Summary: Exposition of Galatians 6:11-18
Text: Galatians 6:11-18, Title: A Parting Shot, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/19/07, PM
A. Opening illustration: Two ministers in a small town were openly critical of each other’s efforts and constantly opposed one another. After a joint meeting in which they planned a community-wide effort, one took this parting shot at the other, “We’ll just go out from here and continue to do the Lord’s work, you in your way, and I in His.”
B. Background to passage: These final verses of Galatians are very different from Paul’s usual closings. There is no greetings passed on to various individuals, no prayer requests, no doxologies, and it is quite long, except maybe in comparison to Romans 16. And besides all that, Paul goes back to the heart of the letter with the issue of works salvation and circumcision vs. glorying in the Christ and justification by faith alone. Erasmus said that there is just a much fire in the closing as in the beginning of the letter where he pronounces anathema upon angels and even himself if they or he preaches another gospel. There are also a couple of unusual statements in these verses that are interesting to bible students, one at the beginning of this text and one at the end. So the end of Paul’s letter is made up of a last word against the Judaizers and their teaching, then a different from usual benediction. One pastor after having preached through Galatians asked the question of the congregation: how do we tell if the message of Galatians has begun to take root…
C. Main thought: So in the text tonight, we will have a reminder of the wrong mindset and the right mindset, as well as a blessing upon those who agree with the truth of the gospel.
A. The Wrong Mindset (v. 12-13)
1. After Paul makes this strange statement about the size of the writing of his own hand, He goes right for the jugular of the Judaizers by exposing their true motives for what they are doing. And in doing so he does not question all of their sincerity, but shows some underlying motives that are in direct opposition to the true cause of Christ. The first motivation given of these Judaizers is that they want to make a good showing. They are out to gather the praise of men, not of Christ. They are running a popularity contest to see how many accolades they can heap up for themselves. They fear rejection of men, not God. The second motivation given which is still somewhat related to the first is that they push circumcision in order to avoid persecution. They are not willing to take up the real cross because it is too heavy and burdensome. They where trying to make the Christian faith look ecumenical with Judaism, so that the Jews wouldn’t persecute them. They were too cowardly to stand on the gospel, offend the Jews, and suffer the consequences. The third motivation to brag or boast in their new converts circumcision. They were counting scalps. They had confidence in their outward religious rituals, so they kept good statistics.
3. Illustration: the fear of man crops up its head every time that we vote on something an nobody votes. For instance on the budget the other night, the vote was about 5 to 1 with 40+ people present, “The cross is laid on every Christian. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death–we give over our lives to death. The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” –Bonhoeffer,
4. The fear of man causes us to act in ways that are hypocritical and anti-Christian. Whether it is bending and compromising to accommodate unspiritual values and people, or if it is putting on a big spiritual show with all the T-shirts and bumper stickers show everyone will talk about how spiritual you are; if it is done to win man’s attention and praise, it is anti-Jesus. And we put on a good show! Are you always wondering what people are thinking of you? Looking over your shoulder to see who is watching you? Do you refrain from lifting your hands in praise because someone may think or say something? // Are we afraid of the results if we tell our neighbors that they need Jesus Christ to be saved? Do we love comfort and east so much that we are unwilling to put forth the effort to minister to others, vacuum our own carpet, go on mission trips to TN or Peru, or stand up publicly against abortion, alcohol, evolution, or homosexuality? Are we willing to bear the persecution that the cross brings? Are we willing to embrace suffering for being obedient to Christ? // Are we focused more on the outward results of religion more than the life-transforming grace and its results? Do we judge men and women more on what they do than who they are? We talk about all that someone does, and little about their depth in Christ, not that these two things are not linked. In fact there should be a great correlation, but the emphasis is on the heart! Do we pray for growth in spirit as well as numbers?