Summary: Spiritual parenting can be painful.


Galatians 4:8-20

S: Failure and Discipleship

Th: Grace-Full Living


?: What? Over what?

KW: Issues

TS: We will find in Galatians 4:8-20, three issues that demonstrate the pain of spiritual parenting.

The _____ issue that demonstrates the pain of spiritual parenting is about (the)…


II. FIDELITY (12-16)

III. FERVOR (17-20)

RMBC 7/23/00 AM


1. When you compete, what do you dread?

I was thinking about baseball in connection with this question.

Through the years, I have enjoyed playing baseball as a kid and softball as an adult.

Although most of my memories about baseball are fond ones, there has always been one thing I have hated about baseball.

It is striking out.

ILL Personal

I remember the very first time I played for the team in Little Falls. I was a bit nervous, because after one practice with the team, they were talking me up as better than I felt than I was. At this game, they had me leading off. So the first pitch came. I did not swing, because it was wide by a mile. The umpire yelled, “Strike!” My team laughed. The pitcher smirked. The next pitch came. It was right over the plate, and way over my head. I did not swing. And the umpire yelled (you guessed it), “Strike!” This time the team grumped at the umpire. The pitcher, however, had the biggest grin on his face. This umpire had the biggest strike zone either one of us had ever seen! Well, you know what happened on the next pitch. I had to swing, because it was more likely a strike than a ball (in fact, none of us knew where the zone that was not a strike was). And as the pitch came, I swung, and missed—striking out. I hate striking out!


On May 13, 1983, in a game against the Minnesota Twins, Reggie Jackson, playing with the California Angels, became the first major leaguer to strike out 2,000 times. Asked what this kind of record meant to him, the slugging outfielder said, “It means I did nothing but miss the ball for four full seasons.”

Missing the ball.

It makes you feel like a failure.

Have you ever felt like a failure?

2. We all, at one time or another, deal with the problem of failure.

It is an empty feeling.

It brings feelings of despair, depression, disappointment and sadness.

We feel as if we are not good enough.

We have not met the standard.


If you have felt this way, you are going to discover you have some good company.


1. The apostle Paul felt like a failure.

As we come to the middle of chapter 4, we find Paul asking some hard questions about his ministry to the churches in Galatia.

Had it all been for no purpose?

Had he wasted his efforts?

Why did he feel like an enemy?

He was confounded and perplexed by their actions.

And he felt like a failure.

He felt he had not succeeded.

He felt he had not succeeded because he took the task of disciple-making seriously.

2. Paul took the task of disciple-making seriously.

He knew what the Great Commission said.

Jesus had given him (and all of us) an assignment (the assignment) to make disciples.

So as he traveled, he encouraged believers to follow him as he followed Christ.

As a result, many came to know Christ.

As he went from town to town, people began a relationship with Jesus as a result of Paul’s ministry.

He became their spiritual parent.

But Paul is learning a valuable lesson as he writes this letter (a lesson, unfortunately, that he will learn over and over again).

He learns that…


He had become the spiritual parent to these churches.

They had come to faith in Christ by the good news he proclaimed among them.

They had grown in the faith according to the teaching he had given them.

But now they were rejecting him.

And it was painful.

So, to help us today…

4. We will find in Galatians 4:8-20, three issues that demonstrate the pain of spiritual parenting.


I. The first issue that demonstrates the pain of spiritual parenting is about the FOUNDATION (8-11).

(8) Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. (9) But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? (10) You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! (11) I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

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