Pastor Daniel Montgomery is head pastor at Sojourn Community Church here in Louisville. Sojourn was a church plant eight years ago and is now a thriving church in the city. Daniel is married with three children and is an outdoorsman. He is working on a DMin at the Reformed Theological Seminary.
It seems like yesterday that I was here at Southern and it was here that I found a foundation in the Word. It is also intimidating to be standing here. I have had to remind myself that God is big and you are small, tiny, finite creatures. I have had to remind myself that when I am preaching, I am still preaching to people who are desparately insecure and who desparately need Jesus. Al Mohler is desperately insecure and desperately needs Jesus.
Pastor Montgomery preached from Galatians 2:20-21:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Galatians is a letter that Paul wrote to a church that he planted. They started strong and were rooted in Christ. Paul likened what had happened in church planting as that of a work of a builder. A solid foundation must be laid first and that is what Paul strived for. However, men came and challenged the foundation of Christ alone. Paul then writes this letter as more of a work of demolition. He comes swinging a hammer from the outset and continues throughout.
This is not just Paul that theologian going off on bad orthodoxy. This is Paul going off because his children are leaving Christ—the only one who can save their souls. He has seen the church lose their lives because men have messed with the gospel. It happened then and it happens now.
Crucified with Christ
Paul then sets before them the gospel life. Galatians 2:20-21 is this gospel life for all of eternity. Gospel life is a life crucified with Christ. What does this mean? By faith, Jesus’ crucifixion is my crucifixion. I first thought that Paul was a varsity Christian and that he had reached a level of Christianity that many never attain. His was a total surrender.
However, to be crucified with Christ is to simply be a Christian. We are to be crucified to our performance. Paul tells us three times that we have been justified by faith alone in Christ alone. We know that when something is said three times we are to pay attention. Paul is telling us that we have died through the Law in order that we may live in Christ. The Law makes it clear that we are not able to measure up to the standard. Our being crucified with Christ allows us to live up to that standard.
Many Christians are unaware that they have died to the old way; they have died to their own performance. Your best deeds have been buried with Christ. We have been buried with Christ. Our culture is now dictating to our churches. Sundays are more about performance than the gospel. It does not stop there. It is every day.
Christ in you
Paul says this is not the case. He says we have been crucified with Christ and He now lives in us. If we have been buried in Christ, then we have died to the self completely. Paul takes this a step further and says that if Christ is in us, then we are in Christ. We need to live in that reality.
Christ in you is the hope of glory. Since Christ is in you, you are dead to the law. We need to keep this in our minds daily. We don’t get it as much as we think. This can be tested by asking one another how their spiritual life is today or how their Christian life is today. The majority of the people will say I am not reading my bible or I am not praying. They will say I need to serve more.
They get the gospel in that Christ died for them. However, there is a disconnect between the gospel we proclaim and the assurance we live with daily. It is no longer about your performance! This is not something we achieve by a mystical experience. If you are a Christian, then this applies to you! You now live by faith in the son of God. It is not something you have or will achieve. It is something you have received by faith.
Christ is Received
We live by faith. We are saved by faith. Not a nebulous theoretical faith, but a faith rooted in confidence. It is not faith by Jesus’ example. It is faith in what He did. I am tired of hearing that I need to be like Jesus. The patter of Jesus should always drive us to the provision of Jesus which directs us to the power of Jesus.
The love of God is the means and motivation of every aspect of our lives. Galatians 2 asks us where we are going for love. Everyday, Christians are being picked off because they are substituting the love of Christ because of a love-substitute.
Are you going to the love-substitute of success? We have experienced loads of success at Sojourn. I have found myself heading there as the pastor and have repented. Maybe you are going to the love-substitute of recognition. I know what it is like to be addicted to substitutes and I am telling you that it is very similar to these love-substitutes. They never satisfy completely. Only Christ’s love can satisfy completely.
How do we get in on that love? We get it only by looking at the cross. He was crucified for me and for you. We turn afresh to the love of Christ. Before we can say that Christ has died for you, we need to know that Christ died for me.
Christ’s love is the reason we take the gospel to the streets. God can advance His glory through our busyness, but intends to do so through the gospel. Luther understood this when he saw that the gospel was about personal pronouns: Christ loved me. Christ died for me.
This simple truth leads to the greatest missionary movements of all time. We seem to forget this. We are told to read books about this. I am telling you that while those are great books, we need to not rely on those for the spreading of the gospel. We need to be praying! We need to live the gospel ourselves. This is why Paul says in Ephesians that he prays for spirit and wisdom. I keep praying for you so that you can live in the gospel daily.
Are you living a life crucified in Christ? Are you living in a world not revolving around you? Are you living in the reality that not only has Christ died for you, but that He lives in you? Your Christian life is Christ. Are you living by faith? Are you stepping into the truth of Christ’s crucifixion with faith? Are you seeing yourself as dead in this world and alive in Christ?
My prayer and hope is that Galatians 2 becomes your daily affirmation.