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Summary: The key to keep from returning to our old ways is growing in our relationship with Christ.

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Galatians 4:8-11

“A Return To Bondage”

I. Their Former Life (8)

• Paul wants them to remember the time before they knew God that is before they came to have an intimate relationship with Him.

• “When ye knew not God.”

o Know – is a word that means to know intimately or have personal knowledge of someone or something.

o That is a different word than to know something factually or head knowledge.

o The unbeliever while he may have a head knowledge of God does not have fellowship or communion with the Almighty God.

o So the unbeliever by default missed out on the abundant life with God, the meaningful prayer life to God, and the assurance of spending eternal life with God.

• “Ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”

o Even while they did not know God (intimate relationship), they still sought to fulfill the void that was missing from their lives with religion.

o They had religion  religion says what can we do to please God or to find favor in the eyes of God.

o The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God, while it is true that we do have works, but our works are the outward evidences of our faith.

o They had idols  their desire was to have something concrete that they could see and touch in order to direct their time and affection towards.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 -- 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

o The void left in the heart of man can only be filled by knowing God.

II. Their Present Life (9a)

• They now know or better said are known by God.

o Paul reasserts the truth we looked at Sunday night that it is God who comes to us, searches us out; that we become known by God.

o Paul reminds them first of how they used to live and now how they have come to live as being privileged to longer worship false gods in vain, but to know the true living God and live a life pleasing to Him.

III. Their Turning Back (9b-11)

• “How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements.”

• Now that you are known by God, how could you go back to that old way of living?

o How can people who have a relationship with God go back to the former way of living? (Again remember that Paul is not doubting their salvation, just how they were living it out).

o It all comes down to a lack of spiritual maturity. If we don’t grow in respect to this new spiritual life we have been given we will revert back to that old comfortable self, that carnal man.

o 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Vs. 10

• The Galatian believers had merely traded one form of religion (the worship of pagan gods) for another (the observance of days – Sabbath, atonement; of months – New Moon festivals; and times -- Passover, Booths; and years – Jubilee.

Colossians 2:16-17 -- 16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.


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