A Bragging Believer

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 14
Subject: Bragging; Pride; Jesus, Salvation in; Redemption; Witnessing

A BRAGGING BELIEVER

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Galatians 6:14

The South Florida Sun Sentinel ran an article May 27, 2015 concerning the story of a man named Willy Lear. On a gravestone in a little southern town, the story reports these words, “Sacred to the Memory of Willy Lear – He Took My Place.” How did that inscription come to be placed on a grave marker?

The story goes that during the Civil War the Union soldiers captured a company of rebel guerrilla fighters known as the "bushwhackers." Because they were not in uniform, they were all sentenced to be shot as spies. Willy Lear was a courageous young Union soldier who was acquainted with one of the convicted rebels. He begged his commanding officer to let him take the place of the condemned man who had a large family to care for. "My parents are dead and I have few friends," Lear said, "no one will miss me. Please let me take his punishment!" The officer finally gave his consent. Lear pulled the condemned man from the death line and took his place to die.

I’m not sure about the veracity of that historical incident, but I can tell you that there is someone who took my place and His name is Jesus! Paul the Apostle was a man who made it his aim to brag on Christ and never to brag about himself. That is the nature of the true Christian, to be a believer in Jesus always bragging about Jesus.

Humans are given to bragging - about almost anything. I read a story about an American and a Moroccan arguing over the greatness of their citizens. A Moroccan named Amir said, "You Americans are always boasting how Paul Bunyan was the greatest lumberjack ever, but we Moroccans know that Ibrim Hassan was the world's greatest lumberjack." The American, Fred, replied, "I never heard of Ibrim Hassan. Who was he?" Amir said, "He was the famous lumberjack of the Sahara Forest." Fred frowned and asked, "Umm, don't you mean the Sahara Desert?" Amir smiled proudly and said, "Oh, sure, NOW it's a desert."

Christians know that Christ is everything to us, and thus it is our aim to make much of him while making little of ourselves. Paul said it best in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Let’s think today about the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us and how wonderful it is that we can know Him as Lord and Savior. We can brag about four things related to Christ and His plan to redeem those who place their faith in Him.

First, note that …

I. A Single Plan

If there were a hundred ways to be redeemed, forgiven and to discover a way to heaven, Jesus would not be so important. He would be just one way among many. Even if there were three ways to be saved, the nature of Christ would be reduced. Yet there is only one way and Jesus is that way.

We recall a very familiar passage from the New Testament spoken from the lips of our Lord, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Now, that doesn’t leave much room to wiggle does it? Jesus said, “I am THE way.” Then He continued by saying, “No MAN (person) comes.” This means that not one single person can come to salvation by any other way than that which is made available through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus concluded by saying, “…no one comes to the Father but by me.” Only ONE way, for any ONE person, except through God’s ONE Son.”

I know that Christians are pressed hard by the world to give up on the exclusive nature of our message concerning salvation, forgiveness and the promise of heaven, but Jesus left no space for us to squeeze in another way – another path – another means of redemption. He didn’t offer another way because there is no other way.

We just celebrated a few weeks ago the 50th anniversary of the American astronauts setting foot on the moon. Reading or watching a documentary concerning that momentous event reveals how exact everything had to be in order for success to take place. There was no room for error. A single mistake, and the two astronauts that stepped on the moon would have died landing there or would landed by died without any means of escape from the moon's surface. Now, do you think the astronauts took it upon themselves to say, “We don’t have to listen to NASA or the directors in Houston, Texas. We know what we are doing. We are going to travel and land the way we want to.” No, they followed every procedure to the most minute degree necessary. That led to success.

A dear friend of mine waited as his wife went through a surgery that required every part of the process to be done with exact precision. One slip, and his wife was dead or paralyzed for life. Do you think the surgeon said, “I know what the x-rays reveal, I see the MRI results, but I’m going to do this my way!” No, of course not. He worked with great skill and carried out the surgery successfully.

A moon landing for two men or a surgery upon the human body  must be done correctly and exactingly. Now think of how much more important it is that your redemption is carried out by the ONE Savior who is able to complete the work. Paul was bragging on Jesus, for Jesus was the only ONE who could accomplish the mission successfully.

Notice another thing about our salvation by remembering that …

II. A Simple Plan

Oh, how simple is the plan of salvation. Paul says that God had a plan that was meant to save “me”. The method God uses to save any and all who come to His Son is so simple that many miss it. It wasn’t simple for Jesus, of course, for He had to bear our sins at the cross, but it is simple for “me” to turn to Him in repentance and saving faith.

Have you bought anything recently that you had put together? You know, one of those products that comes with two hundred pieces and a tiny wrench that has instructions written by someone who doesn’t read English as a first language. I ordered a artists drawing table on Amazon recently, and it was the first thing I had attempted to assemble in a long time. Well, I moved along just fine till the entire thing, including the large glass top was in place. Just as I was attaching the top, which was a tedious task, I realized that I had mis-read and misunderstood one of the instructions. I had to take two-thirds of that thing apart to get the assembly correct. Yes, I admit that I lost my temper once of twice. Someone asked me if I said a “bad” word in the process. I said, “I don’t do that, but it is sort of like a bad shot on the golf course for me. I don’t cuss when I miss a golf shot, but wherever I spit on the golf course the grass never grows again!”

I praise the Lord that salvation does not involve self-assembly. You don’t need pages of instructions to work your own way through wearisome steps to become a Christian. Salvation involves simply accepting what Jesus, who did it all for you through His death and resurrection. No wonder Paul was bragging on no one but Jesus. After all, no one could do what Jesus did but Jesus.

Now, think with me about one more reason Paul was bragging only on Jesus. You see, …

III. A Sure Plan

Paul wrote in verse 15 of Galatians 6 that God’s work in Jesus Christ produces a “new creation.” Do you see what Paul is saying? He is telling us that God did not merely dust us off. The Lord did not just clean us up to look better. Jesus does not rehab us, like someone who is flipping a house in order to sell it. He doesn't just put new paint over an old wall - Jesus makes us NEW. He saves those who trust Him and makes them Brand New!

Do you like new things? Well, some people like old things. My daughter and son-in-law love rustic things made 100 years ago, and my wife and I have a beautiful RCA Victrola that they gave us that is about 80 years old. It is full height and plays the old 78 RPM records. It needs no electricity, since you can simple wind it up and turn it loose. We treasure that Victrola, so, yes, I love old things, too. But, I must admit that I really like new things as well. Like a new mattress that doesn’t sink in the middle. How about a new car that has that wonderful smell that only new cars have! I especially like a new golf club, because it makes me think that perhaps I’ve found one that will automatically do what I can’t do myself. When it comes to listening to music, I would rather listen to it on the airpods my son recently gave me for my birthday than to hear it played on a record player, Walkman or an old tube-type radio.

Old things are beautiful and wonderful to own, but something new is ... well, NEW. And think about, anything that is old now was once a new thing. In the case of human beings, however, we came into the world as sinners. I am a sinner by birth and a sinner by choice. My sin is as old as Adam! No rehab job would do for my soul. I needed something to make me NEW.  God did not rehab me - He made me NEW through His Son. My old life was not so good, in fact the Bible clearly tells me that my life was corrupt. In fact, the Bible goes further than that. We read of our lives before salvation in Ephesians 2:1-3:

"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

Wow. A person who is without Jesus Christ is DEAD. Not only is a person still in his sins dead, but he is a child of wrath. In other words, nothing is waiting out there in the future but judgment.

But, Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us what happens when we trust Christ as Lord and Savior: 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

There it is – God’s love worked a miracle of new life, forgiveness, grace and the promise of heaven in us when we believed and trusted Jesus.

Conclusion

There is a story of a doctor, an engineer, and a politician who engaged in an argument about which profession was the oldest and most important.

The doctor said, "Well, without a physician mankind could not have survived, so I am sure that mine is the oldest and most important job on earth."

"No," said the engineer, "an engineer has the be the first and most important. You see, before life was on earth there was complete chaos and it took an engineer to bring about order, harmony and tranquility.”

The politician spoke up boldly and proclaimed, “So, there was chaos at the beginning. That means that a politician had to be first, for who else could have created such chaos?”

It was not the politician who created chaos in human life - it was SIN! Since we are all sinners, we have nothing to brag about. But, once we come to Christ, we can brag forever about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us.