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Belonging to the “right family” can make a huge difference in life.
Belonging to God’s family makes the greatest possible difference because it means:
1. We Have a New Status. (Gal. 4:1-5)
2. We Have a New Life Source. (Gal. 4:6)
- In Christ we have the complete working of the Triune God in our lives to assure and confirm to us we are members of God’s family.
- “Abba” = informal term of affection, warmth, closeness, intimacy.
3. We Have an Amazing Future. (Gal. 4:7)
- We are heirs…
- God has made available to us as His heirs the:
Riches of his grace. (Eph. 2:6-7)
Riches of His glory. (Phil. 4:19)
Riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience. (Rom. 2:4)
Riches of His wisdom and knowledge. (Rom. 11:33)
If we are fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ we belong to Gods family.
Be comforted and encouraged by the amazing future promised by Jesus, and that the best is yet to come!
What’s the difference between God’s grace and God’s Law?
1. The Law Cannot Replace the Promise. (Gal. 3:15-18)
It’s impossible to add to God’s grace or subtract from God’s promises.
2. The Promise is Superior to the Law. (Gal. 3:19-20)
No mediator was needed with God’s promise, for it was all up to God.
3. Law and the Promise Have a Working Relationship. (Gal. 3:21-26)
While Law and grace seem to be contrary to one another, if you go deep enough, you will discover that they actually complement one another. (Wiersbe)
Through the work of Jesus at the cross and from the tomb, the Law was done away with, and it’s righteous demands are now fulfilled in us by the Holy Spirit.
What can we learn from Abraham that will set us free?
1. God Has Always Dealt with People in the Same Way. (Gal. 3:6-9)
Faith has always been the vehicle for people to know God personally.
God does not change the rules in mid-stream.
Faith puts us in the blessed “footprints” of Abraham.
2. Trying to Earn God’s Favour is a Spiritual Dead-End. (Gal. 3:10-12)
What does the Law bring? (Note Gal. 3:10, “curse”)
The 10 Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions.
The Law says, “Do”, but grace says, “Done”.
No one is justified before God by the law, "The righteous will live by faith."
3. Jesus Paid the Price. (Gal. 3:13-14)
“Redeemed” = “to recover from captivity by a ransom”.
When Jesus redeemed us at the cross, what did it accomplish?
A. He broke the curse of the Law – He “purchased us from slavery in order to set us free.”
B. He made it possible for us to receive God’s promises.
Let’s celebrate the freedom of the faith-generated life (“Done”; “Believe and live!”)
How could people ever be convinced that legalism is a better choice than grace?
What makes legalism so appealing? What is the spell that legalism casts?
1. Legalism Appeals to Our Human Nature. (Gal. 3:1-3)
We are attracted to “religion” = “the human search for God”.
Genuine Christianity = “God’s search for people”.
2. Legalism Encourages False Comparisons. (Gal. 3:3-5)
The person who depends on religion can measure himself and compare himself with others. (Wiersbe)
If we are comparing ourselves with others, then we are spellbound by legalism and driving down a spiritual “dead-end”.
Let’s reject any fascination we may have with legalism.
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to break any spell of legalism in our lives by making us “Christ-focused”.
What produces real life? What is the source of and power for real living?
People who are “born free” in Jesus experience “real living” because of:
1. The Truth of Justification. (Gal. 2:15-18)
· Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus Christ.” (Wiersbe)
· Justification is not simply forgiveness…it is not a pardon.
· It establishes the future.
2. The Superiority of Faith.(Gal. 2:19-21)
· I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…
· Faith is the key…faith in a Person (not laws, rules, or rituals).
· We can be completely dependent on Jesus, who “loves us and gave Himself for us” (Gal. 2:20).
3. The Power of God’s Grace.(Gal. 2:21)
- The Law shouts to us, “Do”, while grace reassures us, “Done”.
- Grace provides us with genuine freedom (to do and be, and “to not do”…to no longer be in bondage to legalism and sin).
What does it mean to be “born free” in Christ?
1. We are “Born Free” from the Bondage and Pain of Our Past.
Specifically we saw how through Jesus we are “born free” from:
A. The Pain of a Misdirected Life, and from:
B. The Bondage of Self-Sufficiency.
What else does it mean to be “born free” in Jesus Christ?
2. We are “Born Free” to Serve. (Gal. 1:15-24)
God set Paul “apart” … so that I might preach…”
When we serve the Lord, there are wonderful results:
A. The Kingdom of God expands.
B. The Body of Christ is encouraged.
C. God is glorified.
3. We are “Born Free” Into God’s Family. (Gal. 2:1-10)
What was Paul’s status before being a member of God’s family?
Paul’s place in God’s family affirmed.
Because of the “grace given us”, we are part of God’s family despite our family, social status, and misdirected past.
4. We are “Born Free” to “Speak the Truth in Love”. (Gal. 2:11-14)
Genuine freedom can only exist and thrive in an environment
where truth is loved and defended.
God does not judge by external appearance.
Paul had been “born free” to “speak the truth in love”.
1. We are “Born Free” from the Bondage and Pain of Our Past. (Galatians 1:13-15)
- Paul doesn’t write much about his past.
- He does so in Gal. 1 and 2 to accomplish 2 primary goals :
Paul first describes how in Jesus Christ we are “born free” from:
A. The Pain of a Misdirected Life. (Gal. 1:13)
· How could Paul ever be a leader in the Christian Church?
How could he live with himself?
· The power of God’s grace set Paul free.
· His grace can free us!
B. The Bondage of Self-Sufficiency. (Gal. 1:14)
· This is a terrible reality of the human condition spiritually (another word = “pride”).
· “His personal religious life, his scholarship, and his zeal in opposing alien religious faiths, all combined to make him the most respected young rabbi of his day.”
· The whole idea of being self-sufficient is an illusion at best.
· In Christ, this bondage is broken, and the cycle is ended!
Counterfeit Christianity is not a recent phenomena of our day.
Paul was “astonished, amazed, flabbergasted” by the Galatians.
Why is false teaching such a serious matter?
1. Because of What False Teaching Does (Gal. 1:6-7)
Paul refers to 3 specific effects of false teaching:
A. False Teaching Encourages Desertion.
B. False Teaching Demands Perversion.
C. False Teaching Produces Confusion.
2. Because of the Judgement False Teachers Face. (Gal. 1:8-9)
External appearance of any teacher is not important.
Note Acts 15:24 (special connections also don’t matter)
“…the outward person of the messenger does not validate his message; rather, the nature of the message validates the messenger.”
The most serious pronouncement in all of Paul’s writings.
An introduction and overview of the entire letter:
1. Who, What, and Why? (Gal 1:1-2)
- One of Paul’s earliest letters, and was a circular letter.
- Concerned because these churches were being led astray.
- Paul needed to re-establish his spiritual credentials and authority.
What was Paul’s answer to the false teaching of legalism?
2. Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone. (Gal. 1:3-4)
· “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
What’s the purpose of right doctrine?
3. Real Power for Living. (Gal 5:1)
- Beginning in Gal. 3:2, Paul talks about the Holy Spirit 16 times!
“…live by the Spirit…led by the Spirit…the fruit of the Spirit…keep in step with the Spirit…sowing to please the Spirit…”