Summary: Sermon 8 in the Galatians Series. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Paul compares the Galatian believers to Abraham. They are children of Abraham because of their faith. As believers our identity comes from Christ, as a
A Family Resemblance
Have you ever felt out of place, like you didn’t belong
Me in High School: a man without a country (Hicks, Jocks, Freaks, Geeks) - uncomfortable doesn’t begin to cover it.
It is much worse when you are in a totally different culture – where you don’t know what to do.
Difficulty of differing cultures when Christianized - Missionaries
African culture – less importance on being timely – 1 hour late is on time
Tribal decision making – no rhetorical questions – men gather to decide, convey to tribe
Chinese culture – endless cycles, re-incarnation, many social differences
Very difficult if forced to accept Western culture
Unfortunately that does happen, we are so used to our own culture and Christianity within that culture, that when we lead people to Christ from other cultures, we expect them on some level to accept our own cultural brand of Christianity.
We expect them to do church our way, sing our hymns, worship in our western style.
But the Bible didn’t lay out a specific worship style –
Its about the heart of God’s people, on Fire for Him
In awe of Him, Worshiping HIM
Whether it is with Hymns in a nice church building like this one, at 11:00am prompt
Or tribal chants in the middle of an African Village, outside with Gods beautiful creation all around people coming and going, it might last all day
If it is directed to Him and to His Glory, God accepts it – God loves it
OT – Jewish culture, Jews felt they were chosen people, must have chosen culture
Gentiles – Galatians, in cultural no mans land. Didn’t belong anywhere
Cultural outcasts – without a home so-to-speak (wandering in the wilderness?)
Not welcome in the Synagogues
Wouldn’t go to the Pagan temples
Identity is confused – people need to belong
So they were easy targets for the false teachers who said
“You can belong – just get circumcised as the law demands and become a Jew, and you can be one of us, a child of Abraham”
Paul teaches them that their identity is in Christ as a child of God, as a spiritual child of Abraham.
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.
Comapred to Abraham – ID’d as children of Abraham – Rooted in Scripture – Included in Family Blessing
Compared to Abraham:
6 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
Verse 6 begins with a comparative conjunction (missing in NIV) “Just as Abraham believed God” “Even as Abraham believed God”(KJV)
Paul is comparing the Faith of the Galatians to the faith of Abraham,
He is putting the Galatians faith in God on the same level as Abraham’s Faith in God
I want you to think about that for a minute
Paul is drawing a parallel here: the faith of the Galatians on the same level as the faith of Abraham – we can insert ourselves here in the same place as the Galatians
(the letter was written as much to us as it was to them)
The Galatians, (and us) heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and they believed what they heard (ref: last week’s sermon).
God sees that faith the same way he sees the faith of Abraham (who is the man of faith)
Paul is quoting from Genesis:
Gen 15: 5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
James tells us in chap 2 of his letter that this scripture was fulfilled when Abraham offered up his son Isaac to God on the altar.
The Faith of Abraham is something that many of us would consider exceptional – above our reach.
It is a story that I think is troublesome for many people. They read the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son and they see what they think is an unfair request
We find the story in Genesis 22. God has already promised Abraham that he would have offspring numbering like the stars.
He has also told him that this blessing would come through Isaac his son.
And Abraham believed GOD – God had made him a promise, and Abraham BELIEVED GOD
He didn’t know how it would happen, how God had it worked out – but he knew he could trust GOD