Cross of Christ is center of all things. Do not be misled from this reality. Continue in the Spirit and by the hearing of faith. Think with God or you get carried along like the mob that demanded Barabbas in place of Christ. Don’t shrink in unbelief. (Galatians 3:1-3)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12689
Date: 2024-03-24
Time: Sun 6:30pm


P. Schaller –

beautiful. What a joy. Wow! What a joy. To be together and worship, praise the Lord. Wow. Great. Thank you,

Emma Shibley Ayer is what do you think P. Kim? Prima. #1. Birthday yesterday? Oh, we
missed it. We got to wait another year! Happy birthday, Emma. We love you. You’re awesome.

Turn with me to Exodus 23. Tonight, we’re going – this morning, the entrance into Jerusalem on the
donkey and four parts to that message. Tonight, a sequel. Not that particular story but
Barabbas. Barabbas. Give us Barabbas. So, Exodus 23:2, just for an orientation for the message. Has
anybody here gotten into a group and, you know, what happened?

Not good. Okay. Vs. 2. There’s something about groups of people that you need to realize that it can happen that the
group has a direction. It has a direction. So, you cannot follow that group. Wow. That’s King
James language, huh? You know, we have to be just. God is just, right? God is righteous and we
have to seek that in our hearts. And it will help us. And that’s what we are exercised in as born
again believers in the Spirit and in the word and in our fellowship. We are looking for God’s
heart and mind.

In the morning message, we said when they put Jesus on the donkey and the donkey received
him. We said that this morning that the donkey didn’t say get off me, you know. Get off me. But
the kingdom of God sat on him and the Spirit of God and the peace of God was on that donkey
that had never been ridden before. You can look it up how animals don’t like it when you ride
on them.

They have to be broken. Okay. So, this is a picture of how Jesus and his kingdom and
the authority that was present as he goes into Jerusalem is the Spirit of God, and the people
that were waving the palm branches were under the influence of the Spirit. They worshipped
him and they were shouting Psalm 118, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna to God in the Highest. The King. The King is here. They knew that.

That group was different from the other group that was planning to kill him. We read that in
John 11 and other Scriptures. They were planning and plotting and they knew they had to get
rid of him. So, we can err by being with the wrong group. I want you to think about that tonight.
That will be our message. Turn to your neighbor and say, what group are you with? I want to
know. I want real answers.

I think for the week that we have ahead of us, the week with the play and what’s coming, we
could just pray for a few minutes. And just pray for God to bring people here from the street
and relatives, friends, neighbors and bring them through the week starting Tuesday night.

There’s a rehearsal tomorrow night and I believe people are welcome for that just inhouse so to
speak. Tuesday night, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon and just for God to work and

You can make little groups around you and take some time and just have some prayer together
for the week that God will bless our week and the actors, actresses, everything about it. Details.

Security. And most important spiritual persuasion and conviction in the hearts of people from
the Spirit. Also, the end of the play. The appeal. The cry out. The call for people to come to
Christ that it would be powerful. It would be spiritually powerful. It would happen and people
would come to Christ and change their lives. Isn’t that amazing? Okay. So, feel free to do that
right now. (Prayer).

I could see us having a whole service as a prayer meeting. How about you? Could you see that?
I could. I could see that. That would be awesome. Okay. Turn in your Bible to Galatians 3. I’d like to
draw your attention to how wrong we can be. How wrong we can be. Also, how right on we
could be and the value of your mind. The value of your mind and your thinking and your spirit.
Very valuable. So, Galatians, the book of Galatians is written to the churches in the territory of
Galatia in present day Turkey. And they were misled. They were misled by false teaching. And
they lost proportion. They lost perspective. We talked about that this morning.

Recap for a moment is an illustration of a preacher who said that he had in the garden a tree
that was dying. The tree was sick. The tree was diseased and how he wanted to save the tree.
He thought about what he could do about it. That was on his mind. And then his child was sick.
When the child got sick, his whole orientation moved from the tree to the child cuz he
obviously had great value on his child as we all would do that.

But he says that insanity is like when you lose your perspective or proportion for what is
important. I like that picture. Our life is filled with this. We get adjusted. We get occupied with a
trivial thing and we just have to get back in the game and see what’s the important thing.
I remember five year olds play soccer and Pat Lynch knows this well and Jen. They are running
around in the field and then there’s one of them over there picking dandelions, you know! And
the other one is watching the airplane fly over. The ball is, you know. They’re not in the game,

It can happen as adults where we’ve lost our way. We’re not in the game. We need help. And
so we help each other. But the Galatians, they lost it and so he writes this epistle to them and
calls them foolish in chapter 3:1. That’s a strong word. Like satanic witchcraft. Bewitching.
Deceiving. Losing your orientation. Coming under the influence of something else. Not finding
God but being bewitched by a false teacher or by a movement or by a group of people that’s
going to cry out Barabbas. Barabbas. Give us Barabbas. And he was a robber.

So, the verse really is profound. Look at vs. 1. Now, let’s draw attention to this. Where is
Galatia? Where is Jerusalem? Where was Christ crucified? In Jerusalem. Were they there? Did
they become believers 20 years after Christ was raised from the dead, crucified. Yes, they
weren’t – in the time, they were not in Jerusalem. The Galatians were not there. They weren’t
saved. They weren’t in Jerusalem.

So then, how could Christ be crucified before their eyes? How could that happen? And it
happened to you and me in 21 st century, in the 20 th century, whenever you got saved. You saw
Christ crucified before your eyes. Spiritually. You saw it. That’s for me. That’s for me. I can’t
believe it. That’s for me. How does this happen? The Holy Spirit does that.

It’s almost like you’re sitting in an auditorium whether it’s a small church like Charles Spurgeon I
think there were five people in the church when he was 16 years old and the preacher wasn’t
there. An elder preached. It was a snow storm and Charles Spurgeon tells the story that God
was speaking to him. And it was a very simple message. I think it was look at him. Look at him.
And Charles Spurgeon is affected by the anointing of God and the Spirit that was calling him as
a young man. And he knew. He knew.

When you leave a meeting like that whether it’s a small meeting or Billy Graham with 50,000
people, but it’s you and God. He said to the Galatians this is how you got saved. You saw that
Christ was crucified for you in your place. He substituted himself for you. You were saved by
grace. You saw it. You believed it.

That happened to you. Galatians, that happened to you. So, that’s our starting point for the text here because when we have that in our life and we are really born of God and we see that, I have a piece here. It says, this is profound, “the single overwhelming fact of history is that the crucifixion is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There’s
nothing more. There is no military battle. No geographical exploration. No scientific discovery.
No literary creation. No artistic achievement. No moral heroism that compares with it. It us
unique. It is massive, monumental, unprecedented, and unparalleled. The cross of Christ is not
a small secret that may or may not get out.

The cross of Christ is not a minor incident in the political history of the first century that is a nice illustration of courage. It is the center.” In your life, there’s never anything more profound and important than the crucifixion of Christ.
And when you see that, you say in your heart everything comes off of that. Everything relates to
that. That’s the beginning of my new life.

So, now when he writes to the Galatians and he’s saying he’s correcting them. He’s saying, oh
foolish Galatians. How did this happen? You go from something great to something minor. You
go from something incredible, lifechanging, our sins forgiven, standing in grace, called by his
name, indwelt by the Spirit to something very minor and something very simple and something
very petty and something very little.

It would be kind of like a guy learning calculus and then he goes back to counting on his fingers.
It’s like somebody that has seen something incredible and he goes back to the law or
circumcision. And he says you know you need to be circumcised, you know. You need that,
right? No, this is incredibly profound that we’ve been born of God, born of the Spirit of God.

God is our Father. Circumcision is not important. And keeping the law is not primary. The cross
is. The gift of God. The Christ. The answer.

So, you can see that in my life I can gravitate to things and have a wrong proportion for them.
That’s important. The Lord says, no. That’s not important. This is important. Love. No, this is
important, money. God says no, no, no. That’s not important. People is important. No, no. The
program. God says, no, no, no. Not the program. Faith. Vision, mission, love, forgiveness,
prayer. Grace. The person of Christ. That’s important.

So, he corrects them by asking them certain questions here. There’s only a couple I want you to
take note of and these are like X-ray questions for your heart and mind. I like that picture.
Maybe that’s all that the message is tonight. It is thank God that he will ask us questions that
will search our hearts.

Thank God that God will speak to our hearts. Thank God that we can sit in the church and ask God before the church service or during the week, Lord, speak to my heart and lead me in my heart. I want to have the right context for my life. ‘Cause to be honest, Lord, I’m worried. I’m worried about things. Help me to have the right context and tell me not
to worry. Renew my mind and help me understand how important the mind is.

Look at vs. 2. Now, we should put the brakes on there. That sounds like Paul’s a Pentecostal.
And I love it. I love the Pentecostals. I think they have a great message. I think that Paul’s a
Pentecostal preacher right there. Yes, I’m going to ask you a question. This only would I like to
know. Did you receive the Spirit by the teaching of the law or did you receive the Spirit? Look at
that. Isn’t that great language. Did you receive the Spirit? That means you put in there did you
receive the life of Christ? Did you get the love of God? Did you get the freedom that comes
from Christ? Did you receive that? When you received it, when did you receive it? When you
did receive it, was it, did you get it by keeping the law or did you get it by hearing by faith?

Now, some of you are worried that I’m Pentecostal. Just back off. Don’t worry about it. Just
read the Scripture. I think it’s amazing that he’s talking about this. ‘Cause really what he’s saying is
I know you Galatians. I was with you. I saw the Spirit of God move in your life. I saw your liberty.
I saw your joy. I saw your love. I saw that you knew Christ and that you saw Christ crucified
before your eyes.

And of course, you were not in Jerusalem and it happened 20 years ago. But you saw it because
that’s what God does in the ministry. He brings Christ into the heart and mind of people and
they go out and say I’m after Jesus. I believe in Jesus. Jesus is amazing. He has loved me. He has
forgiven me. He put my name on the palm of his hands. He’s for me. He’s for me. God is for me.
It’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my life. I know that happened to you. And now I’m
asking you a question.

You’re going into counting on your fingers when you have seen the most awesome and like did
you get the most awesome by the law or by the hearing of faith? Did you get what you got by
hearing faith, hearing the Word, and believing and God was ministering to you and you were
increasing in the nature of Christ and increasing? But you’ve been bewitched. Side tracked. You
got off. You’re picking dandelions.

There’s a soccer game going on and you’re picking dandelions over here in the woods. And we lost one of our little people, you know. We lost a Christian. He missed it. He didn’t get it. He got misled. And that happens to us. It does. Different ways.

The burdens of life in the United States of America in the 21 st century. The spirit of the world.
The way the world operates. What the world is saying. You may be paying too much attention
to it. you may be focusing too much on the people crying out, Barabbas! Barabbas! You might
be focused on how negative or how bad things are. Excuse me. It can happen to all of us. But in
your mind, Jesus is saying I need you. In your mind and in your heart. I need your heart. I need a
worldwide – I need the people to care about their neighbor. I need people to care about poor
people. The poor people are an important part of our society.

Mother Theresa said a profound statement about poor people that I always liked. She said
about people giving money to the poor people and everything. And she said people might give
money to the poor but they don’t talk to the poor. They don’t talk to the poor. Isn’t that a good
statement? Who loves them? And what will money do for them? Yes, we can give money and
Jesus did it.

By the way, when Judas went out in the Last Supper, when he went out, some of the disciples
thought that Jesus told him to go out and give money to the poor. Cuz it looks like maybe Jesus
was in the habit of doing that. Like giving money to go give to the poor. Maybe Jesus was in the
habit. It looks like it. I just say poor people are not in my world; if I don’t care about poor people
or people that are different from you or me or however it goes, it’s like I got to get my mind
right. I got to get my proportions right cause life isn’t about you and I in that natural way. It’s
something more.

You are filled with the Spirit. You have faith in God. You have a mission. You have a message.
You have the Gospel of God. The poor people need the Gospel of God. They need the grace of
God. They need the wisdom of God. They need our love, our conversation and sit with
somebody and have a conversation and just talk to them and that kind of thing. That’s evident I

Okay. Go to vs. 2 again. X-ray question. By the hearing of faith. That’s how my life changed.
How did you get in the car to go to the church? I got in the car by faith. How did you decide to
go to a Bible school class? I did it by faith. How did you start to learn to sing when you’re not a
good singer? I did it by faith. How did you learn to talk to strangers? I don’t know. I would have stayed by myself for, you know, that’s a conversation we can have in ourselves. But what
happened? you start to live by faith. You became just a normal guy that had love in your heart
and freedom in your heart and you walked in the Spirit.

You don’t need to be occupied with circumcision or the law of Moses. We’ve already been
there, done that. That’s counting with your fingers. That’s already – we know what picking
dandelions is. We are in the world where Jesus is saying following me. I’ll make you a fisher of
men. Follow me. I will use you in the kingdom. Follow me and you will find the joy and the life
and the love and you’ll find the Word of God as food for you and me.

Okay. Vs. 3. Are you so foolish? The answer. Yep! I am. I really am. Paul, you may not believe
this but I am. Help me. help me. Help me. What a good word that is. Help me. Help me. Do you
know one of the blessings about being here is that you and I would not be thinking this way. We
would not be doing this tonight. We’d be very far away from doing this. Our neighbors, they
don’t understand us. Where are they going? Going to the church again! What are they doing?
They’re going to the church. I thought they went last week? Yeah, they went. They’re going
again. They don’t – okay.

We would not be here. We would not be doing this. That’s one thing. Proportion. Proportion.
We’ve found he was crucified for me. We found he is for me and not against me. We found that
he cares about people. We found that he answers prayer. We found that actually Argentina
isn’t actually that far away from here. And actually, nor is China.

We actually found that actually there are people they’re waiting to hear the Gospel. We found
that. We found that God will heal a human body like he did in the Gospels. We found that God
can answer prayer. We found that God raises us disciples and starts Bible schools and you know
the whole story. I’m trying to say that we have found another way that isn’t the natural way but
it’s by faith and the proportion of value and the identification of value with what we are doing
is important to us.

Let me read a paragraph here. It says, I think I have it. This is from Eugene Peterson in a book
called, Traveling Light. “Paul determined to do everything he can to develop a sense of sanity in
his congregations. He detects elements of craziness in the Galatians. There’s nothing worse
than religion in which appearances are out of touch with reality. Twice he calls attention to
their foolishness in following this false teaching. Paul demands that they think about their
position and in particular, their response to the sign of circumcision. Paul shows himself here to
be a relentless interrogator bringing questions to them. Our minds unused become captive to

Okay. Here comes the end of the sermon but that last sentence I’m going to repeat it. Our
minds if they are unused they become captive to appearances. Like a Jew it appears that I am

attracted to appearances. He is an orthodox Jew for example. I am attracted to appearances. It
looks like he’s a righteous man. I’m attracted to appearances. Like praying in public or giving
money. Making sure my name is recorded. I’m attracted to appearances. I’m attracted to how
people perceive. But it’s because my mind is empty. I think that’s it. He does say it that way.
Our minds unused. Unused. Our minds unused. That’s beautiful.

Have your mind meditating on this and have the content and then you’re not attracted to the
appearances but like in that way, you are more attracted to the deeper things. What is Jesus
saying? What is God doing? What is God doing? I may not see it but what is God doing?
Now, Jesus is riding the donkey into the city and the city is against him but he’s riding the
donkey and God is with him. And God is with him and that’s the dynamic of it. I’m on the right
side of this. I get it. I see what – God is here.

We said it this morning. They didn’t, the disciples didn’t really register with them that this is
fulfilling Scripture, Zech. 9. That Messiah would ride in on a donkey. They didn’t get that. I
would like to say in this context that you might be caught up in a multitude of people. You and I
could get caught up in what the people are saying. We could get caught up with running with a
group to do evil. And that happened in Jerusalem. All they had to do is the priests got the
people to say it’s Barabbas.

It’s Barabbas. We want Barabbas. And they go through the crowd.
Barabbas. Barabbas. That’s apparently what happened in the Gospel of John. It’s described.
People maybe could look at each other and say I don’t know about that. No, we want Barabbas.
No, we want Barabbas. And it may be the spirit, the demonic spirits and the whole movement
was that we want Barabbas. And then, when they saw and he was crucified, there was a
Scripture that says when they went to see him, there were people that went to see him and
they were mourning. They beat their breasts for what happened.

We don’t know what it means. We don’t know exactly what they were thinking. How they were
processing it. They could be saying I was part of this. I shouldn’t have done it. That man was a
good man. I don’t know what he did wrong. I don’t know how this is. How did I get here? And
everybody went to their own house and the results were not good. There was grieving. Grieving
and sadness and sorrow because that’s the way the devil works in this world. Can’t you see it
on the news all the time?

There’s like so many bad things that happen with no solution. There’s so much bad news.
There’s so many people figuratively, not literally, but they’re on a cross and they shouldn’t be
there. They go to prison. They shouldn’t go to prison. They’re accused of something and it
shouldn’t happen. There’s so many people that are promoted that are evil people. There’s so
many people that get away with murder. It’s kind of like the human race, we beat our breasts

but we don’t know what to do about it. We have no answer. We have no mind with the context
that is so healthy for us.

Our context is a real one and it fills our hearts and minds. We are satisfied. We are with the
donkey and they Lord and we’re waving palm branches, and three days later after the tragedy
he’s raised from the dead. And he’s saying I crushed the devil’s head. I overcame evil. I am the
answer for your life. Follow me but keep the proportions right. Seek me first with all your heart.
Seek first the kingdom of God. I will take care of you. Have the proportions right. Realize the
church is important.

That’s something that the world doesn’t know about but we know about it. Our prayers are
important. God is in our presence. God speaks to our hearts. God teaches us things that are
important for our families. Like our kids need mom and dad to be loving, kind, wise,
encouraging, gracious, stable. Mom and dad have to be stable. The family is stable. The nucleus
is mom and dad and the kids like little planets revolve around the nucleus and they go mom
and dad love each other. I don’t love you but mom and dad love each other and maybe I could
learn that. One brother says to the other brother. I’m making it up. Okay.

Revenge. It’s a small world. Forgiveness is a great one. Have it in proportion. Faith is amazing.
Faith does a lot for us. Unbelief shrinks our life and we get it wrong. We get it wrong.

So, they cried out, Barabbas. Pilate tried to get them. Pilate tried to get Jesus to go free, but
they didn’t want Jesus to go free. They crucified him and they said we want Barabbas. I wonder
what ever happened to him. What ever happened to Barabbas? I don’t know but Jesus died for
the saved and the unsaved. If Barabbas never got saved, he was saved physically by Christ but
the great gift is to be saved eternally by Christ. But Christ died for him, too. We are in the world
knowing how these things go a little bit and how unfair and how wrong we can be. But it’s okay
because God put us here to understand these things and live with them and know about it.
Okay. Amen. Would you pray with me, please. (Prayer).

Let me say this. I started to preach in the prayer! Maybe I hit a point that I think is a good one.
No, not doing that. No, that’s vanity. That’s a dead end. I’m not doing that. I’m getting rid of it.
I’m getting rid of that thing. No, that’s not in my life. I found something better. I got more.

I got something better. No, not doing it. Not doing it. You got to get tough with yourself. Come on!
You got to get tough with yourself in your mind and in your heart and have a filter and say deny
yourself. Just deny yourself. Just say, no. I’m not. That’s – I don’t want to be bewitched in
pursuing some stupid thing that there’s a hook in there. There’s bait. There’s an awesome hook
in that thing and that will tear me apart. That’s not where – no, I’m not doing that.

Do you get it? I just had to say that. That was in my prayer! I got to say that. Come on! Come
on! Can you get tough with yourself? Can you deny yourself? Can you knock it off? Can you just
shut it down? Shut that stupid thing down and walk with God and watch the Holy Spirit do
great things in your life. He will help you and he will build you up. You’ll say wow! How did I
receive the Holy Spirit when I first became a believer? Well, he gives you the Holy Spirit when
you believe, but it was so strong that he said to the Galatians, when you receive the Holy Spirit
and that affected you so strongly, did that happen by works or did that happen by faith? It
happened by faith.

So, when you shift to disproportionate issue, like things that are too important for you, get back
to what’s important and make that shift and knock it off. Cut it off. Knock it off. Turn to your
neighbor and say knock it off. Give them a good shot. Just say, knock it off. Okay. Come on!
Praise the Lord! All right. Okay. Wait. All right. Pray with me. This is the prayer. (Prayer).


Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.