Summary: This is the opening message in a series covering Galatians
Mark Twain wrote on Puddinhead Wilson’s calendar this thought:
Behold the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in one basket,"…but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and watch that basket."
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is perhaps the outstanding example in Scripture of the same kind of thinking. As God’s spokesman, the apostle insists that we take a stand, that we not hedge our bets, that we not diversify our investments theologically and spiritually, but that we place our hearts, our thinking, and our beliefs in one basket, as it were.
Last month we looked at different snapshots of Christ to provide a fuller view of who He is. The Bible provides us with different angles and understandings of truth and like looking at Jesus, most of us have a limited view, an incomplete album of photo’s. I want to help us embark on a journey that will help us to move from once seeing in a mirror dimly to being able to see face to face as we encounter the teachings of God written throughout the Scriptures by looking at all 66 books, one by one, and drawing from the Holy Spirit an understanding and application for our lives. We will keep the topical messages going on Sunday nights and on Sunday mornings beginning with Galatians, we will be doing a cross country journey in the Word.
To enhance our understanding, I want to encourage you to get involved in one of our community groups where they will dig deeper into the passages covered on Sunday. There you can pick up a more detailed notebook for group and personal study including devotions to help you through the week. The Galatians study will include 32 messages so we are looking to get done by Christmas. If you miss, remember you can access the messages on line or through the tape ministry here at New Hope.
As we study together the message of this book we will be required to make choices in areas where we, perhaps, would rather not have to choose. We may be living the Christian life content to sample tidbits from the theological smorgasbord, and never having to narrow our choices and take a stand. If that is so, we will find, as Paul points out in this book, that the truth of God and life from him cannot come both by the law and by the promise (Gal. 3:18). They have to come from one source or the other. We are required to stand on one side or the other, Paul declares; we cannot be both slaves and free men (Gal. 5:1). We cannot live by both the Spirit and the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17)--these two realities stand in opposition to each other.
Lets begin by looking at the opening of Galatians, verses 1-5. Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Have you ever had someone tell you, “You are just not good enough?” It might have been in athletics, in academia, at work, in competition of some kind. “You are just not good enough.” The words cause you to take a deep breathe, to hold back your emotions, to keep off the defensive and to go on with life. “Just not good enough.”
Watching American Idol, three judges initially tell contestants, “I don’t know man, you just don’t have what it takes, you are just not good enough to be the next American Idol.” Many walk away in tears, a dream shattered, a door closed. There are some who say, “You haven’t heard the last of me.” They pick up the pieces finding a way to navigate through the disappointment, to reevaluate the challenge and reemerge onto the scene. You might be in that position today, and could I say, you are in good company.
Born the son of a French sea captain in Haiti in 1785, educated a gentleman but an indifferent student in school. Undisciplined at age 14 this young man was sent to military school where he didn’t flourish in that environment, he was sent to America to live at the age of 18. In Pennsylvania he met Lucy who became his wife and in 1807 he began a job at the Benjamin Bakewell import company, the beginning of a dismal business career. He went into the indigo dye business and lost a small fortune. He joined in partnership with a French businessman opening a retail business but it wasn’t long before they were in financial trouble too, his wife selling off her share of the family estate to pay off their creditors. After he and his business partner tried several other locations for business, he sold his share of the business to his partner who went on to become a highly successful businessman. Over the next 10 years he tried a series of unsuccessful ventures and in 1811 returned to the Bakewell import house. It was the eve of the War of 1812, and that business failed. In 1819, after trying to operate a steam sawmill and gristmill in Henderson, Kentucky, he and his brother-in-law went bankrupt.