Good News (Sept 14)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

September 14

Good News 

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 104:10-18 | Isaiah 15:1-18:7 | Galatians 1:1-24 | Proverbs 23:12

Today’s Scripture Focus: Galatians 1

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– [7] which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:6-8 NIV).

Did you notice how abruptly Galatians begins? Paul normally begins with a long thanksgiving passage and then a prayer for the church. But this time, he gets right to the point. His words are pointed and passionate. That should tell you that he was very concerned about the Galatian church–very concerned about any attempt to distort the gospel and keep us from the freedom we have in Christ.

Paul’s mission was to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. Insisting that the people of God included all believers—Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female—there should be no exclusion through boundary markers of Jewish identity: primarily circumcision, food and Sabbath laws. By insisting on these external requirements, the false teachers were perverting the gospel. Insisting that Gentiles live as Jews is an unnecessary addition to the gospel that made it “no good news at all.”

The gospel is good news for all people. We should not do anything to confuse or pervert it. We should not add to it. We should not make it more difficult through adding rules or condemnation. We should not exclude those unlike us. In fact, we should go out of our way to eliminate the distractions and let the simple truth shine through. The gospel is meant to be good news for all people of all cultures.

Don’t let anyone take your freedom. Don’t let others impose unnecessary rules and regulations.  Don’t let them look down upon you because you worship and serve Jesus a little differently than they do. Your identity is found in Christ, not in the externals. Open your heart to Jesus and live in intimate fellowship with him. Find the freedom of life lived to the full in the power of the Spirit.

Heavenly Father, help me to live in the freedom that is found in Christ and his good news—the freedom to love, to serve and to obey. Keep me from legalism and license that I might indeed find true liberty. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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