Summary: Christians living a God filled life

“God in a Box” Galatians 4:8-20 Nov 30, 2003

Well we have come to that time of year… Friday was the biggest shopping day, decorations started going up, people start planning parties and gifts are already being bought and boxed up… This time of year reminds me, well not really the time but people, of an age old toy; most everyone had one at one time or another – the good old –

“Jack-in-the-box” - you would crank the handle, a little music would play and soon out would pop the little puppet. That was at least until it got old and you got bored with it.

Have you ever wondered if poor little Jack ever got tired of being in the box, tired of the game people played with him?

Sadly, that is what happens too Christians – they want to play religion instead of living free, they want to go through the motions… and it was happening to the Christians in Galatia and it wasn’t even Christmas for them.

Paul is confronting them with the same sort of issue.

Turn to GALATIANS 4:8 - In verse 8-10 (READ) – Paul asks - How can you go from being freed from little idols that you kept in a box only fall into putting God in a box?

The Galatians had worship idols and celebrated pagan festivals – only to be set free to live everyday with Christ and now the Jews had them back to celebrating the day instead of the one who created the day…

He says – you have stepped backwards – you put God in a box; then on special occasions just turn the handle, play a little music, and out will pop GOD… HE is not your puppet!

Then in verse 11 (READ) – Paul is saying to the Galatians in a nice way that he fears that his time has been wasted with them. Paul is communicating nothing more than every pastor’s nightmare…

Next in verse 12 - 15(READ) – He is telling you – take God out of the box and live.

When Paul says – imitate me – when he says be like me – he is saying quit thinking about this life as a Christian as being something wrapped up in a day, or week or yearly celebration… but like me – let it be the whole of your life…

Paul is asking – don’t you remember how great it felt to be free, to be loved and forgiven, and to have purpose? Isn’t that they way you wanted to live before, even to the point of sacrificing of yourself?

Now in verse 16 (READ) – Paul asks, after that, after the wonderful freedom I preached to you in Christ, I have become your enemy because I simply tell you the truth and you don’t like it?

That happens to a lot of pastors today – the get hired because their liked and fired when they preach the truth…

See – more than a few Christians love the pastor right up until the point that he preaches the truth about their pet sin, steps on their toes or shines a light onto their dark secret.

I can understand Paul here and please don’t think it is in a negative way– you see as a pastor and preacher – I would much rather you be offended by God’s truth than for me to offend God by not telling you the truth.

Finally, in verse 17-20 – in particular verses 19&20 - Paul explains why he seems so adamant about what he is saying… He says I love you like a mother who has given birth… and I wish I could use a different tone… but I am so concerned by what is happening that I MUST put it as plainly as I can.

Again, I can understand Paul – I want so badly for each of you to know what it means to be free in Christ, what it means to live your Christian life open and guided by God’s Spirit instead of putting Him in a box only to take Him out on Sunday, Christmas and Easter.


First to - Take God out of the Box (v 9-10)

If you get something you really like for Christmas, you don’t just put it back in the box and take it out once a year to play with it… you show it off, you enjoy it…

Last year I got a really nice watch for Christmas. I know it was wrong but I put it back in the box and put it in a drawer. About two weeks ago, I pulled the box out and said –“Wow, this still looks great and look it is still ticking!” I won’t put it back in the box…

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