Summary: Sermon 1 in a series on Galatians. The series goes verse by verse through the entire epistle. This is the introductory sermon for the series
New series: Preaching through Galatians
My goal in a sermon plan for the year is for God to instruct us and edify us regarding our roles and responsibilities as individual believers and together as God’s church
After agonizing over a plan and much prayer about what to teach first, etc. It finally became clear. I began to get the unmistakable feeling of being led to preach through a book of the bible. It settles the question of what comes first and what comes next.
The book of Galatians was in my mind to begin with, and I couldn’t get it out, so I accepted it as the place to start.
Our series from when I arrived in August up til now has been my attempt at building a foundational understanding of the Nature and attributes of God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
Now we are at somewhat of a turning point.
In preaching through Galatians, my goal is to let God edify us in a foundational understanding of salvation and the gospel. How we think about and understand salvation influences how we relate to God and to each other, which is foundational to our goals for the year.
Major themes in Galatians include Justification by Faith alone, in Christ alone
Also our Freedom in Christ, a Freedom found IN the will of God, not a license to do whatever we want.
Going along with that is living in the Spirit, which means living a life Led by the Spirit
The Gospel Crisis: An Introduction to Galatians
Written to churches in Galatia which Paul had started on his 1rst missionary journey, and visited on his 2nd and 3rd
Written to the churches while they were fairly new
Some believe it is 1rst letter from Paul, written around 48-50AD
Paul is writing the letter because he has found out that there is a major situation in the area churches
A major heresy is on the rise in the churches of Galatia. A false gospel is being taught / accepted – The people in the churches of Galatia were being convinced that following traditional Jewish law was required along with Faith in Christ in order to be saved
The situation is so serious, Paul knows that if it continues unchecked, it will destroy the entire church
Christianity itself is at stake here, and the letter to the Galatians is the word of God to correct the grave error that has taken root
Today we will start with the first 5 verses
(After a month or two, your bible will probably fall open to Galatians)
This is the opening of the letter, Paul includes one in all of his letters
He identifies himself (so they don’t have to unroll the scroll to see his name)
Then there are some words of greeting – which I think we have a tendency to kind of skim through, or gloss over. Like reading the standard “To whom it may concern”, regarding so and so and such and such
But this is no ordinary letter. This is the word of God, and we can profit from every word that God has to say, and he is very good at saying a lot with just a few words
Gal 1: 1-5 (NIV) 1 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.
There are several things happening here that Paul addresses in a powerful way right off the bat, with his opening couple of lines.
Paul is being attacked personally by the false teachers in Galatia. These false teachers are claiming that because Paul is not following Jewish customs, he is not a real apostle
They are teaching that Jesus is great and all, but you need to follow Jewish law and tradition to be a “real” Christian – after all, wasn’t Christ a Jew?
With this opening passage to his letter, Paul confronts these things right up front.
First of all, the false teachers are attacking Paul’s authority
When I stand up here in this pulpit and speak, what authority do I have?
Does my authority come from being the pastor of a church?
Does it come from being a man called by God to speak for him?
How can you test whether what I say to you has authority?
If I speak with authority, that authority comes from one place – the Word of God