March 29, 2015
Living in the Grace of God
An Appeal of Grace
(Advance Slide #1)
Paul has had a happy, fatherly, pleasant relationship with the Galatian church.
(Advance Slide #2)
- Yet there were false teachers that wanted lead them back into bondage.
- This has caused the happy relationship with Paul to come to an end.
(Advance Slide #3)
Paul wanted to restore them again so that they could be eternally effective in their ministry.
Today, there are many churches, synagogue, and mosque members devoted to rituals and rule-keeping.
- They may not realize it but they are living in bondage.
(Advance Slide #4)
- They need to hear the one thing that will set them free.
- The need to hear about the spiritual freedom that is possible only through the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
(Advance Slide #5)
“1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:1-7
(Advance Slide #6)
Among the blessings of the Christian experience is adoption (Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).
- The New Testament word for adoption means “to place as an adult son.”
- It has to do with our standing in the family of God:
We are not little children but adult sons with all of the privileges of sonship.
We enter God’s family by regeneration, but we enjoy God’s family by adoption.
- The Christian does not have to wait to begin enjoying the spiritual riches he has in Christ.
- “If a son, then an heir of God through Christ” - Gal. 4:7.
- Now follows Paul’s discussion about adoption...he reminds his readers of three facts:
(Advance Slide #7)
- What we were: children in bondage
- What God did: redeemed us
- What we are: sons and heirs
The conclusion that Paul reaches by the end of vs. 7 is this:
- Those that have received the Spirit are now sons and heirs of God.
- Paul tells them that they are not acting like heirs.
- They appear to prefer slavery and legalism over freedom and grace.
Did they really want to reject the privilege of being a son of the Most High and return to life of rituals and burdens?
(Advance Slide #8)
Going Back - vs. 8-11
Prior to their acceptance of the One true God the Galatians lived in bondage to a multitude of gods.
- From Zeus to Athena.
- Even though Judaism is superior to Paganism it is still linked to bondage.
(Advance Slide #9)
They, as we are, were showing their “fickleness.”
- Having come to know and be known by God they are turning away.
- Why would they be attracted to a system that was so weak?
Vs. 10 suggests that they are observing days, months and seasons.
- Weekly sabbaths, new moons, festivals, and sabbatical/jubilee years!
- They followed these hoping to gain merit before God.
(Advance Slide #10)
Paul fears that all that he had done for the Galatians was in ‘vain.’
(Advance Slide #11)
Real Relationship - vs. 12-16
The tone of the letter seems to change.
- Paul encourages them to remember the relationship that they once use to have.
(Advance Slide #12)
- He tells them, “Become like me.”
- After my conversion I no longer lived under the law!
- Paul reminds them of their first meeting.
- When he first preached to them he was handicapped by an illness but was determined to preach.
- Despite the illness they received him as ‘an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.’
- How do we see people?
(Advance Slide #13)
They had received the grace of God and Paul with great joy.
- He wanted them to hold to the truth that he had and was teaching them.
- Yet, they had lost that joy!
Have we lost our joy that only comes from the grace of God?
- When we turn back to the old life of sin we feel:
- Guilty rather than loved.
- Hatred rather than humility.
- Worry about our performance rather than relationship.
- Focus on our shortcomings rather than what Christ did.
(Advance Slide #14)
“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” - vs. 16
- They turned against the Lord and His grace...why were they now enemies?
- Paul’s arguments were rooted in the truth.
- Paul’s message had not changed just as the gospel had not changed.
(Advance Slide #15)
Real Religion - vs. 17-20
The false teacher tried to use threats and flattery.
- They wanted to alienate the Galatians from Paul’s teachings.
- They were zealous to win over the Galatians.
Paul again becomes tender and affectionate!
- He always had good motives when dealing with them.
- Yet their change hurts Paul as such that he calls it ‘labor pains.’
- We too should have the same intense care for those whom we ‘spiritually parent.’
(Advance Slide #16)
Paul longed for a real ‘transformation.’
- For the Christians in Galatia to be transformed into His image.
- This expression describes the Christian life as a kind of reincarnation of Christ in a believer’s life.
- This is in fact God’s ideal and purpose...for Christ to live His life in and then through each believer.
“I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.” - vs. 20
(Advance Slide #17)
Paul had a love for those converted in his ministry.
- He loved them and would not let them go even in their struggles, even when they thought him their enemy.
- This heart of a parent should also the heart of a Christian living in the grace of God.
We can learn from Paul:
(Advance Slide #18)
- When we have cause to rebuke his dear children, we do so with arms around them, so that once again Christ might be formed in them