Posts Tagged With: new life

What Counts? Sermon notes from Galatians or Part 2: Seeds, Fruit and a New Life.

What counts?  What is important? What is God looking for from me?  How do I get there?

Paul is clearly concerned for the Galatians.  He is astonished, perplexed.  After he had spent time teaching them the Good News that faith in Jesus the Messiah was what was required, they were turning back to Jewish Laws and rituals.

5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

6:15 “Neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything: what counts is a new creation.”

Circumcision represents keeping the Jewish law.  Circumcision was the Old Covenant Marker.  It showed who God’s people were. The males were circumcised.

What is the New Covenant marker?  (God made a New Covenant with us in Jesus)

Ephesians 1:13: “And you also were included in Christ, when you heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.”

Keeping the law, or a set of rules or regulations is not what counts.  It’s a new life of faith (which comes from believing in Jesus) expressing itself through love that counts.  This new life is the Spirit’s work in us.

How do we get to this new life?  Does it just happen?  Do we need to do something?  Yes!  We work together with him.  He does the hard part of transforming our lives.  We cooperate with him and this is how.

Here is where seeds and fruit come in.

What are these?  Seed packets!

What happens when I plant these in my garden and the conditions are good?  Good soil, water, sun, etc…. They grow!

If I plant a tomato seed will I get a thistle?

Seeds: 6:8: “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

What are we sowing?

What are the choices we make?

What do we say yes to?  What do we say no to?

These are seeds.  Our choices are these seeds.

 Fruit: 5:19-23: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such thins there is no law.”

These fruit grow out of the seeds we plant. Good fruit or bad fruit depending on what seed is sown!

This fruit produces life or death in us. It produces life or death in our relationships.

Listen to some words of Jesus about fruit:

Matt. 7:16: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”

John 15:8: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

People marked by the Spirit of God are bearing good fruit! Our lives tell who we are!  Our words??? Do they match our lives?  Our lives count.  They show God’s glory.

In order to get fruit of love, joy, peace…… we make choices everyday to sow seeds that will grow these fruit into our lives.

We choose to forgive, rather than hold a grudge: peace and love grow.

We choose to help our stressed neighbor: kindness grows.

We choose to not react to the driver who cuts us off:  patience and self-control grows.

We choose sit on the beach and enjoy a sunset: peace grows.

We choose to comfort a crying child:  gentleness grows

It’s not easy but we start developing new habits and new habits grow and become a new life and that is what counts.

Categories: Sermon Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeds, Fruit and a New Life

Bill and I met Scott in a sports bar last night.  We were there because of NBA playoffs and a bad cable connection.  Bill had been waiting all day to see the game.  So when he couldn’t fix the cable and it was a no-show for watching the game at our house we started talking about a Sports Bar.  He did a little research on-line, we pushed back dinner plans and off we went.  We walk into the bar with 4 TV’s going and men sitting around watching and chatting.  We find our little table and start focusing in on the game.  Bill brings out the moose dice he got from our 80-year-old buddy in Colorado.  He loves that game! We watch the game, sip our beers, and play a little moose dice during the lulls.  As the game is winding down Scott comes over and says, “Hey, what game are you playing.”  We invite him to sit down and we’d teach him.  Well, we never got around to that. Instead he starts pouring out the pieces of his broken life.  He has a little girl, a broken marriage, and drug and alcohol addictions. He has a Lutheran background, but where is God?  Who is He? We told him we were sent there just for him.  We never came here before and probably won’t come back. We had a message for him. God loves him and hasn’t forgotten him.  Later I wished I had added, “you can turn your life around now, today, one step at a time, God will help you.”

Scott made a lot of choices to get to where he is today.  We each make choices everyday.  Galatians talks about the seeds we sow.  Seeds are small, if you don’t look close they seem insignificant.  But if you plant a row of little carrot seeds, after a while you will get some delicious orange vegetables.  If you plant a row of weeds what will you get?  Seeds produce fruit, the fruit produces a new life.  That is what counts.  Not keeping rules and laws, but letting the Spirit help us to make good choices, plant good seeds, bear good fruit, live a good life.

At one point Scott pointed to the men around and said: “Divorced, divorced, divorced – all of them!”  Not only that but we heard in the same 24 hours several stories of divorce, brokenness, drunkenness leading to bad decisions. Ok, Lord what are you saying?

Little things are important.  Very important.  They add up to become big things. Choices I make every day.  Choices to love, to forgive, to accept, to work on relationships, instead of giving up.  Choices to be kind, to be patient, to be self-controlled, not to be angry.  We make these decisions everyday.  They add up!

For Scott

Am I lost or am I found?

If I party hardy will I drown?

Lift my head up

See the light

Take my feet out of this mess

See the path laid out for me

Drying out along the way

It’s clearer now

More like the day

If I focus I can stay

Now I see the hand that guides

I feel the presence by my side

Lead me home

I want to go

Now I see where I have been

Away from You

My wounds so deep

My heart is shattered

How can I live?

Your words bring hope

I will listen, not lose heart

Stay this course

You’ve got my back

© 2011 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, Life, Paths, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: