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First Baptist Church - Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…No Turning Back (Blog & Podcast)

During my growing up years, one of my favorite hymns to sing at invitation time was “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”. I don’t know if I was drawn to the simple melody, the easy to remember lyrics, or the message in the song…maybe all of the above, but it was one of my favorites. It became even more special to me in 1982 as I walked the aisle at the Glorieta Conference Center to give my heart to Jesus while hundreds of people were singing “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”.

The last line of the chorus says, “No turning back…no turning back”. It’s stated twice for emphasis. I had no idea at that time how important that line would be in living out my Christian walk. There are times when it gets tough, times when life can be overwhelming, and times when it might seem easier to do something besides continue on this journey to follow Christ.

But Christ has transformed me, saved me, redeemed me, forgiven me, and taken my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh with His blood flowing through my veins. When I remember that and how He brought me to Himself when I did not deserve it, I once again sing “No turning back”.

Continuing in Galatians 4, we see Paul encouraging the Galatian church that they should be singing “No turning back” as well. They have been influenced to turn from the path of grace and back to a path of works. For many of the Galatian believers, they were never Jewish to begin with. They were pagans who were saved by grace through faith. They had no previous religious life to go back to. Not only did it have to be confusing, but it was also unproductive.

Galatians 4:8-19But in the past, since you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

Paul is addressing these folks from the heart of a loving pastor who wants to see them receive the full freedom in Christ. His message was the same as that of Jesus, who said in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They have been freed from enslavement, freed from these chains of trying to prove themselves by their works.

Paul is trying to impress something on these Galatians that should be true for us as well. As believers in Christ, there should be “No turning back” to…

  1. Enslavement or Defeat– We cannot prove ourselves worthy, for Christ has already paid that price. There is also no turning back to your past life. Some people struggle to try and outrun their past mistakes. Church, your past does not define you, Christ in you does.
  2. Worthless Elements– Seeking a justification by works simply denies the work of Christ in His sacrifice. Trying to come up with the right formula of sacrifices, deeds or acts of service it simply worthless and fruitless.
  3. Lifeless Rituals– There is no life in festivals, sacrifices and deeds. Some of our remembrances have great value, such as the Lord’s Supper or Baptism, and they are very important. However, they have no redeeming value in and of themselves. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of what Christ already did. Baptism is a symbol of the transformation that Christ has already done in you.

In addition, there should be “No turning back” FROM…

  1. Freedom in Christ– Christ came and gave His life so that you would not have to be tied to works, but be free.
    • John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”
  2. Building Relationships– We cannot let the hurts of the past, the fears, define us and hold us back from building relationships.
  • Hebrews 10:24, And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works,
  1. Gospel Investment– Church, there should be “No turning back”, from going, making disciples, baptizing, teaching, and having Gospel conversations.
    • Matthew 28:19-20a, 19Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.

I have decided to follow Jesus…though none go with me, I still will follow. The world behind me, the cross before me. No turning back, no turning back.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…to Adopt Us Into our Forever Family – Blog & Podcast

One of the most beautiful pictures in our society, as well as in the Kingdom of God, Is the picture of adoption. One child, who needs a home, finds a forever family to provide the love, protection and support that they need. We are seeing many in the church rising up to meet the need, to provide good Christian homes to children who need a forever family, including several in my own church who are fostering and/or adoptive families.

Once a child comes into that family, they become a part of that family, a part of that legacy. Studies have shown that newborn babies will begin to imitate the sound of their mother’s voice. Adopted children begin to take on characteristics and behaviors of their new forever families over time. It’s really pretty incredible.

We see adoption introduced in the Bible. Take for example the story of Moses. Born as a Jew, he was set out in a basket on the water to avoid being destroyed by Pharaoh. Ironically enough, it was Pharaoh’s daughter who found him, welcomed him in, adopted him, and raised him as an Egyptian. He had the heritage of a Jew but the education of an Egyptian, which equipped him for the call of God on his life.

In Galatians 4, Paul states that those who have been baptized into Christ have received their adoption as sons, with all of the rights and privileges of being sons and daughters of God.

Galatians 4:4-7, When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.

Before we were baptized into Christ, we were slaves, slaves to the world, slaves to the desires of ourselves. The Word says when the time came to completion, when the appointed hour came which God ordained, Christ came, born of a woman, born under the law, but perfect, to redeem those under the law, us, so that we might receive adoption as sons. We no longer have to look over our shoulders and wonder if we are “good enough”, for we’ve been freed! We have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. His blood flows through our veins. We are heirs of everything God has.

Sonship is a privilege extended to us by the grace and mercy of God. The privilege of sonship brings us

  1. A New Identity– We have been baptized into Christ, clothed with Christ, and united in Christ. We’ve been given the Spirit of His Son – the Holy Spirit now dwells within us and transforms us into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” He looks at you and says “that’s MY son…that’s MY daughter” and He beams with pride. The privilege of sonship brings us…
  2. A New Father– We have an Eternal Father, a guardian, and because of that, we also have an Eternal family and an Eternal home. Our earthly fathers will one day leave this earth, but our Heavenly Father will never leave us, nor will he ever stop providing for us in every way. Verse 6 speaks of our heart’s cry to our new Father, we cry “Abba! Father!” Abba is a term of endearment for a father, like we might say “daddy” to our loving father. The word father comes from the Greek word “pater”, which means one who provides, protects and supports. He provides all we need, including being that loving Father that we can have a close relationship with and share all of our heart. This Father doesn’t look at us like an evaluator – He looks at us as children He adores, and we are receivers of grace. The privilege of sonship also brings us…
  3. A New Inheritance– You are sons and daughters of the King. He lavishes His gifts on His children. Whatever stronghold you are walking through, God is using it to draw you closer to Him and will give you the grace to walk through that. Whatever God has allowed to come into your life, it is part of the inheritance He has chosen for you and will help you to glorify Him through it. Enjoy your inheritance and give Him glory for it.

If you’ve been baptized into Christ, you are sons and daughters of the king – don’t live beneath your privilege. Enjoy your new identity, your new Father, and your new inheritance.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…to Answer Life’s Questions – Blog and Podcast

Does the Bible truly speak to every aspect of my life? Is it just a guidebook, or is Christ really interested in every part of me? 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” If I embrace the Word of God into my life, it will make me complete, which means the Bible does speak to every aspect of my life. I need not add anything to it, and I certainly should not take anything away from it. It is sufficient unto itself.

As we continue our walk through Galatians, we see that the Galatians’ believers’ main problem was they wanted to add things to God’s Word. Paul confronts the Galatian believers with a number of questions in Galatians 3. He answers their temptation to go back to attempting to be justified by the law by sharing with them that righteousness has been received through faith from the time of Abraham. We will look briefly at a number of questions Paul asks through this chapter and see where the Bible addresses some of life’s questions.

Galatians 3:27-29, “27 For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Paul asks questions such as these…

  1. You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? The word foolish comes from the Greek word “anoetos”, referring to mental laziness and carelessness. He is saying they are not stupid, just lazy, for they are witnesses to the crucifixion.
  2. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? He’s reminding them that they came to Christ through faith and it would be foolish to trust in works now.
  3. After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh? In other words, are you saying that the work of the Holy Spirit in you was not good enough?
  4. Did you experience so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing? Was your belief in grace for nothing?
  5. So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law?
  6. Or is it by believing what you heard—just like Abraham who believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness? Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”. Paul emphasizes that from the time of Abraham that we are justified by faith. Faith came before the law.
  7. Why then was the law given? Verses 24-25 states the law was a guardian, a protector, until the Seed of promise, who is Christ, would come.
  8. “Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises?” Paul answers – “absolutely not!”, but there’s no life in the law.

What’s Paul’s message here? Trust in Jesus, not in your ability to obey the law–Christ is enough…to answer life’s questions

  • What is God’s plan for my life?Paul is trying to communicate to the Galatians that they were living it, then…
    1. Matthew 22:37-38, 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the greatest and most important command.
  • How can God use me?Matthew 4:19, And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • Why do tough times happen? For all of the challenges, these Galatians were simply in a test of faith – had purpose
    1. Romans 8:28, We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
  • Where do I go when I’m stressed, tested, tried, frustrated, angry, desperate, needy, offended, hurt, & feeling done?
    1. Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
  • What purpose does suffering have in my life?
    1. I Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
  • What do I do if I’ve been hurt?
    1. Matthew 18:21-22, 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Whatever your questions are in this life, Christ and His Word are enough to answer them.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…to Change What Needs Changin’ – Blog and Podcast

In the last half of Galatians 2, Paul tells of Peter coming to where Paul was in Antioch. Antioch is where the believers were first called Christians. Paul felt need to confront Peter for something that Peter was doing. In Acts 10 we read of Peter receiving a vision from the Lord in a dream. In this vision, Peter was told by the Lord to kill and eat some animals that had always been forbidden for Jews to partake of, they were not kosher. The Lord was communicating to Peter that no longer were certain foods declared to be forbidden for kosher reasons. It was part of breaking down the walls between Jews and Gentiles and uniting everyone under the grace covenant – under the Lordship of Christ.

Peter began regularly eating with the Gentiles, with not only the dietary, but the spiritual dividing wall being torn down by the tearing of the temple curtain when Jesus said, “It is finished”. However, once the Judaizers came to town, Peter withdrew from that crowd and separated himself from them. Others in their crowd began to join in that, including Paul’s companion Barnabas.

You can call it what you want, but some would call it hypocrisy, others might call Peter and the others two-faced. This said to the Gentiles that you are okay for me to fellowship with until my radical Jewish friends come to town. After they go away maybe I’ll be able to fellowship with you again. If you are the Gentiles, what does that cause you to think? For centuries you’ve been told you are second-class citizens, now Jesus has come and removed the dividing wall only to have a few bullies come to town and cause Peter and the others to cave on their beliefs.

Not only is it two-faced, it says what they think about their faith. They aren’t confident enough in their trust in Christ. They feel they have to prove themselves righteous, demonstrate their holiness by refraining from certain foods and not fellowshipping with these Gentiles. That is textbook hypocrisy. Paul states it well here.

Galatians 2:19-20, “19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Changing who we are depending on the crowd we are in really just means we aren’t really who we believe we are.

It is Christ who saved us, Christ who changes us, so that we could be freed from all of those earthly expectations and put our faith and trust and hope in Him.

 

Paul says when I received Christ…

I died to the law (so that I might live for God) – He is not saying obeying law is bad. Christ came to fulfill the law, but to try and find your justification in it would be exhausting, and fruitless.  Paul acknowledges that to receive the blood of Christ on his life and then to go back to the Jewish ways is not living for God but living for the law. The law would become his god and the very first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Paul says when I received Christ…

I am crucified with Christ– not that I physically die, but the man of flesh, the former me that lived for me is dead and buried. As I pursue my walk with Christ, He continues to crucify unnecessary things in my life, but it is He that does that work. I simply follow His lead and obey.

Paul says when I received Christ…

I live by faith (in the Son of God)– No longer am I trusting in whether I’m good enough, Christ has declared me righteous. I now rely on Christ’s Spirit within me, Christ’s Word implanted in me, and Christ’s church as my allegiance. Does that mean if I’m free from the law that I can go on living in sinful ways? Romans 6:1-2, “1What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Paul says when I received Christ…

I embraced grace– Paul said if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. The Judaizers wanted to say yes you should come to Christ, but you should also be as Jewish as you can. Putting those kinds of stipulations on the Gospel compromises it and makes it not the Gospel of Christ. It reduces grace to something that is earned, which is no longer grace.

 Christ doesn’t want you to add things to your life, but He may want to take away some distractions. Once again I say…

Changing who we are depending on the crowd we are in really just means we aren’t really who we believe we are.  

Living for Christ should not put a weight upon you but should take some weight away.Why are you trying to do things yourself when the grace of Christ is available to you to live as a Child of God?

I’m reminded of the David Crowder song that says, “All my hope is in Jesus. Thank God, my yesterday’s gone. All my sins are forgiven. I’ve been washed by the blood.”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

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

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

Christ is Enough…to Use Your Testimony (Blog and Podcast)

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When is the last time you shared your testimony with someone? When is the last time you were engaged in a conversation about someone’s faith? For a number of people, it’s almost an everyday occurrence, but for many believers, it happens all too infrequently. Why do you think that is? If you ask them, I would assume that most Christians believe that we have a responsibility to share our faith with others, with the hope that God would use it to help draw others to Himself. For those who would disagree with that, I would simply point them to the Great Commission. God’s Word is pretty clear.

 

People give all kinds of reasons for why they don’t share their faith. I want to address a few of those today. However, I want to start by giving you a little encouragement from one who had some things in his own life which could have made him hesitant to share his faith, but that didn’t stop him from being one of the world’s greatest church planters and, as a result, soul-winners.

I’m talking about Paul. As we continue our journey through Galatians, we come to the last half of chapter one, where Paul acknowledges that some see him as an unlikely evangelist, due to a couple of factors.

First of all, Paul describes himself as an apostle of Christ. That fact was doubted by many of the Jews, due to his not being a part of the original twelve, but Paul has never wavered on that and the fruit of his life backs it up. Secondly, the Jews, and Gentiles alike, remember Paul’s previous life where, as Saul, he violently persecuted Christians as, what he calls “a Pharisee of Pharisees”. Paul acknowledged his past openly to show the work that Christ did in his life, but there were some who wouldn’t receive it. Quite frankly, that wasn’t Paul’s problem. He was just being obedient. He wasn’t responsible for the response, or the result.

Galatians 1:11-12states, “11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul takes this opportunity, recorded in verses 11-24 of Galatians one, to share his testimony. He shares it in three stages. He describes his life prior to meeting Christ. He was a religious zealot, one who, in his words “intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it.” Then he speaks of his conversion experience in verses 15 and 16, giving credit to God for drawing him to Himself, and for having a plan for his life while still in his mother’s womb. That’s no different than it is for any of us, really. Then Paul spoke of his life following his conversion, his time as a missionary, if you will. He said others gave testimony that “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.”

So, what is your hesitation in sharing your faith with others? Do you have some of the same hindrances that Paul overcame? You may say, “but I’m no Paul”. I would say “before he was Paul, he was Saul, and nobody would have thought him to be an on-fire believer, but God…” It’s that but God that made the difference.

Let me deal briefly with some of the more common hesitations people give for not sharing their faith.

People say, “I don’t have a great story”.If Christ has come into your life, you are just as much saved as the most devout believer you know. If Christ has come into your life, your transition – from death to life – is just as dramatic as any. Don’t doubt your story, your testimony. God used it to bring you to Himself. God will use your successes and your failures to glorify Himself.

People say, “I don’t know what to say”.Matthew 10:19-20says, “19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because it isn’t you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.” You just tell people what Jesus did for you, and let the Lord do the rest.  Trust Him to give you the words and don’t hesitate.

People say, “I don’t know enough to share my faith”.If you’ve come to Christ, you know enough. Just tell your story. You have been chosen to share Christ with others. I Peter 2:9says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

People say, “I don’t want people to judge me”.Paul had a past, you have a past, we all have a past. Some people may never think of us other than how they remember how we used to be. That’s not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to let the light of Christ shine through us and others will see what He has done and be drawn to Him.” Trust God for the increase and don’t be ashamed of what God has delivered you from. Romans 1:16says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.”

My experience has taught me that whatever I’m really focused on, whatever is really important to me, I will focus time on that. Maybe, for you, it’s simply a matter of asking the Lord for a burden for souls. Ask the Lord to let you see people how He sees them and then just follow His lead. It really is that simple.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…Period. (Blog & Podcast)

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For centuries the people of God, the Jews, demonstrated their love for God through their works, their sacrifices, and those things they refrained from in their lives. Jesus came and was preaching the same type of message as far as surrendering to God, but with a different approach. While we are still called to obedience, the days of multiple sacrifices would be gone. He, Himself, would be the one and only needed sacrifice. It was about a relationship, rather than a series of sacrifices. Christ was, and is, enough.

Paul writes a letter to the Galatians because he has been made aware of the fact that they have taken the Gospel of Grace and corrupted it. Some of the Jews are now saying that yes, the Gospel is open to all people, but the Gentiles must become Jews first, before they can come to Christ, and continue with the ceremonies and such. This was not the Gospel that Jesus preached.

Galatians 1:6-7, I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

What is happening here is that men and women are turning from the gospel by adding something to it. The Gospel is the Gospel and to add anything to it is to pervert it and is no Gospel at all. You don’t need to become Jewish on order to follow Christ. You don’t need to continue in the sacrifices, as some were teaching in this day, for Christ IS your sacrifice. You don’t need to live in fear that somehow you cannot measure up, for Christ IS the measuring stick. If you know Christ, your hope is secure.

With that said, let’s make some practical applications from the text from what Paul is saying

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to rescue us
We cannot add anything to the Gospel that Christ did not put there. Salvation comes by grace, through faith, period.Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” A works-based salvation is not only impossible to achieve, but it also seems to exalt the work of man, versus the work of Christ. If I can achieve works-based salvation, then I could be tempted to say “look at what I did”. Christ is enough to rescue us.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to pursue us
Verse 6 says they are so quickly turning away from him who “called” them by the grace of Christ. It was by grace that we were called to salvation. We were undeserving. We were stained with sin. There was nothing in our lives which could redeem us. But Christ, in His grace, called us. Not only that, he continues to pursue us. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Christ is enough…to pursue us.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to break us
Often, in our lives, we take things that are broken, and we toss them aside, rid ourselves of them. If they are of no good to us, if they are unable to do anything for us anymore, or even if we are just tired of them, we throw them away.

Aren’t you glad that God does not do that with people? No matter what you are struggling with, no matter your strongholds, no matter your lack of obedience, no matter the situation, God never tosses aside those things that are broken. In fact, those things that are broken, He brings them closer to Himself. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.

Not only that, but sometimes He allows us to go through things. He breaks us, if you will, in order to strip away the things that are unnecessary and to help us realize how much we need Him for everyday living.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to sustain us
If Christ can rescue you, if Christ can pursue you, if Christ can break you…then Christ can sustain you. Sometimes that sustaining is walking close beside you through the fire. Sometimes that sustaining you is simply holding you when you are broken. Sometimes that sustaining you is healing you from the scars of the past and reminding you that He is the One who brought you through. Sometimes, that sustaining you is just reminding you that He loves you, period.

Paul says God the father raised Jesus Christ from the dead. If He raised His Son from the dead, then he can sustain any and all of His children through whatever they go through.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX