> 00:12:48.080
  • in the same town.
  • 00:12:48.090 --> 00:12:50.080
  • I won't say what denomination they were.
  • 00:12:50.090 --> 00:12:52.090
  • But one pastor was from a church who taught that
  • 00:12:52.100 --> 00:12:55.060
  • you cannot lose your salvation.
  • 00:12:55.070 --> 00:12:57.110
  • And the other pastor was from a church
  • 00:12:57.120 --> 00:12:59.010
  • and from a denomination that taught that you could lose
  • 00:12:59.020 --> 00:13:01.120
  • your salvation.
  • 00:13:01.130 --> 00:13:03.030
  • But they were good friends, they were good buddies.
  • 00:13:03.040 --> 00:13:04.260
  • Well the pastor who taught that you can't lose your salvation
  • 00:13:04.270 --> 00:13:08.130
  • happened to be on vacation, and he read the paper where his
  • 00:13:08.140 --> 00:13:11.110
  • buddy across town was preaching on how to go to heaven.
  • 00:13:11.120 --> 00:13:14.190
  • So he thought he was going to go there,
  • 00:13:14.200 --> 00:13:16.070
  • and he'd go hear his buddy preach.
  • 00:13:16.080 --> 00:13:18.070
  • Well, the pastor was up there preaching about going to heaven
  • 00:13:18.080 --> 00:13:20.120
  • and in the middle of his sermon he saw his pastor buddy
  • 00:13:20.130 --> 00:13:22.230
  • out there sitting in the middle of the congregation.
  • 00:13:22.240 --> 00:13:25.100
  • And he said, "Hey, John!
  • 00:13:25.110 --> 00:13:26.200
  • Hey, John, how you doing?"
  • 00:13:26.210 --> 00:13:28.010
  • He said, "By the way John, he said if you get to heaven
  • 00:13:28.020 --> 00:13:30.080
  • before I do, you tell them I'm coming."
  • 00:13:30.090 --> 00:13:33.020
  • Well, the pastor couldn't resist.
  • 00:13:33.030 --> 00:13:34.160
  • He yelled back, and he said, "Jim, I can't do that."
  • 00:13:34.170 --> 00:13:37.100
  • You might fall from grace and not get there, then I'd be
  • 00:13:37.110 --> 00:13:39.160
  • kicked out for lying."
  • 00:13:39.170 --> 00:13:41.020
  • So, I know that is not what Paul meant here.
  • 00:13:41.030 --> 00:13:45.260
  • Not what Paul was talking about.
  • 00:13:45.270 --> 00:13:47.070
  • As a matter of fact, this is the only time in the New
  • 00:13:47.080 --> 00:13:49.280
  • Testament that phrase is ever used, "To fall from grace."
  • 00:13:49.290 --> 00:13:53.290
  • Here's what Paul was saying.
  • 00:13:54.000 --> 00:13:56.080
  • When you fall from grace, you just fell from freedom
  • 00:13:56.090 --> 00:14:00.220
  • into bondage.
  • 00:14:00.230 --> 00:14:02.180
  • You just fell from liberty into legalism.
  • 00:14:02.190 --> 00:14:07.110
  • You just put the handcuffs of the law back on your wrist.
  • 00:14:07.120 --> 00:14:11.250
  • You just left freedom and went back into slavery.
  • 00:14:11.260 --> 00:14:15.050
  • Because whenever you add a plus sign to grace
  • 00:14:15.060 --> 00:14:19.080
  • or to faith or to Jesus-- listen to this.
  • 00:14:19.090 --> 00:14:21.200
  • When you add a plus sign, God adds a minus sign to you.
  • 00:14:21.210 --> 00:14:26.160
  • God says no, doesn't work that way.
  • 00:14:26.170 --> 00:14:28.280
  • And Paul is trying to warn the church then as I'm trying
  • 00:14:28.290 --> 00:14:31.100
  • to warn the church today.
  • 00:14:31.110 --> 00:14:33.010
  • When we don't stay focused on grace, when we don't stand
  • 00:14:33.020 --> 00:14:36.210
  • firm for grace-- listen I've seen it time and time again.
  • 00:14:36.220 --> 00:14:39.230
  • People will always wind up running into one of two ditches.
  • 00:14:39.240 --> 00:14:42.290
  • Let me tell you what they are.
  • 00:14:43.000 --> 00:14:44.190
  • One ditch is legalism.
  • 00:14:44.200 --> 00:14:48.110
  • One ditch is license.
  • 00:14:48.120 --> 00:14:50.140
  • Let me tell you what I mean by that.
  • 00:14:50.150 --> 00:14:51.250
  • By the way, I was reading in my quiet time when I got up this
  • 00:14:51.260 --> 00:14:54.040
  • morning, I was reading my Bible early this morning.
  • 00:14:54.050 --> 00:14:56.080
  • And I was reading in Matthew where Jesus
  • 00:14:56.090 --> 00:14:58.190
  • warned the disciples.
  • 00:14:58.200 --> 00:14:59.290
  • Some of you remember this.
  • 00:15:00.020 --> 00:15:01.120
  • He said beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
  • 00:15:01.130 --> 00:15:04.240
  • and the Sadducees.
  • 00:15:04.250 --> 00:15:06.040
  • Just 'cause you-- how many of you remember reading that
  • 00:15:06.050 --> 00:15:07.150
  • in the Bible?
  • 00:15:07.160 --> 00:15:08.250
  • How many of you remember?
  • 00:15:08.260 --> 00:15:10.050
  • Okay, oughta go read it, it's a good book.
  • 00:15:10.060 --> 00:15:11.160
  • He said beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
  • 00:15:11.170 --> 00:15:14.150
  • and the Sadducees.
  • 00:15:14.160 --> 00:15:15.250
  • What did he mean by the leaven of the Pharisees
  • 00:15:15.260 --> 00:15:17.240
  • and the Sadducees?
  • 00:15:17.250 --> 00:15:21.000
  • The Pharisees, they were all about legalism.
  • 00:15:21.010 --> 00:15:25.110
  • The Sadducees, they were all about license.
  • 00:15:25.120 --> 00:15:29.040
  • The Pharisees were all about being a Marine.
  • 00:15:29.050 --> 00:15:32.200
  • Make your bed, shine your shoes, go to church, keep
  • 00:15:32.210 --> 00:15:36.220
  • the commandments, obey the law.
  • 00:15:36.230 --> 00:15:39.010
  • The Sadducees didn't even believe in resurrection.
  • 00:15:39.020 --> 00:15:41.030
  • They said, "Oh, man, que sera, sera."
  • 00:15:41.040 --> 00:15:43.200
  • You're okay, we're okay, God's okay, we're all okay.
  • 00:15:43.210 --> 00:15:46.070
  • No problem.
  • 00:15:46.080 --> 00:15:47.180
  • Just go ahead go ahead, and I mean enjoy life to the fullest.
  • 00:15:47.190 --> 00:15:49.240
  • So here-- 'cause here's what happens.
  • 00:15:49.250 --> 00:15:51.130
  • When you take your focus off of grace, you will either go
  • 00:15:51.140 --> 00:15:55.290
  • to one extreme that says if I want to get to heaven, if I
  • 00:15:56.000 --> 00:15:59.130
  • wanna be right with God, if I wanna have a shot at spending
  • 00:15:59.140 --> 00:16:02.000
  • eternity with him, I've got to obey the law, I gotta keep
  • 00:16:02.010 --> 00:16:05.020
  • the Commandments, I've gotta follow the rules, I've gotta be
  • 00:16:05.030 --> 00:16:07.140
  • this religious, I've gotta be that religion, if I wanna be
  • 00:16:07.150 --> 00:16:10.010
  • right with God.
  • 00:16:10.020 --> 00:16:11.110
  • That's one extreme.
  • 00:16:11.120 --> 00:16:12.220
  • Or you will go to the other extreme, here's what you'll say.
  • 00:16:12.230 --> 00:16:15.140
  • Hey, because of the grace of God, I can live any way I
  • 00:16:15.150 --> 00:16:19.160
  • want to live.
  • 00:16:19.170 --> 00:16:20.270
  • God will accept any lifestyle that I want to participate in.
  • 00:16:20.280 --> 00:16:24.080
  • God will accept me just the way I am.
  • 00:16:24.090 --> 00:16:26.160
  • God is a god of love, and God says man just go at it.
  • 00:16:26.170 --> 00:16:29.270
  • We're all good, we're all okay.
  • 00:16:29.280 --> 00:16:32.120
  • Well, Paul just dealt with the first ditch.
  • 00:16:32.130 --> 00:16:34.180
  • He's already taken really good care that he says no, it has
  • 00:16:34.190 --> 00:16:37.100
  • nothing to do with keeping the law.
  • 00:16:37.110 --> 00:16:39.000
  • It has nothing to do with obeying the law.
  • 00:16:39.010 --> 00:16:40.130
  • It has nothing to being religious.
  • 00:16:40.140 --> 00:16:43.150
  • But now he's gotta turn his attention to people who say,
  • 00:16:43.160 --> 00:16:46.060
  • well, I'm a Christian.
  • 00:16:46.070 --> 00:16:48.130
  • I'm a believer.
  • 00:16:48.140 --> 00:16:50.000
  • Jesus loves me.
  • 00:16:50.010 --> 00:16:51.210
  • I love him.
  • 00:16:51.220 --> 00:16:53.060
  • But I'm going to live this lifestyle.
  • 00:16:53.070 --> 00:16:55.000
  • I'm gonna do life my way.
  • 00:16:55.010 --> 00:16:56.200
  • I'm gonna do it the way I want to do it.
  • 00:16:56.210 --> 00:16:58.060
  • Nobody's gonna tell me how to live.
  • 00:16:58.070 --> 00:16:59.220
  • I don't have to worry about goin' to church, I don't
  • 00:16:59.230 --> 00:17:01.090
  • have to worry about reading my Bible, I don't have to worry
  • 00:17:01.100 --> 00:17:02.200
  • about prayer, don't have to worry about being faithful
  • 00:17:02.210 --> 00:17:04.150
  • to my wife, don't have to worry where will I sleep with that
  • 00:17:04.160 --> 00:17:06.020
  • girl my girlfriend or not.
  • 00:17:06.030 --> 00:17:07.130
  • It's all about grace.
  • 00:17:07.140 --> 00:17:09.160
  • And Paul says no, I'm going to deal with you now.
  • 00:17:09.170 --> 00:17:12.230
  • Because he's not he says not only must we stand firm
  • 00:17:12.240 --> 00:17:15.060
  • for grace.
  • 00:17:15.070 --> 00:17:17.000
  • Not only must we stay focused on grace, but look
  • 00:17:17.010 --> 00:17:19.200
  • what will happen.
  • 00:17:19.210 --> 00:17:21.100
  • You say, well, pastor, how do I know if I'm standing firm
  • 00:17:21.110 --> 00:17:24.260
  • for grace?
  • 00:17:24.270 --> 00:17:26.060
  • How do I know if I'm really staying focused on grace?
  • 00:17:26.070 --> 00:17:29.000
  • Are you ready?
  • 00:17:29.010 --> 00:17:30.100
  • Here's the test.
  • 00:17:30.110 --> 00:17:31.210
  • You will show faithfulness to grace.
  • 00:17:31.220 --> 00:17:34.070
  • You will show faithfulness to grace.
  • 00:17:34.100 --> 00:17:36.100
  • Now, Paul has been hammering the grace of God.
  • 00:17:36.110 --> 00:17:39.290
  • Paul has been hammering faith in Jesus.
  • 00:17:40.000 --> 00:17:42.280
  • He has said it over and over and over and over.
  • 00:17:42.290 --> 00:17:47.020
  • Your relationship with God has nothing to do with how
  • 00:17:47.030 --> 00:17:50.140
  • good you are.
  • 00:17:50.150 --> 00:17:52.140
  • It has nothing to do with you tryin' to keep the law.
  • 00:17:52.150 --> 00:17:55.070
  • Jesus came to set us free from all of that.
  • 00:17:55.080 --> 00:17:58.260
  • He is the great emancipator.
  • 00:17:58.270 --> 00:18:01.120
  • 'Cause remember what we said, freedom is not the ability
  • 00:18:01.130 --> 00:18:04.080
  • to do what we want to do, it is the power to do what we ought
  • 00:18:04.090 --> 00:18:07.260
  • to do-- what God wants us to do.
  • 00:18:07.270 --> 00:18:09.280
  • But here's the problem.
  • 00:18:09.290 --> 00:18:12.280
  • We know that grace takes care of our past.
  • 00:18:12.290 --> 00:18:15.290
  • You come to faith, you come to Christ,
  • 00:18:16.000 --> 00:18:17.260
  • and you give your life to Christ, and you ask
  • 00:18:17.270 --> 00:18:19.230
  • Jesus to forgive you of all your sins.
  • 00:18:19.240 --> 00:18:21.190
  • He takes care of all of your sins.
  • 00:18:21.200 --> 00:18:23.000
  • He wipes the slate clean.
  • 00:18:23.010 --> 00:18:24.240
  • But here's what we forget or we never realize or we ignore.
  • 00:18:24.250 --> 00:18:30.140
  • Grace doesn't just deal with our past.
  • 00:18:30.150 --> 00:18:34.100
  • Grace deals with our present.
  • 00:18:34.110 --> 00:18:37.090
  • And grace deals with our future.
  • 00:18:37.100 --> 00:18:40.010
  • And let me just explain what I mean that by that.
  • 00:18:40.020 --> 00:18:42.190
  • First of all, Paul deals with our future.
  • 00:18:42.200 --> 00:18:44.280
  • Alright, listen to what Paul says in verse 5.
  • 00:18:44.290 --> 00:18:47.150
  • He says, "For through the spirit we eagerly await by faith
  • 00:18:47.160 --> 00:18:52.110
  • the righteousness for which we hope."
  • 00:18:52.120 --> 00:18:56.100
  • Not the righteousness we practice.
  • 00:18:56.110 --> 00:18:58.200
  • Not the righteousness we're trying to earn.
  • 00:18:58.210 --> 00:19:00.290
  • The righteousness for which we hope.
  • 00:19:01.000 --> 00:19:04.050
  • Now here's what Paul's saying.
  • 00:19:04.060 --> 00:19:06.110
  • God is a righteous God.
  • 00:19:06.120 --> 00:19:09.220
  • And God demands righteousness from us.
  • 00:19:09.230 --> 00:19:13.020
  • But on our own, we can never produce the righteousness that
  • 00:19:13.030 --> 00:19:16.020
  • God wants, that God deserves, that God desires,
  • 00:19:16.030 --> 00:19:19.070
  • and that God demands.
  • 00:19:19.080 --> 00:19:21.070
  • On our own we can never get there.
  • 00:19:21.080 --> 00:19:24.040
  • But only the Holy Spirit living in us can make us righteous.
  • 00:19:24.050 --> 00:19:28.100
  • And we'll never be totally righteous and perfectly
  • 00:19:28.110 --> 00:19:30.280
  • righteous until we go to Jesus.
  • 00:19:30.290 --> 00:19:33.080
  • So what Paul is saying is righteousness is not something
  • 00:19:33.090 --> 00:19:36.070
  • we work for, listen to me, righteousness is not something
  • 00:19:36.080 --> 00:19:39.260
  • we work for.
  • 00:19:39.270 --> 00:19:41.280
  • It's something we wait for.
  • 00:19:41.290 --> 00:19:45.090
  • I'm going to tell you something right now and I hope the light
  • 00:19:45.100 --> 00:19:47.020
  • will come on.
  • 00:19:47.030 --> 00:19:50.130
  • If you are trying to work your way to God, I got news for you--
  • 00:19:50.140 --> 00:19:55.010
  • bad grammar, great theology-- you ain't never gonna get there.
  • 00:19:55.020 --> 00:20:00.050
  • If you're trying to work your way to God, you are never going
  • 00:20:00.060 --> 00:20:04.260
  • to get there.
  • 00:20:04.270 --> 00:20:06.060
  • Here's the good news.
  • 00:20:06.070 --> 00:20:07.290
  • We're not working our way to get to God.
  • 00:20:08.000 --> 00:20:13.000
  • This is so good this will make you clap.
  • 00:20:13.010 --> 00:20:15.210
  • By faith, we're waiting on God to come get us.
  • 00:20:15.220 --> 00:20:21.010
  • That's the truth.
  • 00:20:21.020 --> 00:20:24.290
  • God is not waiting on me going, "Okay, James, when you get
  • 00:20:25.000 --> 00:20:29.060
  • righteous enough, when you get religious enough,
  • 00:20:29.070 --> 00:20:33.260
  • I'll accept you."
  • 00:20:33.270 --> 00:20:35.170
  • God says, "James, you'll never be righteous enough.
  • 00:20:35.180 --> 00:20:40.010
  • And you will never be religious enough.
  • 00:20:40.020 --> 00:20:42.080
  • But that's all right.
  • 00:20:42.090 --> 00:20:43.180
  • One day I'm coming to get you, and you will be righteous.
  • 00:20:43.190 --> 00:20:47.000
  • 'Cause you're gonna have my righteousness, you'll be clothed
  • 00:20:47.010 --> 00:20:49.240
  • in my righteousness."
  • 00:20:49.250 --> 00:20:52.030
  • So we're not working our way to get to God, we're waiting
  • 00:20:52.040 --> 00:20:54.140
  • on God to come get us.
  • 00:20:54.150 --> 00:20:55.240
  • That's the future, but meanwhile back at the ranch...
  • 00:20:55.250 --> 00:20:57.280
  • what about today?
  • 00:20:57.290 --> 00:20:59.170
  • What about life right now?
  • 00:20:59.180 --> 00:21:01.070
  • So listen to how Paul concludes.
  • 00:21:01.080 --> 00:21:03.070
  • "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
  • 00:21:03.080 --> 00:21:07.150
  • has any value."
  • 00:21:07.160 --> 00:21:08.250
  • Put any words you want to in there.
  • 00:21:08.260 --> 00:21:10.140
  • Church attendance, church membership, religion, doing good
  • 00:21:10.150 --> 00:21:14.050
  • works, giving to the poor, put anything you want to in there.
  • 00:21:14.060 --> 00:21:17.060
  • He says "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
  • 00:21:17.070 --> 00:21:20.190
  • has any value."
  • 00:21:20.200 --> 00:21:22.200
  • In terms of having a relationship with God.
  • 00:21:22.210 --> 00:21:24.130
  • "The only thing that counts is faith..."
  • 00:21:24.140 --> 00:21:28.210
  • Watch this. What kind of faith?
  • 00:21:28.220 --> 00:21:31.120
  • "...the faith that expresses itself through love."
  • 00:21:31.130 --> 00:21:35.230
  • So he says use any words you want to in there.
  • 00:21:35.240 --> 00:21:37.290
  • It doesn't matter.
  • 00:21:38.000 --> 00:21:39.090
  • He says doesn't matter.
  • 00:21:39.100 --> 00:21:40.200
  • Baptism, religion, ritual, rules, voted Republican, voting
  • 00:21:40.210 --> 00:21:43.140
  • Democrat, doin' your best, trying your hardest.
  • 00:21:43.150 --> 00:21:45.120
  • He said as far as Jesus is concerned, none of that
  • 00:21:45.130 --> 00:21:48.250
  • has any value.
  • 00:21:48.260 --> 00:21:50.260
  • Then he says-- what a strong statement--
  • 00:21:50.270 --> 00:21:52.180
  • the only thing that counts,
  • 00:21:52.190 --> 00:21:54.120
  • not the thing that counts the most,
  • 00:21:54.130 --> 00:21:56.010
  • the only thing that counts, he says, is faith.
  • 00:21:56.020 --> 00:21:59.130
  • But what kind of faith?
  • 00:21:59.140 --> 00:22:00.260
  • Not just any kind of faith.
  • 00:22:00.270 --> 00:22:02.060
  • It is faith expressing itself through love.
  • 00:22:02.070 --> 00:22:07.210
  • So I want you draw up real close now.
  • 00:22:07.220 --> 00:22:09.010
  • Pay attention. Listen.
  • 00:22:09.020 --> 00:22:12.020
  • I preached all my ministry, believe it with all my heart.
  • 00:22:12.030 --> 00:22:15.010
  • Yes, salvation is by grace through faith.
  • 00:22:15.020 --> 00:22:19.220
  • However, faith that grace produces is a faith that works.
  • 00:22:19.230 --> 00:22:25.230
  • Salvation is only by grace through faith without works.
  • 00:22:26.120 --> 00:22:30.230
  • But the faith that grace produces is a faith that works.
  • 00:22:30.240 --> 00:22:34.090
  • When you stand firm for grace, and you stay focused on grace,
  • 00:22:34.100 --> 00:22:38.250
  • you will show faithfulness to grace.
  • 00:22:38.260 --> 00:22:41.020
  • Because faith is not only what you believe on the inside, faith
  • 00:22:41.030 --> 00:22:45.080
  • also results in how you behave on the outside.
  • 00:22:45.090 --> 00:22:48.140
  • So I'm gonna make sure I make this plain.
  • 00:22:48.150 --> 00:22:50.080
  • I don't want to confuse you.
  • 00:22:50.090 --> 00:22:52.280
  • Faith and works are separate.
  • 00:22:52.290 --> 00:22:55.070
  • Don't confuse them.
  • 00:22:55.080 --> 00:22:56.230
  • You're saved by grace through faith without works.
  • 00:22:56.240 --> 00:22:59.060
  • Everybody got that?
  • 00:22:59.070 --> 00:23:00.180
  • Raise your hand if you heard me, alright?
  • 00:23:00.190 --> 00:23:02.050
  • Faith and works are separate.
  • 00:23:02.060 --> 00:23:06.050
  • But faith and works are inseparable.
  • 00:23:06.060 --> 00:23:11.100
  • Faith and works are separate.
  • 00:23:11.110 --> 00:23:14.130
  • But faith and works are inseparable.
  • 00:23:14.140 --> 00:23:16.190
  • So, okay, explain that.
  • 00:23:16.200 --> 00:23:18.240
  • There's a difference between ordinary faith and what
  • 00:23:18.250 --> 00:23:21.250
  • I call saving faith.
  • 00:23:21.260 --> 00:23:23.050
  • See when the Bible talks about faith, it doesn't just
  • 00:23:23.060 --> 00:23:25.140
  • mean what you believe in your head, it means what you've
  • 00:23:25.150 --> 00:23:28.070
  • accepted in your heart.
  • 00:23:28.080 --> 00:23:29.210
  • And so here's the point Paul is making.
  • 00:23:29.220 --> 00:23:31.180
  • When you experience grace on the inside, you want
  • 00:23:31.190 --> 00:23:35.040
  • to express Grace on the outside.
  • 00:23:35.050 --> 00:23:37.140
  • Yeah, Jesus Christ came to set us free.
  • 00:23:37.150 --> 00:23:39.130
  • Not to do what we want but to do what we ought.
  • 00:23:39.140 --> 00:23:41.260
  • Not to live the way we want to but to live the way God wants
  • 00:23:41.270 --> 00:23:43.270
  • us to live.
  • 00:23:43.280 --> 00:23:45.070
  • Grace does not lead to legalism, where you say I've got to obey
  • 00:23:45.080 --> 00:23:49.030
  • the law to be right with God.
  • 00:23:49.040 --> 00:23:51.090
  • Grace does not lead to license where you say I don't have
  • 00:23:51.100 --> 00:23:54.170
  • to obey any of God's law and I'm still right with God.
  • 00:23:54.180 --> 00:23:59.020
  • Liberty leads to love.
  • 00:23:59.030 --> 00:24:02.030
  • And here's what Paul was saying.
  • 00:24:02.040 --> 00:24:05.190
  • No, you don't have to obey the law.
  • 00:24:05.200 --> 00:24:11.120
  • You don't have to keep the Commandments.
  • 00:24:11.130 --> 00:24:13.290
  • You don't have to do this and not do that, and go there
  • 00:24:14.000 --> 00:24:17.070
  • and not go there to have a relationship with God.
  • 00:24:17.080 --> 00:24:19.270
  • However, if you're right with God, you want to keep
  • 00:24:19.280 --> 00:24:25.250
  • the law.
  • 00:24:25.260 --> 00:24:27.100
  • If you're right with God, you want to obey the commandments.
  • 00:24:27.110 --> 00:24:30.200
  • If you're right with God, you don't obey the law
  • 00:24:30.210 --> 00:24:32.220
  • because you have to.
  • 00:24:32.230 --> 00:24:34.220
  • You obey the law because you want to.
  • 00:24:34.230 --> 00:24:36.130
  • And you obey the law because you want to because you want
  • 00:24:36.140 --> 00:24:38.150
  • to because you love Him.
  • 00:24:38.160 --> 00:24:42.260
  • Because every person you meet, every person you're kin to,
  • 00:24:42.270 --> 00:24:46.230
  • every person you live next door to, every person you work with,
  • 00:24:46.240 --> 00:24:49.100
  • every person you ever cross paths with, the only thing that
  • 00:24:49.110 --> 00:24:53.040
  • counts in their life is to experience the grace of God
  • 00:24:53.050 --> 00:24:57.190
  • by faith in God.
  • 00:24:57.200 --> 00:24:59.000
  • It is the only thing that counts.
  • 00:24:59.010 --> 00:25:05.020
  • That's why we keep asking and I don't care how sick of it you
  • 00:25:05.280 --> 00:25:09.050
  • get, it doesn't matter.
  • 00:25:09.060 --> 00:25:11.010
  • Who's your one?
  • 00:25:11.020 --> 00:25:15.170
  • Who's the person you know right now that you would have given
  • 00:25:15.180 --> 00:25:18.010
  • anything you would've paid money to have heard
  • 00:25:18.020 --> 00:25:20.060
  • this message today?
  • 00:25:20.070 --> 00:25:22.070
  • People need freedom.
  • 00:25:22.080 --> 00:25:23.270
  • They're in bondage.
  • 00:25:23.280 --> 00:25:25.120
  • They're in bondage to drugs and pornography and alcohol
  • 00:25:25.130 --> 00:25:29.000
  • and sex and bitterness and anger.
  • 00:25:29.010 --> 00:25:31.220
  • And the good news is Christ came to set us free
  • 00:25:31.230 --> 00:25:35.070
  • from all of that.
  • 00:25:35.080 --> 00:25:36.280
  • Oh.
  • 00:25:36.290 --> 00:25:38.080
  • By his grace to us and our faith in him.
  • 00:25:38.090 --> 00:25:42.260
  • male announcer: To watch an extended version of today's
  • 00:25:42.270 --> 00:25:45.060
  • teaching message with Dr. James Merritt
  • 00:25:45.070 --> 00:25:47.040
  • go to touchinglives.org.
  • 00:25:47.050 --> 00:25:50.220
  • 00:25:52.280 --> 00:26:02.270
  • 00:26:02.280 --> 00:26:12.270
  • 00:26:12.280 --> 00:26:22.270
  • 00:26:22.280 --> 00:26:32.110
  • James Merritt: You know, it's no secret.
  • 00:26:39.290 --> 00:26:41.120
  • I can tell you as a pastor that the church has had its share
  • 00:26:41.130 --> 00:26:43.220
  • of struggles in recent years.
  • 00:26:43.230 --> 00:26:45.260
  • Many have fallen away from the church.
  • 00:26:45.270 --> 00:26:47.120
  • Some of even developed outright antagonism and antipathy
  • 00:26:47.130 --> 00:26:50.200
  • for the church.
  • 00:26:50.210 --> 00:26:52.020
  • But Paul firmly and clearly tells us in the church:
  • 00:26:52.030 --> 00:26:55.040
  • stand firm.
  • 00:26:55.050 --> 00:26:56.240
  • Keep moving forward.
  • 00:26:56.250 --> 00:26:58.050
  • Remain faithful no matter what the world does.
  • 00:26:58.060 --> 00:27:00.240
  • The only thing that counts to Jesus is faith.
  • 00:27:00.250 --> 00:27:03.060
  • So let that be the only thing that matters to you.
  • 00:27:03.070 --> 00:27:06.040
  • We're well into our study of Galatians, but there are
  • 00:27:06.050 --> 00:27:07.270
  • several messages left.
  • 00:27:07.280 --> 00:27:09.160
  • So make sure you tune in right here next week as we continue
  • 00:27:09.170 --> 00:27:12.090
  • preaching the word on Touching Lives.
  • 00:27:12.100 --> 00:27:16.100
  • male announcer: Touching Lives, teaching people everywhere who
  • 00:27:16.110 --> 00:27:19.000
  • Jesus is and why they need him.
  • 00:27:19.010 --> 00:27:22.020
  • This program is sponsored by Touching Lives Ministries
  • 00:27:22.030 --> 00:27:24.220
  • and is made possible by the grace of God and your
  • 00:27:24.230 --> 00:27:27.120
  • faithful prayers and gifts.
  • 00:27:27.130 --> 00:27:29.130