Summary: Examines the introduction to Galatians to introduce the series. Considers the Apostolic Authority of the letter and two major themes: God’s Grace and Glorifying God by life in the Spirit
10 Signs Communication is different in the 21st Century
1. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
2. You call your son’s beeper to let him know it’s time to eat. He e-mails you back from his bedroom, "What’s for dinner?"
3. Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.
4. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven’t spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.
5. Your grandmother clogs up your e-mail inbox asking you to send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.
6. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is they do not have e-mail addresses.
7. You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.
8. You hear most of your jokes via e-mail instead of in person.
9. You’re reading this.
10. Even worse, you’re going to forward it to someone else.
Communication was a bit different back in Paul’s day. At that time the preffered method was a letter, and the letter wasn’t routed by a series of servers but by a messenger who knew where the letter was headed and carried it there.
We’re going to spend the next few months looking at a particular letter from Paul the apostle to the churches of Galatia.
In the opening verses of this letter there is more than just a greeting the Address is wrapped up in there too, telling us in what direction the letter is being sent. In fact there are a series of things mentioned which are being sent from one party to another. As we begin our study of the letter it will be helpful if we look at those "packages" and consider the labels of who they are "from and to"
Interrogative: In other words our question is "who exactly is sending what to whom?"
Transition: The first thing being sent is the most obvious. It is the...
1. Letter-Sent by Paul to the Churches in Galatia
vv. 1-2 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:
This is the salutation of the letter in very typical fashion for the 1st century the author introduces himself and then his intended readers. The letter is not to a single church or even a single city, but to a region. The region is mentioned briefly in the book of Acts in Chapters 16 and 18 but from even that brief mention it is apparent that the missionary work of Paul was instrumental in the establishment of these churches--It was Paul who first preached the good news there and he had visited at least once subsequently to see that the work was going well.
Now some time later he has recieved word that some false teaching has begun to circulate among these churches and he writes to set things straight.
The occaision of the letter--the heresy being taught--and Paul’s unique place as both the founder of these churches and His place as an Apostle means that the letter is something more than just a friendly note. In fact as we work together through the note we will see that Paul writes with strong authority and with strong words for those who would distort the truth and attempt to discredit him.
He sets out his authority here in the very first verse. Which brings us to the second thing that is being sent in the passage, the...
2. Apostle- Sent by Christ to the World
v. 1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead
Paul’s authority in writing this letter is that of an apostle. Apostle means "one who is sent" the implication is sent on behalf of another. The nearest concept in english is that of an ambassador who represents a head of state to another nation.
Paul makes clear that he is sent not by men, but by Jesus Christ Himself. It was not unheard of, in fact it was quite common for men to send ambasadors...
Phil 2:25 "I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, who is also your messenger (apostle), whom you sent to take care of my needs"
There is nothing wrong with being sent by men, but Paul wants his readers to understand that in writing this letter he is doing it with the special authority of an apostle sent by the risen Christ.
These are not just his thoughts or suggestions, they are the very words of Christ. As we study this letter we will certainly do so with this thought in mind: That as we seek to understand the words of the Apostle, we seek to understand the mind and heart of the One who sent him.