Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What happened?

Galatians 4:15
“What Happened?”

The Christian life is one of joy.  If not something is wrong.

I.    The Galatians’ problem.

    A.    They were deserting God. [1:6]

        1.    The key issue is Jesus.

            a.    Jesus is God, come in the flesh, crucified, risen, and King of Kings.

            b.    Jesus is Lord.

            c.    “Grace” means God’s undeserved loving kindness... God’s “want to...”

        2.    The results:

            a.    They were turning to a “different” gospel (“good news”) which was no gospel (“good news”)

            b.    Once we take our eyes off Jesus, we will sink.  (Ill. Peter in the storm, got out of the boat at Jesus’ command, took eyes off Jesus and began to sink.)

        3.    Cure: none.  Consistently  rejecting the grace of God leave us on our own.

    B.    They were thrown into confusion. [1:7]

        1.    The key issue is outside influence.

            a.    Probably the outsiders were well meaning and sincere.

            b.    The outsiders had strong reasoning skills and were persuasive.

            c.    The REAL PROBLEM was they were “those who wanted to impress others.” [6:12]

        2.    The results:

            a.    They “pervert(ed) the gospel of Christ.” [1:7]

            b.    The goal was to “make us slaves.” [2:4c]

        3.    Cure: Instead of “stars” we need “nameless and faceless” leaders and followers who are not concerned about fame or power.

    C.    They were “not acting in line with the gospel of truth.” [2:14]

        1.    The key issue is fear.

            a.    Peter was pressured and Barnabas was lead astray.

            b.    [2:12] “because he (Peter) was afraid.”

            c.    Unfortunately weaknesses have a way of haunting us.  (Peter had once denied Jesus because he was afraid of the crowd.)

        2.    The result:

            a.    The “forced” compliance.  One key trick is to insist that people “keep the peace” and just go along.

            b.    Not only is hypocrisy demanding, it is contagious.

        3.    Cure: those brave enough to lovingly stand for truth.  (Notice that Paul did not do it to advance his own standing or agenda.)  Loving confrontation is necessary.

    D.    They were trying to finish by human effort. [3:3]

        1.    The key issue is control.

            a.    They started by believing. [3:2]

            b.    They began with the Holy Spirit. [3:2]

            c.    Assuming control of salvation is a natural result of perverting the gospel.

        2.    The result:
            a.    They made the gospel “for nothing” [3:4]

            b.    Was the gospel in vain?  Did they make it in vain?

            c.    [4:9] “turning back to those weak and miserable principles (forms)”

***** The over all effect: [5:2] “Christ will be of no value to you at all.”

*****No wonder there joy was gone.

II.    There are two ways to walk: human effort and depending on God. [4:23]

    A.    Human effort: [3:3]

        1.    Human effort comes through “observing the law.” [3:2] (This is our own efforts to earn, deserve, and maintain our salvation through religious/other exercise and practice.)

        2.    Human effort means slavery. [4:23]

            a.    Sarah’s idea was to give Abraham children (despite God’s promise).

            b.    Abraham did not trust God, so the human effort made sense.

                1.)    Human effort makes sense in a competitive/achievement oriented society.

                2.)    Human effort makes sense corporately when we compare ourselves and hold someone up as the “how to” standard.

        3.    Human effort will alienate us for Christ. [5:4]

        4.    Human effort means we “HAVE FALLEN from grace.” [5:4]

    B.    Depending on God’s promise. [4:3]

(A promise is only as good as the one who makes it.  Our reaction and dependence to a promise reflects our attitude and opinion toward the one making the promise.]

        1.    God’s promise comes through grace. [3:18]

        2.    In Jesus, we become children of God THROUGH faith. [3:36]

        3.    When we move from slaves to sons, God does some things for us. [4:5]

            a.    We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts [4:6]

            b.    We have absolute “Abba” trust. [4:6]

            c.    We are heirs of God. [4:7]

        4.    Depending on God’s promise looks like this:

            a.    You are crucified with Christ. [2:20]

            b.    You will express faith “THROUGH love.” [5:6]

III.    How do we restore joy?

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” [1 Thessalonians 1:6]

    A.    It goes back to the Holy Spirit.

        1.    The Holy Spirit “wakes” us.

            a.    We are awake to our spiritual state and need.

            b.    We are awake to the ONLY solution: Jesus.

        2.    The Holy Spirit “convicts” us.  (Caught between a rock and a hard place.)

            a.    We are uncomfortable with and about the truth. (The “rock”)

            b.    We are uncomfortable with and about ourselves.  (The “hard place”)

        3.    The Holy Spirit brings “godly sorrow.”

            a.    We repent of sin.  (Sin in general in our lives AND specific ones we know we are guilty of...)  (Absolutely necessary.)

            b.    We let go of human effort.

        4.    The Holy Spirit brings “joy.” (According to the individual personality of the believer.)

            a.    Joy is intelligent (able to reason and think).

            b.    Joy is emotional (able to feel).

    B.    How does it work from here?

        1.    We are free to serve in love. [5:13]

        2.    We have the fruit (product) of the Holy Spirit. [5:22 – 23a]

        3.    We keep in step with the Holy Spirit. [5:25]

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