Galatians: The Rule (and Domination) of Law

The Rule of Law is the system under which we live in America. We press for law and order. If something doesn’t seem right we want to pass a law or at least a rule to fix the problem. We live daily with thousands of laws and rules and guidelines and procedures – some of which we can live with and some of which cause us great irritation.

When Paul addresses the Galatians he actually calls them foolish for following the law. But specifically he was saying that the law was given to show us our transgressions, but that it was incapable of saving anyone. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Galatians and we, by extension, cannot be good enough to earn our way into heaven. To accept the grace of God as found in the atoning work of Christ and then decide we are going to try to be good enough for God to accept us is nothing more than a slap in the face of God. It’s not just foolish – it’s ungratefully rude.

Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. He did not say that if we keep His commandments we will love Him. We must do the things He wants us to do, but not because it’s some kind of fraternal initiation to get us into heaven, but because we truly love Jesus and want to honor Him in all we do.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 18, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

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We’re Off on the Road to Emmaus

The human mind is the most amazing computer ever created. And the human mind is constantly seeking to store and organize the information it receives. This is the work of our cognitive ability – the way we think. And if something doesn’t line up with our natural thought processes it creates a state of mental discomfort known as cognitive dissonance. In music 2 notes that clash with one another are called dissonant. In the same way, 2 ideas that clash with one another are dissonant and hence, the cognitive dissonance.

Cleopas and his traveling companion were dealing with cognitive dissonance. Their soon-to-be victorious Messiah had been crucified. They heard reports that Jesus was indeed alive, but they had no proof to counteract the fact that they knew He was dead. Their knowledge of the facts and what they had witnessed was being challenged at every turn.

The wonderful thing about cognitive dissonance is that it provides the foundation and opportunity for the deepest and most profound learning. Something that “does not compute” in our brains demands resolution. Teachers use cognitive dissonance to facilitate learning because when the points of dissonance – the clashing thoughts – are resolved, the brain records those moments as special and memorable. Jesus, the Master Teacher, used the cognitive dissonance of the Emmaus Road travelers to teach them how the entire Bible was pointing to Him. And it was an exceptionally memorable moment for them.

If you are experiencing cognitive dissonance, Jesus always has the resolution even if that resolution is not necessarily the solution you wanted in your situation. Let Him use your point of conflict and your clashing ideas to teach you by the power of the Holy Spirit Who is in you. The mind that finds resolution to the dissonance finds peace and sometimes peace in the midst of the storm. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Next week we will examine some of the other post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, February 13, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org
Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast
Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

First Look at the Evidence of the Resurrection

The first to give witness and testimony to the birth of Jesus were the shepherds. The first to give witness and testimony to the resurrection of Jesus was a woman. You would be hard pressed to find two groups of people lower in social standing within the 1st century Jewish community than shepherds and women. No offense to either group – that’s just the way it was. The shepherds first beheld and worshiped the new born king and a woman, Mary of Magdala, first beheld the empty tomb after the resurrection and worshiped the One she called Rabonni.

The first few verses of John 20 give great insight into the mindset of those who were following Jesus. At first, they just didn’t get it. Nothing made sense.. John 20:9 says, “As yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” They didn’t get it then . . . but that was then. What happened after that transformed them into a Spirit-led force that couldn’t be silenced. What they saw at the beginning of John 20 was just a beginning of the things they would witness after the resurrection of our Lord – things that undeniably prove that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the dead. Hallelujah!

The next 3 sessions will be devoted to events which followed the resurrection. We will see more evidence of His resurrection and direction of how we are to live because Jesus died and rose again.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, February 6, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org
Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast
Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas