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Christ is Enough…to Keep us From Running in Vain – Blog and Podcast

September 14, 2018

Many of the greatest experiences in my Christian life have happened because I was involved in the church. At an early age I was drawn to church, particularly to the music of the church. I learned about God through the songs we sang and was so encouraged by the people who gathered together, even as a child. Later on, I got involved in a youth group and God used other students in that group to show me what it looked like to have a walking, talking, living, breathing relationship with Christ. They talked about it in group discussions and talked about the need to share their faith. It was crucial to my early growth. Once I received Christ, I began to embrace those things in my own life.

Later as I surrendered to the call of God on my life to serve the church as my life’s work, it was the church, the people of the church, that taught me, encouraged me, and challenged me as I sought to follow God’s plan for my life. Today, the church is just an understood part of my life. I draw strength from the body of Christ, and it is essential for my life and growth.

Genesis 2:18,“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” Ecclesiastes 4:9a, “Two are better than one”, Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” We were never intended to live life, and especially the Christian life, in isolation. We were created to walk this journey together.

In today’s text, God shows us, through Paul, that He used the body of Christ in a number of ways to impact the work of the church and to further its work. Paul’s connection to the body of Christ kept him from running the race in vain.

Galatians 2:1-10, Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those recognized as leaders. I wanted to be sure I was not running, and had not been running, in vain.

Paul is trying to help the Galatian Christians deal with the Judaizers, and to keep the church focused on Christ. Paul is secure in his relationship with Christ and in his position as an apostle, called by Christ. But Paul wisely went to Jerusalem to get some Godly counsel in helping the Galatian Christians deal with this persistent problem. He speaks privately with the church leaders, most likely Peter, James and John, before speaking with the Jerusalem council. He simply shares a report of what is going on and the message that he is sharing. That message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that there is no salvation except by grace through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. They affirmed that he was not running, nor had he been running, in vain.

The church leaders affirmed Paul’s ministry and message, and that carried some weight in going back to the Galatian church. I want us to see today how Paul’s connection to the church, to the body of Christ affirmed Paul’s walk with Christ and brought unity to the church.

Being connected to the body of Christ, the church, helped Paul..

First of all, by fostering unity. Paul was wise not to be the lone ranger. He sought wise counsel to help deal with the disunity that was being brought by the Judaizers. There is strength in the church to help keep the health of the church, as long as the church is connected securely to Christ. The church cannot be unified if it is not connected, meeting together, and submitting to the Word together.

Seondly, the church helped Paul by ensuring accountability in his walk with Christ. All of us need people in our lives who are not only going to encourage us, but also will be there for us when we are struggling. We need people who will invest in us and walk alongside us on our journey.

Thirdly, the church helped Paul by providing affirmation in his walk. Though Paul was secure in his personal walk with Christ, the affirmation of the church was still a great encouragement of his ministry and his gifts to use in the church.

Fourthly, the church helped Paul by empowering partnerships. It’s a beautiful thing when the church gathers for genuine worship, when it works together, both inside and outside the church walls, and partners with other believers to do Kingdom work. That would be impossible outside of being active in the local church.

Finally, the church helped Paul by enhancing fellowship. There is nothing like the fellowship of the body of Christ, particularly at the local level. We do life together, we experience life together, we worship together, we pick each other up when things are challenging. Any believer who is not actively plugged into the life of a local church is short-changing themselves of incredible blessings.

Brothers and sisters, the church, if given the opportunity, will help you in your journey, and will help ensure that you are not running this race in vain. Are you taking full advantage of the fellowship of the local church?

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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