Paul uses the story of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah to reveal the conflict between law and grace. Things done in our flesh turn out wild and contrary, like Ishmael. The things of grace bring rejoicing, like Isaac. (Galatians 4:22-31; Genesis 17:18)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Gary Groenewold
Sermon # 11299
7:30 PM on 7/19/2017
P. Gary G.
(He shared about the summer harvest in Baltimore and showed a short video clip)
1 Jn 1:3, pre- creation love. We get love so messed up with humanity, with our experiences, with our souls, with our horizontals, with our ideas, our relationships, our understanding, and our own wisdom.
First love in Revelation that the church of Ephesus lost is not going back to something they had but going back to precreation love.
Jn 3:16, how much activity was in heaven, how much thoughts were going around and the fullness of that? You could say before we came in and polluted it. The power that precreation love actually has. In the beginning was God, – that love that existed then. Before our theology books and all our books and ideas tainted or even destroyed God’s love. You can’t destroy it.
We want the purity of God’s love. We believe it has such amazing ability to transform, to restore souls to J.C. where they were created to be.
Wasn’t that a good word from P. Gary on this church, a church of love. That’s amazing. To think that the Spirit of God is in us and with us. He feeds us. We have something in our hearts. We are out in these four neighborhoods and people are doing face painting, drums, basketball, sports, meeting parents and say we care about these young people. Four to twelve years old. I heard in one area there were 50 children. To wind it up after three weeks with a talent show here in the family center on July 29. We love to hear about good things. We love to hear about God’s work.
On the screen here, just to bring a good report. In the south part of Sweden in this part here is where we met and people came from 10 or 15 places in Sweden and some from Finland. We were one day in Copenhagen evangelizing and we have a new and fresh vision for this part of the world. People love to hear about God’s grace. People respond to it. There is something that happens when people hear about love. It’s a very secular part of the world. People easily say I’m an atheist, I don’t believe. If you get to talk to them, you find they are curious, spiritually hungry, have a lot of questions. One of the big problems in this part of the world is the issue of disease, sickness and death. We don’t have any answers. Nobody has an answer. But God does. We enjoy sharing that. For people to come along. We had a conference of about 100 people and two brothers I haven’t seen in ten years. They’re awesome. We had a beautiful time.
Turn to an allegory in Gal 4. This message could be a long one! But it’s still light out when you go! The sun will just be going down when you get out!
The girls that sang tonight, weren’t they good? Sweet song.
My wife and I are moving to another house not far from where we live. My wife needs me so instead of being at the conference in Finland I cancelled that part. I did go to Finland and had a great time there. We had a few meetings and some raps. They invited my son, Justin, to be the guest speaker at the conference there which is an honor to us and our family. God works in the lives of our family members…there were 14 young people who went to Finland after Budapest. These young people get to travel. The Spirit moving in the lives of people, prayers being answered…God answering and moving. God answers your prayers and my prayers.
Gal 4:22, do you see that? Are you ready to listen to a message? This is on my mind. Something in my heart stirring and it’s a deep and very profound truth. Abraham has two sons.
One is by the bondwoman in vs. 23. This is an allegory and many of you have studied your Bible through the years. Why not make this summer a good Bible study summer. You study your Bible 15 minutes seriously every morning. Don’t worry about the time. You concentrate in faith, concentrate in every word, in your prayer. Have a serious prayer with God. God, I would like you to speak to me. Read it slowly and receive from God. God will teach you. Through the years the Spirit will bring words back to you. This text. What comes back to me is Abraham’s son whose name was Ishmael is mocking Isaac. Isaac was born by promise. Ismael was born by the flesh. These two women and two boys. Hagar and Sarah.
vs. 24. What’s an allegory? It’s like a story that is paralleling a principle, a truth. A story of a deeper meaning. This is an allegory that has a symbolic message. These women, Hagar and Sarah, these two women and they are an allegory. They represent a mountain. Mt. Sinai represents the Law. (Drawing). One is Law and the other is Promise, or we can say Grace. Why do we say promise? Because Sarah had her son by a miracle, by promise. By promise, God gave Sarah a son. His name was Isaac. It means laughter. When she first heard the promise, she laughed in unbelief. When she delivered the baby, she laughed in faith. That’s a joke I would have a baby. It’s not a joke. I had the baby! That’s what she named her son. Grace does that. Grace produces joy in your life. Grace reveals God. We are generally quite filled with ourselves. We are generally proud about who we are and what we do, what I feel in my heart and being with the Body of Christ, being in Sweden, hearing about the outreach here in Baltimore. Seeing the faith and the operation of God’s grace amongst us. Around the world it is such a joy and freedom and peace because it is God doing it. Hagar has a son and his name is Ishmael. He really is a pain. Ishmael mocked Isaac. When Isaac was born, this is a rough estimate, Ishmael is 13 when Isaac is born. A 13-year old having a new baby in the house. You know how that can be. That child is jealous or envious or doesn’t like it. I get all the attention, and now I have to share that with a newborn. This is by nature. It may not be the case but you can imagine a 13-year old boy mocking the newborn baby. Law cannot believe in this grace. Cannot believe in the operation of the Spirit. Law is not understanding God. The head of the whole thing is Abraham who has both of these things operating in his life, the operation of grace and the law. One is contradicting the other one. This is a very interesting biography. Oh that Ishmael would live before you, God.
Ge. 17:18, this is before the birth of Isaac. Just like we do. We say, Oh that I could live by the Law. Oh that I could be a good man and do the right thing. Oh that I could be a R man, smart, capable, hardworking, sincere and dedicated. That Ishmael would live before God. Abraham had this in his mind. This son of his, Ishmael, could serve God. He can’t. He can’t. He can’t do it. You don’t want to say it but he’s an enemy of God, grace, the work of God. The churches can be filled with Ishmaels living before God. We will do great things for you, God. When we are standing next to each other, you can’t tell the difference between Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael there is nothing there. He can’t do it. Law can’t do it, my flesh can’t do it, and my natural man can’t do it. People go to different countries to start a Toyota dealership, a Chinese restaurant, a school, a business, or study abroad. There are people all the time all day long doing great things but who is serving through the cross, through death, through humility, through the Spirit and through grace. How does it happen? Abraham had another son. This came through faith and promise. Abraham, what did you do to have Isaac? I can’t believe my wife had Isaac but it happened. I believed God. I didn’t have anything. I believed God and he did it and that’s by the grace of God. When you see a young man like we see here and in Europe, men of God, men of faith, and men of promise. Another interesting thing is they came to a place where Sarah said I can’t live with this woman anymore. Throw her out. She’s got to go. Abraham is saying maybe we can work it out. She’s my mistress. A man that would rather have his mistress than his wife. What’s the difference? The wife is a more serious commitment but to have a mistress around is more convenient. Some live by law because they don’t have to be so committed to it. When I’m married, I lay down my life. When I’m joined unto God in grace, it’s all my heart. Grace captures your heart like the girls sang tonight. Law is like a cheap thing, like a man and a mistress. Abraham wants her around because he had a son by her. God said no. These two women represent two covenants, one law and the one grace. These two sons represent two realities in life, the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh mocks the Spirit of God.
There are people who would mock GG church. There are people who would mock our faith. There are people who mock our education or our commitment or our dedication or the cross life or the message of grace. When you come back on a trip like this, you are in tears when someone you met ten years ago comes and says in their heart I love it. I love the message of grace. It’s my only answer for my life. I love what God is doing. It runs deep. Sarah knew Abraham is my husband and this woman is not in my family. Isaac is a son of promise and this by the grace of God. They don’t have anything to do with each other in what God is doing.
Gal 4:23-24. Two covenants, one from Mt. Sinai. The meaning is Mt. Sinai is Hagar, the woman that represents the Law.
vs. 25. Sinai and then he throws in Jerusalem. This is the one J.C. was crucified in. He is saying Jerusalem is filled with Law. That’s how they crucified Christ, by the law, by their understanding of law. Religious people that thought they were doing God’s will.
vs. 26. There is another Jerusalem. The Jerusalem which is above. The heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. Abraham is looking for promise, living by faith. Abraham has been given something by God.
vs. 27. Randy said Spanish for dummies, offering for dummies. It is true there is something about us that is foolish or doesn’t look so sharp or bright or tantalizing or interesting. But this is our boasting. Our boasting is in him. How do people get saved? He saves them. How does he answer prayer? He answers the prayer. In our weakness, in our troubled lives – I was thinking about prayer. A lot of prayer Jesus gives examples of is real earthly. The woman mistreated. No bread. Real earthly needs, not abstract ideas. Real painful things. Like a son who is missing it. He is missing the Spirit, grace, the world of faith, the mystery of Christ. The churches that miss the reality of grace by faith, the message of it, the meditation of it.
We rejoice in vs. 27. How many have an Israeli passport? How many today say they are Jewish? What about that nation, those unique people? Why are they on the earth and can’t get rid of them as the devil has tried through history? They are the seed of Abraham, the seed of promise. They are the evidence of the reality of our God, the God that wrote the Bible. It is God saying I am here, I am God. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Don’t fall into Ishmael and the covenant of law but live by faith in me. Walk in grace and be built up in it. And you will plant churches in Sweden and Iceland and the uttermost part of the earth. There will be salvations, transformations and reality that comes from the H.S. Prayer meetings will happen in our homes. In Finland, I had a long day of ministry. I wasn’t so satisfied and hungry for something more. I went to my hotel room and asked God. I had one more morning. Move God by your H.S. It happened. When I got on the plane, it was yeah Lord. You honor our prayers of faith. You are the God that changes people, brings revival. You can reach Finland. How do we plant more churches? How do we do it? God will do it. That’s the way we think.
Gal 4:28-29. It is now like that. People in the flesh mock the people in the Spirit. They make fun of it. They do not believe it. It doesn’t touch their heart. Even so it is now. Paul said I saw these people. I wasn’t even with them for one hour.
Gal 2:5 I wouldn’t even hang out with those people for an hour. They have nothing to give me. I know how they talk and what they are interested in. They will steal my liberty, my faith, my attitude, my focus, my passion for the important things. I’d rather hang out with the people in the Spirit and have passion about the important things. Isaac was born and I know who he is and I’m standing on point. vs. 29-30.
You can read that in your Bible, how it happened in Ge 21. It’s a pretty sad story. Hagar has to leave with the son. She leaves the son in the desert. She couldn’t stand seeing the baby die and the heat of the desert sun. An angel showed her a well of water. That was tough to throw her out. That story is written that way.
We have nothing to do with legalism in our own heart, life, fellowship. We have been called to faith and God’s grace. We will do better than people that live in the Law. We will get to the heart of the issue and learn love. We are learning because God is working.
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