Keeping On Keeping On - Galatians 5:7-26
Keep on Keeping On
Introduction: From their book Known, Dick and Ruth Foth tell a poignant story of devotion and loyalty:
Edinburgh, Scotland, is famous for a story of a dog and his owner that express devotion and tenacity in equal measure. The story began in 1850, when John Gray came to the city to be a gardener. Unable to find work, he joined the police force as a night watchman. To keep him company through the long nights, he would take his small Skye terrier named Bobby with him on his rounds. They became part of the living landscape of the city night after night for years.
John later contracted tuberculosis and died in the winter of 1858; he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. What happened next became legend in the city. Bobby, the Skye terrier, would not leave his master's grave. Except for accepting midday meals from the kind people in the area, Bobby stayed there day and night with his master. The caretaker tried on many occasions to evict the dog, but to no avail. Finally, he provided the little dog with a shelter by the grave.
When the city passed an ordinance that all unlicensed dogs would be destroyed, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, William Chambers, purchased a license for Bobby and had a collar engraved for the little dog. Until his death fourteen years later, the citizens cared for Bobby while he guarded his master's body. If you walk to Greyfriars Kirkyard today, you can't miss the statue that stands across the street. It is a sculpture of Bobby with these words inscribed on the base:
“Greyfriars Bobby—died 14th January 1872—aged 16 years. Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”
Dick and Ruth Foth, Known (WaterBrook, 2017), pages 168-169
Application: Today, we talk about the character quality of faithfulness to the Lord and what He has taught us.
Purpose: Every Christ follower must run the race of faith with hindrance or distraction to be found faithful and in harmony with the Spirit.
Transition: As we finish out 2017, let us reflect on some of the highlights of this past year and thank God for His faithfulness to us and thank God for all the faithful people who make ministry possible in our church.
Part One – Review of 2017
- Steve Brethauer
- Jean Kurtz
- Jim Samalon
- Jim Samalon
- Jean Kurtz
- Rory Meeduri
- Emily Barnes
- Steve Brethauer
- David Urda
Money spent on these items due to your faithful giving and generosity
- Wireless microphones
- In-ear monitor system
- Chairs with arms
- Lawn maintenance
- Church Link APP
- Drywall & Attic Joist repair
- Baptistry leak repair
- Ran an ad in the new move-in Neighborhood Greetings
- Added the check-in system for youth classes
- New furnace
- Pro-Presenter / Apple Computer
- New handicap parking spaces at the east doors
- New landscaping by the main entrance
- Painting of the downstairs
- Waxing of the kitchen floors / bathrooms
Transition: We praise God as the leaders of the church and ministry workers for all the blessings God has poured out on us and through us to the community around us and to the people our missionaries locally, regionally and around the world ministered to.
Part Two – Review of our Purpose / Vision Statement / Core Values
- Let’s be reminded of the vision we are committed to here at Pleasant View Baptist Church as we finish 50 years of ministry this week and celebrate the beginning of the next 50 years next Sunday.
At Pleasant View Baptist Church, we believe according to God’s Word our purpose in life is to worship and glorify God and to share the Good News of God’s love in Christ Jesus with the world, beginning with the people of our community. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will seek to lead people to conversion, baptism, and a maturing relationship with Jesus Christ, through worship, outreach, discipleship, fellowship and service.
Pleasant View Baptist Church is a multi-generational family of believers in Jesus Christ, seeking to connect others to God and His family, striving to grow spiritually and relationally, and finding our places of serving God in His church, in our communities, and in the world.
- Connecting people with God and His family
- Growing spiritually and relationally
- Serving God in His church, in our communities, and in the world
Connecting – Growing – Serving
We the congregation of Pleasant View Baptist Church hold the following core values
- 1. We believe in gathering together for worship.
- 2. We believe the integrity of our individual lives is shown in biblical principles in our personal commitment and accountability to God.
- 3. We believe in the discipleship and equipping of every believer.
- 4. We believe in the discipleship of children and youth.
- 5. We believe in holding to Biblically sound teaching, preaching, and authority in our individual and corporate lives.
- 6. We believe in encouraging and providing opportunities for individual and corporate prayer.
- 7. We believe in being a church family that shows love and concern for others in our words and our actions.
- 8. We believe in supporting mission work financially and with personal involvement.
Part Three – Anniversary Celebrations
The 50th Anniversary Service – Bettendorf News on December 28th, 2017
- Mel Dirksen / Rick Smith / Mike Fendley
- Proclamations from Governor Kim Reynolds / Mayor Bob Gallagher
- Recognizing our charter members
Gala 50th Year Celebration Event is set for April 14th at the Quad Cities Prayer Center.
- All former members, pastors and families, and missionaries and their families will be invited.
- Dinner / Program with special music from people who were part of the church in the past / pictures / etc.
Part Four – Transitions for the future growth of the church
- Go over the insert about purpose of service change
- Go over insert about Connect Groups and their new purpose
Part Five – Keep on Keeping on
Transition: Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Deuteronomy 28 as we look to God’s Word this morning.
Deuteronomy 28:1 – 2; 13 - 15
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, 14 and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you
Transition: Let’s look quickly at four areas of faithfulness we need to be reminded of as we begin a New Year tomorrow. We do that not just by possessing the Holy Spirit but also by walking in step with the Holy Spirit. The first thing we want to look at as the precursor to Galatians 5:13 – 26 is Galatians 5:7 – 12.
- Two things will stand the test of time. Character and truth.
- Character takes a long time to develop in our lives but can be lost in a few moments.
- Truth will always remain the rock, the anchor, that stands the test of time.
- People will try to redefine the truth
- I am amazed in our culture of the common-sense things our government and universities “discover” as a result of grants and tax payer’s money
Illustration: Boys' and Girls' Brains Are Different: Gender Differences in Language Appear Biological
Date: March 5, 2008 / Source: Northwestern University
Summary: Researchers have long agreed girls have superior language abilities to boys, but haven't clearly provided a biological basis to account for their differences. For the first time and in unambiguous findings, researchers show both that brain areas associated with language work harder in girls during language tasks, and that boys and girls rely on very different parts of the brain when performing these tasks. Language processing is more abstract in girls, more sensory in boys.
- There is a propensity in humans to try to change the norms of a culture and society. To create a revolution, a rebellion
- Hugh Hefner died this year and Playboy magazine forever changed the way American’s look at sexuality and women’s bodies.
- The magazine and the 1960’s brought about the sexual revolution that we live in today in our culture with all the ramifications of tearing down the Judeo – Christian view of morality and removing any boundaries and guilt.
- This propensity for change and evolving of ideas bleeds into our churches all the time as people look for “new truths” in the Bible. New doctrines, new teachings, additions and subtractions to the Gospel and the changing of what separation from the world and holiness are all about for the Christian.
Galatians 5:7 -12
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
- Verse 7. You were doing so well with the Gospel and the teaching I gave to you. Who cut in during your race and caused you to trip and fall?
- False teachers were coming from every angle to the church in Galatia
- Paul said in verse 9, one bad apple spoils the whole bushel. Leaven in bread, a small pinch eventually permeates all the dough
- One small deviation from the truth can cause a host of terrible consequences
- Specifically, Paul is asking them not to hold on to the Jewish traditions as part of their salvation. The focus must always be on the cross and not religiosity
- The result was that the believers were no longer obeying the truth, but were attempting to complete the race by legalistic self-effort rather than by faith
- Paul gives the church at Galatia and to us four things we want to look at as we consider staying faithful to God and the Gospel we have talked about this past Christmas season.
Free to serve one another in the Spirit
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
- Speaking against legalism and license here, Paul commands them to live in freedom but do not use your freedom in Christ improperly
- Be balanced
- Be accountable
- Don’t be a stumbling block or do things that would offend others
- But don’t let others dictate and describe to you what freedom in Christ is
- Commands vs. Convictions
- The point is to use your freedom in Christ in such a way that in the community of believers you serve another with the love of Christ as the purpose and motivation
Application: We are to use our freedom in Christ to humbly serve others and in return, we find joy!
Transition: Second, Paul talks about the importance of loving others in the Spirit as we love ourselves
Love one another in the Spirit as you love yourself
Galatians 5:14 – 15
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
- Walk in unityas a result of love
- Love yourself first
- See yourself as God sees you
- Find esteem in who you are in Christ
- You can’t love others in a healthy way until you are rightly related to Christ and accept how God views you
- Then and only then can you love others in the way God wants you to with His agape’ love. Unconditional, no strings attached
- Walk in chaos and confusionif you compete with one another
- The opposite of this kind of love toward one another is described here in verse 15
- Imbalanced teaching by false teachers had created divisions and strife among the Galatian believers
- They were poor examples to other believers and especially to the community of non- believers as they saw this chaos and confusion in the midst of these believers.
- False teaching always creates problems!! That is why it is so important to be faithful to the Word and to orthodox / historical Christian teaching.
- Don’t fall for false teaching out of curiosity/ persuasive words/ search for something new, etc.
Application: We have a choice daily how we will respond to the relationships and circumstances around us.
Transition: Paul makes two distinctions here with these last two points. To walk in the Spirit and to live in rhythm moment by moment with the Spirit
Walk in the Spirit with one another
- As I read these verses, I hope you follow along and see the contrast between those who walk according to the Spirit and those who walk according to the flesh.
Galatians 5:16 - 24
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
- The desires of the flesh are self – centered
- Look closely at the list of active, habitual sinful behavior that are a product of us living unbridled the ways of our heart and flesh in verses 17 - 21
- The desires of a transformed person are willingly controlledby the Spirit
- Look closely at the manifestation of the Spirit as described in verses 22 – 23
- Then Paul summarizes this section by saying the believer must put on the cross our sinful desires of the flesh and choose daily the Spirit to have His will and way in our lives. The Lordship of Christ. Jesus on the throne of our heart, the seat of our emotions and will.
- Beyond displaying these characteristics as a natural outflow of the Spirit, we must walk in this Spirit to encourage each other who are in the church family to live out the way of the Spirit that dwells in our hearts.
- We have victory over the flesh because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ
- We overcome by FAITH and not self -effort!! Big distinction Paul is making here.
Application: We must encourage one other with the positive fruits of the Spirit on display!!
Transition: Paul makes a subtle, but very important distinction here between walking in the Spirit (16 – 24) and verse 25.
Live life in rhythm with the Spirit as you walk with one another daily
Galatians 5:25 – 26
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
- If our Christian life is fashioned as a new life in the Spirit, then let us “be in harmony with” the Spirit.
- We are to walk in the Spirit
- But Paul says in verse 25, we are to walk in step with, in harmony with, in peace with the Spirit.
- Let the day unfold before us anticipating God walking ahead of us preparing the circumstances and the way we will respond with the Spirit
- Be attentive and in tune with Spirit speaking and prompting you throughout the day.
- Be expecting God to show up throughout your day.
Paul refers back to this at the close of this letter. He calls it a rule to live by
16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Illustration: Driving in the snow storm on Friday / Decisions of my past
- And this verse and verse 16 are the key to remaining faithful to the Lord and His teachings. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, staying true to God and His Word out of a deepening love relationship with Him.
- That is the key to overcoming the flesh and gaining victory little by little over sin in our lives.
- But, a life in contradiction with the Spirit is described in v. 26.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Application: We are to keep on keeping on in step with the Spirit despite the desires and passions of our flesh
Key Thought: As we allow the Spirit to live through us naturally, we will see the characteristics of the Spirit on display!!
- That will bring joy to your heart and the church family
- That will keep you faithful to God and bring blessing upon your life and not the curses of turning to the right or left with distractions and purposeful choices in our lives.