Christianity is a Maverick Religion

A sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Galatians 3:23-4:9

When you hear “Maverick,” what do you think of? Many will think of the wildly popular movie, “Top Gun: Maverick.” This movie was just released in May 2022, and it has already grossed globally over $1.3 billion. The lead character is Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a US Navy pilot, and he is a maverick, a person with a stubborn streak of independence. The story is loosely based on a real Navy pilot, Duke Cunningham and his accomplishments during the Vietnam War.

Older people among us may remember the TV show “Maverick,” from the early 1980’s, starring James Gardner, about a professional poker player in the Old West. This series was itself a revival of a similar Western from the 1950’s.

“Maverick” is a moniker used far beyond the movies. Ford Motor Company has a Maverick pick-up truck. There are Maverick thermometers, Maverick boats, Maverick flying cars. Maverick concerts. Maverick mountain bikes. Maverick chocolates.

When we read the letters of Paul, it becomes apparent that Paul was a maverick. He was considered an oddball by other apostles. What was the problem? He said: Not by the law. “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything” (Gal 6:15).

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“Who am I? I am Thine.”

A sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Galatians 2:20

The ultimate question is: What is really, really, really real? What is truth? Of course, that says something about who you are and who I am, but it’s really the ultimate question: What’s really, really, really real?

There is no other Gospel. Paul is very harsh about that. He uses the strongest language: Even if an angel from heaven preaches another gospel, let him be damned.

He says in Galatians 2:5 and 2:14 that “the truth of the gospel” is what it’s about. Then in Gal 2:20 he points out exactly what that means for you and me.

When we ask: What is truth?, most of us think of Pilate and his question: “What is truth?” (John 18:38). And the paragraph ends. Who knows? As the poet Swinburne wrote: “Pilate asked: ‘What is truth?’ and did not stay for an answer.”

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Far be it from me to glory except in the cross

A Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Gal 1-2; 6:14-17

Paul writes in Galatians 1:6-9 that if anybody, even an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel, let him be damned. “Any other gospel” means anything that is different from the truth of the gospel. Anyone who preaches anything different is excluded from God forever.

Other Christian leaders challenged Paul, saying: “Who do you think you are to say that? Where did you get that? Who are you, Paul? Where is your basis for saying ‘the truth of the gospel’ and ‘no other gospel?’”

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Clothed in His Righteousness Alone

Galatians 1:6-9

A sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

The hymn, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” is based on the parable in Matthew 7:24-27 about the wise man who built his house on the rock; “and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall because it had been built on the rock.” In contrast, the foolish man “built his house on the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”


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My grace is sufficient for you

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

A sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

You probably thought we are suddenly back in the season of Lent because we just sang “Come to Calvary’s holy mountain.” Note the somber words in the second verse: “wounded, impotent, and blind,” The whole tone of the hymn is Lenten, although it’s not in that part of the hymnbook.

Then we have this text from 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore Paul concludes in verse 10: “Therefore I will rejoice in my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

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