(SERMON BY GRANT VISSERS)
The leadership of our church asked and discussed the question, “What’s the one thing that we would want everyone in our church to experience? and the answer was, “small groups.”
So, we’re studying Galatians because the early church looks a lot like small groups.
This past summer, Konnie and I drove through the mountains. I was driving and as we slowly made our way up the mountain, we came around a corner and there was suddenly no more guard rail. It was terrifying – nothing but a cliff. Nothing else had changed. The road was the same width, my car was the same car but suddenly, the lack of a guard rail made me feel like I was in danger.
We naturally think the guard rail will keep us going in the right direction and keep us safe. This is the way Paul describes the law to the churches in Galatia. The law functions like a guardrail to keep people moving in the right direction.
Galatians 3.23 The law was our guardian until Christ came…
Paul is talking about the law of Moses – the 613 commandments given by God to Moses for Israel to follow day after day. The law kept humanity vaguely pointed in the right direction. The law prepared people for Jesus but now that Jesus had come, there was no longer a need for a guardian.
But the analogy falls short at this point because no matter how well we drive, we drive off the cliff. Regardless of the guardrails, we will find a way to jump the car off the cliff.
No guardrails points us to our absolute dependence on Jesus. No guardrails expose our inability to save ourselves. Nobody and nothing can save us. That’s what Paul wants to remind us.
We belong to Christ. We are children of God, clothed in Christ.
- Jesus becomes the first thing that people see when they look at us. We change when we are clothed in Christ.
- Our standing with God changes when we are clothed in Christ.
- Our community radically changed when we are clothed in Christ.
Paul writes, “You are all soon of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ” (vs. 26)
In that culture and time, only the first born male of a family inherited the Father’s wealth. Paul is radically inclusive when he uses the term, “sons” because he is announcing that we all have equal inheritance. Everyone is entitled to inherit what the Father possesses. “There is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (vs.28) Paul is going against what that society believed about inheritance. Everyone gets equal share. Nobody deserves it but everyone who asks is given it.
It would be easy to end this sermon with something like, “Join a small group. Everyone is welcome” but the reality is that many people are very hesitant about joining. “What if I don’t like the people in my group?” is the question on many people’s minds.
When God looks at us, despite our weirdness, He still sees Jesus. Don’t we owe to it to each other to do the same?
When you look at others in your small group, will you choose to see Jesus?