Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: As children of promise, we are to live free.


Galatians 4:21-5:1

S: Freedom

Th: Grace-Full Living


TS: We will find in our study of Galatians 4:21-5:1 the significance of being “children of promise.”


I. Background (History)

II. Interpretation (Analogy)

III. Application

RMBC 7/30/00 AM


ILL “Are You My Mother?”

Here is a delightful children’s book by P. D. Eastman entitled Are You My Mother? Let me read the first part of the book…

When we come to the end of the story, the little bird he learns that a kitten, hen, dog, cow, boat, plane and steam shovel are not his mother. His mother, as you might expect, is a bird.

I do have a question for you this morning…

1. Who is your mother?

Some of you have your mothers here.

Others don’t.

It is interesting, though, to observe what we have gotten from our mothers.

What did you get from your mother?

ILL Notebook: Mother (Too Hard on Mom)

A father and his son were talking together when the father asked the son what he wanted for his birthday. The boy said he wanted a baby brother. Soon, his birthday wish came true—he got a baby brother. Prior to his next birthday, his father asked his son again, “What would you like for your birthday?” The little boy hesitantly told his father, “Dad, what I would really like is a pony, but I’m afraid that would be too hard on Mom.”

Well, we all get something from our mothers.

And thankfully, they do not all come in the same way.

But we all do get something from our mothers.

It is a heritage.

2. How would you describe your heritage?

In what ways are you physically like your mother?

Are there ways that you think alike?

How about emotionally?

And how many of us as adults find ourselves saying, “I can’t believe it, I am acting just like my father.”

“I am acting just like my mother.”

We act shocked, and yet, it is absolutely normal.


We come today to the end of chapter 4 in our study of Galatians.

It is a significant point in the letter, because it is here that…

1. We come to the Paul’s final theological argument against those that distorted the gospel and misled the Galatians.

And it is not only his final argument, it is my contention it is his best.

He saves his best for last.

He comes with a creative and an unexpected approach.

Paul has been arguing for the superiority of grace and the gospel of grace that he has presented to the Galatians.

He was opposing the Judaizers who had said that grace was fine, but you had to keep the law to make your salvation complete.

Paul has been arguing that they were adding to the gospel, and as a result, were nullifying it.

Now, on this final argument,

2. Paul speaks to the heart of the Judaizer’s pride.

The Judaizers were proud to be children of Abraham.

He was their father.

They were recipients of God’s blessing because they belonged to Abraham.

But Paul asks, in effect, a more crucial question:

Who is your mother?

Paul makes them take one step further and reminds them that if they insist on making all believers come through the family tree of Abraham that they certainly need to remember that Abraham had two sons!

And it is here that he has caught them, for their handling of Scripture has been more than sloppy.


3. Paul lays down a challenge regarding their spiritual roots (21).

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?

Paul, in effect, says that they have been missing an essential ingredient to all of this.

He goes to the story in Genesis (for even the historical accounts were considered the law) and reminds them that Abraham’s relationship with the Lord is based on God’s gracious promise, not Abraham’s obedience to the law.

So, the family line the Judaizers want the Galatians to follow does not actually lead to Abraham the way they intended.

Rather it led right back to the path of unbelief through Ishmael.

There is a profound irony in what Paul is saying here.

The Judaizers, like the Pharisees with whom Jesus dealt, were very proud of their ethnic heritage.

They were Jews.

They were the true sons of Abraham.

But Paul says, “You guys are sons of Abraham, all right, but your mother is Hagar, not Sarah. Yes, physically, you may be descendants of Isaac, but spiritually, in the way that really counts, you are descendants of Ishmael.”

Now, from a Jewish perspective, being called an Ishmaelite was not a very nice thing.

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Andy Atkins

commented on Jul 6, 2008

Paul, this is an excellent sermon. I think, however, you should probably cite John Piper in the fourth application point, since it comes directly from his excellent sermon on this passage (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/7/394_Hagar_and_Slavery_Vs_Sarah_and_Freedom).

Roger Worsham

commented on Jul 22, 2010

Very HELPFUL sermon. I appreciate the way you summarized the Abraham

Stevie Tierce

commented on Jan 30, 2011

very helpful thanks

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