Summary: A Sermon for a New Year
Text: Galatians 4: 4-7
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Intro: How many of you like football? I like it too – up to a point. I’m not crazy about watching the professional players who make millions of dollars just to play. I like to watch high school ball or college games- where they are not in it for the money, but for the shear joy to win the game.
I loved going to my high school games. And my college games were even more fun. Appalachian State University – now the 1aa National Champs!
Back when I was in college, they won the Southern Conference a time or two but they had their down years too. But they kept on playing – doing what they had signed up to do. Playing football.
I learned the rules of football from my daddy. We’d watch games together and I’d ask a million questions. He would gently answer each one until I understood the game.
The scripture we have before us today from the letter to the Galatians, is Paul’s attempt to explain the game – not the game of football, but the game of life in Christ.
It seems that some of the Galatians were unsure what Jesus’ story meant for their lives. I think that after Christmas, we too are often unsure about that Christmas story and how it relates to us today, over 2000 years later. I think that many are very unsure about how the Christmas story can go with us into this new year ahead.
Let’s compare the game of life with football as we seek to understand Jesus’ story for our lives.
I. God sent his Son - The first half of the game.
A. In the fullness of time – when the time was right.
1. It’s kind of like when the coach tells the star running back to go for the touchdown.
2. God knew that humanity needed a savior – that we were so messed up that we could never save ourselves.
3. God had been relatively quiet until this – there were 500 years between the writings of the Old Testament and New Testament.
4. But now, things were just right for God to send God’s Son.
5. It was God’s time – the time that God wanted to reveal God’s Self to us.
B. Born of a woman.
1. First, Jesus is God’s Son – totally divine, leaving heaven to come to earth.
2. Next, Jesus is human – born of a woman.
3. How wonderful this is! God could have revealed himself in many ways – God could have sent angels, could have quaked in the mountains, could have been a cloud or fire or whatever God chose. But God chose to reveal God’s Self as one of us.
4. The Divine took on human flesh so that humanity could see him, touch him, and learn from him.
C. Born under the law, in order to redeem those under the law.
1. Humanity had gotten so caught up in following man’s laws that God’s laws had been perverted – changed with more ins and outs than one can imagine. (not much unlike many of our laws today).
2. Some tried to follow all the rules, but others just gave up – it was just too hard to do all that the religious leaders and the law required.
3. But God sent his Son, to be born into this world of laws, so that God could redeem all those under those same laws.
4. God sent Jesus to let us know that following the laws was not the same thing as following him.
5. We can never do enough or be good enough to receive Salvation.
6. Salvation is a gift, just like Jesus was a gift to humankind.
7. We can only be saved by accepting the free gift of God’s grace for our lives. This is how we are redeemed.
D. Why were we redeemed? So that we might receive adoption as children.
1. God wants for us to be in his family!
2. God wants for all of humankind to be on the same team.
3. If there is trouble within the team, then there will be trouble on the playing field.
4. We must realize that God came to earth in the form of a baby named Jesus in order that we could all have the opportunity to be on the same team.