Master Your Emotions: Know God, No Fear


Family Series
Speaker: Joby Soriano Date: August 28, 2011

Our emotions can make or break us. So it’s important that we learn to master them, or else our emotions will master us and control us.

There are two negative emotions that can destroy lives and relationships: envy and jealousy. Shakespeare described such emotions as the “Green-Eyed Monster”, a monster that can attack even mature Christians. Even the Psalmist Asaph wrote about struggling with such emotions: “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

We are taught that when we walk faithfully with the Lord and keep His commands, all will go well with us. Deuteronomy 6:3 says, “Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you…” But sometimes, even when we are faithful to the Lord, we find the unfaithful doing even better in life than us. It is in this seeming disparity between the Word and our circumstances that the green-eyed monster comes in to terrorize us. This is exactly what Asaph experienced, as accounted in the verses following Psalm 73:3. “This is what the wicked are like, always free of care, they go on amassing wealth,” he wrote in verse 12.

When the Green-Eyed Monster threatens to overcome us, we need to remember to delight in the Lord – recognize our struggle, run to Him, and resist the temptation of comparing ourselves to others.
Recognizing the difference between envy and jealousy becomes important when we process these emotions. Envy is from the Latin “invidere” which means “to look at with enmity”. It is coveting what another has. Meanwhile, jealousy is from the Greek “zeloo” which means “zealous or burning with jealousy”. It is to resent another’s rivalry with the desire to guard or maintain what one possesses.

Envy is always wrong, but jealousy isn’t always. It’s natural and normal for jealousy to surface when a meaningful covenant relationship is threatened by unfaithfulness, such as in Numbers 5:29-31. In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, Paul describes a Godly jealousy, and even God is said to be jealous (e.g. Exodus 20:4-5).
The problem of Asaph is the same problem we encounter from time to time: he was allowing the “Green-Eyed Monster” to limit his view of God’s goodness to material blessings and freedom from temporary setbacks. “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure,” he cried. To think this way is to see things from a human perspective, not from God’s. This paves the way for the Green-Eyed Monster’s attack.

Only when we recognize emotions of envy and jealousy, can we do something about them. And we deal with envy and jealousy by running to the Lord, just like what Asaph did. (v.17) When Asaph ran to God, he realized the bleak future of sinners and his own foolish thinking (v.18-22). And he realized the fullness of the Savior (v.23-28). When we struggle with envy and jealousy, we should run to the Lord and keep our eyes focused on His sovereignty, instead of focusing on our limited capacity.

Finally, to really overcome the Green-Eyed Monster, we need to resist comparing ourselves with others. After all, God has created and called us to Him individually and uniquely.

We have two options in life: we either allow the Green-Eyed Monster to overcome us or overcome it by delighting in the Lord. Don’t adapt human perspective. Choose to view problems from a heavenly perspective today. Remember, in Christ Jesus, we are more than conquerors. We can trample the Green-Eyed Monster under our feet!

Love is Unselfish


1 Corinthians 13:5 Love is… not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love is Unselfish

•It is not self-seeking. It is giving without expecting any self-gain. It does not seek its own (NASB); does not
demand its own way (NLT); isn’t always “me first” (Message); not selfish (NCV).

•We can be obsessed with ourselves apart from thegrace of God; we could live a very selfish life.
Love is Unselfish…it doesn’t hoard

• People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell (Prov.11:26).
Principle of the verse: When God gives us the capacity to help somebody, but we do not do it, we are like the man who hoards grain who is cursed for hoarding. We bring upon us the curse for hoarding.

• What could we possibly hoard? time, kind words, gratitude, encouragement, forgiveness, patience, respect,
submission, unconditional love, the Gospel… Love shares not only material things but intangibles. If you allow
yourself to be obsessed with yourself, then you only have yourself left with you at the end of the day.

• We should set boundaries and say no whenever necessary, but when God gives us the capacity and opportunity to be a blessing to others, we must give unselfishly. If anyone has material possessions and sees
his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17)

Love is Unselfish…it sets us apart

•If our obsession and the greatest share of our mind is ambition for power, position and possession, then we
have a problem. Our selfishness will get in the way of our relationship with God and with others.

•But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,
boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy (1 Tim. 3:1-2)… Take this as a
checklist of our (un)selfishness.

•When we are made holy, it means we are set apart for the purpose of God. The opposite is to be set apart for
our own purpose which is being selfish.

Love is Unselfish…it makes Jesus happy

•When God sees His children sharing the things they with another, it warms the heart of God and makes
Jesus happy. It is a win-win-win experience: we make Jesus happy foremost of all, we make another person happy, and it certainly makes us happy. Freely received, freely given.

•When we think of others first more than ourselves, it becomes a privilege more than an obligation. • God does
not need us to do His work; He can fulfill His plan for another person without our help, but He gives us the
opportunity and the privilege to be part of His plan and purpose.

Love is Unselfish…it is secure in the Lord

• Take a look at the life of Abraham. Abraham is an example of a man with unselfish love because he is
secure in the Lord. Abraham freely gave Lot the first pick of the land which they were dividing (Gen.13:8-11).
Abraham could do it because he was secure in his relationship with Lord. He believed God for who He was
and for what He said He will do.

• Just like Abraham, as children of God who have received Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our
security in our relationship with the Lord will allow us to love unselfishly. If we are secure in the Lord, how
much more security can we possibly want? Our security in the Lord allows us to love unselfishly.
Our time is too short for us to be selfish. Love other people today and every day unselfishly.

Love is Action


“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Love is a choice. It transcends feelings. Some people think that showing love when they don’t feel like it is hypocrisy. In reality, loving others despite our emotions and despite our object of love is obedience! If you wait for feelings, they will never come. Obedience comes first, then the feelings will usually follow.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Most of the time, our behavior do not match what we believe in. We say we love people but our lives do not reflect this.
Jesus invites us to love not just in words but in actions. He gave us a classic example of how to practice love in Luke 10. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” (vv.30-32) Notice that these are religious people—the only ones allowed by the law to actively participate in the temple services. But they refused to help the person who was in need. In many ways, some of us are like them. We are too busy with our own agendas whether in the home, office, school or church, that we fail to notice the needs of the people around us.

“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,” (Luke 10:33) To His audience’s surprise, Jesus used a Samaritan as a model of love in His parable. History tells us that the relation between Jews and Samaritans was one of hostility. But here we see that the Samaritan felt compassion for the man who was in a desperate situation and attended to his needs. “And [he] came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’” (Luke 10:34-35)

Love is action. It is costly. The Samaritan laid aside his personal agendas and was willing to be inconvenienced. It took him time to clean the man’s wounds and to bandage him. Loving can be expensive. It cost the Samaritan his wine, oil, and 2 denarii to pay for the inn. Loving can be very risky. The Samaritan exposed himself to the robbers that might be hiding somewhere. Some of us have been hurt by people and have become hardened by pain. You refuse to open up yourself to others again, in order to protect yourself. Friends, it is impossible to obey Jesus’ command without taking the risks of loving.

We were not commanded to love in our own strength but to depend on Jesus. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Jesus is our standard of love. And this is how He showed His love for us: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Apart from God’s grace, we cannot love others like Jesus did. We have to accept God’s love first before we can love others. The next step is to obey despite our feelings, and then to entrust everything else to Him. Practice love by slowing down in order to recognize and attend to people’s needs. Take action and be a neighbor to the person in front of you!

The Power of Your Knees


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to hispower that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

God entrusted to us a power that is beyond what our mind can conceive! Prayer is the power of our knees! When we pray, God unleashes His power! God is able to give us what we ask for. God is able to give us what we dare not ask for but dream of in our imagination. God is able to give us more than all we could ask for, dream of or imagine!

Yes, when we pray, God can do more than we can ever imagine! Who would imagine that He would part the Red Sea to provide an escape for Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptian army, feed five thousand men with just five loaves of bread and two fish, and even raise the dead, but He did! Through prayer, He restores broken marriages, brings home the wayward child, heals the sick, changes unbelieving spouses and so much more!

God changes us when we pray! Many times when we pray we want God to conform to our will, to change others or our circumstances. But He often transforms us first. Jacob is an example of this. As he wrestled with God to bless him, God first asked him, “What is your name?” The name Jacob means deceiver and Jacob had deceived his father Isaac by pretending to be his brother Esau in order to steal his brother’s blessing. God wanted him to first realize who he really was, a deceiver, before He blessed him and changed his name to Israel. (Genesis 32) When we truly pray, God changes us. It is impossible for us not to change after meeting God face to face in prayer.

The Holy Spirit is the Power that works within us as we pray! Prayer is total dependence on God. The power to pray comes from the Holy Spirit in us. (Eph. 3:16-17) Our tendency is to begin our prayers with asking God for our needs and concerns. But Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 to begin their prayers with focusing on God and His mighty power. We need to empty ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to take control of us. It is the Holy Spirit that tells us how to pray according to God’s burden and will. When we pray we should ask Him what to pray for. The Spirit enables us to not just pray from our head but to cry out to God from our heart.

Take prayer seriously!

“Prayer is our highest privilege, our gravest responsibility, and greatest power God has put into our hands.” (The Kneeling Christian). Prayer is our powerful connection to experience God. Prayer is the power on our knees for when we pray by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask, think or even imagine. So pray and be amazed at what God will do!

Prayer for Pnoy


President Noynoy Aquino has confirmed his participation in an afternoon of worship and prayer this Sunday, January 30 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Around 15,000 Christians from CCF and some other churches are expected to fill up the mega venue for the event dubbed as “Prayer for President Benigno S. Aquino III.” The event is spearheaded by K4 Philippines in partnership with Christ’s Commission Fellowship.

There will be 3 different phases of the prayer time which will be directed towards the different officials and branches of government, national problems and also important concerns like the church and the Filipino family. Former Chief SC Justice Renato Puno will be one of the prayer leaders as well as CNN awardee Efren Penaflorida.

However the main part of the event involves the short evangelistic message of Pastor Peter Tan-chi, accompanied by the life testimony of Ivan Tan, the challenge to the Christian community by Bishop Jonel Milan, head of K4 Philippines and the response of President Aquino. In his response, the president is expected to dedicate the entire Philippines to God. The event will also be highlighted by Pastor Peter leading the whole congregation in praying for the president.

The affair, which will start at 3:30 PM and is expected to be finished by 6:30 PM, will commence with praise and worship by the CCF Exalt Team and a 10-minute exhortation on prayer by Pastor Ed Lapiz of Day by Day Ministries.

Participants are encouraged to come early since tight security by the Presidential Security Group is expected. A no ticket no entry policy will be enforced so partipants are urged to secure their tickets from their respective area pastors. Bringing of children are higly discouraged as well as the carrying of bags.

The whole affair will be covered live and can be viewed on the CCF website through the courtesy of PLDT.

Prioritize Prayer


The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 4:2 to “devote yourself to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” In our pursuit of the right goals, we begin with the overarching goal of pleasing God. And then we should choose prayer as a priority. Though prayer, God gives us direction in life and that determines our destination. When we pray we should be ready for God to act!

But many of us think that we don’t have time to pray. This is a myth! If something is important, then we will have time for it

“The sign of prayerlessness is proof that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness.” — Andrew Murray

Jesus said in Luke 22:40, “Pray so that you won’t fall into temptation.”

As John Bunyan said, “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”

In 1 Samuel 1:1-28, we learn about the power of prevailing prayer. Hannah was childless and her rival, Peninnah, purposely provoked and irritated her year after year when they went to the temple to worship. We can learn from Hannah that our response to people and circumstances is our responsibility. She did not grumble. She did not blame others or retaliate in her distress. Instead, she prioritized prayer. “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life (v. 10- 11).” Hannah knew the Lord intimately. She called Him the Lord of Host. Our understanding of God determines our prayer life. She was specific in asking for a boy. She was expectant. After she prayed her countenance changed. She got up and ate and the next morning worshiped God. When we pray the first person changed is you. The Lord invites us in 1Peter 5:7 to cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

God indeed answered Hannah’s prayer for a son, whom she named Samuel. It could have been difficult to give up her much awaited son but she willingly dedicated Samuel to the Lord as her covenant with God because she saw herself as His maidservant (v.10-11; 27- 28). We can never out give God. He took note of Hannah and blessed her again with three sons and two daughters; and the Lord used Samuel mightily in His work (v.2:21).

Prayer is not a ritual or a memorized script. Prayer is talking and listening to God, pouring out our heart to Him even in tears. Heart prayer is an honest, faith prayer and God listens. We can be assured that He will answer us in His time with either a yes, no, or wait. Whatever His answer, we can thank Him because God loves us and will give us the best. Like Hannah, we should pray honestly from the heart, specifically and expectantly! Thank God in advance for what He will do in response to your prayer! With God, there is no limit!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Faithfulness Running a Purpose Driven 2011


Every December 25 we celebrate God’s wonderful gift to us! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God in His great love, sent His Son, Jesus, to save us. We must never forget God’s love!

But after we trust in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, why doesn’t God bring us to heaven immediately? Well, He still has a race for us to run and He desires for us to run it well and to finish strong – to be faithful.

As we read in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Witnesses and Weaknesses In our race as followers of Jesus, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, men and women of faith like Jacob, David and Rahab, who have gone before us. Although they weren’t perfect, by faith and repentance, they finished strong. But their lives bear witness to the hindrances and entanglements that sin can cause in this race. That’s why Paul urged us in verse 1, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”

We need to rid ourselves of all that holds us back in our race, all the sinful habits, wrong choices and pointless pursuits. There are obvious sins for us to throw off such as immorality, and idolatry, as innumerated in Galatians 5:19-20, but we also need to rid ourselves of the less obvious and thus tolerated, “respectable” sins such as anxiety, unthankfulness, pride, and the sins of the tongue. Also, wrong choices that lead to negative consequences can entangle us as Galatians 6:7 warns us, “…whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” God has a destination for us in our race but pointless, selfish pursuits are a focus that distract us, determine our direction and keep us from reaching the God’s destination. As Paul adds to his exhortation, “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

Transformation and Inspiration Jesus Christ in not only our Savior but also our Lord. The ultimate purpose of our Christian life is for us to be so in love with Jesus that we surrender our life to Him and are thus transformed into Christ-likeness. However, the reality is that we can experience a struggle between our carnal nature and the work of the Holy Spirit in our livesmuch like the struggle Paul described in Romans 7:15-18. Sadly, some of us call ourselves Christians yet there is a great disconnect between who we say we are and the way we live. Why? Because we are disconnected from fellowship with God and with fellow believers. But we do have the Holy Spirit to give us the power to run well and to finish strong. That’s why we need to run in the power of the Spirit daily.

The Christian race is unique. It is not about who finishes first – it’s about who finishes strong. It has been said that to finish first, one runs fast; but to finish strong, we run together. There are people in this world living life unaware that they need Jesus to be their Savior and Lord and that there is a race to run. We, who are in the race, should live our life in such a way that it will inspire others to love and follow Jesus and take their place in the race.

Mission and Vision Paul continues in Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” As believers and followers of Christ, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author of our faith, who has designed us for Christ-likeness. He’s also the Perfecter of our faith, for He began our transformation and He will complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

So, let us be faithful to what God has called us to do: to make visible the invisible Christ by touching people with His love. Our CCF Mission is to make Christ-committed followers who will make Christ-committed followers. Our Vision is to see a movement of millions of committed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, meeting in small groups – Transforming Lives… Families… Communities…Nations… For the glory of God!

Hebrews 12:2 finishes by saying that Jesus, “…endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We have been given a mission. Let’s be faithful in running the race in spite of trials and problems ahead.

In 2010 as you ran the race were you transformed into becoming more like Christ? According to Ptr. Rick Warren, “Only changed people can help change people.” Have you become better or bitter? Let’s make sure we run better in 2011! We have the Holy Spirit’s power and the promise of victory! We are on the winning side!

So, on your Mark! Get ready. Get set. Run in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Practice True Freedom


True freedom is defined as not the ability to do whatever you feel like doing but the ability to say no to sin and yes to God. Titus 2: 11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” In other words, the grace of God brings true freedom.

Unfortunately, there are some Christians who are free but are not enjoying their freedom. There are also those who choose to be enslaved to sin, and legalism. Paul, thus, reminds us in Galatians 5:1 that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

In the slope of Grace-living, true freedom is indeed slippery. On one hand is the idea of licentiousness, which is doing whatever you please, and on the other is legalism wherein you need to do certain things in order to go to heaven.

The reason God loves you is not because of who you are or anything you’ve done, it’s because of what Christ has done for you on the cross. Until you understand grace, you will not be delivered from slavery because your Christian life will be all about performance.

TRUE FREEDOM is by the GRACE OF GOD

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace is something that we don’t deserve to receive. It is what Christ has done for us.

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” (Romans 11:6) It is difficult for us to understand GRACE, because all throughout our life we have been brainwashed that we earn favors and rewards based on good performance. We are made to believe that to please God we must do this and that, we become legalistic. True freedom is the power to love and to serve God and others.

LEGALISM and LICENTIOUSNESS

Many of us are guilty of legalism, i.e. I must do this, must do that…to earn the favor of God. For example, when we couldn’t come to Sunday worship due to some compelling reason, we start thinking that something bad will happen to us because we failed in our ‘obligations’. Because we do not understand grace, everything we do
becomes an obligation. This can drag us down later on.

There is nothing we can do to merit salvation. We cannot manipulate God to favor us with our good works. The extreme of legalism is licentiousness – doing what you feel like doing because you are free (v.13). Don’t use it as an excuse to sin. This is not freedom but also slavery (Romans 6:14).

GRACE and LEGALISM

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Grace and legalism do not match. If you think you can go to heaven by obeying the commandments and rituals you are like saying that what Christ has done on the cross is not enough, because you need to add something in the equation. If you are doing good works to go to heaven, you are not doing it for God but for yourself.

Christ died for us to set us free; not just to be free from legalism and condemnation but to be free to love and to serve. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”” (Galatians 5:13-14)

The paradox of true freedom is when Jesus becomes our Master, we experience maximum freedom. When we allow ourselves to be our master, we experience slavery.

True freedom is defined as not the ability to do whatever you feel like doing but the ability to say no to sin and yes to God. Titus 2: 11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” In other words, the grace of God brings true freedom.

Unfortunately, there are some Christians who are free but are not enjoying their freedom. There are also those who choose to be enslaved to sin, and legalism. Paul, thus, reminds us in Galatians 5:1 that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

In the slope of Grace-living, true freedom is indeed slippery. On one hand is the idea of licentiousness, which is doing whatever you please, and on the other is legalism wherein you need to do certain things in order to go to heaven.

The reason God loves you is not because of who you are or anything you’ve done, it’s because of what Christ has done for you on the cross. Until you understand grace, you will not be delivered from slavery because your Christian life will be all about performance.

TRUE FREEDOM is by the GRACE OF GOD

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace is something that we don’t deserve to receive. It is what Christ has done for us.

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” (Romans 11:6) It is difficult for us to understand GRACE, because all throughout our life we have been brainwashed that we earn favors and rewards based on good performance. We are made to believe that to please God we must do this and that, we become legalistic. True freedom is the power to love and to serve God and others.

LEGALISM and LICENTIOUSNESS

Many of us are guilty of legalism, i.e. I must do this, must do that…to earn the favor of God. For example, when we couldn’t come to Sunday worship due to some compelling reason, we start thinking that something bad will happen to us because we failed in our ‘obligations’. Because we do not understand grace, everything we dobecomes an obligation. This can drag us down later on.

There is nothing we can do to merit salvation. We cannot manipulate God to favor us with our good works. The extreme of legalism is licentiousness – doing what you feel like doing because you are free (v.13). Don’t use it as an excuse to sin. This is not freedom but also slavery (Romans 6:14).

GRACE and LEGALISM

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Grace and legalism do not match. If you think you can go to heaven by obeying the commandments and rituals you are like saying that what Christ has done on the cross is not enough, because you need to add something in the equation. If you are doing good works to go to heaven, you are not doing it for God but for yourself.

Christ died for us to set us free; not just to be free from legalism and condemnation but to be free to love and to serve. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”” (Galatians 5:13-14)

The paradox of true freedom is when Jesus becomes our Master, we experience maximum freedom. When we allow ourselves to be our master, we experience slavery.

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Smile: You Are Now A Son


The apostle Paul had been shipwrecked, flogged, stoned, beaten nearly to death. He is one tough guy. And yet in his letter to the Galatians he wrote about being “astonished” (Gal. 1:6), “perplexed…” (Gal. 4:20), and “fearing for them” (Gal. 1:7). Paul worried about the Galatians who were being confused by men trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. Wouldn’t you be astonished yourself if you find in your backyard a beautiful butterfly – with great, big, colorful wings for flying freely – crawling on its belly as if it were still a caterpillar? Paul earnestly reminds the Galatians in Chapter 4, “The Lord Jesus has set you free! You are now sons and no longer slaves. Don’t go back to living like a slave. Slavery and sonship do not mix!”

You are now sons and no longer slaves

Verses 1-3 talk about an heir who could not lay a hold of his inheritance because of his young age. Until the time set by his father, he is placed under the watchful eye of a guardian. We were like the child once. Before coming to know Jesus Christ we were slaves – to the law. Whatever we think could draw us closer to God, we do sincerely, hoping that if we try hard enough maybe we could win God’s favor and even deserve entry to heaven. Jesus even said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.” (Jn. 5:39-40) But He declared, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn. 14:6) Salvation and sonship are only possible through redemption, a giving in exchange of something. Thus, when the time had fully come, God sent His Son to redeem us who were under the law. Referring to Jesus, Isaiah 53:2-6 say, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Redemption has always been God’s plan. It was not an afterthought God had made up as things went along in the history of mankind.

God has sent Jesus Christ not just to redeem us as His sons. Galatians 4:7 says, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” God has also given us a new heart and put on us a new spirit when Jesus Christ redeemed us into sonship. Ezekiel 36:26-27 say, “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.” Through Christ’s redemptive death on the cross, God has given us true freedom – freedom from our old selves and from obedience to God just out of obligation. Just as he reminded the Galatians, Paul is reminding us today: when we accepted Christ, we have become sons of God, no longer slaves. No need to crawl on our bellies like a caterpillar – we can fly freely like a butterfly. Remember, the evidence of true sonship is a changed life.

Don’t go back to living like a slave

In verses 9-10 of Chapter 4, Paul scolds the Galatians, saying, “…how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? [10] You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!” The Galatians were becoming obsessed all over again with obeying Section A, Article 1, Item 278… The principles, the items may be right things to do, but if they’re doing them for all the wrong reasons, they’re back in slavery all over again. Paul warned the Colossians, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Col. 2:23)

We are not exempt from falling into a similar pit. It is entirely possible that we do the right things – attend worship, go to D-Group, serve in a ministry, attend Bible study, have quiet time, go to dawn watch – all for the wrong reasons. We might be doing these things: out of routine & tradition; to help make up for sins; to belong, conform & comply; to overcome my guilt, out of people’s expectations; because God will be angry & punish us if we don’t; to impress and look good; because God will love me more if I do, etc. We need to be sure that we’re doing these things as an outflow of our gratitude to God. We need to be sure we’re doing these things under the power of God’s Spirit. If we’re not careful, we might just end up being sons living like slaves.

Slavery and Sonship do not mix

Galatians 4:22-26 says: “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.”

Slavery and Sonship cannot mix. The formula cannot be faith in Christ plus good works, equals salvation. Good works is on the other side of the equation because it is the response to the gift of salvation. The Christian life is designed to be a life of joy. There are many, many reasons to be joyful in the Christian life: we have been redeemed as sons of God; we are no longer slaves to the law nor to sin nor to our old selves; we have become heirs with an eternal inheritance; we have been given a new heart and a new spirit; we can love and worship the Lord, freely. So stop frowning. Go on and smile.

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God’s Promise Is Greater Than The Law


Many years ago, God made a covenant of blessing to Abraham. The Lord promised him that he would be the father of nations. That his descendants would be as numerous as the stars! However, at the time, Abraham and his wife Sarah were both well advanced in age so it seemed humanly impossible for them to still have a child. What’s more, Sarah was barren. The fulfilment of the promise was completely up to God! But Abraham believed and God declared him righteous because of his faith
(Genesis 15:6).

In the same way, God in His amazing grace grants us salvation when we completely put our faith in Jesus Christ. There is nothing we can do in our own capacity to earn it. God requires perfect righteousness that we would never be able to live up to. But Jesus, when he became man, lived a sinless life. He died on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sins. Then when He rose again on the third day, He conquered sin and death, not only proving that He was the Messiah but also fulfilling, in our behalf, what was needed in order to receive salvation. And if we place our faith in Jesus, God gives us His life and righteousness and forgives us of every sin. This is the Good News! We receive God’s promise of salvation simply by believing in His Son, and not by righteousness through the Law. Once we accept His salvation, it is complete and everlasting.

However, some men called “Judaisers” came and said that God’s work is not enough. According to them, aside from placing our faith in Christ, we must also follow the law to the letter in order to gain salvation. This kind of teaching is called “legalism” which in effect says that the Law is greater than God’s promise. Paul wrote to the Galatians to correct this.

Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

The Pre-eminence of the Promise. Galatians 3:15-16 says, “Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is Christ.” Part of God’s covenant with Abraham was the coming of Christ Jesus, the Savior of mankind!

The Law was like a legal contract but God’s covenant with Abraham was as a promise. God gave the Law to His people through Moses but made the covenant with Abraham. He was asleep and covered in animal blood (read Genesis 15) when God made His promise, which was also symbolic of Jesus shedding His blood on the cross.

Paul said, if a man-made contract is strictly followed, how much more God’s covenant with Abraham? The Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant already ratified by God so as to nullify the promise (Gal. 3:17). God cannot take back His promise of salvation by grace through faith just because of the Law. “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise” (Gal 3:18). Because God is faithful in keeping His promises, salvation remains a free gift. God’s promise is unconditional. Absolutely nothing can cancel it!

The Purpose of the Law. “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made” (Gal 3:19).

The Law is like a mirror, showing us that we have a sin problem. Like a flashlight in the dark, it shows us the way but does not take out the darkness. Like a plumb line, it can only show us the correct alignment to God’s standards and nothing else. “Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God?” Paul asks and answers: “No!” The Law is given to us to show that we are all guilty of not living up to God’s perfect standards. By doing so, it guides us to understand and appreciate the grace of God. It doesn’t give the solution to our sin problem. God has an entirely different reason for giving us the Law. It shows us His holiness and our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior.

The Law was also given to protect us from lawlessness. Like a guardian or tutor, the Law guides us on how we must live. Praise God for His wisdom! The Law was added because of transgressions until the seed–that is, Christ– would come (Gal 3:19). Paul writes, “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” The Law was meant to show us that we are sinners, thatwe cannot make it on our own and lead us to Christ who fulfilled the promise of God.

Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly with His sinless life. When we place our faith in Him, God credits Jesus’ righteousness to us. Our salvation in Christ is complete. Praise God!

The Position of the Believer. Not only does God save us from eternal damnation, He also gives us a new identity. Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” God adopts us as His hildren. And as part of God’s family, we should live according to the standards of God in character, in words, in everything (Ephesians 1:5). (Note: Baptism is the public declaration of one’s allegiance to Christ and not a requirement for salvation.)

We now belong to God. We were given the right to become His children (John 1:12). We are assured of eternal life with God (1 John 5:13). All believers become one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). He gives us a new name and a new home. Our faith in Jesus as our Savior brings us into the family of God. God’s gospel welcomes, loves, and values everyone equally regardless of race, social status, or gender.

God’s Promise is indeed greater than the Law. Salvation is not about achieving; it’s all about believing. Because of His promise of salvation, we have peace, joy, and hope through Jesus. We are free to live lives that glorify God! As God’s children let us live according to the new identity that God has given us.

If you, on the other hand, are asking yourself if you are you saved, know that salvation is available to you because of Jesus. In whom do you place your faith for salvation: in Christ or in fulfilling the Law? This is the most important decision you will make in your life. We pray that you choose Christ Jesus, who loves you and gave His life for you (Galatians 2:20).

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