Sermon Notes: 02/27 – True Identity #1

True Identity #1: Your Choice

Galatians 1:1-12

WELCOME: Welcome to Central Church of Christ, not a place, not building, not a creed, or religious system, but a people called out by God in the Upper Cumberland to Show God’s Love, Tell God’s Story, and Be God’s Family.  Today we start our new sermon series called, TRUE IDENTITY as found in the book of Galatians.

GALATIANS Background:

Where are we?

Upon arriving back in Antioch from his first missionary journey after eighteen months on the road, Paul received a report that the churches he had started in Galatia had fallen into hard times—specifically, they had fallen into error. A group of Judaizers—those who sought to make living under the Mosaic Law a requirement of the Christian faith—had gained an influence in the Galatian churches. Paul wrote the book a few months before his attendance at the Jerusalem Council in AD 49, a meeting where the apostles would take up this very topic (Acts 15:1–30).

Why is Galatians so important?

In advance of the Jerusalem Council, Paul’s letter speaks wisdom and clarity into the first real controversy that plagued the church in its early years—the relationship between Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles. Paul’s aggressive tone shows just how important it was to him that the people embrace unity in Christ, no matter their racial distinctions. For him, this was no minor issue, as he went so far as to call the Galatians deserters of Christ, people turning from the truth toward a gospel contrary to the one they had received from Paul (Galatians 1:6–9).

What’s the big idea?

When the Galatians fell away so quickly from the gospel of grace Paul had preached to them, they also made clear their disloyalty to Paul’s authority as an apostle. Therefore, Paul began the letter to the Galatians by spending two chapters defending that very issue. Only in chapter 3 did he begin to get to the heart of their error; namely, that these Galatians sought to be justified by the Mosaic Law. In contrast, Paul presented his argument that justification comes to people by faith in Jesus Christ, not by their works under the Law.

In Galatians 1:10 he writes: “am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  John said it this way: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other….” Matthew 6:24

Galatians 3:27-28 Paul told them “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.       (i.e. you don’t need to do anything else) There is neither Jew nor Greek (i.e. you don’t have to become a Jew 1st) there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

“even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9

Roughly half of Americans believe they will go to heaven if they are “generally good” or “do enough good things” (2020)

Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of NY said it this way: “I am telling you, if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven.”

Romans 3:10 Paul writes: “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one’”

“I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I RECEIVED IT BY REVELATION from Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:12

“our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do THE OTHER SCRIPTURES.” II Peter 3:15-16


Jesus described it in what we’ll talk about in our growth group meetings tonight.  “Why do you call me ‘Lord’ when you don’t do what I say?”  – Luke 6:46


CLOSE: I want introduce you to a person who has chosen their identity in Christ.

Preaching Minister – Sasha Prokopchuk

The minister says he gets a bit embarrassed when people in this eastern Ukrainian city recognize him as “that preacher on TV” who walks around town in a turtleneck, talking about the problems that vex Ukrainians and offering free Bible lessons.
Standing in the TV ministry’s “response center” — a converted apartment in a crumbling, Soviet-era building — Prokopchuk takes a letter from the top of a stack and reads it. A viewer wants to receive a magazine produced by the ministry and is interested in what the Bible says about love and marriage. Similar requests come, via letters and e-mail, from across the country — and from other former Soviet nations, including Russia.
For Prokopchuk, who has preached on the airwaves of Ukraine for more than a decade, those requests make the notoriety worthwhile.
“I don’t feel like I’m a TV guy — never,” he says. “God created this.”
Prokopchuk grew up in the Soviet Union as an atheist. He and his wife, Victoria, were newlyweds when his government called him to serve in the Red Army. He later worked in a Soviet hospital but earned little money. He tried coal mining and truck driving to support his family. When the Soviet Union collapsed, they lost what little money they had.
Frustrated and depressed, Prokopchuck read to take his mind off his problems. One night, unable to find a newspaper, he picked up a “black book with a cross” that his wife had bought from a beggar woman in a train station. He flipped through the pages and found a passage in which the author lamented that all of his life’s pursuits — from drinking wine to amassing riches — had proved meaningless. “I realized, ‘This book is about me,’” he said.  
He kept reading the Bible, and found encouragement in Jesus’ teachings about prayer and repentance. His relationship with his family improved — including his mother-in-law, who was housing them at the time.
After two years of studying on his own, Prokopchuk and his wife met Denny Kruse, a U.S. missionary in Donetsk. Kruse baptized Prokopchuk on May 2, 1995, and encouraged him to preach.
Prokopchuk served as minister and elder for the Petrovsky Church of Christ in Donetsk, which grew to nearly 400 members, he said. In 2004 he helped plant the Transfiguration Church of Christ, where he now ministers, in the city’s downtown.
He launched the TV program in hopes of reaching more lost souls. The episodes are filled with the life lessons he learned from studying the Bible. In 2001, Kruse helped secure funds to broadcast the show nationally.
“People like the episodes about human emotions,” Prokopchuk said. “We go through conflicts and worry … the Kingdom of God, peaceful life.” A key focus is making God’s word understandable, he added.

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