From the Undeserved series
If you’ve been able to join us recently, we’re learning about Grace. It’s a hard concept for many of us to grasp. We began our Undeserved series at The Fellowship at Two Rivers a few weeks ago, and we’re trying to better understand what exactly Grace is.
We recently took a look at Salvation Grace and came to see that it is the free gift from God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The forgiveness of our sins. We’ve talked about how Grace also frees us from the bondage of sin.
This past Sunday we talked about Daily Grace. To fully understand grace, we took a new look at the enemy of grace: Legalism. (The Do’s and Don’ts that kill the spirit of Grace.) We also talked about “How do you know if you’re a legalist?”
Remember the Redneck jokes?
One of them goes like this: You might be a redneck if you think the last words of the Star Spangled Banner are, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” On Sunday, we looked at a few of the “You might be a legalist if…” scenarios
1. You might be a legalist if…. you think there is a set of rules. The Do’s and Don’ts that you have to do in order to find favor with God.
2. You might be a legalist if…you think your set of rules are applicable to every other Christian.
3. You might be a legalist if…there are 20 positive things to point out but you find the 2 perceived negative things in another person.
Legalism is not new. It’s been going on for thousands of years. But you can’t have grace and legalism. They counter each other. Galatians 5:1 explains that a bit:
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
We then took a good look at Liberty. But what is it?
LIBERTY: freedom from something and freedom to do something. Liberty in Christ is freedom from sin’s power and guilt. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have been set free and no longer do things out of guilt or shame. God is pleased with us not because of anything we have done, but because of Christ.
God doesn’t expect us to be cookie cutter Christians. God is pleased with variety. He created each of us the way He wanted us to be. And I have the freedom to be who God made me to be. Legalists hate that. It forces them outside of their box. Legalists want conformity.
So what is Legalism?
LEGALISM: an attitude a mentality based on pride. An obsessive conformity to an artificial standard for the purpose of exalting oneself.
Legalists do not desire unity. They want uniformity. Which they claim focuses on Christ. But the reality is it focuses on others being like them. Legalism kills churches. Why? Because it is contrary to what the New Testament teaches.
Most legalists are what I call “No” face people . I don’t mean they don’t have a face. I mean their face says “no”. Before you ask anything, or say anything, their face just says, “no.” Legalists are upset all the time. If there are fifty good things, they will pick out the one bad. Legalists are not known for what they are for, they are known for what they are against.
If you’re wondering if you’re a legalist, take this simple test: When people think about you or say your name, do they laugh and talk about the things you are against? Or do they talk about the freedom that you have in Christ?
With that, we talked about three things we should try to focus on in order to avoid legalism in our lives:
1. Stand firm in our freedom
2. Stop seeking the favor of people.
3. Start refusing to submit to bondage.
Let’s not let “no” face people hold us captive. Let’s stay free and follow God’s word.
Are there standards in God’s Word? You bet. We need to remember that there are standards and we must follow them.
But we also need to understand that we all have our own personal convictions. These are good too. We simply need to be careful not to impose our personal convictions on others. Their life is between them and the Lord.
I hope you’ll join us as we continue our Undeserved series. See you next Sunday. Life Groups begin at 9:30 and Worship is at 10:45.