Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Crossroads Community Church
April 20, 2020
Dear Crossroads Family,
I hope you enjoyed the beautiful spring weekend we had! Someone recently described shelter-in-place days as “monochromatic.” I thought that was a good word for these days that kind of seem, for many of us, to all look alike! It was good to have some sunshine, warmer temperatures, and to experience some of the beauty of God’s creation right outside our doors!
Here are some good quarantine questions that got cut off from yesterday’s sermon on Facebook. These come from Larry Austin, our E-Free Central District Director of Church Health (and also the person who described this shelter-in-place period as being monochromatic.) Larry challenges us to look for the unique opportunities the pandemic (and its accompanying quarantine) has given us for ministry and spiritual life. He uses a verses from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians as the basis for that challenge:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
The word for “time” in that verse is the Greek word “kairos.” Kairos is opportunity time. What are the unique opportunities we’ve been given during these unusual days ?
As we start a new week, I encourage you to ask yourself these three questions:
- What is an opportunity God has given me this week, or today?
- Can I identify at least one unique opportunity I have to serve the Lord and others as a result of the current shutdown?
- What unique opportunities is God giving Crossroads Church this week? What can I do, as part of the church, to help meet those opportunities?
Yesterday’s sermon is up on the Crossroads Church Facebook page. There are a few spots where it freezes up, but if you stick with it you can follow along through Paul’s important introductory passage to his letter to the Galatians.
The theme of Galatians is “Freedom in Christ”! “It was for freedom Christ set you free ; therefore, keep standing firm, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
I’ve included some sermon notes at the end of this email if you’d like to quickly review the main points of yesterday’s sermon.
Tonight – Monday Night Bible Study on Facebook Live! We’ll be in the book of Numbers, chapters 13-14. This is the climactic section of the book of Numbers. Will the people of Israel believe God and enter into the land He promised them? What causes us to disbelieve God and fail to receive His promises? Join us at 7:00 tonight!
Next Saturday evening – Worship Music! Check out Jessica Baker’s Facebook page where she’ll be leading us in some singing Saturday evening at 7:00.
Next Sunday – Morning Worship & Sermon. We’ll continue our look at the New Testament book of Galatians and its theme, “Freedom in Christ.” This week we’re going to pre-record the sermon, so it should be available to watch any time starting Saturday evening after Jessica’s worship music.
All Week – Opportunities to Minister. Like the women who came to the tomb on Resurrection Sunday, as we faithfully go about doing the little things God has given us to do, we’re surprised at new opportunities He sends! Thank you to all at Crossroads who are doing many little (and big) things during this shelter-in-place period!
Prayer & Praise:
- Praise to God for the birth of Wacey Warren Hinds, born to Emma and Garrett, and the new grandson of Cris and Donna! We are excited for this new life and for the growing family!
- Praise for the release from the hospital of Judi Edwards’ friend Val who went through a very serious bout of Covid-19 but is now home!
- Prayers needed for those affected by loss of employment and/or income.
Some Sermon Notes from Yesterday’s Sermon
“The Other Gospel”
Theme of Galatians: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free! Therefore, keep standing firm, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
Three parts of Galatians:
- Chapters 1-2 Personal Paul’s own story of freedom
- Chapters 3-4 Doctrinal The theological foundation for freedom
- Chapters 5-6 Practical How we live out our freedom
Are you truly free? Does the Christian life sometimes appear burdensome to you? Why?
Paul talks about “another” Gospel the Galatian Christians were falling for (1:6-10).
- It is different. (1:6)
- It is disturbing. (1:7)
- It is distorted. (1:7)
- It is damnable. (1:8-9) anathema = accursed ; something to be banned, or cast out
Before telling us precisely what the “other” Gospel is, Paul tells us more about the true Gospel :
- It is not man-made. (1:11-12) The Gospel Paul preached to the Galatians was given to him by a revelation from Jesus Christ.
- It is not “church-made.” (1:13-14) The true Gospel is not built on traditions of men, either from Judaism or from the small group of Christians who lived in Jerusalem at that time. It’s not built on human traditions or organizations.
- It is available to all. (1:15-17) The true Gospel is available to all. The “other” gospel required new Gentile believers to have faith in Christ and to adopt all the old laws and customs of the Jews.
- It is “Christ in you.” (2:20) The Christian life is not a matter of me believing in Jesus, then trying harder to be a good person ! The Christian life is a new life in which Christ lives in me and through me.
Legalism (the other Gospel) is the belief that I can do something to earn or to maintain my salvation (right standing before God).
- Salvation is a gift to be received. It’s not based on anything we can do.
- No one is justified before God through the keeping of laws (Galatians 2:16) — in part, because we can’t keep them fully.
- The Jewish laws included this one: “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the law” (Galatians 3:10 ; Deuteronomy 27:26).
- To go back to a rules-based, law-based spiritual life is to put ourselves under a heavy burden ; we lose the freedom promised in the true Gospel.
- The “other” gospel is anything that causes us to say, “If you do this thing, or don’t do this other thing, you may not be a full Christian.”
- Laws and rules never energize people.
- Christ living in me (Galatians 2:20) is the great energizer and the great motivator.
- Is faith in Christ sufficient for salvation? Many people believe faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, but not everyone believes faith in Christ is sufficient for being saved.
- Can you identify a burden you’ve been adding to your relationship with God which you think is necessary to earn or maintain your standing with God?
- How might you, this week, allow Christ to live in you more fully? What practical steps can you take toward that end?
I hope to connect with some of you this evening for Monday Night Bible Study on the Crossroads Community Church (Nevada MO) Facebook page!
Praying for you…