Summary: The Christian life is all about having an experience with the living God.
Are You Experienced?
Text: Gal. 3:1-5
1. Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix once asked, "Are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have."
2. The Apostle Paul asks the question, "Are you experienced." However, it is far different from the experience that Jimi is talking about. Furthermore he suggests that this experience should have a profound impact on our lives.
3. Paul wants to know if we have had...
a. The experience of salvation
b. The experience of sacrifice
c. The experience of power
4. Let's stand together as we read Gal. 3:1-5.
Proposition: The Christian life is all about having an experience with the living God.
Transition: The first experience of the Christian life is...
I. The Experience of Salvation (1-2).
A. Oh Foolish Galatians
1. As Pentecostals we are often criticized for being too focused on experiences.
a. The Christian Life is all about experience.
b. Salvation is an experience with the living Jesus where we come to realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
c. When we give our lives over to his Lordship we experience what real love and real peace is all about.
2. Unfortunately, some Christians forget about this experience. That was the problem that Paul was having with the Galatian Christians. They had forgotten what it meant to have an experience with Jesus.
3. Paul asks the Galatians, "Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?
a. The "header" for this section, "You foolish Galatians!" is not intended to' make friends, but neither was it perceived as a personal insult and therefore unworthy of an apostolic leader.
b. The term foolish, however, captures Paul's point: they were illogical in committing themselves to the Pauline message of God's grace in Christ and then succumbing to the Judaizers'.
c. Anoētos (foolish) does not connote mental deficiency but mental laziness and carelessness.
d. The believers in Galatia were not stupid; they simply failed to use their spiritual intelligence when faced by the unscriptural, gospel-destroying teaching of the Judaizers.
e. They were not using their heads. The Greek term frequently carried the idea of a wrong attitude of heart, a lack of faith that clouds judgment.
f. John Calvin insists that their fall from grace was more from madness than stupidity (Calvin, Reformation Commentary On Scripture, vol. 10, 87).
4. Paul continues clarifies his question by say, "For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross."
a. Crucifixion is the center of Paul's understanding about Jesus Christ.
b. What may be distasteful to modern readers is the center of his attention.
c. For Paul, the cross delivers from the present evil age and murders the law, thus terminating its lordship hold over people, so that we can die to the law, sin, and the world; the cross of Christ justifies, absorbs our guilt, and ends nationalistic Judaism.
d. We can see from this impressive list of the accomplishments of the cross in Galatians that Paul has wrapped his entire argument both/or Christ and against the Judaizers around the cross of Christ.
e. John Stott states it well: "There is then, it is safe to say, no Christianity without the cross. If the cross is not central to our religion, ours is not the religion of Jesus."
f. What he had preached to them was so openly and clearly proclaimed that Paul is at a loss to know how his converts could ever have failed to see its significance or to appreciate its implications for the question at hand" (Scot McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – Galatians, 136- 137).
5. Paul again reminds them of their experience when he says, "Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ."
a. Here Paul appeals to their initial, perhaps charismatic, experience of receiving the Spirit.
b. And he wants to know: How did they get the Spirit? By obeying Moses or by obeying the gospel of faith?
c. For Paul, receiving the Spirit is the identifying characteristic of the Christian. To be a Christian is to be indwelt by the Spirit, and to be indwelt by the Spirit is to be a Christian.
d. Romans 8:16 (NLT)
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
e. If they received the Spirit by faith, then they are wrong in attaching themselves now to the laws of the Judaizers; if they received the Spirit by observing the law, then Paul is wrong and the Judaizers are right.
f. But, Paul knows, they received the Spirit earlier than the Judaizers' arrival, and therefore they have to admit right here that they received it by faith (McKnight, 138-140).