Summary: This sermon deals with Paul’s conclusion to the Galatian church that teaches us to stand firm in Christ.
Seeking Out Truth
The Freedom of the Gospel
Lawrence D Vinson
Forest Lake Christian Church
If there was one thing that you could say to a person you cared about what would it be? What if you knew, deep-down inside that you were never going to see or hear from them again? Would you say what you thought needed to be said? Even if it was hard to do?
I have a lot of friends in ministry and one in particular had a chance to say what he had been waiting to say to his now former church when he resigned from his position. He had only been there six months, but it was long enough to realize that there were some problems within that particular church that he could no longer ignore. So, in a long letter to the leadership he told them exactly how he felt. He told them that he could no longer support a church that is scripturally inaccurate, and more worried about what people make rather than what people possessed in their hearts. This was a tough time for my friend, but inside he knew that he had to do what was expected of him by God, and stand up for the principles of Christ. That resignation was a defining moment in the life of my friend, it literally changed his outlook on ministry and gave him a confidence that he had never known before.
It is amazing to see what happens to a person when they stand up for what they believe in, even admist strong opposition. Galatians was Paul’s first writing. It came during his second mission trip, which was about 10 years past his conversion experience. So far, in the last two weeks we have talked about the problems that exist within the Galatian Church. We have talked about the false teachers and the acceptance of those false teachers by the congregation. We have also talked about Paul’s strong opposition against those practices. There is a lot we can learn from these first 4 chapters of Galatians, and plenty more to learn in the final two.
As far as we know, this is the last time Paul ever has any contact with the Galatian church, and just like my friend, Paul wants to make sure that he tells them everything that he feels needs to be said. However, instead of doing the status quo and condemning the church and its people, Paul takes the time in the last two chapters of Galatians to exhort and encourage the people that he is writing to.
Listen to what Paul writes in the very first verse of Chapter 5, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” This verse is at the forefront of Paul’s mind as he concludes his letter to the Galatians. He is literally saying that those who are reading this letter need to stand firm in Christ. As modern day readers, we too must stand firm in Christ.
I have to admit though, when I first read this, I had no idea what it meant to stand firm in Christ. If you feel the same way, don’t worry Paul wraps up his letter by explaining exactly what he meant. The first thing Paul teaches us is to stand firm by having faith, hope, and love (CH 5 vv. 1-6).
Did you happen to notice the three key words used in the first six verses of Paul’s conclusion? Paul says that we through the Spirit, by our faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. He then goes on to say that the only thing that matters, the only thing that has meaning in our lives is faith working through love.
Paul wanted to instill the values of faith, hope, and love within the very hearts of the Galatian Christians, to him it was of utmost importance. I truly think that this should be taught within our society as well. As a Father I have to say that I am disappointed with a large portion of men in this country who share that title. According to the most recent U.S. Census, 43% of American children do not live with their father. Coinciding with that statistic is this: Those children who grow up in a fatherless home are twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. This is an issue that must be dealt with and the answer is found in the words of Paul that we just read.
Author and Motivational Speaker, Zig Ziglar was quoted as saying that, “When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.” We need fathers to stand up to the negativity that surrounds this world, and to fight against those things that threaten to damage the children of this country. The only way we can do this is by taking the advice of Paul; stand firm in Christ.