Improve your sermon prep with our brand new study tools! Learn all about them here.
Sermons

Summary: This is a three to four week Bible Study on the Issue of Legalism, and the surprising places where we may practice legalism in the church today.

  Study Tools

THE TEMPTATION OF LEGALISM

GALATIANS 5:1-6

QUESTION: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE FREEDOM?

QUESTION: IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE FREEDOM WITHOUT LIMITS?

ROMANS: 14:12-19:

12SO WE WILL ALL HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO GOD THE THINGS WE HAVE DONE. 13LET US STOP JUDGING ONE ANOTHER. INSTEAD, MAKE UP YOUR MIND NOT TO PUT ANYTHING IN YOUR BROTHER’S WAY THAT WOULD MAKE HIM TRIP AND FALL. 14I AM ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT NO FOOD IS “UNCLEAN” IN ITSELF. I SAY THIS AS ONE WHO BELONGS TO THE LORD JESUS. BUT SOME PEOPLE MAY CONSIDER A THING TO BE “UNCLEAN.” IF THEY DO, IT IS “UNCLEAN” FOR THEM. 15YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS MAY BE UPSET BY WHAT YOU EAT. IF THEY ARE, YOU ARE NO LONGER ACTING AS THOUGH YOU LOVE THEM. SO DON’T DESTROY THEM BY WHAT YOU EAT. CHRIST DIED FOR THEM. 16DON’T LET SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER GOOD BE SPOKEN OF AS IF IT WERE EVIL. 17GOD’S KINGDOM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EATING OR DRINKING. IT IS A MATTER OF BEING RIGHT WITH GOD. IT BRINGS THE PEACE AND JOY THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES. 18THOSE WHO SERVE CHRIST IN THIS WAY ARE PLEASING TO GOD. THEY ARE PLEASING TO PEOPLE TOO. 19SO LET US DO ALL WE CAN TO LIVE IN PEACE. AND LET US WORK HARD TO BUILD EACH OTHER UP.

QUESTION: WHAT IS LEGALISM? DOES FOLLOWING A SYSTEM OF RULES MEAN THAT WE ARE LEGALISTS?

ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IN THE CHURCH IS THE ISSUE OF LIBERTY IN CHRIST. THERE ARE THOSE LIKE THE LIBERTINES WHO BELIEVE THAT THIS FREEDOM ALLOWS US TO DO ANYTHING WE WANT. THEIR PHILOSOPHY IS LOVE GOD AND DO AS YOU PLEASE.

WHAT THEY FORGET IS THE REST OF AUSUSTINE OF HIPPOS STATEMENT WHICH SAYS ““FOR THE SOUL TRAINED IN LOVE TO GOD WILL DO NOTHING TO OFFEND THE ONE WHO IS BELOVED.”

THERE ARE THOSE WHO WILL GO TO THE OTHER EXTREME AND PREFER A PREPACKAGED SET OF RULES OR ETHICS TO FOLLOW. MANY GROUPS AND INSTITUTIONS ARE MORE THAN READY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THESE PEOPLE.

SOMETIMES THE RULES AND ETHICS ARE FORMALIZED AND WRITTEN DOWN, SOMETIMES THEY ARE NOT WRITTEN DOWN AND IMPLIED, NONETHELESS THEY ARE VERY MUCH IN FORCE WITH THE GROUP.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BELONGING TO AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS RULES, EVEN A LOT OF RULES. THERE CAN BE FREEDOM WITHIN THE RULES. IF WE USE HOCKEY AS AN EXAMPLE, IT HAS A CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ITS PLAYERS, AND IF THEY DO NOT PLAY BY THE RULES THEY WILL BE PENALIZED. IF THEY PLAY WITHIN THE RULES, THEY CAN HAVE AS MUCH FREEDOM AS THEIR TALENT ALLOWS, WITH NO FEAR OF THE OFFICIALS.

LEGALISM IS A SET OF RULES AND ETHICS FORMED BY ONE GROUP AND IMPOSED ON ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE A PART OF THAT GROUP. IT CAN INCLUDE DRESS, POSSESSIONS, AS WELL AS BELIEFS. THE PHARISEES AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS WERE EXPERTS AT LEGALISM DURING JESUS’ LIFETIME.

LEGALISM IS NOT A CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLE. FIRST IT LOWERS CHRISTIANITY TO SOMETHING THAT WE MAINTAIN IT ISN’T AND THAT IS THAT IT IS FOUNDED ON A LIST OF DO’S AND DON’TS. SECOND LEGALISM SAYS THAT ONE GROUP, THE GROUP THAT DEVELOPS THE RULES, IS ALWAYS A HIGHER CLASS THAN THE GROUP THAT IS TRYING TO GET IN. THEY WILL ALWAYS BE SEEN AS ADOPTED PROSELYTES, NEVER AS TRUE MEMBERS.


Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion