Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: It’s easier to live by someone’s set of rules than to obey and follow the Holy Spirit. Every denominational (even non-denominational) have their own set of behaviors or actions they expect their members (or attenders) to practice. How to prevent our chur

Overcoming the Spirit of Legalism


A It’s easier to live by someone’s set of rules than to obey and follow the Holy Spirit.

1 Every denominational (even non-denominational) have their own set of behaviors or actions they expect their members (or attenders) to practice.

a In some churches the issue is women wearing slacks, men wearing beards, make-up, jewelry.

b I’ve heard stories of Christians who went to a conference in Europe and overhead some women talking about how Christian women in America wear excessive make-up, the decline of standards of Christianity in America and wept great tears into their classes of beer.

2 How to prevent our churches from tainting the message of God with pharisaical rules that only hinder the work of God?

a Have we cluttered up the message with our own tastes, preferences, unique customs.

b Where do we draw the line at what God requires and what man prefers?

B One of the most insidious demons warring against the church, dividing the church, and hindering revival is legalism.

1 Legalism simply defined is when men & women try to substitute their own works for God’s plan of salvation (and it can be related to the laws of the Old Testament)

a Some want to add something to the simple Gospel of Christ’s death, resurrection, and our own faith in our salvation.

aa This is the heart of legalism.

bb Some want to add denominational distinctives to the definition of Spirituality.

cc Don’t drink, smoke, dance. Some churches do not allow ladies to speak.

dd Don’t listen to rock music, watch T.V., no electricity, tatoos, no Halloween, Christmas trees, etc.

b Some have added things like this to the Gospel!

2 I don’t think the world has rejected our message but they have rejected our caricature of the message.

a We are known for more what we’re against that what we’re for.

b There are over 1 billion muslims in the world who are in bondage to false religion and the excess of legalism.

aa If we’re going to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we better have more to offer them than a long set of rules and guidelines to live by.

bb Anything added to the gospel is another gospel and is unacceptable in God’s eyes.

I Paul Addresses Legalism

A When Jesus entered the world the Jewish faith had disintegrated into extreme legalism (Rules had replaced relationships with God.)

1 Legalism had made slaves out of the Jewish people & Jesus came to set them free.

a In Galatians 3, Paul gives his argument contrasting law & faith.

b Many Jews who had been saved were slipping back into the legalism of Judaism, going back under the law.

aa Gal. 3.7, “Know ye therefore taht they which are faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”

bb A true “jew” who is part of God’s family is one who is “of faith.”

2 In a sense, all who believe are sons of Abraham. (Grafted into the olive tree)

B Paul gives his argument by appealing from two bases: The Spiritual and the Scriptural appeal

1 Spiritual Appeal

a Paul appeals to the Galatians on the basis of their personal experience (Gal. 3.1-5)

aa Three times is mentioned that the Galatians had had an experience with the Holy Spirit.

b “Are you foolish?” Paul asks. Lit. “Without sense.” They had lost their common sense!

b You can see how legalism and a spirit of rigidity can make a Christian “senseless” when you study its spiritual implications.

2 Implication One: Legalism is demonic deception.

a “Who has betwitched you . . .” The word means “to cast a spell.”

b It’s an obvious reference to a deceiving spirit that had led Christians into error.

c Many of the trappings we’ve added to th the practice of Christianity are there because of Satan’s deceptions or “spells.”

3 Implication Two: Legalism disobeys the truth.

a “ . . . that you should not obey the truth . . .” The followed blind deception right into disobedience.

b When the truth of God is twisted, perverted the whole church can live a life God disobedience to God’s will for them.

c IL. Driving north to get to St. Louis. Not gonna make it to where you need to be.

4 Implication Three: Legalism dishonors the cross.

a “ . . . before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”

aa The cross had been preached accurately, powerfully, with authority at Galatia and lives where changed. (Atonement, Grace, Mercy)

bb Fulfillment of the law.

b They turned their back on the power of the cross to resume the slave master of the law.

c In doing so they dishonored the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the cross.

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