Counterfeit Christianity – Galatians 4:8-31
Big Idea: Faith is not the most important thing. What matters more is who we have faith in. No matter how sincere our faith, if it’s directed towards the wrong object it will still amount to nothing. The two mothers – Hagar and Sarah – show the two paths people can take in response to the gospel. But only one path can lead us to God the Father.
We’ve been parenting all wrong, says Amy Chua.1 She should know. Her two daughters recently graduated from Yale and Harvard.2 ‘Tiger Mom’ Chua attributed their success to her strict rule-based parenting.
Continue reading “Who Your Parents Are, Matters”
Counterfeit Christianity – Galatians 3:26-4:7
Big Idea: Many Christians believe what we need most after conversion is the law. We need to learn how to behave properly so that God would love and bless us. But emphasising morality, at the expense of the gospel, is not progress, but regression. The law makes us slaves. Only the gospel produces children of God.
“I’m about to die. Please take Hyun Sook with you back to America,” her grandmother pleaded with Rick. They had met only one week ago.
Continue reading “Why Be Slaves When You Can Be Sons?”
Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 3:15-25
Big Idea: God’s laws in the Old Testament are not God’s most important revelation. To read the Bible with an emphasis on how God expects us to behave is to misread the Bible completely. God’s most important revelation is the gospel – God’s gracious promise to Abraham fulfilled by Jesus – that sinful people can be loved by a holy God for all eternity.
Everyone is born with an appendix – a small worm-like pouch dangling from the end of our large intestines. But no one would seriously miss it if it’s gone. So why do we have it at all? Biologists say it’s probably a remnant of our human past. (Hint: google “human vestigiality.”) It was very important ages ago, but not anymore.
Continue reading “Christians Need the Law as Much as Humans Need an Appendix?”
Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 2:1-10
Big Idea: The gospel of Jesus is not tied to any single race or culture. To impose the racial norms of one group onto all other believers distorts, rather than preserves, the gospel message. Legalists tend to disguise cultural norms as religious obligations to pressure others to conform.
What does religious freedom look like?
Continue reading “The Gospel is Not African, British, or Chinese”
Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 1:11-24
Big Idea: Paul did not create the gospel message from his own imagination, nor did he learn it from anyone else. What he preached – hard as it was to believe – came directly from God. His own transformed life was proof of the gospel’s truth.
How do you convince someone of the truth when the truth seems unbelievable? Continue reading “When Truth is Too Incredible to Believe”
Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 1:1-10
Big Idea: All people need rescue from sin; no one can save themselves. That’s why the Christian gospel has a laser-like focus on Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Any additions to this will dilute or distort God’s true message to humanity. All counterfeits are worthless imitations, undermining our faith in the genuine gospel.
Fake money can cause serious damage to a country. It creates confusion and undermines the value of the real thing. That’s why the Secret Service was first founded in 1865 – not so much to protect the President, but to restore confidence in the U.S. currency.1 Counterfeiters are just as dangerous as assassins in destroying a government.
Fake gospel can likewise do just as much damage to Jesus’ church. Continue reading “Beware of Counterfeit Gospels!”
Notes to Self: Applying gospel truths to my own heart
Death is always a sad and tragic loss. Our sense of loss, though, is often inversely related to how long that person lived. While every loss is mourned, we respond differently to news of a lady who dies peacefully, aged 128,1 compared to a child who dies horribly, aged 7.2
This is what makes Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air so poignant. In March 2015, Paul succumbed to lung cancer, aged 36. Up to that point, Paul wrote, “My life had been about building potential.” And what potential it was! The letters behind his name say it all.
Continue reading “Missing Heaven”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 16
Big Idea: Our local church is not the only congregation that matters to God. It is part of a larger, global community of believers. Unity within, and between, local churches is a compelling testimony to the transformative power of the gospel.
Climate change. Pandemic disease. Terrorism. Many problems today are way too large for any one country to solve, let alone one individual. What happens in faraway places will invariably affect how we live in where we are today. A war in Arabia or a famine in China can send household bills skyrocketing in Malaysia. No one is immune.
But this is not necessarily bad news. Why? Continue reading “Your Church is Bigger Than You Think”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-19
Big Idea: The bodily resurrection of Jesus is a foundational fact that all other claims, commands, and promises of Christianity are built upon. Without a risen Jesus, the Christian religion as a whole is false and utterly useless.
Man did not land on the moon. Jews were not murdered en masse in Nazi Germany. Obama was not born in America. Global warming is a hoax. AIDS is not caused by a virus. Continue reading “Jesus Risen is Not Fake News”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Big Idea: Form should follow content in Christian worship. How we sing, eat, and pray together in public worship communicate to the watching world who Jesus really is.
Dinner with the Queen is not the same as dinner at home. There is proper etiquette to follow.
Continue reading “Jesus-body Language”