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  • Jul 06 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Do Good to All (Galatians 6)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Do Good to All (Galatians 6)

07.06

07.06.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Do Good to All
Galatians 6 (Pastor Brian)

Doing Good to All
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. 6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but a New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! 12 Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. 17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.


This is the conclusion of the letter to the believers in Galatia. Paul is wrapping up the indignations and exhortations throughout the letter. The reason he wrote this: there was a danger of the believers reverting to the Law of Moses. After he’d preached to them, the Judaizers had come in to say, “Oh yeah, Jesus. He’s cool. But you gotta follow THE LAW baby, or you ain’t nothin’.”

The question had arisen: should the obey the Law of Moses? should they be circumcised? No, not necessarily. There were things they should abstain from: blood sacrificed to idols, idolatry, sexual immorality, etc. Not everyone agreed with this – and Paul had encountered this opposition during his missionary journeys, and now he’s writing to them that “Faith alone saves us.” (not any of these other externals). But the believers were being influenced by the legalists to revert to the Law of Moses.

The believers needed to get back into grace, get back into the spirit of grace.

Now, in the conclusion of the letter, Paul is wrapping up. The letter to the Galatians is considered the “Magna Carta” – proclamation of Freedom – for the Christians. John Bunyan, and Martin Luther among others were very partial to it and attested to its power to save and change hearts.

God used this letter to bring out the teaching of freedom through grace, by faith, to many believers.

v. 1 What kind of sin?

This wording used here indicates a moment of failing – “overtaken” or “caught” in a sin. We think of John’s gospel (chp 4) where the lady was caught in adultery. Some sins are more obvious and outward and the fall more extensive in the understanding of people.

Even if you fall temporarily, the one who is spiritual should (gently/meekly) restore the one who is fallen. Why? Consider yourself who may also be tempted and fall. We all have the sinful nature to contend with. (Romans “I do what I don’t want to do, I don’t do what I want. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”)

We all must be humble – not high and mighty, to come down to the one who is fallen and lift them up.

John MacArthur has written:

  1. Pick them up
  2. Hold them up
  3. Build them up

Take heed that we also don’t fall. Yes, there are warnings in Scripture, but we all must be alert and humble before the Lord because we are all sinful and able to fall. Countless others have fallen in numerous ways. Don’t brag, don’t say, “It’ll never happen to me” because then you’re almost inviting it to happen (be tempted).

Paul is also using the word “restore” like a doctor or surgeon would restore (set) a broken or dislocated limb.

As brothers and sisters in the faith, we must help one another, and carry each other’s burdens – this is the fulfillment of the Law of Christ (i.e. if you want a Law, use this one – the Law of helping others). Jesus helped others and so should we. We must help, not make the burden of sin heavier. This is the purpose of God’s love.

v. 3 Warning against deception

(Do you think you’re a spiritual giant? You’ll never be caught in a sin? You too are susceptible.)

Each one should test his own actions and take pride in his own without comparing himself to someone else. Examine yourself before the Lord. (1 Cor “Judge yourselves…” Are you in the faith? Humble? Living in victory? Confessing sins? Receiving forgiveness? Walking with the Lord? Be REAL. Acknowledge your dependence on him.)

  • Each one has his own burden to bear.
  • Each one should carry his own load.

(But wait, he just said, “help others” – is this a contradiction?)

  • Baros = burden that is TOO heavy (physical, emotional, etc) for one person to carry it alone (exhortation #1) – help them so that they will survive and be built up.
  • Forteon = ordinary backpack that is heavy BUT manageable (exhortation #2) – everyone must carry his own weight.

Bear one another’s load when it’s TOO much.

But also take care of your own load and responsibilities.

v. 6 Support and share with those who labor in the gospel – if we want their help (preaching and teaching) we should also help them. (i.e. don’t expect everything for FREE)

Paul wasn’t a Prosperity minister, but he just wanted to be sure the preachers and teachers were well supported and taken care of.

John MacArthur:

“It wasn’t just financial things – if instructing another, share in all beautiful/good things – a testimony, etc.” So that both can be blessed – teacher and pupil.

  • Don’t be deceived God cannot be mocked.
  • A man reaps what he sows.

We could apply this in many settings – but in this context, it seems to apply to the financial well-being of the preachers and teachers. If they must work an extra side job just to support themselves, they’ll have less time to care for the people.

v. 8

Sow to the Spirit, reap in the Spirit (eternal consequences and rewards) – this is NOT about earning salvation through works – BUT it is to say that works have benefits and rewards. Jesus, “Let your light shine before men.” The works are the FRUIT of salvation, not the ROOT of salvation.

v. 10 Do Good to All

At that time, the wealthy often financed new buildings and banquets – all could benefit.

“Be a public benefactor” – “If you sow abundantly, you will reap abundantly” (2 Cor).

At this point, Paul takes the pen himself (a scribe would usually transcribe these letters) “See what large letters I use as I write with my own hand…”

The only reason that people wanted Christians to get circumcised was to make them just another sect (section) of Judaism. They really just wanted to be accepted by non-believing Jews.

But hey, not even the believers in the Law keep the Law – yet they want you to, just so they can brag about you (bringing converts into the Jewish fold).

Boasting about achievements is dangerous to spiritual health.

When we boast in the cross we boast in our weaknesses, saying that human efforts lead only to death, but the cross leads to life.

Because of the cross, the old self is irrelevant. The new reality = it doesn’t matter who or what you are. None of this means anything – what matters is the New Creation. As the Holy Spirit convicts of sins, and we repent and ask him to come and make us new, He changes us from the inside out.

Our dependence is on Christ, not ourselves.

This rule of God is that circumcision doesn’t matter. (Israel is not a Physical thing – but a Spiritual thing – we are New Creations – Jew and Gentile – united in Christ).

“The marks of Jesus” = not stigmata – but SCARS from persecution for Christ – he was whipped, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, etc.

“If you want to look at the flesh, look at these scars as evidence that I’m preaching Chist and not anyone else.”

The whole epistle has been rounded out now with loving others, doing good, and that the power of the gospel can be demonstrated by how we live. It’s a living faith, not a dead faith. Amen.

This is our Magna Carta – our Great Charter of Freedom in Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 29 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Purpose of Freedom (Galatians 5)

06.29

06.29.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Purpose of Freedom
Galatians 5 (Pastor Brian)

Freedom in Christ

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11 Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! 13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


In the OT, God painted a picture of himself, but when Jesus came, he DECLARED – portrayed, painted – him perfectly.

“He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus poured out his life, the Father had poured out His life IN Jesus – to die for us, for our sins.

People in business would write “tetalesty” = “paid in full” the price for our redemption, for our sins. “He paid a debt he did not owe, we had a debt we could not pay…Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.”

A farmer/shepherd would pick a lamb destined for sacrifice, and look for blemishes (only flawless lambs could be used). If there were none, and the lamb was meek, “tetalesty” = “perfect” – it was used then as a guilt offering.

Jesus also was the Lamb of God – JB (John the Baptist) introduced him as such.

This is Jesus in these pictures and this declaration. Jesus didn’t say, “I am finished” on the cross, but “IT is finished” (the work, the sacrifice, the justification of the sins of the world).

This was portrayed to the Galatians, and now Paul wonders why they’d turn back from this freedom in Christ – through his death – and go back to the preparatory stages of the Law.

If we turn back to the Law (mainly he’s talking to the Gentiles who were being taught to “follow our customs if you want 100% pure and full salvation”)… No, we are justified by faith in Jesus. If we turn back to the Law, we would be saying that Christ ISN’T sufficient.

  • “If you [turn back to the law], Christ will be of no value to you at all.” (v. 2)
  • You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ. (v. 4)
  • We eagerly await the righteousness for which we hope. (v. 5)

It doesn’t matter – Jew or Gentile – this Law has no value. It’s faith that works through love.

v. 13-15 – he emphasizes the obligation to love.

“You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (v. 13) Don’t be a slave to sin, don’t be a slave to law, but rather, serve one another (this is the way of Heaven). That obligation still remains (Romans 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt we have to one another. For he who loves his brother has fulfilled the Law.” The entire Law is fulfilled by keeping this single Law “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In chp 3, Paul argued that the Law was temporary – until Christ came (this was referring to the old covenant).

Here, he’s talking about Law (as obligation to love one another) as a permanent thing.

Paul’s opponents probably were saying that grace wasn’t sufficient – we would need the Law to instruct us. Paul says, “We don’t need rules like you look to in the OT, but we need to follow the ‘law’ of loving one another.”

Paul says, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out or you’ll be destroyed by one another.” (i.e. don’t obsess about the details of the Law – LOVE one another).

If we live by the Spirit, we won’t do the things that hurt others, we will love them. (Fruit of the Spirit vs. Fruit of the Flesh) You are not to do whatever you want. You are to serve one another in love, and not MERELY serve yourself. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law (the letter of the Law).”

  • “The acts of the flesh are obvious: … 15 things…” Some are very obvious, but others are less so – and probably going on in Galatia (and even in our lives) – idoaltry, hatred, discourd, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy…
  • “The fruit of the Spirit is… 9 things… and against such things there is no Law.”

The Law is not solution to sin, but Jesus IS. We need him not only on the day of Judgment, but also in the here and now – to live the Christian life here and now. We have put to death the sinful life and its passions and live the Christian life when we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Paul reminds them of the ultimate and basic truths of the gospel.

Martin Luther for one, valued this letter so much, and admitted that it was difficult to live like this. Old habits die hard (even Peter was openly rebuked by Paul for his failure of going back to the Law).

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and the cross.

Are you wondering what I’m talking about? If you feel like you need to pray this prayer with me, then please do so.

Thank you for sending Jesus to save us. I admit that I’m a sinner. By faith I repent of my sins, and ask Jesus to come into my life and lead and guide me for the rest of my life.

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tell someone if you prayed that prayer.

  • Jun 15 / 2014
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Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Hagar or Sarah? (Galatians 4)

06.15

06.15.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Hagar or Sarah?
Galatians 4 (Pastor Brian)

Sons not Slaves (theme)

Today is Father’s Day in many parts of the world.

The question in Galatians has to do with this theme.

1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “”Abba”, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God–or rather are known by God–how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.


Lost my train of thought due to Bob Dylan (when he was a Christian) – Slow Train coming or Saved “Sister let me tell you about a vision that I saw, you were drawing water for your husband, enslaved under the law. You were telling him about Muhammad and Buddha? in one breath, but you didn’t tell him about the One who came and died a criminal’s death.”

At this time in history, some of the Judaizers were coming into the synagogues and telling the Jews “OK guys, whatever, believe in Jesus, but you won’t REALLY be saved without keeping the Law as well.”

Paul is writing to both Jews and Gentiles here – he attests that FAITH is more important than keeping the Law (i.e. circumcision).

The question is: “How can Gentiles inherit the promises given to Abraham?” Some said they needed to be circumcised and keep the other commandments. Paul says, “NO – don’t go back under the Law from which you were saved.” Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise.” This promise is by faith and all those that believe like Abraham are also heirs of God through faith in Christ.

Paul uses two analogies (”a similarity between like features of two things on which a comparison may be based” – comparing two things for similar things): Paul: “What I’m saying = as long as a child is under the Law, whether an heir or not, is like a slave. He can’t run the estate for himself – he must defer to a steward, manager, etc.”

Jews have the promise of salvation – but not salvation. They are like underage children in this respect. They were also under authority. Children even in wealthy families, were under the authority of slaves. Children had to obey the slaves in the same way that slaves had to obey their masters. A slave in a wealthy household would be a “child leader” – he’d teach culture and manners, be sure they went to school, etc. They were strict, severe, disciplined – to keep this child under authority until the child came of age to inherit the promise of the estate.

Paul says, the Law was like this – but now Christians are no longer children, no longer under this Law. To go back under the Law, would be to go back into slavery. “When we were under the Law, we were in slavery to the elemental principles of the world” (like the ABCs). Before Christ, the Jews were under the detailed Law of Moses (God was treating them like children – which was appropriate at that time). But now, the time has come for a change – they should be coming of age. “But when the set time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, under the Law.”

For this transformation, God didn’t send a Prophet or Law-Giver, but sent his Son. He didn’t come down from heaven, but was born of a woman. Why say this though? It’s to show his humanity – that the Son of God, though Divine, became Human. So why did the Lord of Creation become a child under the Law? To redeem (pay the price for freedom) those under the Law and adopt them as sons.

Jesus paid the price for our failure to keep the Law and gave us forgiveness. He had to become one of us to rescue us. Salvation depends on the fact that he was born of a human – FULLY human and FULLY God. His birth is now one of the most celebrated events the world over.

What are the benefits?

  1. Freedom from the Law and its consequences. (The Law did provide blessings for those who kept the Law, but also cursings for those who didn’t – Deuteronomy).
  2. By faith we’ve begun to experience the inheritance that God offers. Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee, but he still needed faith in Christ in order to get that.

“Because you are sons, he sends his spirit into our hearts, by which you call ‘Dad, Daddy.’” We are adult children who can call God our Dad. Since the Spirit who lives in Jesus now also lives in us, we can call God as Jesus called him. Since we are sons, we are also heirs.

  1. God is treating us as adults
  2. God is trusting us to be led by his Spirit

“Formerly, when you didn’t know God, you were slaves of this world. But now that you know God (or are known by God), how is it that you are turning back? Do you want to become slaves again?”

Basically, now that God is treating you like adult children, why would you want to go back to kindergarten?

If they went back under the Law of Moses, they’d be enslaved to keep certain months, days, sacrifices, etc, that even Peter admitted “even we nor or fathers could keep these.”

So, they came out of slavery in the world, but trying to go back into slavery of religion. Why become enslaved again?

There may have been many different seasons and celebrations, but the focus on times, and DOING it right was wrong. God is in our spirits, he is Spirit, and focusing on him in the calendar is wrong.

Paul felt that the amount of time and energy he’d put into winning them to Christ was in danger of being wasted if they turned back to what they walked out of.

“I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I have become like you.” How did he live? Probably like a Gentile. Even Peter lived like that eventually. He would go into a Gentile’s house and fellowship with them and preached to them. Paul also would enjoy meals with the Gentiles. “Salvation is found in faith, not in meals or exercises.”

“You did me no wrong.” Paul rehearses how their friendship began (because of an illness). Although Luke in Acts doesn’t go into detail, it was obvious that Paul was sick. During that time, he preached the gospel to them and they accepted it. “If you could have, you would have given your eyes…” This is likely an expression to show how deeply affectionate they were for him.

Now he says, “Am I your enemy now because I’ve told you the truth? Yes, these are zealous preachers, but they are zealous for the wrong reasons and the wrong things. They are sheep thieves, trying to turn you away from true faith in Christ.”

Paul had even spoken to them and said, “Was it by the law, or by faith that you received the Spirit?” He’s trying everything he can to bring them back to full, true faith in Christ.

Analogy #2:

Genesis 16-21 (Sarah and Hagar)

Here is an ironic analogy?

  1. One woman is a slave (Hagar): son born by the flesh.
  2. One woman is free (Sarah): son born by a divine promise.

(God had said, “You’ll have a boy.” Abraham, “Don’t tease me.” But this was the promise. Time went on (about 25 years) and Sarah said, “Yo, this isn’t gonna happen. Why don’t you just take matters into your own hands and make a baby with my slave?” So Abraham did so – though it wasn’t God’s intent. Eventually, God kept his promise – Isaac. Ishmael was the first boy.)

  1. Ishmael = a product of the flesh
  2. Isaac = the fulfillment of a Promise

“These things are being taken figuratively. The women are two covenants. Hagar’s is from Mt. Sinai, a covenant of slavery (Moses Law).” (Actually, the Jews never thought of themselves as Hagar’s kids, those were Gentiles – but here Paul is showing them figuratively that Judaism and its followers are in slavery (her covenant). But Sarah’s children are children of Promise – those who believe in faith (the Christians) belong here.

We, like Isaac, are children of Promise. So we are not concerned with the rules and regulations of the Jewish Law. Paul seems one more thing to deal with here.

“At that time, the son of flesh persecuted the son of the Spirit, and it’s the same now.”

At a birthday party, Ishmael mocked Isaac, and Isaac’s mommy was offended and told Abraham “Get him and his mommy out of here! He’ll never inherit our estate!” Abraham was dismayed – because this was also his son, but God said, “Listen to her, Isaac is your promise.” So, he reluctantly got rid of them, but God mercifully took care of them in the desert. The prophecy was that he would be the Lord of 12 nations as well, but be a wild man and everyone would be against him, and he against everyone else.

Like the Promise then, so it is now. Paul preached Jesus, and those who didn’t believe, persecuted him greatly. But he knew that the end result was worth all the suffering.

Genesis 21:10 “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

He is speaking of the Mosaic Law AS A MEANS of Salvation. Paul is showing the Law as a “child leader” – to tutor them until Christ. Why didn’t the Jews logically follow on from the Law to Christ? Many of them were too rule-bound to make sense of it.

No one will be saved by keeping the Law, nor by looking to the calendar, but we look to the child of Promise, we look to Jesus.

“He gives and takes away.” He gives Jesus, Promise, forgiveness, salvation. He takes away sin, condemnation of the Law, insufficiency of the Law. He gives us Life under Jesus, in Jesus. We’re not under Law, but sons of the Promise by faith through Christ.

Let’s pray.

 

  • Jun 01 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Law As Tutor (Galatians 3)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Law As Tutor (Galatians 3)

06.01

06.01.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Law as Tutor
Galatians 3:1-25 (Pastor Brian)

Faith or Observance of the Law
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing–if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise
15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Sons of God
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


Hymn “Free from the Law, O happy condition!…Grace has redeemed us, once for all.”

That reinforces the truth that Paul is writing about in the first few chapters.

He has:

  1. Established his credentials as an apostle
  2. Shown he’s on par with Peter and the others

He used to go and preach to the Jews in the synagogues, and he would reveal that Jesus was the Messiah – the foreshadowing, the types, conditions, and prophecies, of everything in the Old Testament. But, many Jews were still mesmerized by the Law, unable to see the Life Giver apart (or by) the Law Giver (Moses).

Paul had preached in Galatia and they’d believed and been filled with joy – their sins were forgiven and they’d rejoiced. However, after he left, the Judaizers would come along and “upset the apple cart” – try to make Paul’s gospel sound irrelevant and void. These Law-Insisters had said, “Sure thing, believe in Jesus, but you’re only REALLY saved IF you ALSO follow the Law…”

Paul was pretty upset that these Galatians who’d once celebrated in grace were now going back and being crushed by the Law.

  • Chp 1-2 – establishing his authority as an apostle
  • Chp 3-4 – establishing the relevancy and truth of his gospel – not received by man but from Christ himself

He wants them to understand the PURPOSE of the Law and how long it should last.

Also, understand the PURPOSE of their incorporation into the body of Christ.

Think on this. Pastor Heo writes to us and says, “You foolish AICF! Who has bewitched you…”

This is how Paul is writing – frustration, sorrow, trying to shock them into perceiving and seeing what he really wants to write. It seems that the devil had used the false gospel peddlers to blind them to the truth – using carnal desires. They have been blinded to grace and are going back to the Law. Paul later writes “Have I labored in vain? Have you believed in vain?”

Those of the flesh always oppose those of the Spirit. Nevertheless, cast out the bond-woman and her son (they represent the Law).

Paul is venting:

Before your very eyes, Christ was crucified – Paul’s preaching was so clear and vivid that they could actually, nearly perceive him like that.

Did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law???? Or by believing what you heard? (i.e. “You guys should know from your own experience that FAITH is the way, not merely keeping the Law.” Cornelius was a prime example – yes, he’d done good works, but that was BECAUSE OF his faith. The Ethiopian eunuch was also like this. By his faith, he believed and the Spirit drove him to immediately become baptized. Many others were like this – those at Pentecost as well. Lydia, the seller of purple was there at the prayer meeting by the riverside and she received the Living Water of Christ by hearing, and believing – responding in faith. Also in Ephesus, Paul could see that something had been missing in their experience, and that they hadn’t heard the FULL good news, so Paul asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” They’d not even heard of this. They’d been baptized into repentance by John the Baptist – but he’d also said to “believe on the One who comes after me.”

Paul is saying, “this is exactly how you responded – BY FAITH.”

Paul is reminding them of their own experience and getting them to remember the truth. In this personal application, they ought to know that it is by faith in Christ they are saved.

Next, Paul argues from the Scriptures using Abraham.

He quotes Genesis 15:6

At that point, Abraham was kind of complaining to God about not having any heir of his own flesh to inherit everything. Eleazor of Damascus was the closest servant. But God said, “No, no, you’ll have a boy. In fact, you’ll have so many kids and grandkids it’ll be like looking into the skies at the stars.” And he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

He did lapse in faith from time to time, but he continually persevered and clung to the Promises of God.

Genesis 12:3

God is calling Abram out of Haran – “Get away from your country and kin and I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you – and through you, ALL the families on Earth will be blessed.”

We can see how Paul is using the Scriptures to show how righteousness is credited to us through faith. The Law does not bring life – if they didn’t obey the Law, there were curses. “Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of this Law by carrying it out.” (Oh, and by the way, if you break one SMALL thing, you break it all.) What is God doing? Trying to make fun of them? No, preparing them for the seed of Abraham (Jesus) on whom they could believe. (This curse was in Deuteronomy 27, 28…)

Habakkuk “The righteous shall live by faith.”

When Christ came, he redeemed us from the curses.

Yes, there are blessings “Please and thank you for those.” But there are also curses “Oh dear, please and no thank you for those.”

It was clear that there was still something missing even though “gallons of blood had been shed” by the sacrifices. But that was not enough to take away the sins of the people. This happened every year (What a great New Year’s reflection… “We failed again last year… sigh….”).

  • The blood of the lambs covers the sin of the people.
  • The blood of the LAMB takes away the sin of the people.

Christ redeemed us from the curse by BECOMING a curse “cursed is everyone hung on a tree”. He became our curse – we should have been up on that tree ourselves. But God, in his mercy, and Jesus in his compassion, died for us and took our sins.

How are we assured of this? BY FAITH.

  1. The Old Testament says, “DO.”
  2. The New Testament says, “DONE.”
  3. OT “Do this and live.”
  4. NT “It is finished, NOW live.”

The Law is a perfect, rigid husband who demands perfection of his wife. The wife knows her husband is perfect, but she isn’t. How can she live under this?

There is another man, equally perfect, Jesus. How can she get away from the Law? Her husband? He will go on. Jesus has died. She must DIE as well – die to the Law, die to her perfect husband, and be RAISED to life with Christ.

The gospel has been preached through Abraham and others, and the application of the gospel will continue (NEXT TIME) in the 4th chapter of Galatians.

But now is time for Communion, so let’s prepare our hearts for the Lord’s Supper.

Let’s pray.

 

  • May 17 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Grace Triumphs Over Legalism (Galatians 2)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Grace Triumphs Over Legalism (Galatians 2)

05.18

05.17.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Sermon Notes in a .RTF file>

Grace Triumphs Over Legalism
Galatians 2 (Pastor Brian)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles
1 Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 [This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. 6 As for those who seemed to be important–whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance–those men added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Paul Opposes Peter
11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. 17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”


Galatians 2:20 is a good memory verse FYI.

In the last study, we looked at the reason why Galatians was written. Paul had founded churches in Galatia, and they had seen miracles, experienced the Holy Spirit, and had great joy, etc.

There are two theories regarding who this letter was addressed to:

  1. North central Asia minor
  2. Southern Asia

These were under the Roman jurisdiction.

Most scholars believe the letter was written to the Southern Asians – this seems to fit well with Paul’s criticism of them. They’d received the HS, experienced the power of the gospel, but when Paul and Barnabas left, the Judaizers came in to tell them “Hey, you guys gotta follow the LAW man!”

God had overruled this many times and Paul had shown it. But the Judaizers came in to discredit Paul and say, “Look, Paul ain’t really a Jesus guy. He’s a faker.”

BUT, we are disciples of Jesus, saved by faith and grace, not the LAW (of Moses, not the Law of the Romans). Faith in Christ brings freedom and liberty and grace.

Chapter 2:

In defending himself as an apostle, Paul talks about a meeting in Jerusalem with Titus and Barnabas – where he was able to tell the gospel he preached. While there, some of the Jews tried to convince Titus to be circumcised to “be REALLY REALLY REALLY saved.” Paul refused with gusto.

The question posed was: Do Gentiles have to follow the Law of Moses in order to truly be saved? The Law began with the covenant. The sons of Moses were circumcised and he handed down the covenant to the people. John the Baptist was circumcised. Jesus was also circumcised on the 8th day according to custom.

But it’s important to understand this in relation with the gospel. Physical circumcision is not required. Remember Cornelius in Acts 10-11, where they were granted repentance and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They didn’t need to be circumcised BEFORE receiving the HS. They responded with faith in their hearts and the HS fell upon them, just like at Pentecost.

Acts 15 – there was a letter sent by the apostles and elders, expounded by Paul in most of his letter to the churches – that said physical circumcision was not necessary. However, in Colossians, Paul talks about how faith in Christ and repentance toward God brings about a dramatic conversion where we are made to be NEW creations – and the OLD man is cut off and thrown out. This is the experience of spiritual circumcision.

Acts – Paul went to Derby and met Timothy (half Jew/ half Greek). Paul wanted to take Timothy on the journey with him – so he circumcised Timothy for the sake of the Jews in the area (because they knew his father was a Greek). He did this for speed, to get into the synagogues and not create a big fuss among the Jews – this was NOT for salvation purposes.

Paul was “under” some of the other church leaders, but Paul attests that they didn’t add anything or correct his gospel. Paul recognized Peter’s apostleship to the Jews, and his own to the Gentiles.

  1. Peter went to the Jews.
  2. Paul to the Gentiles – but he always went to the Jews FIRST to preach. When rejected, then he went to the Gentiles – which is what the Lord had appointed him for anyway.

Galatians 2:11~

Paul opposed Peter to his face. Why? He was afraid of the Circumcised Cliche of Jewish Christians. Even Barnabas was led astray in this way. They both separated themselves from eating and fellowshiping with the Gentile Christians.

See, the Judaizers were trying to say, “Yo, Paul is LESS than the other apostles – especially Peter.”

But here we can see that Paul is on level standing (perhaps even higher) than Peter.

This falling away from fellowship with the Gentiles came gradually, but others eventually noticed and followed as well. This falling away was troubling for the grace of God. For people are saved by GRACE, not by works.

Acts 15:1 some men came from Judea to Antioch and were teaching – “Yo, if you ain’t circumcised, you ain’t really saved.” So, we can see this trouble.

But still, among the Gentiles there were miracles, and the acts and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

But then the Circumcision Cliche (Pharisees and all) said, “Hey, hey, you gots to be cut to be saved.”

But Paul said, “The Holy Spirit made no distinction between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles). Now, why are you putting a burden (yoke) on them that even we and our fathers couldn’t bear? NO, it is through GRACE we are saved, just as they are.”

James (leader of the Counsel) agreed with Peter (this was during the time of Cornelius) and they set up 5 regulations that Gentile Christians must follow:

  1. No food sacrificed to idols…..
  2. No sexual immorality……

However, after Peter had worked hard to convince the others that Gentiles were good to go if they believed, then perhaps Fear of Man issues started to cause him to go back on what he’d originally believed. He surrendered to the idea that “mmm, maybe circumcision is a good thing…?”

How did Peter react to Paul’s confrontation?

He loved him and accepted his criticism. In his letters he even addressed how Paul spoke to him. He clearly regards Paul as a brother, respects Paul’s guidance, and regards Paul’s writings as Scripture.

Paul stood alone when others were led astray, he had to rebuke a respected brother in Christ, but his courage was motivated by faithfulness – to Jesus and to the gospel.

He was courageous.
Peter was humble. He didn’t hold a grudge, and he recognized Paul’s wisdom.

Paul’s rebuke was motivated by love, love for his brother, love for Christ, and love for others (those he taught). “Love one another, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil for evil but with good…so that you may inherit a blessing.”

This all illustrates the power of Christ – how it turns a persecutor (Paul) and the persecuted (Peter) into co-workers. And the gospel can help those in conflict with one another to love and work together.

JB Philips:

If Paul had said, (v. 15-end)

If I try to rebuild the Law, then I remake myself a sinner.

Under the Law I died, and I’m no longer under its demands. I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. The body I live in is not my old life, but the new life of Christ in me.

I refuse to make useless the grace of God by trying to get back under that old Law.

If we could be justified by the Law, then what’s the point of Jesus’ sacrifice?

A life crucified with Christ. (We can’t actually, physically do so) but spiritually we can. All of us, baptized into Christ, have been buried with him in baptism. And as he has been raised, so we are raised into newness of life.

We know that our old self was crucified to sin, our old bodies done away with, so that we are not slaves to sin.

We also know that as Christ was raised from dead, death has no power over him, even so, we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

  1. RECOGNIZE: your death with Christ
  2. RECOGNIZE: your resurrection with Him

And continually recognize this in your life.

In baptism by immersion, you go down under the water (as if being buried in the earth), and are raised again (as if being resurrected).

The Code of Justice in the EU:

Has forced Google to de-activate searches for private citizens who don’t want some things found.

A Spaniard brought this out – he HAD been in debt, but now is not – but he is still found in Google Searches.

Forbes “The EU’s right to be forgotten clashes with the US’s right to know.”

Will this cause another giant type of firewall like China? People, young and immature have done and posted stupid things online that can now NEVER be unposted.

But, interestingly, this “right to be forgotten” is a part of the gospel. Your sins will be forgotten.

Isaiah “I, even I, blot out your sins for my own sake and remember them NO MORE.”

Jeremiah 31:34 “No longer will they teach their neighbor and say ‘Know the Lord’ for they will know me, for I will forgive their sins and remember them NO MORE.”

Amazing that God is omniscient (all-knowing), yet he CHOOSES to forget all our sins when we believe in Christ. In this way, we are justified by faith in Christ.

Derick Prince: “Justified = Just as if I’d… never sinned.”

This is the truth Paul is fighting for.

“The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.” To go back to the Law would be to go back to WRATH. Now we live under GRACE.

Let’s pray.

  • May 04 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Christian’s Magna Carta (Galatians 1:1-24)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Christian’s Magna Carta (Galatians 1:1-24)

05.04

05.04.2014

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 Paul, an apostle–sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead– 2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

 


The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.
Magna Carta? = “The Great Charter”

  • established in 13th century in medieval England – signed by King John & the barons (leaders under the king, ruling England under a feudal system).
  • This Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in medieval England. The US Constitution is based partly upon it.

King John had all authority in England. So then why agree to this document that gave privileges to the people? At that time, England owned land in France and the king relied on the barons to provide money and men to defend those lands in France.

As long as they were successful abroad, the barons were happy to give money and men to the wars. But, King John wasn’t that successful. The barons weren’t happy about that. But King John insisted upon more and more men and money.

The King used to consult with the barons before raising the taxes and demanding men. John didn’t do that. Eventually the barons rebelled and took over the city of London.

This could have led to a great civil war in England. John realized he had to do something and signed this charter – it gave promises and privileges to the people and stopped his abuse of power.

This was a great charter for the people in England.

The letter the Galatians is a great charter for the people of heaven (including us and all Christians).

Martin Luther called this letter his betrothed – his Katy Van Vora. He considered this letter as precious as his wife.

Luther also loved the letter of Romans – he was a monk in a monastery, and was troubled greatly by the first chapter of Romans – speaking of the righteousness of God as being revealed from heaven. Many priests thought this was God’s wrath against sinners. Luther confessed he was angry with God because of this verse. He thought the gospel was an extension of the Law – that God was still an angry God, Jesus was just a more righteous Moses.

Luther struggled with this for a long time, but God revealed later that the righteousness was not an active righteousness that we must do and get – but a passive righteousness that God bestows upon unrighteous sinners. To those who are guilty, simply by believing in the person, death, atonement, resurrection of Jesus, God declared us to be righteous. “It’s as if God has given us a robe of righteousness.”

This changed everything for Luther – that God wasn’t angry, but that he received him as a son.

Similarly, he continued his study in the book of Galatians – God declares those who are guilty to be free from guilt. Jesus takes his righteousness and gives it to us as our righteousness (”The Great Exchange”). So this is a “Great Charter” for us as Christians (and sinners).

“Your blood has washed away our sins, Jesus, thank you.”

It’s our understanding of this and growth in the knowledge of this that helps us to persevere and grow in the Christian life.

Now, who are the Galatians?

Paul and Barnabas.
Paul – immediately after his conversion, began preaching all over. After numerous threats to his life, he went to Damascus, and kept preaching.

Antioch

While Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, they were called to go on a missionary journey (the First Journey – Acts 13:14).
Recap: Acts 13:14 – on the Sabbath, they entered the synagogue and the rulers invited them to bring a word of encouragement. Paul began to remind them of the history of Israel – how they were chosen through Abraham – God had led them through Egypt – led them out of Egypt, into the land of Canaan – God gave them judges up to the time of Samuel – they asked for a king, received King Saul, then King David. “From David’s line, a Messiah (ruler) would come – and in due time, Jesus, born of a virgin came to redeem those under the Law.” It is Jesus he’s preaching.

John the Baptist came first, preparing the way, that they all should look to the One to come after.

Paul later shows how the leaders rejected Jesus, didn’t accept him as their Messiah – “but God raised him from the dead according to many promises in the Scriptures” (Psalm 2, Psalm 16:10) – This together with other promises were seen to be fulfilled in Christ.

Paul gives this history and says, “I want you to know that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed. Everyone is proclaimed justified and free from guilt from everything.” The Law was not enough to cleanse from guilt (only expose it) – but the Grace of God, through belief in Jesus IS sufficient to cleanse from guilt.

Paul said, “Take care that what the prophets say does not happen to you – ‘Look you scoffers, you mockers, I’m going to do something among you that you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you.’”

The “God worshipers” – non-Jews – had at that time joined with the Jews and listened with the Jews in the synagogues. Many of the Jews and these “God worshiping” Gentiles received Jesus and Paul and Barnabas were invited back to preach again the second Sabbath. Pretty much the whole city turned up, but the few Jews who didn’t believe stood up and poisoned the minds of the others and caused the leaders to expel the two of them from Antioch. They brushed off the dust from their sandals – to show that they were not guilty of neglecting to share the gospel – and the continued on.

(These are the cities of Galatia)

Iconia

After Antioch, they went to Iconia. They preached in the synagogues. Some believed and received it joyfully. Others rejected it and poisoned the minds of the people against them. Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a time and God showed his power through them with signs and wonders. Eventually, they had to flee because of the plot to kill them.

Lystra

Next, Lystra. Here, Paul saw a man, lame from birth – who had FAITH. He said, “Stand up” and he did – “WOAH!” The people thought Paul and Barnabas were gods – or at least angels – and tried to worship them. They denied it, and tore their clothes and said, “Stop this! Turn AWAY from your idolatry and to the living God!” These people were pagans with no religious background – so he couldn’t show them Jesus in the Scriptures. So, he rather pointed them toward the Providence of God – this is the God they are preaching. For a time, the people believed. But again the Jews from the neighboring towns came and stood up the people. (Just shows how fickle people are. One minute listening and loving it, the next, stoning him and dragging him out of the city.)

Derby

The two then went on to Derby – many people believed. Then, they backtracked to all of their previous cities. They established churches, and appointed elders and told them they’d have to suffer hardships for the Kingdom of God. They knew Paul had risked his life to bring the good news of the gospel to them. They’d seen the power of God, received the Holy Spirit, and HOPEFULLY been established firmly.

Unfortunately, the Jews had been continually trying to get the people away from Jesus and back toward Moses and the Law of Moses. They would come into the churches and say, “Yeah, good for you, believe in Jesus BUT you better get circumcised as well…”

Some came from Jerusalem – without the authority of the church in Jerusalem – and said that the new believers would all have to adhere to the Law of Moses.

Paul and Barnabas said:

JESUS + NOTHING = EVERYTHING

Jesus + nothing else saves you.

The Gentiles did not need to be circumcised, did not need to follow the Law, just stay away from strangled food, food with blood in its veins, food sacrificed to idols, and sexual immorality.

Peter was one of the main guys who testified during this time – remember he’d already been sent to the house of Cornelius the Gentile and they received the Holy Spirit and were shown to be fully accepted just as the Jews. Peter presented this to the church in Jerusalem and James led the church to agree and accept it. (Interesting that later Peter kind of backslides from this testimony and Paul must confront him.)

Interesting that throughout these towns, the Jews had gone in to these towns and churches and said basically, “Yeah, Paul ain’t nothing. We are the TRUE apostles. You guys better get back to the Law of Moses, yo!”

Paul begins his letter here by saying “Hey guys! Remember me? APOSTLE. Not by men but through the revelation of Christ.”

Remember that Christ himself – the Risen Christ – had given Paul the revelation, the mission, the apostleship, and so on. So, Paul emphasizes that right from the beginning. And Paul emphasizes that there are “other brothers” with him who recognize his apostleship. He continues that he is astounded that the churches had listened so easily, so readily to those Jews who would twist and pervert the gospel. Paul is so worked up that he basically cursed them (twice!). “Look guys, I’m not trying to please men, but God. If I were trying to please men, I wouldn’t be a witness of Christ.” So, why you going back to that powerless/pointless Law? That’s just a step along the way to revealing the truth of JESUS. He’s the substance. Don’t go backward…

Later in the epistle, he shows through argument and demonstrations that it is ONLY by faith that they are saved and justified. They need to continue to believe in Christ. And you know what? If you love Jesus, you WILL fulfill the Law – almost unconsciously – because the Law IS love for Jesus.

As we continue through Galatians, let’s pray that God will open our eyes to see what God has done and accomplished through Jesus.

Martin Luther has said we need to continue to remember and refresh our minds about the “beautiful basics” of the gospel – FAITH IN CHRIST.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen