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Summary: Some begin well in the faith but leave the truth for error and false teachings. Once you get on the track of faith in Christ, don’t get off.

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FAITH OR OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW?

TEXT:

Galatians 3:1-14 (NIV)

1 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?

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?

6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.

8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”

9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

INTRODUCTION:

A. DESERTION OF THE TRUTH

1. Desertion is wrong because it shows disloyalty and betrayal.

2. Few things are worse than a Christian who deserts the gospel.

3. The Galatians deserted the gospel to follow a falsehood.

4. They left to follow a false form of Christianity.

5. It was supposedly an improvement of the gospel.

6. It was a worthless counterfeit.

B. THEY RAN WELL BUT THEY LEFT THE TRACK

1. Throughout history some have started well but not finished well.

2. They’ve allowed themselves to be pulled away from the truth.

3. They receive the gospel of grace through faith, then fall for some system of legalism, formalism, or ritualism.

4. These false systems promise more but produce less.

5. Since the time of Cain, man has tried to make himself righteous through his own good works.

6. There’s always someone, somewhere who thinks they have a better way to approach God or to please God than what is ordained.

I. THE RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

A. RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

1. Webster’s defines a rhetorical question as one that is – “asked merely for effect with no answer expected.”

2. A mother might ask, “Aren’t these your socks in the floor?”

3. No verbal answer is expected.

4. The correct answer is to pick them up.

B. WHO HAS BEWITCHED YOU?

1. “bewitched” - Gk. “baskaino” – to charm as with an evil eye

2. The Galatians had been charmed by the false teacher’s arguments.

3. A magician uses illusions and trickery to make you think something has happened.

4. By trickery, they make you think they have some type of power.

5. They give you the illusion that they have the power to cut a woman in half and put her back together unharmed.

6. They give you the illusion that they can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

7. Similarly, these false teachers at Galatia had given the Galatian church the illusion that a false gospel of works was better than the real gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

C. OBSERVING THE LAW –VS- FAITH? (v.2)

1. “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?”

2. You received the Holy Spirit by faith, so why go back to the law?

3. There is no plainer wording of what is required for salvation.

4. Salvation does not require observing the law.

5. Salvation simply requires “believing what you heard.”

6. It requires believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

7. Believing that Jesus died for you and paid for your sins.

8. Believing that He rose again on the third day proving He is Lord.

D. THE SPIRIT –VS- HUMAN EFFORT (v.3)

1. “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

2. After starting out your Christian growth by the power of the Holy Spirit, are you going to push Him aside and do it on your own?

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