It is a privilege to welcome Rev. John Chan to the pulpit this week. Rev. John is a long-time friend and partner in mission of SCBC. He was commissioned by our mission board (Canadian Baptist Ministries https://www.cbmin.org) to go to Germany in 2008 with the view of evangelizing Chinese students in that nation. During that time a number of our people took part in the ministry through our Short Term Mission projects. In July 2017 he and his wife moved back to Toronto to take on a new responsibility with CBM as Director of International Partnerships. He represents CBM to coordinate mission strategy and ministries with their partners worldwide. He also directs CBM’s global field staff and their ministries.
John will be preaching from Galatians 5:1-15 with a special focus on verses 13 and 14 which reads,
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you haven’t read the book of Galatians you are missing out on learning about one of the great truths of our faith, and that is, we are free! We are free from trying to keep the law to win God’s favour, we already have his favour through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
At the beginning of chapter 5 Paul will say that that means we don’t have to be circumcised (5:2-6) (the ultimate symbol of the law) because Jesus has met the requirements of the law for us. But he will go on to say that this new freedom does not allow us to act any way we like (5:13). Just because we are free from the law does not mean that we are now free to be immoral. We are new creations with the very Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us (2:20) and so we are free to reflect his character in all aspects of life (5:24-25). Truly, we are freed to serve.
One of the best ways to reflect the truth of Christ in you is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (5:14b) Paul, will clearly tell that us that this means “serving one another humbly in love” (5:14a). Practically, it means that if your neighbor needs a ride somewhere, you do it. If they need a babysitter, you offer willingly. If their driveway needs shoveling you lend a hand.
None of this is done looking for a reward or for thanks – it is all done out of recognition that Christ has set you free from trying to grasp, win, cajole or gain anything from this world or from God. You are freed to serve, because in Christ and through Christ you have been given every spiritual blessing.
May you know the joy of your freedom in Christ,