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Summary: Grace over Legalism

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Reading: Galatians chapter 1 verses 1-10.

Ill:

• On the28th August 1963;

• Martin Luther King addressed a huge crowd of people;

• He gave one of the greatest speeches ever given.

• In his; “I have a dream” speech he called for transformation;

• From “the heat of injustice and oppression” into an oasis of “freedom and justice”.

• His final words in that speech are logged indelibly in our memories,

• As well as etched on his gravestone:

• “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last”.

Every ‘born again’ Christian can proclaim those words:

• “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last”.

• Because in Jesus Christ we have been set free!

• Not political freedom, not social freedom, not economic freedom;

• But spiritual freedom.

Quote: Colossians chapter 1 verse 13:

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves”.

Every Christian has been rescued/set free from:

• the darkness of ignorance of God

• the darkness of separation from God

• the darkness of sin

• the darkness of condemnation/judgement

• the darkness of death

• the darkness of bondage to Satan

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves”.

• Every ‘born again’ Christian can proclaim those words:

• “Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last”.

Ill:

• During Paul's first missionary journey (Acts chapters 13 and chapter 14);

• He ravelled trough Pisidian, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.

• Which is part of a large Roman province called Galataia.

• The gospel was preached, people were converted and Churches were planted.

• And Paul later wrote to these Churches a letter – we call Galatians.

• He probably wrote to them from Antioch after that first journey, around A.D. 49,

• That makes the book of Galatians Paul's earliest letter,

• Which means its message is a foundational truth,

• The letter that Paul preached was a message of GRACE!

• It is a message of freedom.

• Ten times in these six chapters Paul talks about freedom!

Note: Key verse in the book is chapter 5 verse 1:

N.I.V.:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Amplified:

“IN [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”

Message:

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand!

Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”

(1).The GALATIAN SITUATION

• The apostle Paul needed to write to these Galatian Christians;

• Because wrong teachings were being taught in the Church,

• The true message preached by the apostles was starting to get distorted;

• And this letter was written to bring back clarity and to dispel error.

Question: What was the wrong teaching?

Answer: Twofold:

• (a). The problem of legalism.

• (b). The problem of liberty.

• (a). Legalism - tied up believers with man made rules and regulation.

• (b), Liberty – was misused causing believers to have no boundaries and to sin.

Ill:

• Wrong attitude to freedom;

• A misuse of our freedom in Christ.

• e.g. How close can I get to the edge of a cliff without falling over.

• Engage brain – stay away from the edge!

• The Christian is not free to do whatever they want,

• They are free to do what God wants!

• The Christian’s priority is to please him,

• To enjoy our freedom and not to abuse it!

Note: Let’s look for a moment at the problem of legalism:

• Shortly after Paul had planted the churches in Galatia,

• A group of Jewish converts began to attack his message.

• These Jewish converts were teaching that if Gentiles want to follow Christ,

• They must also embrace the Jewish system.

Ill:

• i.e. After all salvation is from the Jews;

• i.e. Jesus was Jewish.

• i.e. The apostles were Jewish;

• i.e. The scriptures (Old Testament) was Jewish.

• Therefore their logic said;

• To be a true follower of Jesus meant that you needed to also embrace the Jewish system:

Ill:

• i.e. Keep the Sabbath & other holy days,

• i.e. Eat only kosher food

• i.e. And even be circumcised.

Note:

• Now by adding these rules and regulations,

• They had consciously or unconsciously rejected the idea that we are saved by grace.

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