Summary: The Bible sometimes describes the Christian life as a race.
The Bible sometimes describes the Christian life as a race. In those days the Olympic games of Greece and the Isthmian games of Corinth were all the rage. They were the sporting events of the day. Athletic races were well known as feats of endurance, speed and agility. Everyone knew the races such as the decathlon and the marathon were only won by the most determined and the most disciplined athletes.
Athletes trained hard. They lived and breathed for the prize to be won by the first contestant to cross the finish line. They shunned anything that might lessen their chances of winning.
All these elements, discipline, training, speed, agility, desire, and endurance make the race such an appropriate analogy for the life of the believer who is to be striving for our eternal reward.
Have David and Amanda race… Piggy back David… Hebrews 12:1, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Throw of everything that hinders and the sin… sin is not the only thing that hinders us in the race of life. There are other things that draw us away from the faith and that’s what happened to the Galatians… Galatians 5:1-8…
Four words in Vs. 7, “You were running well.” They speak of past blessings. They speak of present failure. These Men & women were born again believers Vs.1. But they were falling away from the grace of God Vs.4. In Vs. 7 Paul asks? “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” OR WHAT?
1. False Teachers - 1:6-9; 3:1a
False teachers had confused them - Not sure who they were, but they were teaching Jewish law as a means of salvation. (LEGALISM)… Not the first time… Acts 15:10-11, “Now why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? This burden was too heavy for us and our ancestors. But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in him, just as the Gentiles are.”
This group was teaching circumcision as a means of salvation Galatians 5:2-3, “I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.”
Others teach baptism… Salvation by the law… Salvation by humans effort or good works… Today there are all kinds of false teachings and false religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, Mormons, and the list goes on.
And in the secular society we have things like evolution… big bang… The DaVinci Code… All attempting to undermine the truth, Gods word… These teachers and teaching do not care about your soul, they want to take the joy of the Lord away from you.
I love the way Paul describes false teachers in Philippians 3:2, “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.”
A. They Are Devouring. Paul called them “dogs”, (Best friend). In those days they were vicious, scavengers that ran the streets. They did nothing but devour and destroy. (Kuwait). I don’t know of a better description of false teachers and prophets than “dogs.” They are spiritual scavengers and predators that devour and destroy.
B. They Are Depraved. Paul also calls them “evildoers.” They may look nice and clean and wholesome outwardly, but they are corrupt on the inside
Matthew 23:27-28, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Those guys riding bikes in their nice white shirts and black ties…
C. They Are Deceiving. Paul called them “mutilators of the flesh.” He was speaking of those who taught that you must be circumcised to be saved... Galatians 5:12, “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”
They did not deny that faith was an essential part of salvation, but they added to it (works, circumcision, & other rituals). Many do the same thing today they believe salvation is by grace + …
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., was ill with a staff infection of the throat. A new medicine called sulpha-nil-amide was tried with amazing success. The publicity of the case caused the drug to be in great demand. A pharmaceutical company in Tennessee conceived the idea of preparing the drug in a liquid instead of a powder form. They dissolved it in diethylamide glycol. It proved to a costly and fatal. 61 people died.