Summary: A message introducing the theme of the book by reviewing those who are key in the context of the epistle.
Galatians 1:1-10 Galatians – Christ Alone (The Cast of Characters) 2-6-2010
Introduction: Last year we focused on the book of Acts. As a small boy I loved the event in Acts 3. Peter and John were on their way to the Temple. They encountered a man who was lame. He spent his days near the gate to the Temple, begging for money. The eyes of the lame man and Peter locked. It was a God moment. The beggar believed he was going to receive something from Peter and John. He had to be surprised when “Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”” (v. 6)
As a result of this there was great excitement in the Temple as the formerly lame beggar began to shout and leap about praising God. The healing offered Peter and John an opportunity to preach and share Jesus with the crowd. They were arrested, thrown into jail overnight, and brought to the Sanhedrin the next day. They were asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (4:7)
Peter was then filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this answer from Acts 4:10-12.
10 Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
This morning we are beginning a series on the book of Galatians. The theme of the letter is “Christ Alone.” (Jesus Only) There are several significant facts about this New Testament book.
• Galatians was written not to one church, but to all the churches in the region of Galatia.
• Galatia was a region, not a city, in what is now Turkey.
• Galatia was populated by the Gauls as they had migrated out of Europe.
• Many scholars consider this to be one of the earliest, in not the earliest, New Testament book, written in A.D. 48-49, but no later than A.D. 53.
• Paul is the author, and he traveled through the Galatian region during all three of his missionary journeys.
• During his first missionary journey, Paul established churches in the Galatian region in the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. (Acts 13 & 14)
• Paul wrote this letter to the churches in order to affirm for them and defend the theological truth that salvations is by faith in Christ alone.
TEXT – Galatians 1:1-10
Some books have a section in the beginning that is called “cast of characters.” In this section the name and a brief synopsis of this person.
As we begin our study of Galatians, we find the cast of characters in these first ten verses.
Paul, the Apostle.
• In parenting there are milestones . . . first step, first word, kindergarten, then it is all a blurr. Next comes college, the army, or moving away to work. I remember taking Rachel to college. Whew, that was a day. A young deacon laughed at some parents at senior day at church. I said, “Steve, be careful, wait until this fall before you say anything.” I forgot all about that, but in the fall, he came to me and said, “You were right. Taking Michael to college was harder than I thought it would be.”
• Think about the apostle Paul. He traveled around establishing churches. In many of this epistles Paul mentioned many people by name. Take a look sometime at Romans 16.
• Moving on to the next place the Lord led Paul had to be hard. That is why he wrote the epistles. Those churches were in his heart. He wanted them to do well and to grow numerically and spiritually.
• Paul wrote this epistle to the churches of Galatia because they were in danger of drifting away from the gospel completely. Paul was emotional and strong in his language to these churches.
• Paul described himself as an apostle . . . not of men but of God.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.