INTRO: The letter of the apostle Paul to the churches of Galatia is not a particularly happy letter! It is one in which there is very little commendation and a great deal of concern that the churches had fallen under unwholesome influences. Although the province of Galatia was distant from Jerusalem and the great Jewish population of Judea, the influence of Jewish teachers among the churches was a reality to an alarming degree. The great issue of the error of binding vestiges of the law of Moses on Christian people is extensively addressed in little book of Galatians. The title I have given this lesson is one which could describe many a Christians life. Well begun is half done (according to Mary Poppins), but what about the other half? Here was Pauls concern.
I. THERE WERE QUESTIONS ABOUT PAULS APOSTLESHIP
A. He appeals to their original relationship - 4:13-15
1. he is wondering what has happened to his relationship with these people
2. one of the things they knew was his willingness to preach to them even with the infirmity of the fleshwhich made him so uncomfortable
3. they had received him as an angel of God
4. and v. 15 is so filled with the spirit of the original relationship
B. So, the letter includes assurances of the genuineness of his message to them
1. Gal 1:1 - the letter begins with assurance his appointment by Jesus & God
2. Gal 1:11,12 - he certifies that was he preached came directly from Jesus
3. the point he goes on to make is that he was not taught the message by men
4. the direction of his apostleship? Gal 1:15,16 - to preach him among the heathen ... notice, too, Gal 2:7-9
II. THERE WAS THE ISSUE OF A PERVERTED GOSPEL
A. He marvels at their quick departure from the truth - Gal 1:6
1. there is a very important lesson here
2. no matter how well begun discipleship may be, with the wrong influences a person may quickly fall away!
3. Col 1:23 makes a vital point about discipleship - note the BIG if here
B. The influence in the Galatian situation? a perverted gospel
1. Gal 1:7 - a perverted thing is corrupt - a perverted gospel was corrupt
2. anyone who preaches or teaches a perverted gospel is under the curse of God
3. notice Gal 5:12 - this is strong, graphic language of the Judaizing teachers
C. The specific problem here?
1. insisting that various aspects of Judaism be bound on Christians
2. at least two very clear issues were noted
a. Gal 4:9,10 - insistence on observing the Jewish calendarb. Gal 5:1-3 - insistence on circumcision
3. the effect? Gal 5:4 - Christ is become of no effect unto you - so, even though they well began, they are in grave danger of losing the reward!
D. Put this a different way - Gal 5:4b - ye are fallen from grace
1. such a possibility is denied by so many people today - Calvinistic doctrine
2. how, though, could language be clearer than this? Christians falling from grace
3. this possibility is the great concern of this letter
III. SOME OF THE GREAT TEXTS FROM GALATIANS
A. Certainly we could include Gal 2:20 in such a listing
1. here is a one verse description of the Christian life
2. his point, of course, here is that the Galatians are dead to the law and alive unto God through Jesus atoning sacrifice
B. There is Gal 3:26-29 - Emphasizing that we are allAbrahams seed, and heirs...
1. we need to notice how Paul goes all the way to Abraham (not Moses) to show how the gospel was declared to Abraham in a specific way - Gal 3:8
2. and note that we are clothed with Christ in baptism
C. There are the fruits of the Spirit and the flesh - Gal 5:19-25
1. is this a complete catalog? note and such likeand against such
2. while other scriptural information must be taken into consideration, this listing is enough to help us understand what both the Spirit and the flesh produce in us
D. Then, notice Gal 6:7,8 and a great spiritual principle
1. we cannot fool God with false piety, hidden impurities, hypocrisy!
2. this principle is very easy for even they young to understand
CLOSE: The letter virtually ends with this admonition - Gal 6:9,10. Theres a great day coming. We shall reap in joy. In the meantime, goodness must characterize our lives.
Cecil A. Hutson
09 November 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)