Holy & Set Apart

This is a transcript of a sermon by Pastor Doyle Williams from July 29, 2012.  Being transcribed by human hands makes this an edited account of the words spoken by Pastor Williams. To hear the audio of that sermon, click HERE.

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Doyle Williams

Last week I went to a different church, one I had never attended, a denomination most people have never heard of, called the Moravian. There’s only one Moravian church in all the state of Illinois, it’s at West Salem. It’s a high church meaning liturgical. I had been to some higher churches but nothing like this. I’m thinking about converting folks. That guy got up there and spoke for five minutes, and they were all happy and I’m going “Woo Hoo! I can do five minutes!” But, it’s an interesting thing. We need to broaden our horizons once in awhile. Not that we need to really convert, but we need to understand what’s going on in their minds and the way they approach things so that we can better relate to other people. So we can share our testimony with them in a way that they understand. That was one thing I had been wanting to do for thirty or forty years, visit that church, and I got to do it, and like I said, it’s interesting. We shouldn’t always narrow our scope down because, well, cross pollination is a good thing.

I’m going to be reading again from the ESV and everything else will come out of the NIV. I’m going to be reading Galatians 1:1-10 and it says:

1 Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead – 2 and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

To kind of jump back on the last time I was here. You remember I said there’s this Hebraisism, or Hebraic way of emphasizing points. And that is to repeat something once, to repeat it twice. Sometimes you’ll even find it repeated three times. Like the time before I start chasing rabbits. That’s how come whenever you get in the book of the Revelation it says Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty. He’s not just holy. They’re trying to drive home this point. The word holy doesn’t mean that He has a halo around Him. It doesn’t mean that He has wings or there’s little hovering cherubs all around Him. It doesn’t mean that a person that’s holy walks on water, or their feet doesn’t touch the ground or they have one of those little pious pictures every time you take it. It means that this person is holy, set apart, different from others.

We are to be holy. We are called saints of God. We are to be holy to the Lord. That means we are to be set apart for His use. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It just means that our dedication and the point of the lives that we live are to be set apart from the rest of this world so that we can demonstrate our devotion to our God and our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, just to chase this rabbit a little further. ….. Let’s just say it this way – Jesus said that not many days hence you’re to go out and pray and wait and the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will receive power to be my witnesses. Notice how it says it – “to be the witnesses of God”. It didn’t say you would go out witnessing, but your very presence – because God has forgiven you and the Holy Spirit indwells you, because you are set apart for his use – there is to be something different about you, so as people come up toward you they recognize that you’re different from everybody else in the world.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of somebody sitting there talking to you and all at once they just look at you and go “you’re a Christian aren’t you? Well, I am too.” Once in a while I’ll walk out and I’ll run into people and I can just tell, especially a new Christian. They’re just like light… and I say “you just got saved, didn’t you?” Yes, I did, and then they launch off telling us about Christ. That is the way we’re supposed to live our life, just our being in people’s presence is to cause them to be uplifted. Holy, holy, holy. The whole idea of that is God different. He is set apart. He is totally transcendent, which means that he is not like the rest of us, and he’s not even like the angels. He is like only Himself and there is none other. There is no other being like Him.

Therefore He is Holy, Holy, Holy. Emphasize, emphasize, emphasize. Our God is totally different, totally holy, totally perfect. But here we have Paul twice saying something. Verse 8, he says “if anyone preaches a gospel that is contrary”, if anyone preaches good news, gospel. Trying to think of it as a German thing – good “spiel”. We know “spiel” – good talk. Good talk – this guy’s got good news, good talk, good information to give you. And he’s saying if somebody comes up and says I’ve got something good to tell you and it’s contradictory to the good news that you’ve already received about Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Then he repeats it down at the end of next verse, “Let him be accursed.” Let him be anathematized. Let him be excluded from the presence of God. Let him be excluded from the presence of the church. Let that person stand condemned. Those are strong words buddy. Those are strong words, and it would help us to avoid that condemnation if we truly grasp the true gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul taught. That Paul taught.

A lot of times churches, and a lot I’ve visited, think they have got it nailed down and I’m thinking wait a minute. You’re not just saying it is the gospel of Christ. You’re saying good news, Jesus Christ died for your sins, and if you believe him and do this over here, you’ll make it to heaven. If you believe in Jesus Christ, he has forgiven you of your sins, and you follow our teachings, or you pay so much money to us, or you buy so many of our books, or whatever they tack on to it, that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ died for our sins. There is nothing else we can do to add to or take away from what he accomplished, but we need to start at the beginning don’t we?

What happened here is Paul starting in Galatians. Galatians, Galatia if you look at it on an old map. It’s let’s just say present day Turkey, that’s the area that it’s in. So he’s writing to all the people who live in that place that is believers and trusters in Christ, people that he testified to and turned to the Lord and they accepted and he explained it to them right. You can tell from what he says, “Paul an apostle, not from men nor through man.” You see, there’s been a problem happening. He set these people straight on the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the fact that he died as a perfect lamb of God and he rose from the dead and he set them going straight, and after he left these people that we refer to as Judaizers or people who were trying to make it more legalistic, started moving in on his territory and started changing and saying oh yeah, Jesus is the Massiah and he had a good sacrifice, but if you really want to be accepted in the presence of God you need to become a Jew. You need to become a follower of the law of Moses. You need to learn how to go to the temple. You need to learn about all the other sacrifices. You need this, you need that, and they were there to teach you and they did this undermining of Paul’s authority by saying Paul isn’t really an apostle. Paul wasn’t one of the twelve now was he? Therefore we really can’t accept what Paul says as the complete truth. He’s actually teaching something to try to make a little money on the side. He’s teaching something to try to get us to follow after him. He’s on an ego trip, but we’re here to set you straight, and Paul starts right off laying out his credentials.

He says yeah, you’re right. I wasn’t one of the twelve. No doubt about that. I was out there persecuting these people. I was trying to put them to death. I was on my way to round up a bunch of them to haul them back to Jerusalem, when Jesus Christ himself confronted me, knocked me off that donkey, made me blind and talked to me and set me straight. He had a complete and total conversion going on. You’re right. I’m not one of the twelve, but I wasn’t chosen by man in any way, shape or form, and I didn’t get my approval through any other men. The original apostles didn’t get their approval from each other. They got it from Jesus Christ himself. He just walked up and said you follow me. You’re going to be an apostle. You’re going to be one of my chosen, one of my sent ones, and he’s saying I got it the same way. Sure it was a few years later and I was meaner than a snake, and yet he chose me. He came to me and said you are going to be my apostle, you follow me.

So Paul gives his credentials as one who is chosen. Born out of season granted, but still chosen by Jesus Christ and he didn’t need the approval of men. He started off by saying in verse 17 of chapter 1. “Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia and returned again to Damascus,”from which we can infer that he went off to a desert place where he was taught by Jesus Christ because in second Corinthians chapter 12, he says; ” I knew a man who ascended into heaven” and whether he was in the body or in the spirit I don’t know, but the scholars tell us this is Paul referring to himself, and it’s probably during that time of the Arabian experience when he was being taught. There are different places were talks and says the Lord told me this, or the lord has shown me this, so Jesus Christ was in communication with him, teaching him.

Do you remember when Jesus got ready to leave and he told the apostles; there are things I want to tell you but you’re not ready yet, but after I die and I ascend into heaven there will be one who comes and I will teach you things that you’re not ready for yet because the sacrifice had not yet been completed, had not been made, so he was withholding some evidence, some secret, a mystery, and that mystery was that he was the perfect Lamb of God, because he was God, was able to die for the whole sins of all the world from the time when Adam and Eve were created until time ceases to exist because he is God and he is so valuable. When he chose to die, that blood was so sacred and so valuable that it would pay for the sins of the entire world throughout the entire span of history, and he is saying this is Jesus Christ, the one that you’re talking about. This Jesus Christ is the one that called me.

Even Peter in 2 Peter 3:14 and 16 says this; “So then dear friends since you are looking forward to this make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him,” that’s Jesus. “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all of his letters speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand which ignorant and unstable people distort as they do the other scriptures to their own destruction as they do the other scriptures,” which points to the fact that he’s saying Paul’s writings are consistent in what he says, he’s to be trusted because Peter himself, the chief apostle, as some people call him, the chief apostle says his writings are now elevated to the same as any other scripture. All of the Old Testament with the writings of Paul are right up there with him and although they are hard to understand he’s got it right, listen to him, think about it, reflect on it. This is the guy. He had an ax to grind against Paul.

Peter is the guy that had the ax because one time they crossed paths and Paul stood up in public and said Peter, you lousy hypocrite, you’ve been talking about the freedom of Christ and have been walking around with the gentiles, eating the gentiles food, hanging out and partying with the gentiles, whatever that means, you were together with the gentiles but now that the Jewish brethren show up, all at once you’re changing your ways and you’re acting like you have nothing to do with the gentiles. Either you’re saved and you’re in the freedom of Christ or you’re not. Which is it Peter? And Peter says okay, he’s right, then he knows he’s right because when he writes this second apostle of Peter he admits that while some things Paul says is hard, it’s still the equivalent of scripture. Paul says that he is chosen of God and it can’t be disputed, and he actually spends from chapter 1:11 through the middle of chapter 2 defending his apostleship because it’s that important to him to establish his credentials because of what he is going to lay into them next.

Let’s go back to the start again. Verse 1, the last path. Paul is not made the apostle through man, but listen to what it says, “Through Jesus Christ and God the Father,” this is the phrase, “who raised Him from the dead.” God the father, he says, chose me. Jesus chose me, and God the father raised Jesus Christ from the dead. So he is establishing something here. He is going for reinforcement of what he has all ready taught. In verse 4 he says starting at the end of verse 3, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age.” It says; peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus being who and the person that is right before the word who is the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present age.” He’s establishing the fact that not only did he get approval, but he’s backing his gospel up first by saying God raised this guy from the dead, and second he is saying that Jesus Christ gave himself to deliver us from our sins.

Most people don’t realize what’s going on, and I did not know it for a long time, but I went to Moody Bible Institute and had to take some courses, and one of them was in theater and movies. No, we couldn’t go to movies, but we talked about what we would see in a movie and try to understand what was going on which made it kind of difficult, but there were a few things that we could pick up. Paul’s building his message he said God the Father raised Jesus, and Jesus gave himself for us to deliver us from this present evil age right now. He did it for us now. So, he is laying some foundational work and it’s being slid in, and it’s comparable to this.

Most of us have seen the movie ‘Gone With The Wind’, and if you get there early you can buy your popcorn and your pop or whatever and get sit down for the movie in time for the music to start playing. I can’t even hum it now. You know what I’m talking about. It’s called the Terrace Theme. This music is being played to you while you’re setting there munching on your popcorn talking to everybody, and if you pay attention, as this movie progresses through that is background music that’s completely repeated and you’re not paying attention to it, so when it finally gets to that big dramatic scene this music swells and you hear the Terrace Theme for the first time complete and loud and you’re focused and you’re thinking, I’ve heard that before. It’s so familiar to me. Well, that’s because you’ve been spending the last three or four hours hearing this background music and not really paying attention to what these people were doing to you.

That’s what Paul is doing here. He is establishing this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus gave himself for us so when we get past his credential argument or approval, when we get over there into the book of Galatians like chapter 2-1/2 and 3, he can bring out the gospel and start explaining it and we say yes, that sounds familiar. That’s because he’s already introduced it to us twice. He’s told us twice that God is there building this message. Before I chase on after that, there’s another thing I want to cover because we’re going down through this. Paul says to these people in Galatia, “Grace to you and peace from God.” Grace to you and peace from God. Grace and peace to you from God would be another way of saying it. Here is Paul wanting to heap upon these people the grace.

You remember us talking about grace last time. Grace means the favor of God. He’s saying I want you to have the favor of God resting upon you. I want you to understand that God who raised this guy from the dead, Jesus who gave himself favors you. Remember we talked about that before. God loves the world, but he favored the Christians because they trusted in his sacrifice. God loves the world, but he favors the Christians because they trusted in his sacrifice. Here is something that blew me away. God does one thing, and he does it perfectly. Whatever it is, he does it perfectly. So when it says God loves the world, or God loves you, he loves you perfectly. Perfectly. He says I’m God, and I do not change. He loves you perfectly just the way you are. Not the new and improved, he loved you while you were a sinner, and if it says he loved you while you were a sinner, he loved you 100%. Now that you’re a Christian and you trust in Jesus Christ and your sins are washed away, he still loves you but it’s still 100%.

You know what that means? There is nothing you can do to increase God’s love for you. There’s a hard one to swallow. There’s a hard one to fathom. If he does something perfectly, he loved you while you were a sinner, he loves you over here after you have accepted Jesus Christ, there’s nothing you can do to increase his love for you. You can increase your relationship with him. Grace upon you. Favor upon you. You can trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and as we learn to trust, God can heap his favor upon us because we’re not trying to work our way into heaven, nor are we trying to work our way into receiving some kind of a blessing.

I’ve got to admit, there have been times in my life that I said hey God, let’s make a deal. You do this and I’ll do that for you, trying to make a deal, trying to make a blessing, trying to get something from God, you know slick and weaseling. God is saying if you want to be my child just accept the fact that I love you and trust in the grace of Jesus Christ. You know, this is where Paul got in trouble and I’m kind of jumping the gun here. This is where Paul got in trouble because people would say well if that’s true, then I can do whatever I want because God loves me, God loves me. Yes, you can do what you want, but if you’re not a Christian you’re under the judgment of God, and if you are a Christian you’re not over there participating in his favor so things are not flowing into your life.

We’re not to do things because we’re motivated to try to get something from our God by works, because anytime you get works you get paid for it and the wages of sin is death. The wages of sin is death. What is sin? Sin means to miss the mark. Most of us think that sin means some kind of moral dilemma where we have done something less than perfect. We’ve lied, we’ve cheated, we’ve stolen, blah, blah, blah. Take your pick on any of that kind of stuff, but it’s more than that. Jesus Christ is pointing out it’s not enough not to steal, you’re not even to think about it. It’s not enough not to commit adultery. When he came he said you’re not even supposed to be thinking about that. He was putting a finer edge on the Law of Moses than what the Pharisees and the Sadducees had, and he said this is the way that God is, 100% perfect.

That’s why they say a good person can go to hell because even if you try to do good, you don’t accomplish perfection even in your trying to do good. I love my neighbors. Do you? Why didn’t you mow his lawn? You’re supposed to love your neighbor as yourself. You mowed your lawn. Why didn’t you go mow his lawn? But I did mow his lawn. Did you weed eat his lawn? Well you weed eated your lawn. How come you didn’t water his lawn? You watered your lawn. How come you didn’t put flowers out on his lawn? And you do all this stuff and it’s always you could do just a little bit more because if you truly loved him, you would do the same thing for him that you want done for you. So you’re missing the mark. We’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God in that respect. That’s why they’re saying well, if you’re under the grace then you don’t have to worry about it.

This is the way it works. Remember when Jesus was talking he said who loves the guy the most, the one who is forgiven a little debt or the one who is forgiven the big debt? And the guy said the one who is forgiven the big debt, and he says rightly so. You see folks, if we comprehend we’re one of those people who are forgiven a big debt because even in our striving for perfection we are failing, and we are condemned to hell for eternity from the presence of God. We are forgiven a big debt there folks. We are forgiven mucho grande. So our motivation for doing is to be based on this, we love him for what he has done for us, and we’re not trying to gain or repay, we’re just trying to demonstrate how much we care about him. Here’s a good illustration. You’ve got a 15-year-old girl and you have been saying clean the house, dust, pick up your clothes, blah, blah, blah, yeah, yeah, yeah, playing, texting you know. You get up the next morning and go out shopping and come in and say to her, hey sweetie guess who I ran into? You know little Joey Bob over there that you’ve been crushing on? I saw him and I asked him over for supper. I’m going to cook but I don’t have time to clean the house. Whoa! She is going to be in there scrubbing, and cleaning, and moving, and dusting, and shoving things under because she is wanting to show her love for this Joey Bob, and that’s the way we are supposed to be. We’re wanting to demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ because he has done so much for us. That’s our motivation for doing good works. He wants us to have the grace and favor of God based on the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the dead. He wants us to have that peace, and the peace is not tranquility, it’s not just outward calm or everything around us is peaceful.

I got up early this morning and went outside and it was calm, and birds were singing, and I was drinking coffee, and the sun had not yet rose so it was dark, and it was peaceful, and that is not just the kind of peace that he wants for us. He wants us to have the Hebrew concept of Shalom. Shalom peace is more than just outward tranquility. He is saying I wish for you to have the peace of God, the inward tranquility. That’s the Hebrew concept. I want you to have all the goodness that God can give. That’s part of the Hebrew concept of Shalom. Where do you get that? Jesus Christ himself says, “I give you my peace, not as the world gives, I give you my peace,” but I’m giving you what I’ve got. And there he was in the middle of a storm in the middle of the sea of Galilee out like a light. The peace of God was in him so that the storm around him was not bothering him like it was everybody else because he knew that his God loved him, his God favored him, and he is saying that’s the kind of peace and tranquility it is. I have such great love and respect and trust for God the Father that he’s going to take care of me no matter what’s going on around me, that I’m going to be taken care of, the true man is going to be taken care of, I’ve got it, and then he says I give it to you. He willed it to us.

I don’t know if you people have ever inherited, I got to inherit one time. I never thought I’d inherit anything in my life, and I never deserved it from this person and they just said here, I earned this, it’s mine, and now I will it to you and it was mine. I didn’t have to do a thing except say thank you and cashed that check in and it was mine, and that’s what he is saying, this kind of peace is yours. All you have to do is say I trust it. I trust it to be so, and it will start being manifested in our life. That peace is based upon the favor that God showed Jesus Christ, and it’s transferred to us as we learn to trust in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us.

Let’s start in verse 4 to finish. “He who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present age.” Barclay kind of paraphrases it like this, “The heart and the works of Christ are all here in one verse. He gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present age. His love was given. He sacrificed.” You know, a lot of people think he was murdered. Jesus Christ was not murdered. Jesus Christ was executed, but he was not murdered. Remember he said if I wanted to I could call 10,000 angels. There was another place he says no one takes my life from me. I lay it down. When I choose to I lay my life down. His life wasn’t stolen from him. He willingly said “Father, I’m choosing to sacrifice.” If something is stolen, say I have $10,000 at my house, and Dan Stoltz came into my house and stole that $10,000 and then took it to a charity and gave it to them and said I’m giving you all this money to feed the poor. That wasn’t a sacrifice from me. That was stolen money.

Jesus Christ is approaching it the same way. His life wasn’t stolen from him. He gave it. Now if I took the $10,000 and went over and said I’ve worked years, here, take this money and feed the poor, that would be a sacrifice. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life, and you have to realize this. I want you to realize, you don’t have to do anything. I would like you to realize that the blood of Christ is so wonderful, and the Bible says there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. He shed his blood and it was of such great value because it was absolutely perfect and because he is the eternal God, the son of God, the second person of the trinity; therefore, it has eternal, extreme unlimited value. He laid that down so all the sins are forgiven. All the sins are under that blood and we just have to trust it and except that, but he went beyond. He suffered and bled. He could have just been sacrificed and his blood poured out, but he didn’t do that. He permitted himself to suffer and bleed. That suffering is an overpayment, way over payment. All it said is without the sacrifice of blood, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

Why this? All this suffering? Because he didn’t just want to pay for our sins, he wanted to over pay. Some people in some denominations, Presbyterian, believe that God only died for the chosen elect, and Jesus Christ only suffered for those people who actually went to heaven. I don’t see it that way. They call it the economy of God. God wouldn’t waste anything. Our God is so fabulously generous and so fabulously wealthy he made a sun out there that’s a million times bigger than the earth, and that sun shines down upon us. Do you know how much light, heat and energy is wasted out there in that space? We’re just this little BB out there compared to this great big huge Epcot ball if you’ve ever seen it. I don’t know how many stories it is. There’s this big ball and we are this little BB, and all that sun light is shooting out of the top, it’s shooting out the sides, it’s shooting out of the back, it’s shooting from the bottom, this side, that side, every angle, and yet there’s this one little BB called earth out there, and we’re receiving just the right amount of sunshine, and some of us think too much at this time, but God knows what he is doing.

We’re out there receiving. God more than abundantly pays for us. God over blesses us. God is going out of his way to favor us, and he wants us to understand it’s not something that we have to work for. It’s something we have to trust in his love for. He gave, he sacrificed, and then it goes on to say that he delivered us from sin. He delivered us from this present age. He delivered us from death. Death is separation. It’s not the cessation of life, the cessation of existence. It’s that separating from God, that’s the second death, not to be in his presence. The first death is when we separate from our body, but we do not cease to exist although there are some people around here that try to tell you that. We do not cease to exist. We just go to be absent from the bodies to be present with the Lord. We do not cease to exist. There is this separation, and he conquered that death for us. Not only did he go through the death experience, it says because of that extreme suffering and he went through the death who shall separate us from the love of God? Neither height, nor depth, nor powers, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things future, nor things of past. There is not a thing that can separate us from the love of God once we accept Christ as our personal savior and we’re trusting in that blood of his, and we’re trusting in the suffering overpayment of his.

There is nothing from now on that can separate us from that 100% love of God. Getting his grace and his blessings is something else, but that love of God is something that is fundamental to us from the time we say yes to him until the time we’re standing in his presence for all eternity. He saved us from eternal separation from Jesus Christ. He saved us from hell. Hell is the judgment of God, that place where we go where people who haven’t accepted Christ are truly separated from the very presence of God and all goodness throughout eternity. He delivered us. He gave it to us, and it’s free and ours for the taking. Therefore he spins verse 5 in this, “To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Paul grasped that idea. He was going whoa, this is blowing my doors off here. I don’t deserve it, but his blood, his suffering, his sacrifice, he rose from the dead, he loves me, he gave me everything I’ll need from here to eternity and then some. He gave me such an abundance that I’ve got to stop for awhile and say thank you Jesus.

Praise you, glory, and folks when we really start to comprehend what he did and what he has done we will stop periodically and say thank you, thank you ,thank you, and if you’re out by yourself start saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I’m avoiding hell. I’m avoiding the second death. I’m avoiding the judgment of God. I have been given not just deliverance from this present age in the future, I am being delivered right now from this present age because Jesus Christ died for me and no matter what’s going on I have the peace because he gave it to me. No matter what’s going on I know that it’s going to be ok because he doesn’t lie.

I went to a funeral one time. This person had worked for me. I had known him for years. He died in a tragic car accident. I went to the visitation. The parents had come to a few services where I got to minister and I’m saying what can you say, what can you say, what can you say. There’s nothing, there’s nothing, and I’m going I know people are expecting the minister to say something to make the hurt go away. I just walked up and I looked his father in the eye and said, “There’s nothing I can say. I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry,” and he looked me in the eye, took my hand and shook it, and he said, “All things work together for the good of those that love Jesus Christ and are called according to his purpose. I do not understand, but I believe what God has told me. I don’t understand, but all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose,” and I was the one that was called to minister to, and that man dealt better with that than I did. I’ve seen him years later and he is still coping with it better than so many other people in that family because he has this, the promise, the word of God and he trusts it and he knows that there is something better coming. He knows there is going to be an improvement in his situation somehow, some way, some day he is going to stand and say oh, God, it was hard, but I see how you turned it into something that’s good, not just for me but for other people

Folks I have to quit. I could go on. My record is 4 hours and I don’t want to break it today, but we’re not to the good stuff yet. It comes later in the book of Galatians. Galatians was a book I didn’t really care for, but after I started understanding… actually I gave up and said God, I don’t get it. I just don’t get the stuff you’re saying, and it’s like about time. Now you trust me and I’ll teach you Galatians. Whoa! The good stuff is coming.

Can we pray. Father, in the name of Jesus we praise you and thank you for the great gospel of Jesus Christ. Father, help us to understand the gospel of Paul as he preached it as you presented it to him. Help us to get ourselves and our theological stances out of the way and just receive the pure word of God about the grace of Jesus Christ. Bless us, lead us, guide us and protect us because Jesus willed that to us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

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