Gardendale Nazarene

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Galatians | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Galatians

Radical Togetherness

As Christians, we are summoned and authorized to move outside ourselves and into the shared reality of Christian community. The community of faith to which the New Testament bears witness is characterized by the practice of a radical togetherness.

Last Sunday, I preached about the importance of the 'one another' passages in the New Testament. Here is the list I shared (and it is far from exhaustive):

  • “live in harmony with one another” (Rom.12:16)
  • “welcome one another” (Rom. 15:7)
  • “are servants of one another” (Gal.5:13)
  • “comfort one another” (I Thess. 5:11)
  • “bear with one another lovingly (I Thess.5:11)
  • “do good to one another” (I Thess. 5:15)
  • “are subject to one another” (Eph.5:21)
  • “confess our sins to one another” (James 5:16)
  • “forgive one another” (Cor.2:13)
  • “love one another from the heart” (I Pet.1:22)
  • “meet one another with humility” (I Pet.5:5)
  • “pray for one another” (James 5:16)
  • “have fellowship with one another” (I John 1:7)

In this list Paul, Peter, James, and John gives us practical examples of living out Jesus' command in John 13, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

This week has been a rough week. Many of our families are dealing with deep grief from the loss of loved ones. In these moments, we need more than ever to love one another. Take a moment, send a note and tell someone you love them.

May we pray for one another.
May we love one another from the heart.
May we comfort one another.

Nothing is Wasted

Last Wednesday night was our second week studying Galatians. We wrapped up chapter 1. This section of Galatians is Paul's testimony of the change in his life brought about by Christ.

We looked at Paul's statement the other night and discussed five traits in his testimony that we also see in our testimonies. One of these points has stuck in my mind this week.

Galatians 1:18 reads, "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter and remained with him fifteen days."

HistereĊ is the Greek word we translate as 'to visit.' HistereĊ means 'to swap stories.' I can't get rid of this image. Can you imagine the stories Peter told Paul in those fifteen days?

In my mind, I see them up late as Peter recounts the heartbreak of the night he denied Jesus then the emptiness of that long Saturday. The hope of running to the tomb that Sunday morning. Then, with tears running down his face, he recounts the story of jumping out of the boat a few days later when he realized Jesus was standing on the shore.

This little verse brings up another point. Think about Peter for a moment. How would you describe Peter?
  • He was a fisherman, thus we can assume he was poor.
  • He had little education.
  • He was impulsive in actions and words.
  • He knew Jesus personally.

What about Paul? How would you describe him?
  • He was well educated by the best teacher around.
  • This education probably meant that he was from a wealthy family.
  • Paul calculated his words and actions.
  • He zealously attacked the Church.
  • He never knew Jesus personally.

These are two very different men. I find the beauty of the story in the way that God used each of them to shape history for Him.

Peter was sent to the Jews. Paul was sent to the Gentiles.

God used them in particular ways. God took their past and used it for His glory.

The same is true for you. No matter your background, God wants to use you. God doesn't throw out your past. He uses it to shape your future.

In the story of the changed life, nothing is wasted. God wants to use you and your story. I pray that we are open to God's desire to use us.