Summary: How we, (like the Galatian church) lose our power and joy, and how to get it back. We've all done it, allowed a "truth" other than Christ to become our focus and slowly lose the Holy Spirit's power.
Why do you expect God’s blessing on your life? (I asked them to write on a sermon guide) _____________________________________________________________________________________ (his favor on your…ministry, marriage, children, work…)
Today we’re going to look into the Bible at a group of people who had fallen out of favor with God.
These people lived in a region of Rome called Galatia so we refer to them as Galatians. (This was in modern day Turkey)
There was a time in these Galatians lives that they were filled with God’s joy, they lived empowered by God’s presence and they were even experiencing God doing miracles in their lives but years later, by the time Paul’s letter had reached them they had lost it all. They had become a confused bunch of stressed out Christians. Worst of all there was no evidence of God’s favor upon them – at all.
How many times have we been told that the Bible is a love letter from God & we need to read our Love letter.
Well as the Galatians open their Love letter it starts with a relatively standard greeting, in vs 1-5 and then vs 6 is his first specific word to them.
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God,
Not exactly what I was hoping to hear in my Love Letter
What? I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God? Wait a minute, we haven’t turned away from God. We’re all here in church.
Can you imagine a more insulting way for God to greet you? Well At least we’re clear from the outset that God feels that something is wrong and he’s not going to beat around the bush about it. As we read on he makes clear the problem.
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7but is not the Good News at all.
Somehow these people, although they had started their walk with God correctly on that straight and narrow way and enjoyed his blessing – they had gotten off track and followed a different way.
Look over at chapter 3 vs 1
We continue to see the result of leaving this 1 path
Galatians 3:1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?
Wow, were only getting in deeper here. We’ve been fools? and not just pee wee league fools, we’ve gotten so far off track it’s as though an evil spell has been cast upon us. Wow
What is obvious as you read this whole letter to the Galatians is that these Christians had no idea they were missing it, they felt things were going ok. There were no big, major sins happening, they weren’t sleeping around like the Corinthian church, they still loved God, they were still coming to church, putting something into the bucket even. But somehow they’d gotten way off center. So far off center God calls them FOOLS.
Could this happen to us?
It’s easy for me to look back upon my years of walking with God and recognize times that I’ve found myself off on some wrong trail. Good heart, great intentions, just off center and I’ve always suffered for it. More than once I’ve received the same assessment from God – FOOL?
Well how would we know, how could we tell if we were being fools?
Luckily God gives us a little test in the book of Galatians with 3? Let’s read them in the text and then take the test ourselves.
Look at vs 2 and we’ll see the first question.
3:2Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Look at vs 3 again…
3How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
trying to perfect ourselves, trying to fix this brokenness by any 1 of a thousand variations of human effort…Right here is the epicenter of the Galatians problem, and it’s also exactly how we get off the ONLY PATH that actually saves…the only path that actually fixes our brokenness.
Let’s keep reading and notice that Paul adds question #2
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. (3 times Paul reminds them of the POWER they began their Christian lives with. 2 of those 3 times (in vs 2 & 5) he repeats this phrase, the message you heard about Christ. That message we call the gospel, the good news. Sandwiched between those 2 (in vs 3) you find the phrase “begin in the spirit”. This is a different way of saying the same thing. He’s trying to help us see that ALL of God’s power, all holy spirit activity is actually testifying to Christ and him Crucified.