Summary: Sermon examining the Abrahamic ad Mosaic Covenants.
After a long, dry sermon, the minister announced that he wished to meet with the church's board following the close of the service. The first man to arrive and greet the minister was a total stranger. "You misunderstood my announcement. This is a meeting of the board members," explained the minister. "I know," said the man, "but if there is anyone here more bored than I am, I'd like to meet him."
A minister delivered a sermon in 30 minutes one Sunday morning, which was about half the usual length of his sermons. He explained, "I regret to inform you that my dog, who is very fond of eating paper, ate that portion of my sermon which I was unable to deliver this morning." After the service, a visitor from another church shook hands with the preacher and said, "Reverend, if that dog of yours has any pups, I want to give one to my minister."
When I finish tonight some of you may get together and go buy me a dog! Tonight is going to be more of a study than a typical sermon but these verses are a great help in understanding the entire context of this epistle.
In these few verses Paul begins to draw some contrasts between the Abrahamic & Mosaic covenants. So let's dig in and see what Paul had to say to the recipients of this letter.
We will being with:
I. The Reference - v21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Here Paul specifically refers to those who believed it was necessary to keep the Law of Moses. The reference that he uses is one that would clearly speak to his readers... he uses Abraham as an example.
Abraham had two sons:
1) Ishmael who was from Hagar (a bondwoman)
2) Isaac who was of Sarah (a free woman)
Throughout this epistle the Law has represented bondage. We have also seen time and time again that grace represents freedom.
Paul states in verse 23 that "Ishmael was born after the flesh; but Isaac was born promise".The reason that Ishmael was born was because Abraham and Sarah were impatient and showed a lack of faith in God's promise. Things didn't happen when and how they thought that it should so they took matters into their own hands. Regardless of their rebellion, in His time... GOD FULFILLED HIS PROMISE! Even in their old age God enabled Abraham and Sarah to conceive Isaac.
Israel and the Law were symbolic of the bondwoman's children. Isaac and eventually Abraham's promised seed (Jesus) came from the freewoman as a result of promise. It was important for Paul to address this issue among the Galatian believers. It was a way of refuting the teaching of the Judaizers. But it was also beneficial information for them to possess. Paul was reminding them what they had been delivered from.
It is beneficial for us to look at God's Word and His work thought history that has brought us to where we are. And even more so, He will eventually lead us home! This morning we talked about those who have "retreated". Those who have experienced the freedom that comes through Christ and then have voluntarily returned to bondage.
Maybe you are here and you are on the verge of retreating yourself. Maybe you are facing difficulty and have began to lose ground spiritually speaking. Can I encourage you to remember where you were before Jesus. Consider where He has brought you from and all that He has done for you! And remember the bondage and oppression that you came out of. I believe that if you consider those things it may help keep you from retreating!
Paul starts this section of his letter with a reference, but as he goes on he begins to reveal some important truths to his readers.
Notice with me if you will:
II. The Revelation -v24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
In these verses Paul goes further in explaining what he calls an "allegory. Allegory (al-uh-gawr-ee) A story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning. The Greek word was used of a story that conveyed a meaning beyond the literal sense of the words. In this account Paul uses Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, Ishmael and the Mosaic and Abrahamic covenants to illustrate a spiritual truth. Ultimately what we have here is a contrast between the Law and Grace.