Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’,
‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.’
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
What current laws or rules in our country seem arbitrary (definition: based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system) to you? Is it speed limits in certain areas, recent Supreme Court decisions, school governance, etc.?
Rules, laws are supposed to keep us safe from harm. The intention behind them is to protect us (from ourselves and others). Paul is trying to explain the law to the Galatians in the light of grace. The Galatians are struggling to understand how it all fits together - the Old Testament law and the teachings of Christ. Do you also wrestle with understanding how it fits? What law(s) from the Old Testament do you struggle with the most in light of Jesus’ teachings?
There’s a tension that lies between the concept of law and of grace. How would you explain or understand the difference or the tension to someone else?
Pastor Mark suggests that the law gives us guidelines and limits, it’s there for protection from harm and conflict. But that it’s not grace. Law has a useful purpose, but that purpose is not love. But the people from Jesus’ time equate the law with God’s love. How about you? Do you equate the law with God’s love? Have you ever struggled to experience God’s love because when you read the Bible, or hear a sermon, you know you don’t keep the law or stick to the guidelines (you don’t “fit the mold”)?
Paul’s statement must have sounded weird to the people and culture of the time he was talking to: “there is no Jew nor Gentile, no slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is huge moment of inclusion for many who were not considered the right fit to be part of the crowd of followers/believers/religiously correct. Where do you see the church needing to embrace this more? Where do you or the church struggle to include others?
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What does it mean to you to be “conformed to this world”?
What is the most recent thing you’ve learned?
Do you agree with Pastor Mark that transformation of the mind only happens with other people, and hearing from, and learning from, and experiencing other people? That having the vulnerability to ask for help (to not know everything yourself) helps transform your mind?
Pastor Mark talks about in between moments as times in life where we are more uncertain or not sure what we are doing, moments where we don’t have it all figured out. When was the last time you were in an “in between” moment? What was that like for you?
We are encouraged in this sermon to allow others to help us, to lend us their expertise, to help us comprehend the incomprehensible. Why is it hard for us to ask for help?