In my sermon last week the Galatians proved something. They proved that even though God through His Son, Jesus Christ had made them heirs to that promise He had made to Abraham many years before, they had still followed an unseemly path and had rejected that promise by turning away from the true Gospel to a watered down version that had been presented to them. They had rejected a Gospel grounded in faith and had replaced it with a Gospel based on works. As a result they weren’t standing for the right things
You know, for pastors, ministry is a series of good news and bad news. Listen to these scenarios:
Good news: You baptized seven people today in the river.
Bad news: You lost two of them in the swift current.
Good news: The Women’s ministry voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad news: The vote passed 21-20.
Good news: The Deacons accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad news: They were so inspired by it, they formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.
Good news: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.
Bad news: Mrs. Jones is also wild about soap operas, the “Gong show” and the “Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”
Good news: The women’s softball team finally won a game.
Bad news: They beat your men’s softball team.
Good news: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad news: You were on vacation.
Good news: Your deacons want to send you to Holy Land.
Bad news: They are stalling until the next war.
Have you ever wondered where you stood with someone?
If you were the pastor at that church, you would have to wonder, wouldn’t you?. In our text Paul is asking the question, “where do you stand”? Are you standing on the promise?
The Judaizers were trying desperately to promote their polluted gospel to the Galatians and were for the most part successful in their attempts. The Galatians had always been inconsistent, ready for anything flashy to come along. The Judaizers gospel fit right into their lifestyle.
In today’s text Paul is saying to the Galatians, the promise revealed is consistent. It’s yours to claim.
I. The Purpose Of The Promise (Gal. 3:15-18)
A. Consider these insights on the nature of God.
1. Through Abraham He showed His grace and sealed it with a promise of blessing.
5Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now
toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your
descendants be.” Then in the next verse He tells why the promise worked “6And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness”.
2. 430 years later the law came through Moses. It came as an exact opposite to grace.
18Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
21And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish.
B. Paul reminds us that a promise is not to be broken but the law is often broken.
C. The Promise would be fulfilled through the seed, which was Christ.
D. The law was interjected between the promise and the seed (Christ) to prove the need for the promise.
II. The Law And The Promise (Gal. 3:19-22)
A. The Judaizers gospel placed upon man the need to have
grace plus something else, namely the keeping of the law
B. I found these contrast between the law and grace. They deserve our attention.
1. The promise established a religion that was dependent on God.
2. The law created a religion that was dependent on
3. The promise centers totally on God’s plan.
4. The law centered solely on man’s duty.
5. The promise focuses on God’s grace, sovereignty, and blessings.
6. The law focused on man’s duty, work, responsibility, and behavior.
7. The promise requires only sincere faith.
8. The law required perfect obedience.
C. The Judaizers were making a strong argument in their favor. Their argument could have went something like this:
Paul we know that the promise was received and believed by Abraham but we also know that God changed the rules when He gave the law to Moses and so we feel we are perfectly within our rights to be good people and trust in the law. Paul responded by saying, “that’s not so”. “If man is not expected to break a promise, God cannot and will not”.
D. Paul made a strong argument on God’s behalf
1. The law was placed in effect to show our inability to get to God without claiming the promise.
2. The law doesn’t oppose the promise, it reveals it.
III. The Futility Of Living Without the Promise (Gal. 3:23-25)
A. Living outside the promise makes us a prisoner to sin.
1. There was only one key that could open the door and give us freedom.
2. None of the keys that the law or the world holds can open that door.
3. When the promise became flesh and dwelt among us, He brought the key with Him.
B. Now that the promise has been revealed we have the opportunity to become what God intended for us to be.
The story is told of a man that was walking through a field one day when he came across an eagle egg lying on the path. He picked up the egg and placed it in the nest of a prairie chicken. As time passed the eggs in the nest all hatched, the chickens and the eaglet. The eaglet looked around at his brothers and sisters and noticed that he didn’t look like them, walk like them, talk like them, or fly like them, however he was there when they were all born so he just accepted the differences. One day, the eaglet and his brother were walking down the path and an eagle flew overhead. The eaglet asked, "What is that?" The chicken replied, "That’s an eagle. It is the most majestic bird in the sky. See how he soars high above the trees!" The little eaglet bowed his head and said, "I wish I could be an eagle when I grow up." The chicken replied, "Don’t even think about it, you are a chicken and you will always be a chicken."
You can listen to the world and they’ll eventually persuade you that you are just like them and you’ll never be anything else. Or you can choose to listen to God and receive by faith the Promise that awaits all those that trust totally in Him. You can live like a chicken or you can soar with the eagles.