Summary: Part 3 in the series "Victory in Jesus." In this message you will learn how to reclaim your spiritual inheritance of friendship with God, blessings from God, and service for God.
RECLAIMING YOUR SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE
Victory In Jesus – Part 3
October 3, 2004
It seems as if there is nothing too stupid for some people to try. Listen to some of these warning labels that have been placed on various products because of the stupid things that some people have tried to use them for.
Ø A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: harmful if swallowed.
Ø A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”
Ø A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to “Remove child before folding.”
Ø A container of underarm deodorant says, “Do not spray in eyes.”
Ø A cartridge for a laser printer warns, “Do not eat toner.”
Ø A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, “Do not drive with sunshield in place.”
We can laugh about those and think, who would be stupid enough to need warning labels like that? Who would be crazy enough to try any of those things? But apparently someone was crazy enough to try them so they had to put on these warning labels.
Paul felt the need to write the third chapter of Galatians because the Christians there were trying some equally stupid things in the spiritual realm. Look at the first three verses.
1 You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. 2 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? 3 Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? (Msg)
Paul called the Galatians “crazy” because having received the free gift of God’s grace they were now turning to their own self-effort instead. It is as if they were saying to God, “Thanks for the jump-start, but we can take it from here.”
What these people were in effect doing was walking away from their spiritual inheritance and so Paul writing to them about what they must do to reclaim their spiritual inheritance. And that is what I want to talk to you about this morning. “Reclaiming Your Spiritual Inheritance.”
We need to talk about this subject because this problem did not begin and end with the church in Galatia. Because of good old-fashioned human pride and ego people through the ages have sought to earn the favor of God. Our own arrogance wants to feel that the blessings we have received from God have been earned or deserved. We don’t want anyone to accuse us of receiving spiritual welfare or of accepting spiritual handouts. But that is exactly what the grace of God is. It is something you don’t earn or deserve yet it is given to you freely for your own welfare – your own well-being – if you will humble yourself and accept it. This is not something to be ashamed of rather it is something to be grateful for. So don’t make the mistake of walking away from it. Or if you have already made that mistake, then listen and learn how to reclaim your spiritual inheritance.
Let’s begin by looking at the three components of a spiritual inheritance as brought out by the apostle Paul in the third chapter of Galatians.
1. Friendship with God.
How do you get to be friends with God? Is it by doing the right things and earning his friendship? Do you have to keep certain rules and obey all the right laws and jump through all the correct hoops?
Notice what Paul says about the purpose of the law.
24The law was our guardian leading us to Christ so that we could be made right with God through faith. (NCV)
What does Paul mean when he says that the law was our “guardian?” Other translations say “schoolmaster” or “teacher” or “tutor.” The Greek word is ‘paidagogos’ (pahee-dag-o-gos’). It means “a tutor i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood” (Studylight.org). This slave was to insure that the child developed social skills, learned manners, and formed character. He wasn’t a tutor or a teacher in the academic sense that we would typically use it today. This slave was more like a mentor or maybe even more accurately like a nanny.