Summary: Christians are free to love and serve.
Galatians 5:1&13-15 January 18, 2009
Dead poet’s society clip
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
You may remember last week’s sermon when I read a passage from the novel, “The Shack” – It was a passage that made me ask the question, “What is the relationship between rules and relationship in our relationship with God?”
We started to look at the answer to that question by turning to Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
The Galatians had been convinced that in order to please God, they had to follow the Jewish ritual Law.
Paul made a number of arguments in 3:1-14 to show that we please God by believing, not by behaving
1. You received the Holy Spirit, not by obeying the Law, but by believing in Jesus
2. You started with belief and the Spirit, why switch to rules?
3. You received the gifts of the Spirit and miracles, not by obeying the Law, but by believing in Jesus
4. Abraham was declared righteous because he believed, not because he followed the law
5. The Law will never work as a way to get to God, because it is impossible to keep perfectly.
It is believing, not behaving that makes us right, and keeps us right with God.
I ended by saying that you might have one of two responses to this-
1 - “Woo Hoo, lets go do what we like! ‘cause God’s just going to forgive us anyway!”
or, 2 - “But doesn’t God want us to do the right thing?”
Hopefully this week’s passage will begin to find the way through those two responses.
Galatians 5:1, 13-15
It is so easy to get into lock step – like the clip. The Galatians jumped into lock step with the Law
Verse 1 – no longer slaves to the Law
The law as a way of relating to God – it is like relating to people and afraid constantly that you will offend them. – it is a slavery – the temptation of stepping back into slavery – freedom is not always easy.
Not too many Christians today who think they need to practice the Jewish law to be saved
Other legalists – our heritage – Baptist can lean toward legalism – Don’t dance, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with girls who do…
Inner healing prayer movement, as well as healing prayer movement
Social Justice movement – Liberation Theology
We will even create our own “Law”
You can have a relationship with the rules, but not know God
You can have a relationship with good theology, but not know God
You can have a relationship with “right” worship but not know God
- explain about Paul’s concept of the spirit and the flesh - Spirit-led side, sin controlled side, spirit nature verses sin nature
- – two dog story
don’t use your freedom to sin: Paul’s version of freedom is not like the Rolling Stones’ (I’m free to do what I want any old time…)
1 Peter 2:16-17 (Today’s New International Version)
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love your fellow believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
In Corinth, Paul had the opposite problem to that in Galatia – the people weren’t trading their freedom to follow the law, they were enjoying their freedom a little too much – they were like the Rolling Stones
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (Today’s New International Version)
23 "I have the right to do anything," you say—but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Use your freedom to love
Good Samaritan story - use Hamas instead of Samaritan
– love those you should hate
Love fulfills the law – the love of laying down your life
No “victimless sin” – your sin always harms another
No backbiting – must have been some inner struggle among the Galatians – for all their law keeping they had no love.
How does this relate to our relationship with God?
– not defined by obeying the rules,
- do you have a relationship where you can never be at ease in the other person’s presence – you end up being like the kid in the clip who is always wondering if you’re getting it right – this is not how God wants to relate to us.
1 John 3:18-20 (Today’s New International Version)
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.