“Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 26, 2022

“Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Our text today is the Epistle from Galatians chapter 5. In this text, St. Paul takes up three points that very definitely affect you and the way you live. And they are “Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit”: the freedom we have in Christ; the works of the flesh that we are to put behind us; and the beautiful fruit that the Spirit will produce in our lives. So let’s go.

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Published in: on June 25, 2022 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Adopted as Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Second Sunday after Pentecost
June 19, 2022

“Adopted as Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Today is Father’s Day. Some of us here have a father we can honor and thank today. Some of us, though–our fathers are long gone. In my case, for instance, my father, LeRoy Henrickson, was born 103 years ago this past Friday. But he died when I was just a baby, so I only had one Father’s Day with him. I don’t know what it’s like to have a father you grow up with and have still around when you’re an adult, but I bet it’s pretty cool.

Whatever your situation is, whether you still have a dad to spend time with or not, today I want to assure you that you do have a Father to honor and thank and spend time with today and every day, really. And that, of course, is your heavenly Father. Our earthly fathers, fallible sinners though they are–nevertheless, our earthly fathers are to model and be a picture of the warmth and care we receive from our dear Father in heaven.

And so, yes, we all are being embraced today by the Father we all have in common. You and I are his dearly beloved children. We are his sons, in fact–all of us are, whether we are male or female. And because we are sons, we are also heirs, in line for an inheritance. We are sons and therefore heirs, because of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. My fellow baptized believers in Christ, we all have been “Adopted as Sons.”

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Published in: on June 18, 2022 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“God’s Green New Deal: From Works of the Flesh to Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 30, 2019

“God’s Green New Deal: From Works of the Flesh to Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Last week we called our message “God’s Green New Deal: From Slaves to Sons.” We picked up on that phrase, “Green New Deal,” which has been buzzing around in political circles this year. Only God’s Green New Deal won’t cost trillions and trillions of dollars. Actually, it’s much costlier than that, for it cost the precious blood of Christ, God’s own Son, which is of absolutely infinite value. But for you, God’s new deal is absolutely free. A free gift, the new covenant in Christ’s blood.

And that is what has brought us into God’s new covenant, his new deal, so to speak, which changes our status radically. In Christ, we have gone from slaves to sons. We’ve gone from being slaves under the law, imprisoned, held captive under the law, thinking that we could work our way into God’s favor, which we cannot. Oh, we would be condemned to eternal death and hell under that arrangement. But now, in Christ, we have been redeemed from our imprisonment, set free from our slavery. We have been adopted as sons, brought into God’s household and family, because of Christ our brother. We have been joined to Jesus in Holy Baptism, and so now we are God’s sons also. All of us are sons and heirs, in line to receive a most marvelous inheritance: You and I will share in Christ’s resurrection and his eternal life. It doesn’t get any better than that!

So last week we emphasized the “new deal” aspect of God’s green new deal, that this is God’s new covenant, moving us from slaves to sons. Now today we’ll take up the “green” aspect of it, green signaling new life and growth for those in Christ. Being in Christ–this changes who we are. It changes the way we live. God has brought us out of darkness and into the light. Out of the darkness of this old world and into the light of God’s kingdom. Now we can see. Now we can walk in God’s good paths. No longer are we totally dominated by our old sinful nature–the “flesh,” as Paul calls it. Now we have new life in the Spirit, given to us in baptism. We are new people, and God will help us live this way. And so our theme this morning: “God’s Green New Deal: From Works of the Flesh to Fruit of the Spirit.”

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Published in: on June 29, 2019 at 11:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“God’s Green New Deal: From Slaves to Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Second Sunday after Pentecost
June 23, 2019

“God’s Green New Deal: From Slaves to Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Earlier this year a certain congressperson from New York proposed what she called a “Green New Deal.” She was picking up on the term “New Deal,” thus indicating a massive expansion of government programs. And she combined it with the word “Green,” because she thought this new deal would help the environment. Well, in one sense, it would have been a green new deal, because it would have taken a lot of green, as in trillions and trillions of tax dollars. Well, her Green New Deal came up for a vote in the Senate, and the Senate said, “No deal!” It got exactly zero votes, none even from her own party.

Today, though, I want to tell you about another “new deal,” only this one is a whole lot better. And it won’t even cost you a cent. It’s already paid for. This new deal is also “green,” in the sense that green stands for new life and abundant growth. And what’s more, it’s a new deal that changes our status, from a very bad situation to a very good one instead. So now let’s hear about “God’s Green New Deal: From Slaves to Sons.”

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Published in: on June 22, 2019 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Interdependence Day” (Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 3, 2016

“Interdependence Day” (Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18)

On July 4, 1776, the United States of America declared their independence from Great Britain. Ironically, just a few days ago, with its Brexit vote, Britain declared its independence from the European Union. What goes around comes around, I guess. But the point is independence. We don’t like other people, or nations, telling us what to do. “You’re not the boss of me!” we think about others.

No, I’m not your boss. In fact, I’m your servant. And you know what? You’re called to be my servant, too. That’s how it works in the church. We are a community of servants, all called to serve and care for and love one another. We will see this in our text for today, the Epistle lesson from Galatians chapter 6. So instead of Independence Day, in the church God declares every day to be “Interdependence Day.”

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Published in: on July 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Baptized Children of Our Heavenly Father” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
June 19, 2016

“Baptized Children of Our Heavenly Father” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Today is Fathers’ Day, a day when we honor our fathers for the blessing that they are to us. And it is good and right that we do this. Now for many of us, our fathers are long gone. But that does not mean we don’t have a Father to honor today. In fact, I want to suggest to you that this is a great day to thank and praise our Father, that is, our heavenly Father. For you and I, we are “Baptized Children of Our Heavenly Father.”

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Published in: on June 19, 2016 at 4:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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“A Fruitful Tree” (Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)

Midweek Lenten Evening Prayer
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“A Fruitful Tree” (Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)

We just heard a bunch of readings from a variety of places in the Bible–Psalm 1, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and words of Jesus from the gospels of St. Luke and St. John–and all of these readings, about trees bearing fruit. This is an image of course of people and the fruits or works that they produce in their lives.

Now the first thing to recognize is that we all bear fruit. We all produce works in our lives. The question is, though: What kind of fruit are we producing? Good fruit or bad fruit? There is this distinction, you see, among fruit. Some fruit may be bad or rotten in God’s sight. Some fruit may be good and acceptable to God. So what kind of fruit are you producing in your life? Is God pleased with it? Our topic tonight, then, is this: How do I become “A Fruitful Tree”?

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Published in: on March 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The One Gospel Produces One Church” (Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 7, 2013

“The One Gospel Produces One Church” (Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18)

Today we wrap up our six-part series on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. And our theme today, as we look at chapter 6, is this: “The One Gospel Produces One Church.” First of all, though, let’s review where we have been in this series.

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Published in: on July 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Free to Be Fruitful” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
June 30, 2013

“Free to Be Fruitful” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Freedom is a wonderful thing. This week on Thursday, the Fourth of July, our nation will celebrate the 237th anniversary of declaring our freedom from Great Britain. But as we saw in our nation just this past week, freedom can also be abused, as when that freedom is used as a license for immorality. So the question becomes: What are we using our freedom for?

That’s the question St. Paul takes up in our Epistle for today from Galatians 5. What are we using our freedom for? Only, Paul here is talking about something far more important than political freedom. He’s talking about spiritual freedom, the spiritual freedom we have in Christ. What are we using that freedom for? And what Paul tells the Galatians–and us–is that, yes, we are free in Christ, with a true spiritual freedom. But that freedom is not meant to be used as a license for immorality or any other such sin. Rather, we have been set free for a purpose. For by the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are “Free to Be Fruitful.”

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Published in: on June 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Sons and Heirs” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
June 23, 2013

“Sons and Heirs” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

In our six-part sermon series on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, we have already talked about our changed situation as Christians. For example, last week we heard how we are “Justified by Faith, Crucified with Christ, Redeemed from the Curse.” Now today St. Paul takes us further into understanding our changed status. He says that now, through faith in God’s promise and our baptism into Christ, now we are “Sons and Heirs.”

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Published in: on June 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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