Summary: The message encourages believers to know their spiritual mother, the way of promise, and to discard the way of law. In other words, stop trying to earn your way and start enjoying your way to heaven.
Freedom’s Children (Galatians 4:21-31)
Van Morris, of Mt. Washington, Kentucky, tells the story of an elderly woman from out of town who walked into a local country church. A friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps.
“Where would you like to sit?” he asked.
“The front row please,” she answered.
“You really don’t want to do that,” the usher said. “The pastor is really boring.”
“Do you happen to know who I am?” asked the woman.
“No,” said the usher.
“I’m the pastor’s mother,” she replied indignantly.
“Do you know who I am?” the usher asked.
“No,” she said.
“Good.” (Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky)
Mothers are very important people (VIP’s). You don’t want to offend them, because they wield so much influence.
In fact, in Bible days, the status of the mother actually determined the status of her children. If the mother was a slave, then her children were slaves, even if their father was a king. On the other hand, if the mother was free, then her children were free, even if their father was a slave.
Spiritually speaking, that’s still true of you and me today. If our “mother” is free, then we are free! But if our “mother” is a slave, then we are slaves!
So let me ask you a question: Who is your mother? I’m not talking about your physical mother. I’m talking about your spiritual mother.
Who is your mother, spiritually speaking? Who gave spiritual birth to you?
Galatians 4:21-23 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. (NIV)
The first book of the Law, the book of Genesis, makes it very clear that Abraham had two children with two different mothers. One was a slave.
Her name was Hagar, and she gave birth to Ishmael. The other mother was free. Her name was Sarah, and she gave birth to Isaac.
Furthermore, tese two children not only had two different mothers. They were born in two different ways they had two different methods of birth. Hagar, the slave’s son was born “in the ordinary way,” litterally, “according to the flesh.” & Sarah, the free-woman’s son was born “as a result of a promise,” i.e., through a miracle.
God had promised Abraham and Sarah many descendants, as many as the stars in the heavens, but nothing was happening over the years. Abraham and Sarah were growing old, and still they didn’t have even one son, much less “many descendants.”
So when Abraham turned 85 years old and Sarah turned 75, they decided to help God out. By their own efforts, in their own flesh, they were going to secure God’s promised blessing. Sarah gave her slave-girl, Hagar, to Abraham as his second wife, and they had a son in the ordinary way. Ishmael was born according to the flesh, as a result of a man trying to get God’s promised blessing through his own human efforts.
But instead of a blessing, they got trouble. Hagar began to despise Sarah, and Sarah flew into a rage. Their home was thrown into turmoil, which still continues today, 4,000 years later, in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
My friends, that’s what happens when we try to secure God’s blessings through our own human efforts. We only make a mess of things.
When Paul Harvey was on the radio, he talked about a sign that he once saw at a service station many years ago. It read, Labor: $10 per hour. If you watch, $12 per hour. If you help, $15 per hour. If you worked on it first & then brought it in, $27.50 per hour.
Today, such a sign would read about 10 times as much, but I think you get the picture. When an amateur tries to help a professional out, it only makes things worse.
So it is when we try to help God out. When we seek to secure God’s promised blessings through our own human efforts, we don’t get blessed; we get trouble.
That’s what happened to Abraham. His own human efforts to secure God’s promised blessing only brought trouble to his family.
Even so, 15 years later, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, God did a miracle. By His grace, God caused a 90-year-old woman to conceive, and Isaac was born, not in the ordinary way, not according to the flesh or any human effort, but as a result of a promise. God simply kept His word and allowed Sarah to conceive, even though Abraham and Sarah were “as good as dead” according to Romans 4:19.