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Summary: The Gospel has the power to radically change us from the inside out.

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The Power of Transformation

Text: Gal. 1:11-24

Introduction

1. Illustration: I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please (Wilbur Rees, from "When I Relax I Feel Guilty," Tim Hansel).

2. The Oxford Dictionary defines transformation as "a marked change in form, nature, or appearance: 4 the genetic alteration of a cell by introduction of extraneous DNA, especially by a plasmid. The heritable modification of a cell from its normal state to a malignant state."

3. In other words, we are not talking about minimal transformation; we are talking about radical transformation!

4. That is why transformation is so powerful. It has...

a. Power Beyond Comprehension

b. Power Without Limit

c. Power With Purpose

d. Power To Unify

e. Power Of Testimony

5. Let's stand as we read together Gal 1:11-24

Proposition: The Gospel has the power to radically change us from the inside out.

Transition: The Gospel is...

I. Power Beyond Comprehension (11-12).

A. Mere Human Reasoning

1. Paul begins this section of his letter by revealing the source of his preaching.

2. He says, "Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning."

a. I want you to understand is from gnōrizō, a strong Greek verb that means to make known with certainty, to certify.

b. It was often used, as here, to introduce an important and emphatic statement that immediately followed.

c. In vernacular English the phrase could be rendered, "Let me make it perfectly clear." (John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Galatians, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 23).

d. There are at least three dimensions to "Paul's" gospel: (1) that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone, in fulfillment of the revelation given through Moses in millennia past;

e. (2) that one becomes accepted by God solely by faith, apart from living in accordance with the law of Moses; and

f. (3) that this acceptance and church participation is open as much to Gentiles as it is to Jews.

g. While the first two have been the focus of theologians since the Reformation, the center of attention in Paul's day was the third.

h. It was Gentile inclusion into justification by faith in Christ apart from the law that was the bone of contention between Paul and the Jerusalem Judaizers.

i. Justification in Christ was acceptable to the Judaizers (after all, they claimed to be Christians).

j. Justification for Gentiles was tolerable as well (Jews had plenty of precedent for conversion to Judaism by Gentiles).

k. But it was justification before God without obedience to the law of Moses that became intolerable.

l. This view threatened the very existence of Judaism and created the social crisis behind the letter (Scot McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – Galatians: From biblical text...to contemporary life, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 63).


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