Summary: Christians have the greatest opportunity in this church age to enjoy and express a life that is liberated by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
Turn your Bibles to Galatians 3:1-5
Title: Grasping the Liberating Grace of God
Theme: Liberating Grace
Series: Living in the Aroma of God’s Grace
Listen as I read Galatians 3:1-5, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing? Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:1-7)
Introduction: There is something about us that causes us to want to take control of our lives rather than walk in step with God’s will for us. This is even true with our spiritual growth.
There was a young man who was powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit of Christ at his salvation. He was so excited about his new relationship with the Lord Jesus that he wanted to do all he could to please Him, and that was great. However, as time went along he felt like he had to start paying the Lord back for all the things he had done wrong. That is when he started losing his joy and started relying upon his works to obtain favor with God. His walk with the Lord started to become a burden to carry, rather than a walk that revealed the grace of God in his life.
The good news is that it was not long before he allowed the Holy Spirit to replace his joy by reflecting on the grace of God. Now the Word of God to him is not rules and regulations to be observed to gain favor with God, but rather revelation of the righteousness of God and Christ which are available to him by faith in Christ alone.
Proposition: I would propose to you that Christians have the greatest opportunity in this church age to enjoy and express a life that is liberated by the Holy Spirit of Christ. There is much that God’s Word has for Christians in regard to overcoming everything that threatens to hinder the Spirit-filled life.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what does the Bible say about God’s liberating grace?
Transitional Sentence: It begins first with a little understanding of what the apostle was trying to get his readers to see in regard to the direction they were taking. It was by faith in what was preached, the gospel of Christ that enabled them to receive the Holy Spirit of Christ.
Judaizers were teaching in a sense that the new Christians needed to be circumcised in order to get all of God’s blessings or to gain favor with God. The term “in human effort” is a reflection of a heart problem meaning “an independent reliance on one’s own accomplishments against a spirit of dependence upon, and submission to what the Holy Spirit moves and empowers the child of God to do.”
Christians who begin to walk away from the heart of the gospel begin to find their righteousness in religious observances and ceremonial performances. This results in disputes which prevent the expression of true Christian love through Holy Spirit given gifts which are meant to edify the Body of Christ. Christians are to rely upon their faith in Christ which enables them to enjoy a life of God’s grace producing love, joy, praise to God and Christ.
The Holy Spirit is mentioned eighteen times in the Book of Galatians and He is the evidence of true conversion. Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the [Holy] Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9) The term “Spirit” in Galatians 3: 3 and 5 is given to the Person central in giving freedom and in enabling Christians to grieve over sin. He reveals truths out of God’s Word, intercedes for the saints in prayer. He baptizes, indwells, seals and gives empowerment. Without His presence in the heart and life of the child of God, all acts of religious worship are nothing but expressions of an empty slogan.
There is another truth the Holy Spirit wants you to grasp from the phrase “suffered much” before we move on to living by God’s grace. The Greek Word “suffered” (pascho) ðÜó÷ù in Galatians 3:4 can mean “to experience.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Thayer’s Greek-English Dictionary; Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) This word can have two applications in this text. One, when referring to the negative, Christians can experience the power of the Holy Spirit to give guidance and comfort in time of persecution as the result of surrendering one’s life to Christ or in just suffering in general.