Sunday May 21, 2017

Our two services, Sanctuary and Bridge, are at 10 a.m. Sunday.  We are focusing this week on Paul’s letters to the Galatians.

This Week’s Scripture Passage:

Galatians 1:13-17  Common English Bible

13 You heard about my previous life in Judaism, how severely I harassed God’s church and tried to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my peers, because I was much more militant about the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But God had set me apart from birth and called me through his grace. He was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach about him to the Gentiles. I didn’t immediately consult with any human being. 17 I didn’t go up to Jerusalem to see the men who were apostles before me either, but I went away into Arabia and I returned again to Damascus.

Galatians 2:11-21   

The Jewish-Gentile controversy

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was wrong. 12 He had been eating with the Gentiles before certain people came from James. But when they came, he began to back out and separate himself, because he was afraid of the people who promoted circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also joined him in this hypocrisy so that even Barnabas got carried away with them in their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they weren’t acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, though you’re a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you require the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

15 We are born Jews—we’re not Gentile sinners. 16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law. 17 But if it is discovered that we ourselves are sinners while we are trying to be made righteous in Christ, then is Christ a servant of sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild the very things that I tore down, I show that I myself am breaking the Law. 19 I died to the Law through the Law, so that I could live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I don’t ignore the grace of God, because if we become righteous through the Law, then Christ died for no purpose.


Something to Ponder:

A lot of people spend much time trying to work out a systematic pattern to Paul’s thoughts and beliefs. When you read through the whole of Paul’s letters, however, he was someone who did not so much change his mind but rather his theology evolved. In some ways, perhaps he is more honest than many for when he encounters situations that are new to him and where his experience of law and faith have not yet had to engage he has to find a fair way of responding. These are new circumstances and Paul responds to these situations by engaging with them based on the experiences he has had up to that point and lets them grow into the new situation.

What we find Paul doing is discovering law is less significant than the relationship we have with Jesus. When we first trust Jesus and follow his vision and build relationships in the way he has shown there is little need to prove we are right about belief, that we have correct doctrine or we keep the law to the fullest requirement. These things do not save us nor need to become a priority in us. The relationship we grow with each other becomes a far greater priority. Those we engage with and welcome into the faith and how we make space for others in the faith are more important.

Music to help you prepare for worship :

Videos to help you prepare for worship:

Take Home Ideas:

Following on from last week’s Take Home Idea is there something in your past, that you have managed to let go of? Reflect on this over a couple of days and if comfortable find someone to share that with.

Commentary to Deepen your Reading

You will find helpful written commentary about this week’s reading here.  If you prefer to listen, check out this podcast.