I Will Glory in the Cross
If you would please, take your Bibles and turn to Galatians chapter 6.
Many months ago we began our study of the book of Galatians on Sunday...
And today we bring that study to an end in Galatians 6:11-18.
You see with how large letters...
Literally, you see with what large letters.
Heís not referring to what has already been written...
Because the book of Galatians is a relatively small letter...
When you compare it to the books of I and II Corinthians and Romans.
Itís a small letter.
Heís not talking about what heís written already.
Heís talking about what heís fixing to write.
And Iíll say more about that in just a second.
>Martin Luther rightfully called the book of Galatians the Magna Carte of the Christian faith...
Because it is the book of Galatians that sets forth our liberty in Christ Jesus.
Not only does the book of Galatians set forth Christian liberty in a wonderful way...
The book of Galatians also provides a death knell to those who think they can go to heaven...
By the doing of good deeds or by the keeping of rules and regulations.
Itís a death knell to legalism.
There are two enemies of the cross of Jesus, and the book of Galatians confronts both of them.
One is liberalism.
Liberalism says that the cross is not important because the word of God cannot be trusted.
Well I tell you, liberalism is an enemy of God.
The other is legalism.
Legalism says the cross is not important because man can earn his own way into heaven...
And that is just as vile and venomous as liberalism.
Thank God, we do not have to listen to the voices of liberals...
Who destroy the word of God...
And neither do we have to listen to the voices of legalists...
Who would tell us that we must work our way into heaven.
Paul sets forth the liberty that we have in Jesus.
And in these verses that he closes the epistle with, he does three things.
>First of all, he gives an autographed summary of the book.
Look at verse 11.
Paul says: See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand.
Paul did not write his letters by hand.
But instead Paul dictated his letter to a scribe or a secretary.
The Holy Spirit of God spoke to Paulís heart and Paul would speak what the Holy Spirit said to him...
And another person would write.
You say, "Well why didnít Paul write his own?"
Paul seemingly wrote his own.
Other writers of the NT wrote their own.
Why didnít Paul write his own letters?
>Most likely it was because of Paulís very poor eyesight.
You see, Paul, before he became a Christian, was an outstanding Jewish scholar.
As a matter of fact, there was no anybody who would be called his peer among Judaism.
He had been trained at the feet of Gamaliel.
His whole life had been one to promote Judaism.
But one day on the Damascus Road, he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ...
The man whom he hated and the name that he had tried to eliminate from the face of the earth...
The name of Jesus.
On the road to Damascus to destroy another church and to scatter more Christians...
And to put many of them in jail, on that road Jesus appeared to him.
Knocked him off his horse.
Blinded him with that wonderful light of God.
And there lying in blindness on the road to Damascus...
Paul surrendered the reins of his heart to Jesus Christ and Jesus became his Lord...
And he was never the same again.
>But as a result of his becoming a Christian, Paul suffered sore persecution.
He was thrown into prison after prison.
He was beaten.
He was assaulted with fists, whipped with whips, smitten with rods.
Somewhere along the way either as a result of having been stoned or having been whipped...
Or having contracted some disease in some filthy dungeon...
An infection seems to have settled in Paulís eyes.
Eyes that were once clear and bright had become very, very dim and fuzzy.
It must have been an awful thing to look upon.
Paul tells us that it was an unpleasant thing to look upon his face.
Perhaps those eyes were always full of pus and running, and maybe they were red and bloodshot.
But to look at Paul would have been a very discomforting thing.
It would almost have made a person sick just to look at him.
And those eyes could not even hardly see anymore.
And so when the Holy Spirit of God gave him a letter, he would dictate that letter.
But on at least three occasions in the NT, when he comes to the end...
He reaches and he takes that pen and in his own hand he writes in great big block letters...
Like a little first grade school boy.
And the reason Paul is writing in those great big block letters...
Is because he has to write so that he could see what heís written.
So here we find a man of God, a man whose life had been transformed by the Lord Jesus...
And a man who was spending the last years of his life in service to the Lord who saved him...
A wonderful man, a godly man, a strong man...
A man of conviction, a man of character, a man whose life was lived in tune with the HS of God.
Itís sort of sad to see him with those eyes so ruined, and yet still on the firing line for Jesus.
He said, "You see with what large letters I write unto you with my own hand."
Some say that it was Paulís way of emphasizing the importance of what he was about to say.
But thatís not why he wrote in great big letters.
He wrote in great big letters because he could not see anymore.
>And he warns them, first of all, against the Judaisers.
Look there in Galatians 6:12.
Heís writing to the Christians in Galatia, and they had been invaded by a group of men called Judaisers.
They said they were Christians.
But they were proclaiming a false means of salvation.
You see the gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, he was raised from the dead...
And if anyone will turn from sin and put their faith in the Christ of the gospel...
They can be saved.
But these Judaisers said, "Oh no, itís not enough.
Itís not enough that Jesus died for our sins.
Itís not enough that he was buried...
Itís not enough that he was raised from the dead.
You cannot be saved just by repenting of sin and trusting Jesus.
Thereís more involved than that.
You have to become a Jew.
And for a Gentile man, that meant he had to be circumcised.
And once you become a Jew you have to fulfill all the strict requirements of the law.
You have to go through Jewish ritual, and then you have to keep all the Jewish rules and regulations...
And you cannot go to heaven unless you do that."
Paul says, "Beware of them."
>Look at what he says in verse 12.
He says: To those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised.
He said: the reason they do this is to make a show of you.
Itís like the old western gunslinger that puts a notch in the handle of his gun.
Every time one of these Judaisers wins a convert...
Who takes someone who is a Christian and draws them into that spirit of legalism...
They pride themselves in what theyíve done.
They boast about it.
They gather at night and say, "Well how many did you win over today?"
"Well I won two...I won five...I won seven."
Paul says they are motivated by pride.
Theyíre not energized by the HS of God.
Theyíre not energized by the gospel.
Theyíre not energized by the Lord Jesus.
Paul says, "That which drives them and motivates them to keep spreading the false gospel of law...
And rule and ritual and legalism is pride."
>But Paul says a second thing.
He says, not only are they motivated by pride, he says they are ashamed of the cross.
Look there in verse 12.
The last part of verse 12 says: to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
They didnít want to suffer any persecution because of the cross.
They didnít want to suffer the wrath of the Jews.
They didnít want to suffer the wrath of those who said, "You have violated the law...
You have turned your back on Moses.
You have forsaken the OT.
You have turned away from the 10 Commandments."
They didnít want to offend those people, and so they were willing to do anything.
They were willing to say anything.
They were willing to compromise anything because they were ashamed of the cross.
>I know people like that today.
I know Baptists like that.
Oh, they would never say, "Iím ashamed of the cross"...
But they are by the way they live.
When they have an opportunity at work to speak up in the name of Jesus they remain silent.
Silence is not golden...silence is yellow.
There are young people at school who have an opportunity to stand for JC...
And yet sometimes they donít.
Because theyíre ashamed of the cross.
There are homemakers who are ashamed of the cross...
There are people who work in factories that are ashamed of the cross...
Theyíll do anything to keep from having to stand.
How many people in your place of work know you to be a born-again...
HS filled, blood washed child of God...
And you have convictions upon which you stand?
How many people in your high school know you to be a born again child of God...
And you stand on the truth of the Bible and you will not compromise for anything?
How many know you to be that way?
How many people in your neighborhood know you to be a born again Christian?
They live different over there in that house because Jesus rules that house.
They donít fuss and fight all the time.
They donít go to all the parties the rest of the neighborhood goes to, because those folks are different.
They belong to Jesus. See?
Paul says, "Beware of these false teachers."
They are motivated by pride, and they are ashamed of the cross.
>And thirdly, he says they are hypocritical in their conduct.
Look in verse 13. He says:
Not even those who are circumcised obey the law.
Paul says, "Theyíre trying to enforce something upon you that they themselves do not even do."
Theyíre hypocritical in their actions...
Motivated by pride...
Ashamed of the cross.
Paul says, "I warn you against these false teachers."
>But not only do I find here a warning against the Judaisers in these great big block letters...
That Paul writes like a schoolboy, I find secondly a witness for the cross of Jesus.
Look in verse 14: May I never boast.
What does "boast" mean?
It means to find exceeding joy in something.
It is an expression which means that upon which I rest my assurance and confidence.
Paul says, "Let those boast in Judaism...
Let them boast in legalism...
Let them boast in keeping of rules and rituals and regulations...
Because if thatís the basis of their assurance, then let them boast in that."
But Paul said, "I tell you, I have something better than that.
I have something better than rule and regulation.
I have something better than ritual.
I have something better than law.
I have something better than legislation.
I have something better and that upon which I boast, that in which I glory...
That upon which I base my confidence is in the cross of Jesus Christ."
Paul says in verse 14: may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul says, "Iíll tell you, Iím witnessing to the cross...
Iím witnessing for the cross...Iím witnessing of the cross.
Iím witnessing about the cross.
I glory in the cross."
>You and I need to understand.
Weíre not our own.
We are what we are because of the cross of Jesus, upon which his blood was shed.
Weíre not our own, the Bible says, weíre bought with a price...
And the price is the blood of Jesus.
The liberals laugh at us for preaching a slaughter house theology.
Let them laugh because the Bible says, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin."
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Thank God for the blood of Jesus.
Paul says, "I glory in the cross because of the person of the cross."
Look what he says, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was no mere mortal man who died on the cross.
It wasnít just some good teacher who died on the cross.
It wasnít just some moral proclaimer who died on the cross.
It was no angel that died on the cross.
Not an archangel like Michael or Gabriel.
Not a cherubim...not a seraphim.
Not any other order of angels.
It was not even a lesser deity.
But friends, it was Godís Son Himself who died on the cross.
>"Bro. Joe, why do you Baptists make so much about the cross?"
Because of the person who died on it.
Not because it was two tree trunks cut down and cross-tied together.
We do not glory in the cross because it was the Roman capital punishment.
We do not glory in the cross because of the thousands of other people that died upon Roman crosses.
We glory in the cross because of the One who died there as our substitute.
While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
He gave his lifeblood that we might go free.
We were in prison and his blood sets us free.
Paul says, "I will glory in the cross because of the person of the cross."
>Secondly, he says, "I will glory in the cross because of the purpose of the cross."
Look there in verse 14: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Man, all the time people are wanting to try to get better and do better and be better.
They go to this organization...they go to that organization...
They turn over a new leaf...
They rededicate their old Adamic self.
I want to tell you, if youíre a drunk you cannot stop drinking without Jesus.
If youíre a dope addict, you cannot stop using dope without Jesus.
If youíre a whoremonger, you cannot stop whoremongering without Jesus.
But Jesus can stop all of that for you.
Paul says, "I glory in the cross because of the purpose of the cross.
The purpose of the cross is death."
Paul said, "There was a time when the world was attractive to me.
There was a time when I lusted after the world.
There was a time when I longed for the things of the world.
I had to have the things of the world...I craved the things of the world...
I went to bed thinking about the things of the world.
I woke up in the morning thinking about the things of the world.
But thank God, Jesus put to death that attraction.
No longer am I a slave.
No longer am I a puppet.
No longer am I a pawn in the hands of Satan.
Iím dead to those things and those things are dead to me."
>You want to know the most miserable man on the face of the earth today?
Itís not some drunk down there in the gutter.
Itís not somebody down in Tunica gambling away their home, gambling away their cars and their family.
The most miserable person on the face of the earth today is a person who sits in the house of God...
And heís never been born again by the spirit of God...
And he tries to be good when heís still bad.
But I tell you, Jesus will fix you.
He can straighten that out.
You try to be a Christian without Jesus.
Itís like trying to sail to the moon without a rocket ship.
You canít do it.
Youíre still overcome by lust...
Youíre still overcome by liquor...
Youíre still overcome by lewdness...
Youíre still overcome by ungodliness...
You still crave for the things of the world.
Is your passion in life still to have the biggest cars and the biggest house...
And the most money and the finest clothes?
I tell you, you need to get hitched up with Jesus.
Heíll fix you on that stuff.
Paul said, "All that old stuff died to me when Jesus came into my heart."
>But then he says, not only do I glory in the cross because of the person of the cross and the purpose of the cross...
He says, "I glory in the cross because of the power of the cross."
Verse 15: Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
Can I paraphrase it a little bit?
What does it matter whether you call yourself a Baptist or a Methodist...
Or a Presbyterian or a member of the Church of Christ or non-denominational?
What difference does it make if youíve not been made new in Jesus?
You see thatís what verse 15 says.
He says, "Thereís not anything in circumcision, and thereís not anything in uncircumcision."
"What Jesus does", he says, "is make you a new creature."
I mean you become new...youíre not the same anymore.
Now folks, Iím telling you, this old philosophy of life that you can walk down the aisle...
And fill out a card and get baptized and still be just as sorry and mean and rotten as you ever were...
Thereís something wrong with that.
The Bible talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The Bible talks about being changed by the power of God.
Donít you remember when you passed from death unto life?
Donít you remember when you left the kingdom of darkness and came into the kingdom of life?
Donít you remember when you stopped walking the pathway to hell and got on the pathway to heaven?
>"No Bro. Joe, I donít remember that."
Well then it probably never happened.
I mean, I donít think you can judge my experience by yours and yours by mine.
But now folks Iím telling you, if when Jesus came into your heart he didnít change you and make his presence known...
Then friend, Iím telling you, somebody is playing a trick on you.
And I donít believe itís him.
Jesus changes the way a person lives.
He changes the way they think.
He changes the way they feel.
Things that used to hurt my feelings, donít mean one thing anymore.
Who cares about that?
Things that used to make me mad donít make me mad anymore.
>Paul said, "I will glory in the cross because of its person and its purpose and its power."
>But not only does Paul give a warning against the Judaisers and a witness to the cross...
H expresses a wish for the believers.
Look there in verse 16: peace and mercy to all who follow this rule.
You see that crowd, they love to talk about rules.
Paul said thereís only one rule thatís important and thatís the rule of Calvary.
Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing blood? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Thatís the rule heís talking about.
The rule of the cross.
The rule of Calvary.
He says those that walk according to this rule, Paul says I wish...
"Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."
You see, these Judaisers were saying, "weíre the Israel of God."
No youíre not.
Youíre just born a descendant of Abraham.
Youíre not in Godís Israel just because youíre a child of Abraham.
You have to be born again to be in the real Israel of God.
You see there is an Israel that is counterfeit, and there is an Israel that is real.
There is an Israel that is just physical and there is an Israel that is spiritual.
I am an Israelite not by birth but by rebirth.
Iím in the real Israel of God.
And folks, I want to tell you, youíll never have the peace of God...
Youíll never experience the mercy of God unless youíre born again...
Unless the cross of Jesus Christ has come and made a difference in your life.
>I want to ask you.
You think about this past week.
Have you experienced this past week the peace of God?
Have you experienced the peace of God?
You say, "Well Bro. Joe, you donít know what kind of week Iíve had.
You donít know the report I got from the doctor.
Bro. Joe, you donít know what happened to me, you donít know how that affected me.
Bro. Joe, you donít know this.
Bro. Joe, you donít know that.
Bro. Joe, I got laid off from my job.
Bro. Joe, my child is sick.
Bro. Joe, itís been a terrible week at school.
Do you think the peace of God is only going to come into your life when everything is perfect?
Iíve got news for you.
When everything is perfect you donít need the peace of God.
You can make it yourself.
But itís in those times of crisis that the peace comes.
Oh, itís good, too. Good peace.
Jesus said, "My peace."
Not as the world gives...I donít want the worldís peace.
The worldís peace comes in a bottle.
The worldís peace comes out of the end of a needle.
The worldís peace comes on the psychiatristís couch.
Iím not interested in that kind of peace.
Iím interested in his peace.
It passes all understanding.
>So here we find Paulís autograph...his conclusion.
Heís writing it with his own hand.
>Verse 17, the second thing Paul does, is he gives to us his authorization to speak like he does.
"Paul, who gives you the right to say these things?"
Paul, you were not one who walked with Jesus when Jesus walked on the earth.
Paul, you did not see Jesus walking on the water.
Paul, you did not hear Jesus preach his sermons.
Paul, you did not see Jesus still the sea and calm the winds.
Paul, you never saw Jesus make a blind man see or a deaf person hear...
Or a dumb person speak or a crippled person walk.
Paul, who gives you the authority? By what right do you say these things?
>Look what he says in verse 17.
He says, "Donít trouble me about that anymore because I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
That expression "the marks" in the Greek NT, "ta stigmata"...
Means, "the grand marks."
>Out on the western plains when calves are born they will burn into their flesh a brand that declares ownership.
That is "ta stigmata".
Paul says, "You want to know by what right I saw these things?"
He says, "Look at the brand marks in my life. Look at my body."
>"Paul, where did you get those deep cutting scars on your face?
Scars on this cheek and scars on the forehead, and half of your chin knocked off.
Paul, where did all those scars come from?"
>Paul says, "Oh, at Lystra they stoned me to death."
"Paul, where did you get all those scars on your back? Man, all those crosses and cris-crosses?
Paul, your back looks like it has been through a meat grinder.
Where did you get those scars?"
Paul says, "Well five times the Jews whipped me with a cat of nine tails.
And each time of those five times they hit me 39 times."
You see, the Jews thought that the 40th lash would kill a man, so they just hit him 39 times.
Paul says, "Five times they hit me 39 times with a cat of nine tails."
And then he says, "Three times the Romans beat me."
And the Romans didnít care how many lashes they put on you.
They didnít stop at 39.
They just kept going.
And so Paul says, "With those cane rods they beat me.
Three times they beat me mercilessly...
Thatís where those scars came from."
"Paul, look at those wrists. Paul, look at your ankles....where did those scars come from?"
>Paul said, "Oh, I was over here in this prison in Phillippi.
I was over here in this prison in Rome.
I was down here in this prison in another place.
And every time they put me in prison they chained guards to each hand and they put my feet in stock.
And they were so tight, when I would move my wrists or I would move my feet they would just rub and blister.
Thatís where those scars came from."
Paul says, "You want to know what right I have to say what Iím saying?
Do you see these scars all over my wrists? Do you see these scars all over my eyes?"
The brand marks....thatís the only time in the NT that phrase is used.
Itís not found anywhere else.
But it was used in other writings.
Many times soldiers would be scarred to prove which side they were fighting on.
I mean anybody could change their uniform.
And so many soldiers were marked with markings.
They were scarred with markings that identified them as a soldier in a particular army.
Slaves were marked.
If a man bought a slave he would brand him so that he couldnít run off and be somebody elseís slave...
That was maybe a nicer man.
If you were a slave, you were scarred with a brand.
Sometimes people let themselves be scarred to prove their love and affection for someone.
"I love you and I want my life to belong to you, and I cut myself, I mark myself as a devotion to you."
Paul was a soldier in the army of Jesus.
Paul was the bondslave of the Lord Jesus, and Paul was in love with Jesus.
He said, "What authority? I bear on my body the marks of God."
>Having given that autographed conclusion, having given that authorization for what he has said...
He closes out an apostolic benediction.
It says in verse 18: the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
>The older I get the more I understand that the greatest word that ever came from the lips of God is the word "grace."
No man could ever conceive of a word like that.
Only God could manufacture a word like grace.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God.
I could never earn it.
I could never buy it.
I could not work for it.
Itís a gift.
Weíre saved by the grace of God.
It is a gift from God.
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Paul says, "May his grace be with your spirit."
Thatís on the inside.
There are a lot of folks, they look pretty good on the outside.
They can walk the walk...talk the talk.
Jesus said, "On the inside they are full of dead menís bones."
>I want to ask you today.
"Has the grace of God ever penetrated your body and come into your spirit?"
You want to be a Christian? You have to experience grace.
You think you can be saved up there in that baptistery?
I can baptize you in that baptistery 28 times and you would still die and go to hell.
You think you can be saved walking down one of these aisles?
You canít...only grace.
Amazing grace can save, and thatís what the book of Galatians is about.
Itís not by rule...itís not by regulation.
Itís not by doing the dos and donting the doníts and dotting Is and crossing Ts...
You are saved by grace...you live by grace...you die by grace.
You go to heaven by grace...you spend eternity by grace.
Itís all of him.