Summary: A sermon to examine the exclusiveness of God’s clear plan for freedom against all others.
I want to introduce a new series of messages today called “Jesus Sets Us Free.” The book we’ll be going through is sometimes called the “Letter of Freedom” – Galatians. Jesus said that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.
5:1 is the key verse, because the Galatian Christians were being led back into slavery, only it was a different kind. There were teachers who were insisting that keeping the law was the way a person could be saved. Paul will tell them in 5:4 “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
The OT Law was fulfilled in Jesus, like an apple fulfills the apple blossom. It was superseded by something better.
"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes" (Ro 10:4). With Jesus, there was something better that came.
-Ill - There are certain old laws still on the books that, to us, really don’t make any sense anymore:
• Young girls are never allowed to walk a tightrope in Wheeler, MS, unless it's in a church.
• In Blackwater, KY, tickling a woman under her chin with a feather duster while she's in church service carries a penalty of $10.00 and one day in jail.
• No one can eat unshelled, roasted peanuts while attending church in Idanha, OR
• Honey Creek, Iowa, no one’s permitted to carry a slingshot to church except a policeman.
• No citizen in Leecreek, Arkansas, is allowed to attend church in any red-colored garment.
• Swinging a yo-yo in church or anywhere in public on Sunday is prohibited in Studley, VA
• Turtle races aren’t permitted within 100 yds of a local church at any time in Slaughter, LA
This whole letter to the Galatians will explain how Christians are to relate to Law as a means of being saved. By the end of it, I hope we’ll understand it well and be able to explain it to anyone who asks. In the meantime, let’s just be glad that there’s something better than law when it comes to the way we relate to God!
Ill - The following hand-lettered signs were prominently displayed around a drive-in restaurant in Pine Grove, CA:
Do not back in
Restrooms are for customer use only
(On a trash can) Not for diaper disposal or auto trash
Local checks for amount of purchase only
Vanilla frosties dipped one size only
Please order by number
Observe all signs.
Story - Jack Eppolito of Tulsa also appreciates that God doesn’t relate to us just by law: He writes: “Hurrying my 11-year-old daughter to school, I turned right on red where it was prohibited. "Uh, oh," I said, realizing my mistake. "I just made an illegal turn."
"It's all right," my daughter said. "The police car behind us did the same thing."
In Galatia, the church was in danger of losing the freedom they had in Jesus. Jesus had set them free, but something was going wrong. Their free relationship in Jesus was turning into another form of oppression.
So, I ask, has the church of today become such a place?
Does the world look in on Christianity as a freeing thing, or a confining thing?
And how do we look at life in Jesus – as something that binds us or something that frees us?
-It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
How do we “stand firm, then.” And how do we keep ourselves from being burdened again by a yoke of slavery? How do we stay on the path to real freedom? The path to real freedom in Jesus is unchanging. It’s a path of consistency. To stay on it, we’re going to need consistency in some particulars.
Ill – Remember Mr. Banks, in Mary Poppins: “Consistent is the life I lead.” We’ll need a certain element of that if we’re going to know real freedom in Jesus. For instance,
We’re going to need a
I. Consistent Message (1:6-9)
The Galatians haven’t been consistent. While Paul begins this letter with the standard kind of “return address” information, he then gives the shortest complimentary greeting of all his letters. There’s not much paper and ink spent on compliments and pleasantries. He goes right to the point…*vv6-7
1. There isn’t really “another”
-There are 2 different words here for “another.” One means “another of the same kind.” One means “another of a different kind.”:
“You’ve deserted your relationship of freedom with God for a completely different gospel, which isn’t another gospel – there isn’t more than one.”
One of the great challenges before the Church today is to find more and new and different ways to relate the truth of the gospel to a rapidly changing world without changing the message in any way. This not only creates a lot of challenges, but it causes a lot of different opinions to surface – like different tastes in music, different ideas about what media we should and shouldn’t use, and exactly what it is that we have to include when we invite someone to meet Jesus.