Sermon by Pastor Steve Hopkins for the service of July 9, 2017.
Grace Calls You.
- For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me. (Galatians 1:13-24, NIV)
- Zeal for our Traditions (v.13-14)
- The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (Isaiah 29:13, NIV)
- God’s Handiwork (v.15-16): But now, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter. All of us are the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8, CEB)
- Set Apart: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV)
- Called by Grace: God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began. (2 Timothy 1:9, CEB)
- To Reveal the Son: And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:17, NRSV)
- For a Reason: But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15, ESV)
- Response to Grace (v.16-21)
- Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.” (Luke 9:62, CEB)
- All To God’s Glory (v.22-24)
- “He says not, they admired me, they applauded me or were astonished at me, but ascribes all to divine grace by the words ‘they glorified God in me” (St. John Chrysostom)
Δ? Do I recognize the work of God in my life? To what am I being called? What is my response to this Grace?