Summary: The following sermon briefs are a collection of discourses and devotionals taken from the book of Galatians. Some of the outlines and thoughts were borrowed from other sources. This is not an expository work – that is a verse-by-verse study but as the title reads, just some gleanings.
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever written a letter to someone when you were upset? I thought so. Paul did too. When he wrote the Galatian letter, he was beside himself. One writer said, “Paul writes with heat; his language flows like molten lava…He scolds, he pleads, he denounces, he exhorts, he argues, he asserts dogmatically, all in a whirlwind of emotion.” This is his only letter that does not contain a word of affirmation to its recipients. What had Paul so upset? Doctrinal error had invaded the church. Judaizers had infiltrated the assembly teaching that a person is justified before God by faith in Christ “and” by keeping the law. “In this letter Paul disowns any teaching or custom that threatens or even minimizes the doctrine of justification by grace apart from the works of man.” (Fred Wood) The people were in danger of being led astray from the gospel of grace. The Gospel is at Stake!
Note in this first chapter how Paul defends his own apostolic authority and his theological position of justification through faith in God’s grace.
I. PAUL’S DISCLOSURE (1-5)
A. His Authorship (a) “Apostle” – one sent forth with an accredited message or on a special mission.
B. His Authority (1b) Paul had been divinely called. See Acts 26:16-18. He argues from personal experience.
C. His Address (2-5) Paul’s wording here is critical. “Grace” = unmerited favor. “Peace” = shalom. The false teachers were emphasizing works not grace. “Lord” = laying a foundation for stressing Christ’s work of salvation. If man could be justified by works, then why the cross? His death was the central act in redemption. “For” = on behalf of. Why? “To deliver us” from the way and sway of sin. “Rescue” = to remove from living dominated by the sinful world and place them in an environment controlled and motivated by God in Christ. “According to God’s will” = His eternal purpose. Salvation does not come by achieving but by believing.
II. PAUL’S DISAPPOINTMENT (6-10)
A. The Desertion (6-7a) He’s held back long enough. He now expresses his intense and painful anxiety. He meets the problem head on. “Astonished” = deeply affected, amazed, dumb founded. “Desertion” = so soon removed. Present tense – a process that is still taking place. He hopes he is not too late. “Calling you” = not Paul, but God. They have deserted not just a doctrinal belief, but God! “Called” = aorist tense. God has called them once and for all. “Different Gospel” = a pretended gospel, a different kind. One that destroys the grace of God because it placed upon them the burdens which the true Gospel relieves. There is no other Gospel.
B. The Distortion (7b-9) “Trouble” – confusion, harass, stir up, agitate physically, disturb spiritually, excite with fear. See Acts 17:8. How? By perverting the Gospel. They were destroying everything for which Paul had worked. “Revert” = to turn about or change completely. One can’t pervert the Gospel, but one can pervert those who are professing faith in the Gospel. One can dilute it, change it and mislead people. To them Paul had preached the same Gospel he had preached everywhere he went – the Gospel of grace. See Romans 4-5.
C. The Debate (10) He clarifies his position. He hasn’t said one thing to one person and something else to another. He’s not a fence straddler. He throws himself completely on the side of grace alone.
III. PAUL’S DEFENSE (11-24)
A. His Source (11-12) Paul considers himself equal with the apostles. His apostleship had come directly from Jesus Christ. “Revelation” = uncovering, unveiling, disclosing.
B. His Salvation (13-16a) Recounts his conversion. V.14 -= Advancing = chopping ahead. To destroy Christianity. V.15 = But God intervened. He didn’t try to explain God’s elective grace, he just stated it. He felt God had chosen him from the beginning – see Jer. 1:5. “Called me by His grace” = some will argue that Paul was not saved immediately. He wasn’t saved until he was baptized. It is interesting that Paul said nothing here about his baptism!
C. His Sojourning (17-24) He condenses his travels precisely.
CONCLUSION: As in Pauls’ day we look around us and behold on every corner the fact that the Gospel is at stake. Is your Gospel a Gospel of Grace?