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Sermons on Legalism

In our attempt to keep God’s law, we are prone to develop our own rules, regulations, and traditions aimed at earning His favor. When we begin to regard such beliefs as the standard to which other people must subscribe, we may eventually lose sight of the Gospel itself. In this selection of sermons, Alistair Begg reminds us that legalism is not the same as pursuing righteousness, and we should be careful not to lead others astray.

Us and Them (Mark 9:38-41) — Listen (Free) | Download MP3 (Free)

When Jesus’ disciples opposed a man outside their group who had cast out demons in His name, Jesus declared that the man should not be stopped. Desiring to protect the honor of Christ’s name is understandable, Alistair Begg explains—but restrictive rivalry ends up excluding some whom Jesus calls His own. Even modern disciples frequently erect unnecessary barriers in matters of kingdom business. Such divisions based on nonessential issues must not divert our attention from the Gospel.

Woe to the Experts (Luke 11:45)Listen (Free) | Download MP3 (Free)

After delivering a series of “woes” to the Pharisees, Jesus turned to the teachers of the law with some equally reproachful words. In this message, Alistair Begg breaks down Jesus’ three rebukes. The teachers Jesus confronted burdened the people with needless rules, participated in their fathers’ persecution of the prophets, and woefully led the people away from the true key to the Scriptures: Christ Himself. We too should practice self-examination so we can be careful not to lead others astray.

The Sinful Woman (Luke 7:36-50)Listen (Free) | Download MP3 (Free)

It’s easy to forget how much Christ has forgiven us. Alistair Begg helps us remain mindful by reviewing the story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. Lost in gratitude and love, she wept openly, caring nothing about the scorn of the onlookers. In response, Jesus received her with love and mercy rather than rebuking her for going against social norms. As her story illustrates, only Jesus can tell us our sins are forgiven. Will we admit our need?

The Practical Nature of Holiness — Part Two (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)Listen (Free) | Download MP3 (Free)

The holy life is a battlefield. As the Holy Spirit creates in us a desire for holiness and enables us to practice it, we are also called to fight temptation and sin. Being unprepared for this reality can lead a believer to failure and discouragement. Alistair Begg reminds us that pursuing God’s righteousness is not the same as legalism, since the heart of holiness is not pride but love. Love demands right living, and right living displays itself in love. Listen to Part One

Scripture and Tradition — Part One (Mark 7:1-8)Listen (Free) | Download MP3 (Free)

Jesus exposed the hypocritical Pharisees for elevating their own rules and traditions over the law of God. In our attempt to keep God’s law, we too are prone to develop our own rules and regulations in an effort to earn God’s favor. Alistair Begg reminds us that human merit cannot make us right with God and that justification is an act of God’s free grace. Listen to Part Two

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.