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May I ask you a personal question?
Do you ever plan to humble yourself before Almighty God and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
If you do, could I ask one more?
What are you waiting for?
What’s keeping you from turning to Him today and giving Him yourself (as much as you know, as fully as you can) right this minute?
People say to me, “Well, I’m going to do that. One of these days.”
One of these days.
I have three things to say about that.
You’re sitting in church listening to the pastor. His sermon is typical of most you have heard through the years: sometimes he scales the rhetorical heights and leads you to emotional highs, and once in a while he bogs down in minutiae and loses you in details. In between, he “shells the corn,” as we used to say on the farm to indicate someone doing a job well but not spectacularly.
Paul’s Epistle to the Galatian churches has its emotional highs and also bogs down in places with theological details. Anyone attempting to teach the six chapters to his congregation will want to work hard and prepare well if he wishes to keep the people with him during the slower, heavier sections.
The most fun thing for a pastor to do–this is just my opinion–is to decide not to give his people a verse-by-verse study but to preach Galatians’ high points. He will “fill in the cracks” between the sermons with enough contextual material to get across the essence of the book. The advantage is he can take the epistle in bite-size portions. The disadvantage–well, the major one–is that he will be teaching the epistle piecemeal and not everyone will be present for all the sermons.
That said, here are my candidates for the ten best verses or passages in Galatians. If I were pastoring, these would be the basis for my series of ten sermons from this epistle. A word of explanation: The commentary here is not intended to be a sermon, but merely insights and other material you may find helpful.
Southern Baptists across the land will be focusing on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians during this winter of 2010-11. We’ll be posting a series of cartoons on the epistle which teachers and pastors may download free of charge and use in their sessions. Following are notes on Galatians which may be of assistance to teachers and pastors. They’re not always in order, as we’re adding comments over a period of several days. In no way are they intended to be exhaustive. Or for that matter, exhausting!)
1. Galatians is Romans’ Little Brother.
A couple of seasons ago, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans was the focus of this mid-winter study. A lot of people who had probably shied away from this fearsome book delved in and found Romans to be rich, nourishing, and delightful. They discovered that it deals at length with subjects Galatians considers more concisely.
The point being: “If you like Galatians, you will love Romans!” And vice versa.
2. Subject: Paul, an Apostle? hah!
In this and other epistles, Paul defends his apostleship against the attacks of those who say he arrived too late and was not there “from the beginning.” He does not dispute that he came late to the party. “As one born out of due time,” is how he put it in I Corinthians 15:8.
Paul points out that while he did not get his gospel from the apostles, he did spend the same amount of time with Jesus as they–three years (Gal. 1:17-18).
He is not a man-made apostle and needs not to look to any human agency for accreditation or affirmation (Galatians 1:1). This, we rush to note, is not a put-down of seminaries or Bible schools. Paul had received a great deal of rabbinical training under Gamaliel, the master teacher of his day, and was clearly a strong believer in education. Once he came to know Christ, the Holy Spirit built upon everything he had learned in his new ministry.
In the most extensive defense of his apostleship–the Second Epistle to the Corinthians–Paul does an on-side kick (reverse handoff? choose your favorite sports metaphor!) that completely takes his critics by surprise. He presents his resume’ in a reverse manner, listing not his awards and accomplishments, but his scars and hardships. II Corinthians 11:22-32 is a fascinating document, one that shouts to believers of all generations what to look for in authentic leadership.
The question then becomes not: “What have you accomplished for the Lord?” but more like “What has serving Christ cost you?”
“Paul’s Gospel” is the message he preached across the known world of his day. The reason we need to establish what he preached is because of the strong judgment he pronounces upon anyone preaching anything else (1:8-9)!
Orthodox Christianity–a loaded expression, I suppose–has traditionally held that the gospel Paul preached is the authentic Christian message. That’s why Romans in particular has held such a esteemed place in the history of this faith.
I have pointed out Galatians 1:8-9 to those who came to my door hawking another gospel although they were using identical words to the ones Scripture uses. Anyone preaching any gospel of salvation other than the one found in Galatians and Romans is incurring the wrath of God upon himself. “For neither is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12). In every case, the young perveyors of alternative religions standing inside my doorway have not had an answer to that passage.
3. Ours is Not a Derived Salvation or a Second-Hand Apostleship.
This is hinted at in the previous point, but needs elaborating.
In all probability, any Sunday not listed here is available. My cell phone is 504/615-2190. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NOTE: Unless the Lord leads otherwise, I prefer not to do two revivals back to back and not more than two revivals in a single month.)
THE YEAR 2012 –
July 16-20, 2012 — Children’s Camp for the Muskogee, Oklahoma, Baptist Assn. Bill Sherrill, DOM. Speaking at the camp, drawing hundreds of children that week. Being grandpa to hundreds of children! (I do that so well.)
July 28 (Saturday) — drawing at a block party for Old Zion Hill Baptist Church, near Hammond, LA. Joe Wiggins,Pastor. (officially 2 – 4 pm)
July 29 (Sunday) Preaching for First Baptist Belle Chasse, LA
August 5-8 (Sunday thru Wednesday) — revival, East Fork Baptist Church, Kentwood, LA. Mike Shumock, pastor.
August 10 (Friday) 9 am NOBTS adjunct faculty orientation.
August 12 (Sunday morning) 11 am preach at First Baptist Church, Springfield, LA. (the church is pastorless)
August 26-29 (Sunday thru Wednesday) — revival — First Southern Baptist Church, Beardstown, Illinois. Brian Kenney, pastor.
September 1 (Saturday) teaching at NOBTS from 12:30 to 3:20 pm. “Interpersonal Relationship Skills for the Ministry.” CLASS NO. 1.
September 8-12, 2012 — Auburn, Kentucky. Pastor Rusty Thomaston. On Saturday, we’ll have a community event, and then Sunday-Wednesday be in revival.
September 16 (Sunday morning) 11 am preach at Springfield LA First Baptist Church. (The church is pastorless)
September 21-26, 2012 — Revival — First Baptist Church, Durant, MS. Bobby Hood, Pastor. Saturday night banquet, followed by revival Sunday-Wednesday, night and morning services.
September 28 — Friday night — the annual GLOBAL FEST fundraiser for Global Maritime Ministries here in New Orleans. At First Baptist Church-N.O. I’ll be drawing (for donations to GMM) all evening long.
September 29 (Saturday) Teaching at NOBTS from 12:30 to 3:20 pm. “Interpersonal Relationship Skills for the Ministry” CLASS NO. 2
September 30 (Sunday) Preach at Bedico Baptist Church for Pastor Mark Tolbert.
October 7-10 (Sunday through Wednesday) Revival at Oakridge Baptist Church,St Peters, Missouri. Steve Davenport, Pastor.
October 13 – Saturday night, Global Maritime Ministries is having a fundraiser in Shreveport (Calvary Baptist Church is hosting.). I will be drawing all evening for donations to GMM.
October 14 – Sunday, preaching for Barksdale Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. Pastor Calvin Hubbard. (details later)
October 27 (Saturday) Teaching at NOBTS from 12:30 to 3:20 pm. “Interpersonal Relationship Skills for the Ministry.” CLASS NO. 3
November 4-7, 2012 (Sunday-Wednesday) Revival at Trenton (KY) Baptist Church. Dean Anderson, Pastor.
November 24-25, 2012 — Mt Olive Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN. Dr Deron Cobb, pastor. Speaking to churchleadership on Saturday night, preaching Sunday morning service, and then doing the Sunday night “Thanksgiving” service at The Foundry, a fascinating eatery in Knoxville. (second time with this church)
December 1 (Saturday) Teaching at NOBTS from 12:30 to 3:20 pm. “Interpersonal Relationship Skills for the Ministry.” CLASS NO. 4
AND THE YEAR 2013–
March 9-13, 2013 — Faith Baptist Church of Lake Placid, Florida. Bill Cole, pastor. We’ll do a kickoff banquet on Saturday night, followed by revival Sunday through Wednesday.
April 24-28, 2013 — The NASBS (National Assn of Southern Baptist Secretaries) has its biennial meeting these days at Ridgecrest Conference Center outside Asheville, NC. I’ll be leading 3 workshops (on cartooning, prayer-walking, and benevolence) while trying to sketch as many of the several hundred “ministry assistants” as possible. One of my favorite groups in the whole world.
May 2, we think — a pastors/wives banquet for the North Shores Baptist Associations, in the Hammond, LA area. Dr Lonnie Wascom, DOM.
June 10-12, 2013 — The Southern Baptist Convention meets in Houston, TX.
And that’s where we are at the moment!
Thanks for your prayers! Click my name on the home page of the website in order to get contact and bio information.