Summary: Message on the importance of relying on the Spirit for power to live and knowledge to know the will of God.
DON’T LOSE THE SENSITIVITY!
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
In all the temptations found among believers the greatest temptation is to simply lose the spiritual sensitivity and closeness of a former experience.
In a USA Today article entitled, “Quick dose of 9-11 religioin soothes, doesn’t transform”: The Barna Research Group study indicated that while there was a 25% increase in church attendance after 9/11, the attendance has dropped off again – and people are back to their previous lives.
George Barna, “After the attack, millions of nominal and or generally irreligious were desperately seeking something that would restore stability and a sense of meaning. Many turned to the church. Unfortunately, the church succeeded putting the friendly face but failed at motivating the vast majority of spiritual explorers to connect with Christ in a more intimate or intense manner.”
The church has been in the past preoccupied with gaining what they hope to receive – She should have been as much concerned with maintaining what she had!
The messages to the churches in Rev. is that they were to stir up what remained!
I. PAUL’S GREAT BATTLE: GAL 1:6-7
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
A. Judaizers – People who believed in salvation only based upon the Law – circumcision included.
1. These zealots were intense in their devotion to the “right things” and were angry at those who would not follow their ideas.
a. As a result the church was deserting what Paul had taught them – Not deserting the church, but what they had been taught.
b. They had been hearing what was on the outward appearance a form of gospel, but it wasn’t really a gospel at all!
c. They were confused because there were people trying to pervert the gospel.
Paul’s strong response: Gal 1:8-9 - But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Summary: When false doctrine perverts the truth, it’s time to get strong!
II. PAUL’S REASONING:
Gal 3:2-5 - I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing-if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
A. How did you begin? How you started is how you should end!
1. Jesus didn’t change, The kingdom didn’t change, God’s grace didn’t change, their salvation hadn’t changed!
a. The Judaizers told them that God’s ways were of old, and the old ways are the best ways, and since God never changes, neither should we change!
b. ENTER THE NEW COVENANT! Jesus qualified the Law and the commandments in His own blood!
c. ENTER THE NEW CREATURE! WE are new creatures created IN Christ Jesus! The old has disappeared! The new has appeared!
Summary: Paul’s challenge to the church is that they had begun a new life in the Spirit, and the false teachers were saying they could not begin this new life unless they adhered to the old ways of doing things!
III. PAUL DARES TO BRING THE CHURCH BACK: GAL 5:1-6
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.