Galatians

#4 Lies Christians Believe

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Maybe God isn’t who you think He is. He’s much better. This series will help you identify some Christian clichés we’ve all heard somewhere before but they are actually un-biblical lies. These clichés although innocent, are harmful to our faith and they keep far too many believers stuck in spiritual immaturity. Let’s replace these clichés with truths about God from the Bible, that will bring encouragement and freedom to our lives.

First posts in this series:

#1 God won’t give you more than you can handle

#2 Is God gaining new angels every day

#3 Follow your heart

Scriptures

Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:1-6

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[b] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7

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God has forsaken me

God has forsaken me. God doesn’t care about me. Sadly, I’ve felt this way many times in my life and I’ve heard many people who have been hurt share one or both of the statements with tears streaming down their faces. Have you ever felt this way? 

What makes these two statements about God totally impossible? God is omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) and omniscient (all knowing). 

God is everywhere at the same time, so He doesn’t need anyone to take Him anywhere. He never has to pack a suitcase, or buy a plane ticket to be with you, He is always there with you. In your home. At your job. When you sleep. There is never a reason to run from Him, hide from Him, or try to escape Him (nor could you run, hide or escape Him no matter how hard you tried). Pick your favorite hiding spot. He found it first. If you try to escape Him, He is where you were, and He is where you’re going. He is running with you as you’re going. He can’t forget you because He is right beside you. 

God is all-knowing. There is nothing that anyone can teach Him. He never has to learn anything. There is never a moment when He has to guess, has to be told something, or has to be reminded. Did you catch that? He doesn’t have to be reminded, because He never forgets. One more time: He never forgets. He remembers everything. He knows where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. Your feelings and emotions may cause you to believe that He has forsaken you, or doesn’t care about you. However, be reminded of these attributes and never forget that He never forgets.

Hold tight to these truths. Pull them close to your heart. God has not forsaken you. He remembers you. He is with you. Because you are a Christian, He is inside you. Wherever you are, there He is. And you can have peace knowing He is not going to leave you. 

Think about a time when you felt like God had forsaken you. What was going on in your life then? 

Read Galatians 4:4–7. What words or phrases stand out to you when you read these verses? How does it make you feel to know that God chose to adopt you as His child? 

Remember our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He too felt the same way when He was hanging on the cross. At the moment that He carried all our past, present and future sins on Himself and redeemed us, He cried out to God “And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). Mark 15:34.

Jesus was sent to live among us, full God and full man, to teach us, lead us, serve us, and ultimately die for us. He felt every single human emotion we feel today and so God can sympathise with us and change our hearts.

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

We are children of God, and through the spirit, that makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Watch the study below on Romans 8.

Truth: 

  1. God has not forsaken you. He remembers you. He is with you. 
  2. A harder pill of truth for us to swallow – Man has forsaken God (let that sink in)
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Release Your Regrets

Advertisements Once you have recognised your regret for what it is, you are then ready for the next step: release your regrets. Ask yourself these five questions: Do you regret committing a sin? Your regret may have been something you did that put distance between you and God. Letting go of that regret will requireContinue reading →

Recognise Your Regrets

Advertisements I have been thinking of regrets lately and I hope to take my experience with empowering you to respond constructively to any type of regret. Recognise your regrets for what they are. What exactly is it that you are feeling badly about? Have you either underestimated or overestimated how serious it is? What powerContinue reading →

Loving Your Regrets

Advertisements Regrets. We all have them. It may be something you wish you hadn’t done, or a missed opportunity where you didn’t take action and wish that you had. It might be something that was done to you; you were the victim, yet you still feel regret. The Sorry Cycle Whether it’s something from lastContinue reading →

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 1 comment

#5 Misconceptions About Sharing the Gospel

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Have you ever doubted your abilities or effectiveness as a witness? I’ll admit, I have. I want to discuss some misconceptions about sharing the Gospel that fuels fear in my heart and the hearts of others about witnessing. If you’ve struggled like I have with any of these, my intention is not to discourage you, but rather I pray you will be fully equipped to boldly take the Gospel of truth to the world.

9 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Before reading on, I encourage you to read the first entries in this series. Click here to access them:

#1: You must be good at it 

#2: Everything in your own life has to be together

#3: The only way to get someone saved is to invite them to church

#4: You have to make the gospel sound good

Scriptures

John 4:35-38 1 Corinthians 3:5-11 Galatians 6:7-10

#5: You’ve been an ineffective witness SO far

The most disheartening thing as a believer, as a witness is when we feel like we’ve been unsuccessful at leading someone to the Lord.  Jesus talks about this issue in John 4:35-36 when He says:

35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

Jesus tells His disciples that the fields are ripe for harvest and He gives them the job of reaping.  What does He mean when says “reaping”? He means to win over people, win over souls. After the reaping is done, those who reaped and those who sowed may rejoice together. Everyone who was involved gets to join in on the celebration, even those people who simply sowed one single seed years ago.

Do not be discouraged about your effectiveness as a witness, perhaps you’ve sown one seed, perhaps thousands, but you have sown indeed. We must be grateful when God uses us to simply plant one or a thousand seeds because you never know when those seeds are going to grow into fruit for eternal life.

In the end, neither those who sow nor those who reap can take the credit, for God is the one who saves. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 we are told:

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

This verse is life-changing. For a long time, I haven’t known for certain whether my witnessing has let to anyone being saved, but the truth is I can’t save anyone, only God can. It wasn’t until I realised this that I was able to put my hand to the plough and simply plant seeds out of joy—trusting that God would take care of the rest. All God asks of us is to remain faithful—to continue responding to His love in faith.

Walking with Him is not a waste of time—even if you feel like you haven’t gotten much done yet. It’s up to you to be faithful in seeking Him, in allowing yourself to be discipled, and in stepping out in faith, and God does the hard part. He will bring you to a place where He can use you as a witness who is willing and able to disciple others.

I pray you have found encouragement in this series.

Trust your wilderness seasons, they are designed to build strength, endurance and character as you witness to others.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 0 comments

#2 Misconceptions About Sharing The Gospel

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Have you ever doubted your abilities or effectiveness as a witness? I’ll admit, I have. I want to discuss some misconceptions about sharing the gospel that fuels fear in my heart and the hearts of other about witnessing. If you’ve struggled like I have with any of these, my intention is not to discourage you, but rather I pray you will be fully equipped to boldly take the Gospel of truth to the world.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men. Mark 1:17

Before reading on, I encourage you to read the first entry in this series. Click here to access it  #1: YOU MUST BE GOOD AT IT.  And while you at it, take a look at this simple, yet powerful picture of the Holy Trinity.

#2: Everything in your own life has to be together

Scriptures

Philippians 1:6 1 Corinthians 2:6-15 Romans 8:33-34 Hebrews 9:12 Romans 3:23

We hinder ourselves in witnessing for Jesus because of our issues, but here’s the truth –you don’t have to be perfect in order to be a Christian. Actually, if you think you’re a perfect Christian, then stop reading now… Did you stop reading?  I didn’t think so! It is made clear to us that perfection is not necessary in Galatians 6:3:

“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Furthermore, the Spirit encouraged you to begin witnessing in the first place, why would now want to “perfect” yourself my worldly standards? Galatians 3:3 says:

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

The Spirit points us to the sacrifice of Jesus. Our flesh brags about our own achievements and abilities. To accept God’s grace, we must admit that God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Why then do we get so caught up with our own “perfect” performances?

When we focus on “how well we’re doing” as Christians, it’s easy to let mistakes impair us. We also fear that the lost will see through our facade and point out our imperfections.

I have good news: God still has grace for us and it is still sufficient for you and me (2 Corinthians 12:9). You don’t have to be perfect to be a witness. You don’t have to appear perfect either. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. You can testify of the changes God has made in your life, but you can also be honest about the work God is still doing. Philippians 1:6 encourages us, saying:

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Yes, God redeemed and delivered when you repented, believed in Jesus and were baptised. However, He continues to do a good work in you—God’s not done yet, you’re not done yet. This is no excuse for sin, we all sin a fall short of the glory of God. I’m saying, don’t undervalue the power of God’s grace. Don’t let your current struggle pull you down.  Endure through the struggles (2 Timothy 2:10).

Jesus gave Himself up before God as the perfect sacrifice for your sins. He pleaded your case in the courts of heaven. He defended you against the convicting claims of the enemy. He continues to defend you. Your justification is not based on your works or actions, but on the blood of Christ.

Sanctification is an ongoing process. As believers, we are complete in our identity, but our transformation is continual and a lifetime commitment. When we trust in our own righteous acts, we’re acting like we’ve arrived. It’s as if we no longer need grace. But no matter who you are, you still need it. I still need it.

Let God take the pressure off. Your “perfection” isn’t what draws people to the Gospel. Jesus draws you in, He draws us all in (John12:32).  The transforming work in your life can and should act as a testimony to others (without a test, there can be no testimony). However, even if you feel like you’ve got a long way to go, you can be a witness today. God has the power to save people despite our imperfections.

What we receive to be witnesses is not of this world, but from the Spirit who is from God.  The Spirit intercedes for us, Jesus, who is at the right hand of God, intercedes for us, so that we may understand what God has for us.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 4 comments