Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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Pastor's Page

 
                                                                                                                                                                                  November 13, 2018

 

As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution

for the cross of Christ.

~Galatians 6:12

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               The key opponent Paul struggles against in Galatians are the “Judaizers.” These were individuals who were Christian in profession, but they believed strongly in the necessity of fulfilling Mosaic Law like the Jews. So while they might profess Christ, their foundation for salvation was about their practice. Paul reminds them that the Law was given for a particular purpose, but Christ has fulfilled its role and opened up a new way of access to the Father. To become entangled again in the Law was to subject the believer to a standard he or she could never have lived up to. And yet here were these learned men who were teaching that a Christian must be circumcised in order to truly be saved. Their salvation formula was GRACE + FAITH + WORKS = SALVATION. This verse identifies some of their motivations. Some of these things we still struggle with, albeit on a different level.

               Notice first that these Judaizers sought “to make a good showing in the flesh.” Basically this means that they sought to earn God’s favor through their actions. Fulfilling Mosaic Law and being circumcised, those were considered to be good things. Those actions WERE good, but not because they kept us in union with God. They were good because the Lord determined that they were good in helping to maintain our standing with Him. But we were never able to measure up to His divine standards. The Law which was holy and good brought death (Rom. 7:12). But the Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver us from the curse of the Law and fulfill all righteousness in us through faith.

               It is a difficult thing to write about a proper relationship with God’s Law sometimes. On one hand, if we set aside the Law of God too much, we will often find ourselves willingly fulfilling the desires of the flesh. And yet if we exalt the Law too much, we might think that we are saved because of our obedience. There is a great tension there, but that tension is to keep us in balance. There is the responsibility to live morally and ethically in this world for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). However, no one will EVER be justified by the deeds of the flesh (Romans 3:20). If they could, Jesus would never have had to die on the cross.

               These men were teaching people that they would earn God’s favor and justification through their good deeds. Essentially, they were trying to return the Christians to a foundation for salvation that was removed from Christ Jesus. Perhaps they had good motivations for doing it, but they were taking people away from Jesus. Church, I believe that we must be careful that we are not ignoring grace for our personal deeds of righteousness. We also must be careful that we aren’t using our liberty in grace as an excuse to sin willingly. We must allow grace and Law the appropriate tension in our lives. Let loving obedience guide your actions towards God and men. And when you fail, ask for and receive His grace. For that matter, when you succeed in righteousness, continue to ask for and receive His grace through Jesus Christ. There is no other foundation, no other name under heaven by which men can be saved. Jesus is the ONLY way, truth, and life!

               We see another motivation for the emphasis on works in this passage. Not only did they want to earn salvation by living for Him, they also wanted to avoid having hard times in the world. Let us consider the background of these Judaizers. They were most likely Jewish men and women who had converted to Jesus Christ as the true Messiah of Israel. These never forsook their Jewish identity and roots in light of the revelation of Jesus’ death on the cross. They truly believed that Christianity was the end result of their Jewish faith. And so they sought to foster a good relationship with the Jewish people who had NOT converted to Christ. Hostility had arisen between Jews and Gentiles over the matter of the Law. These Judaizers truly believed that the Gentile Christian must convert to Judaism (i.e. be circumcised) before they could be saved by Christ. Acts details many conflicts over how the church resolved this matter. But there were still conflicts.

               These Judaizers wanted to keep things as peaceful as possible with the Jews, so they sought to convince the Gentile Christians to be circumcised in obedience to Mosaic Law. Additionally, Rome allowed relatively free expression of Judaism under the reign of Caesar. If the Christians deviated too much from Judaism, Rome might begin coming against them with force. So they convinced themselves that it was good to try to earn God’s favor, and going backwards would actually keep them out of trouble. There was a self-serving aspect to their decision: “only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

               But here’s the problem with that. Christ PROMISED us that we would have tribulation and persecution because of our faith. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b). And then in John 15, Jesus says, “Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (v. 20). I think we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to avoid persecution when compared to how we ought to live as a follower of Jesus. You simply cannot avoid all persecution in this world. No matter how hard you try you will inevitably have to make a decision of whose side you’re on: God’s…or the world’s. They were fine with salvation. They were fine with worship. They were fine with the promise of eternal life. But they were NOT okay with the possibility of suffering for Jesus in the world. Salvation was worth so much…but not that much.

               There is damage done when you and I compromise our faith and beliefs just to save our own skin. I’m reminded of the scene between Jesus and Peter on the day of His arrest. Jesus had already prophesied that Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. Peter thought he knew better than the Lord, but His words proved true. No sooner had the last denial come from Peter’s mouth that the rooster crowed…and Jesus turned to look at him (Luke 22:61). Peter might have saved his own skin that day, but he wronged the only One who really mattered. We must not compromise the integrity of our beliefs for this world, brethren. The world tells us that we are fools and bigots and hate-mongers. They call us narrow-minded and radical, but we are called to live for Christ in this world EVEN IF IT COSTS US EVERYTHING! We have all compromised on some levels. It is time for us to stand firm on the principles to which we were called. If persecution arises, we fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell more than those who can only kill our bodies (Matt. 10:28). Stay true, church! It matters that we hold tightly to the doctrines which have been delivered to us.

               In the end, this is a matter of our faith in Jesus. And that assaults our most basic endeavor towards salvation. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you believe that He died and was raised again on the 3rd day? Do you believe that you can be saved by Him? Then why would you ever muddy those waters by trying to merit or earn His favor. He has already given you His favor by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And if you truly do believe in Him for our eternal provision, do you trust Him for your earthly provision? It seems both contradictory and hypocritical for us to say that we believe in Jesus for our eternity…but not for providing for our daily needs. I assure you: Jesus can keep us through any and every storm that comes our way. We don’t have to compromise with any competing worldviews. You and I can stand firm in our faith against whatever trial or tribulation may befall. Don’t try to earn it – you’ll never be able to live up to that standard. Besides, Christ has already paid for your salvation in full! Don’t compromise. Living for Jesus might not be easy, but it is good. If we are privileged to suffer for Him, let us consider ourselves blessed to prove our love to Him. In both of these ways, Paul’s adversaries got it wrong. You and I MUST get this right. Let us devote ourselves again to grace and faith the way the Lord intended!

               Have a great week, and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 ~Bro. Benjamin 

 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
November 13
November 6                                                                                  November 11 (AM)
October 30                                                                "To the Least of These: the Bound Woman"
October 16                                                                                       Luke 13:10-17
October 9                                                                                        
October 2                                                                                      November 11 (PM)
September 18                                                               "The New Man in Marriage: Husbands"            
September 11                                                                               Ephesians 5:25-33 
September 4                                                                                
August 28                                                                                     
August 14                                                                                     November 7 (WED)
August 7                                                                                            Acts 18:9-23                                                                                     
July 31                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                   
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page


November 18 (AM)
November 18 (PM)
November 11 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Bound Woman"--Luke 13:10-17
November 11 (PM) "The New Man in Marriage: Husbands"--Ephesians 5:25-33
November 4 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Demon-Possessed Boy"--Luke 9:37-42
November 4 (PM) "The New Man in Marriage: Wives"--Ephesians 5:22-24
 
October 28 (AM) "A Pastor's Heart"--1 Thessalonians 3:6-8
October 21 (AM) "To the Least of These: Jairus"--Luke 8:40-56
October 21 (PM) "Filled with the Spirit"--Ephesians 5:15-21
October 14 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Bleeding Woman"--Luke 8:40-48
October 14 (PM) "The Separation between Darkness and Light"--Ephesians 5:8-14
October 7 (AM) "The Greatest Love of All"--John 15:12-14
October 7 (PM) "Why Do We Wash Feet?"--John 13:1-17
 
September 30 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Gadarene Demoniac"--Luke 8:26-39
September 23 (AM) "Give Me This Mountain"--Joshua 14:6-14 - Rev. David Amburgey
September 23 (PM) "Is It Right for You to Be Angry?"--Jonah 4:1-11 - Bro. Jeff Baumann
September 16 (AM) "The Son of Grace"--Luke 15:11-24
September 16 (PM) "Walk in the Light"--Ephesians 5:8-10
September 9 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Sinful Woman"--Luke 7:36-50
September 9 (PM) "The Imitation of Christ"--Ephesians 5:3-7
September 2 (AM) "Bring Your Lunchbox to Jesus"--John 6:1-14
 
August 26 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Widow of Nain"--Luke 7:11-17
August 26 (PM) "Imitators of God"--Ephesians 5:1-2
August 19 (AM) "The Church Jesus Would Join"--Acts:2:40-47 - Bro. Joey Cosme
August 19 (PM) "
What the New Man Looks Like, Part 2"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 12 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Centurion"--Luke 7:1-10
August 12 (PM) "What the New Man Looks Like, Part 1"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 5 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Man with a Withered Hand"--Luke 6:1-11
August 5 (PM) "...What Now Is"--Ephesians 4:20-24
 
July 29 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Paralytic"--Luke 5:17-26
July 29 (PM) "The Baha'i Religion"
July 22 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Leper"--Luke 5:12-16
July 22 (PM) "What Once Was..."--Ephesians 4:17-19
July 15 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Lowly Fisherman"--Luke 5:1-11
July 8 (AM) "To the Least of These: Peter's Mother-in-Law"--Luke 4:38-39
July 8 (PM) "No Longer Children"--Ephesians 4:14-15
July 1 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Demoniac"--Luke 4:31-37
July 1 (PM) "You Have a Place; You Have a Purpose"--Ephesians 4:11-16
 
June 24 (AM) "The Fruitless Tree"--Luke 13:6-9 - Rev. David Amburgey
June 24 (PM) "Becoming a Hero in the Faith"--Galatians 5:22-23 - Bro. Johnny Amburgey
June 17 (AM) "To the Least of These: Joseph"--Matthew 1:18-25
June 10 (AM) "To the Least of These: Mary"--Luke 1:26-38
June 10 (PM) "Leading Captivity Captive"--Ephesians 4:7-10
June 3 (AM) "With Us in the Fires"--Daniel 3:13-30
June 3 (PM) "One in Christ"--Ephesians 4:1-6
 
May 20 (AM) "New Testament Christians"--1 John 2:12-17 - Rev. Ronald Wallace
May 20 (AM) "More Than We Could Ever Imagine"--Ephesians 3:20-21
May 13 (AM) "Moms After God's Own Heart"--Hosea 11:1-11
May 6 (AM) "Great Grace for the Least of These"--Matthew 9:9-13
May 6 (PM) "Becoming the Church"--Ephesians 3:14-19

April 29 (AM) "When You're Tempted to Worry"--Psalm 37:1-9
April 22 (AM) "Can You See His Face?"--Luke 22:54-62
April 22 (PM) "Grace Is Worth It All!"--Ephesians 3:8-13
April 15 (AM) "What's It Really About?"--Mark 3:1-6
April 15 (PM) "The Way Is Open!"--Ephesians 3:1-7
April 8 (AM) "Is Salvation Fair?"--Matthew 20:1-16
April 8 (PM) "The Greatest in the Kingdom"--Matthew 20:20-28
April 1 (AM) "The Resurrection & the Life"--John 11:1-44
April 1 (PM) "Today in Paradise"--Luke 23:39-43
 
March 25 (AM) "It Is Finished"--John 19:29-30
March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a 5th grade teacher at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 5th grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure. Nate started Pre-K this year and is doing well learning his letters & numbers.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!