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Summary: Sermon 11 in Galatians series.

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05/20/2007

UNDERSTANDING GOD’S LAW (Gal 3:19-25)

Wanting something to work a certain way when it is designed for something else

Have you ever thought you had something figured out, thought you had it down, only to find out that you had it wrong the whole time?

ILLUSTRATION (mine was way too specific, plug in your own illustration here)

The Jews thought they had the Law figured out.

They knew that the Law they had was from God, at Mt. Sinai God had carved the 10 commandments on stone tablets himself, and given the Law to his people through Moses the mediator

They had a set of rules from God, and to them it seemed simple enough

Follow these rules to the letter and God will accept you as righteous.

Nobody can follow all of the rules all of the time, but you do the best you can, right?

The more you get right, the more righteous you are to God, (and everyone else watching)

They were God’s people, Gods chosen. They had it all figured out.

They saw Gentiles as a little less than themselves, actually a lot less. The Gentiles were sinners, they hadn’t been given the Law like the Jews had.

Then Jesus came along, and he showed amazing knowledge and wisdom, and he taught like one who has authority,

They saw him perform miracles, then when some Jewish teachers of the law asked him why he was hanging out with tax collectors and sinners, he shocked them, shook them to the ground –

Mt 9: 13 But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Hos 6: 6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Jesus sums up the main message of Galatians in 5 words. Paul wrote an entire letter, a book with 6 chapters. I have been preaching on Galatians since February and we are not quite half way through, and Jesus says it with 5 words

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice”

“Acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.”

It is not about some external act, it’s not about what you can do, its not about you

IT is about Him, acknowledging who HE is and what HE can do

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This was VERY HARD for the Jews to accept.

They had been trying to use the law to be acceptable to God for many Centuries

They thought they had it all figured out.

Even Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah had a hard time letting go of the Law as a means to righteousness

That is where the false teachers in Galatia were coming from:

They tried to Add the Law to the Salvation of Grace offered by Christ

Salvation as a free gift from God, by grace and mercy?

That was offensive – it offended their sense of Fairness

Jesus even said – I didn’t come for the righteous, I came to call the SINNERS

Here they were, living and working the best they can under the Law, and Jesus comes along and says salvation is a free gift, not earned, and he will give it to anyone he chooses, anyone who will respond in faith to the gospel

Doesn’t seem fair does it?

We do the same thing today –

Have you ever had a conversation like this:

So if Osama Bin Laden accepted Christ on his death bed, do you really think that makes him the same as me?

Just as loved by Jesus, just as saved, just as worthy of Gods mercy?

Its just not fair. -- Thankfully, God is not fair, not fair at all

Trust me we don’t want fair. Fair would be for all of us to be condemned forever

Thankfully God shows us mercy and Grace – through faith in Christ

Not by the Law, the Law cannot save us, that has been made clear by Paul

What good then, is the law, what purpose does it serve?

That is a natural question to follow this discovery, and it is asked in our passage

Gal 3: 19-25 (NIV) 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

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