WHO Is the Legalist?

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Doing my research for this week’s “One Another” message. Came across some interesting comments by Warren Wiersbe that I had to stop what I was doing and post them!

“The legalist is not interested in bearing burdens. Instead he adds to the burdens of others.”
“The legalist is always harder on other people than he is on himself, but the Spirit-led Christian demands more of himself than he does of others that he migh be able to help others.”
“Instead of trying to restore the erring brother, the legalist wil condemn him and then use the brother to make himself look good.”
“The legalist rejoices when a brother falls, and often gives the matter wide publicity, because then he can boast about his own goodness and how much better his group is than the group to which the fallen brother belongs.”

What I felt was eye-opening was that so often the more conservative Christian is usually painted as the “legalist.” But Wiersbe’s comments show that those who are less conservative and would never consider themselves as a legalist actually fall into that camp more than they realize.

How often does the cussing, drinking, slouchy, smoking, long-haired, inked, pierced, hand-waving, coarse, metal band loving, Obama loving, ‘R’ rated movie watching, ‘I-have-my-freedom-in-Christ’ Christian publicly or privately take pleasure at the failures of the straight-laced, anti-TV, hymn singing, jacket & tie wearing, beehive hairdo, teetotalling, no movie watching, Obama hating, muzak listening, squeky clean, white sock wearing, never said a dirty word Christian?

Both camps or brands of Christians mentioned above are harder on the other brand of Christians than they are on themselves. Both camps seem more interested in gloating than restoration. Both take smug pleasure in the downfall of the other, thinking they “deserved it” and are quick to post about it!

The point is this — we are ALL more legalistic than we realize or would like to admit! Let’s move away from us/them attitudes and move toward the writing of Paul in Galatians 6:4 — “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.”

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Great Christian Paradox

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I am a fan of J. Hampton Keithley III. Don’t know him personally, but I read his work regularly. And use it. And grow from it!

In preparing to teach from Galatians 5 on ‘serving one another’ I found this juicy excerpt of his.

Here lies a great Christian paradox. It is interesting that Paul, having warned these Christians against becoming slaves again to the Law and the flesh, now urges them to become servants, slaves to one another (5:13) which includes, of course, being bond slaves to God (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 12:1). This paradox is tremendously instructive:

    Slavery to one another and to God is nothing at all like slavery to the flesh or to the Law.

    Slavery to flesh and the Law result in death, misery, and frustration. It causes us to be consumed, torn apart by one another.

    On the other hand, slavery to God and one another results in true freedom and maximum blessing.

    Slavery to sin is involuntary and never neutral. It is degenerative and destructive both to self and to others.

    Slavery to the Law is voluntary, it is man choosing to save himself. As such it is foolish, burdensome, but also completely helpless to change our lives from the inside where it really counts.

    Slavery to God and to one another is voluntary. But it is a product of love and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it becomes a source of glory to God, and joy, peace, and blessing to self and to others.

“One Anothering” 101

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This week begins a long series of messages on the “one another” passages in the NT. You know — love one another, honor one another, bear each other’s burden, be kind to one another, submit to one another — there are 59 times that the phrase is used as a specific commandment.

I am so grateful for how God loves us and chooses to teach us. As I am preparing this series, the Holy Spirit is showing me just how awful I am at “one anothering”.

Twice today, God has used folks here at CCC to reveal the flaw of my heart and show me how far from the mark I am when it comes to honoring and loving others ‘as myself’ — Matthew 27:39.

Even as I write this, I can think of other instances yesterday that were not in line with how the Lord would have me be.

I feel humbled, ashamed, excited, refreshed. Ashamed at my sin, yet excited to sense the Spirit’s work in my heart chastising me and refreshing me, cleaning me from the shame and guilt.

An important lesson I am learning about “one anothering” is the power of forgiving. Having to ask for forgiveness today and then being forgiven, revealed to me the great power we have in each other’s life to set each other free. I really appreciate my brothers and sisters in Christ who did that for me today!

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