Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Bewitched: Fascinated by a lie. This message invites the audience to examine what they are depending on for their success in any effort. What are they fascinated with?


Breaking the Spell

1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Gal 3:1-5 (NIV)

When I want to preach on a concept, I often go out on the web and look at what other people are saying about it. I did that with this verse of scripture – and was interested by what I found. Everyone seems to make this passage about salvation. We’re saved by grace, not by works. Salvation is not mentioned, works is not mentioned – the word grace is only used once late in the chapter.

Two clarifications:

It’s not about working, it’s about DEPENDENCE

The question in this scripture (as well as other similar discussions) is not whether works are required. The question is are we depending on them? What are we trusting in?

It applies to every PURSUIT, not just getting to heaven

Everyone seems to relegate this passage to the conversation of salvation. But Paul is talking to established believers. It’s not just a Bible study that will help them be more effective witnesses (so they know how to tell others to come to God). This is a practical rebuke to them. Notice:

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (v 3)

My attention is drawn to his first question to the Galatians…


Greek word baskainô – "fascinated with a lie"

It’s the only time that the word is used in scripture. We tend to put a spooky connotation to it, as someone cast a spell on them. The original word has little to do with witchcraft, but has everything to do with being spellbound.

Paul says – something false has captured your attention. Your gaze is fixed on a lie, and it’s keeping you from receiving the blessings of truth.

They were fascinated with the FLESH. (v 3)

What does this entail? Tangible things. Or any product of human effort. The contrasting element Paul speaks of is the Spirit. That which is intangible. That which goes beyond human effort.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalms 20:7 (NIV)

This led to a fascination with RULES. (v 2, 5)

Contrary to our first thought – most of us like rules. We just want to choose which rules. We like to impose rules. If we are honest with ourselves – we really only have a problem with someone else imposing rules on us without us asking them to.

When you are depending on the flesh, you will begin to depend more on more on rules. Rules give us a sense of security, a sense of control. When things stay within the rules, we are not surprised.

Remember there are two ways to show a fascination with the rules. You can be fascinated with imposing or following them. Or you can be fascinated with breaking them, or resent their imposition.

The issue is not whether we live by the rules or not. The issue is – where is our focus?

…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Tim 3:5 (NIV)


It’s very easy for us to make this a discussion of salvation, or holiness. But I believe it should be about every aspect of our lives.

What are you obsessed with when it comes to your

- family?

- career?

- finances?

- church growth?

- ministry?

What is the first source of strength? What are you counting on for your success? What has you convinced that it will carry you through?

If it is anything besides the Spirit of God, you are bewitched… fascinated by a lie.


Remember the CROSS (v 1)

It is the greatest paradox of all time…

- lose your life to find it

- he that would be great must become the servant of all

- humble yourself, and you will be exalted

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Phil 2:5-7 (NKJV)

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J. Douglas Duty Jr.

commented on Jun 28, 2017

Thank you... really good insight and perspective. This was very helpful.

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