What Counts? Sermon notes from Galatians or Part 2: Seeds, Fruit and a New Life.

What counts?  What is important? What is God looking for from me?  How do I get there?

Paul is clearly concerned for the Galatians.  He is astonished, perplexed.  After he had spent time teaching them the Good News that faith in Jesus the Messiah was what was required, they were turning back to Jewish Laws and rituals.

5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

6:15 “Neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything: what counts is a new creation.”

Circumcision represents keeping the Jewish law.  Circumcision was the Old Covenant Marker.  It showed who God’s people were. The males were circumcised.

What is the New Covenant marker?  (God made a New Covenant with us in Jesus)

Ephesians 1:13: “And you also were included in Christ, when you heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.”

Keeping the law, or a set of rules or regulations is not what counts.  It’s a new life of faith (which comes from believing in Jesus) expressing itself through love that counts.  This new life is the Spirit’s work in us.

How do we get to this new life?  Does it just happen?  Do we need to do something?  Yes!  We work together with him.  He does the hard part of transforming our lives.  We cooperate with him and this is how.

Here is where seeds and fruit come in.

What are these?  Seed packets!

What happens when I plant these in my garden and the conditions are good?  Good soil, water, sun, etc…. They grow!

If I plant a tomato seed will I get a thistle?

Seeds: 6:8: “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

What are we sowing?

What are the choices we make?

What do we say yes to?  What do we say no to?

These are seeds.  Our choices are these seeds.

 Fruit: 5:19-23: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such thins there is no law.”

These fruit grow out of the seeds we plant. Good fruit or bad fruit depending on what seed is sown!

This fruit produces life or death in us. It produces life or death in our relationships.

Listen to some words of Jesus about fruit:

Matt. 7:16: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”

John 15:8: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

People marked by the Spirit of God are bearing good fruit! Our lives tell who we are!  Our words??? Do they match our lives?  Our lives count.  They show God’s glory.

In order to get fruit of love, joy, peace…… we make choices everyday to sow seeds that will grow these fruit into our lives.

We choose to forgive, rather than hold a grudge: peace and love grow.

We choose to help our stressed neighbor: kindness grows.

We choose to not react to the driver who cuts us off:  patience and self-control grows.

We choose sit on the beach and enjoy a sunset: peace grows.

We choose to comfort a crying child:  gentleness grows

It’s not easy but we start developing new habits and new habits grow and become a new life and that is what counts.

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