- Author Paul (Jewish parents, Greek lang, Roman citizen, studied under Gamaliel, tentmaker trade, lived for the Law) - Christ ended his religion because obedience to the Law doesn't save. He started persecuting Christianity - Met Christ gloriously at road to Damascus and became a champion of the Gospel
- Written to Galatians (Modern Turkey) - Paul went to Southern Galatia to start churches - Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, Iconia - Paul was writting to his spiritual children whom he loved and was angry with for their departure from the true Gospel
- Why did Paul write? What has gone wrong? - They are under attack from within, due to perversion at the pulpit where preachers had twisted the Gospel - Preachers were telling Gentile Christians that they should be Jewish Christians - The Gentile Christians got to embrace and keep the OT law as Christians because Jesus was Jew, circumcised and kept the law.
Circumcision (Done 8 days after birth) - Circumcision was a racial sign that marked the Jews as God's people - It was a religious symbol of a promise made to Abraham - It was a big deal to Paul but no longer when he received the Gospel becaue he never mentioned that ever in his preaching of the Gospel - Paul was so perturbed by this OT law being added to the Gospel that he wished those who pushed for this had their whole body cut off too Gal 5:12 - Why was Paul so crossed? Because behind this simple physical act, there's much bigger issues. There are 4 issues
1. The issue of Judaism - What is the exact relationship between the Jew and the Christian, the OT and the NT - Are Christians bound by ceremonial, civic, religious OT law? - No
2. The issue of Salvation - What must I do to be saved? How can I get right with God? - What on my part do I contribute (Works) and what on God's part He has done for you (Grace) - Religions will tell you a list of things you must do to save yourself. - Gospel says believe in the Lord and you will be saved. What He did for you and not what you do for yourself - This is a totally different concept from all other religion - It's by faith alone that I was given new life and continue to stay in this new life. I don't work to keep this new life - Grace starts and continues to supply to keep this life - Don't go back to works as we live out our faith
3. The issue of Freedom - Unto the law there is no freedom. But in Grace we are freed - Paul is saying to the Galatians that you are losing your freedom by going back to the law - How to lose your freedom? Legalism and Licence - Legalism will put you in bondage to the law, Licence to the flesh - Substitution your relationship with Christ with regulation and rules - Just to do what He said without Him is bondage - But this may dangerously swing to antinomianism - against law. Since I'm free from the law, I do whatever I like - The unredeemed mind either desires to live under law to seek to be right or wants none of it - The redeemed mind walks in freedom by faith in Christ
Outline of Galatians Ch 1 - 2 : True Liberty Ch 3 - 4: Danger of Legalism Ch 5 - 6 : Danger of Licence
SCRIPTURES : Gal 1:1-10
STUDY - We are studying a letter not a book - A letter is very personal and reveals the thoughts and feelings of the writer - A letter is one half of the conversation. So it's must read in between the lines as to why it was written
- Context : Some preachers were turning Gentiles into a Christian plus a Jew too by following Judaism practices like circumcision - And thus bringing them back to bondadge - So Paul put up a strong fight in this letter to bring the Christians back to freedom by refuting the different Gospel that was preached
- Because Paul's opponent preachers didn't like his message, they attacked the person to discredit him so people will think less about his message - So they were saying Paul wasn't an apostle, wasn't even in the 12, wasnt divinely appointed - It's exactly what happens today still. Preachers who preach the true Gospel will be attacked for making it too easy - So Paul from the very first phrasing of his letter defended himself so that his message can be accepted by the Christians in South Galatia
- First 10 verses divided into His address, His admonition and His appeal - Paul the apostle, missionary, someone who's sent to bring the terms of peace (Gospel) - Paul began to state his basic authority of why he was sent - He was not sent by a group of godly men or even by God through a man but directly by God the Father and Jesus himself. God sent him - Interesting that God the Father and Jesus are described as One. So it's indisputable who sent Paul when he described it - Paul also asserts that the Christians at Galatia accepted already his spiritual authority. v2
ADDRESS - In the opening address, Paul even slipped in the Gospel and mentioned 4 things - 1. The evil of the world 2. The will of God to save us 3.The redemption of Christ & His death/resurrection 4. The grace/peace that come to believer - First of all, we are all trapped in this world, chained and God wants to rescue us through Christ. - And the grace (Underserved generosity of God) that's given to us that produces peace (total harmony) that affects physical, mental, social, spiritual - It's God's will that we can have total harmony - Grace is the cause, peace is the effect, Generosity of God is the source.
ADMONITION - Paul was in such a state of anger that his letter was not the typical courteous letter - Paul was astonished that the Christians are departing from the Gospel so quickly and turning to another another one - It's like someone released from prisons and then trying to get back in (Cut barb wires, pass security.... sneak in). Very confounding! - WHY? Paul didn't blame them completely because someone was turning them other ways hard - And Paul was very strong linguistically with these distorters of the Gospel and literally meant "To hell with them" - The message validates the messengers and not the other way round. - The message we carry is the most important and not the credentials of the messengers - Even if the angels step in to preach but bring not the Gospel of Grace, hell to them - It's still happening today. There are people who are still distorting the Gospel - We should slam those who bring the inaccurate Gospel - We can't please man but God. We must walk in the conscience of seeking approval from God and not man. v10 - Paul used to be a pleaser of man, concerned for his own reputation. But he had laid all these down and only desiring to please God
APPEAL - So Paul appealed to the hearers through his message and his life that he's totally not concerned for anything else, not even his own life but to uphold and communicate the true Gospel to people
1. The majority of people believe the false Gospel that Galatians is writing. (People said, "I'm not too bad, I didn't do any one any major harm) 2. Why are people willing to accept the false Gospel of works? Because it preserves human pride making them think they contribute to their goodness
SCRIPTURES : Gal 1:11-2:16
STUDY - Paul was accused of getting the Gospel 2nd hand and wasn't the original 12 apostles who got it - Paul defended and said he got it directly from Jesus (Road to Damascus) - If what Paul claimed is true, then we have to accept everything of the Gospel he claimed. If not, we can throw away all the Paul's epistles - Paul is considered an apostle - All of us are 2nd hand recipients of the Gospel
- The rejection of Pau's message was because he missed something out. - Salvation is not by faith alone but plus circumcision because Jesus was Jew and he was circumcised - If we accept this form of salvation, we are disastrously changing Christianity from religion of believing to achieving - It will change from accepting what the Lord has done for you to what you can do for the Lord to get your salvation - And this alone leads you to bondage and not freedom - "You will never know how bad you are only when you try to be good" - Because you will realise you will fail terribly - Paul whom he testified v14 tried harder than any other Jew is most qualified to affirm that such trying brings us no where - To put circumcision into the Gospel as a condition to salvation would turn it upside down and Paul completely condemned it!
- Paul showed from 5 periods of his life to prove that the Gospel he got he didn't get it from men and men agreed with him
1st Period v13 - A period of contradiction where he totally opposed to Christianity - 2 things in his life. Violently against Christian and for his Judaism - Paul was able to talk about his past life because he knew he had repented of it and already forgiven by God - He hunted Christians down to destroy them - He got further in his religion more than anyone and beyond his age. He had no intention to become a Christian - All along he knew that Christianity and Judaism will never mix though the starting reference point is from Judaism - That's why it's so hard for Jews to follow Christianity because the only way is to completely leave Judaism - That's why the tension. You can't avoid it
2nd Period - A period of contemplation - Paul believed in predestination. It was God who made me a Christian - Then God stepped in. God draws us to Him. God chose me rather than I chose God - Paul had no intention to become a Christian then God took over @ the road to Damascus while Paul was killing Christians - God watched Paul in his mother's womb and said this is the man I want. v15 - God knew how to choose a person like Paul so that his calling was to preach to the Gentiles - Paul went off to Damascus for 3 years to think this whole "religion" called Christianity over - He didn't consult with anyone. He got his whole Pauline theology from God directly > For example the Lord's supper. 1 Cor 11:23, "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you..." > For example all the Gospels truths he came to preach, he got it directly from the Lord. Gal 1:12
3rd period - A period of conversation with Peter after his return from Damascus and to Jerusalem - He was only there for 15 days only. Just conversation with them. He didn't go there to learn any theology from them - It sounds incredible that a man went off all by himself and came back with all these revelations. But he defended that he's not making this up. v20 - That settles one question, Where did he get the Gospel from? He got it from the Lord directly. Gal 1:12 - The other thing then will be whether this Gospel is the same as what the other apostles preached? - So he then picked out 2 more periods in his life. He continued preaching the Gospel for another 14years
4th period - Paul selected 2 people, Barnabas (Jewish Christian) and Titus (Greek Christian not circumcised) to go back to Jerusalem to authenticate the Gospel after 14years - Paul went from Antioch to Jerusalem. In Antioch, for the first time people realised that Christianity was a new religion and not a Jewish sect - Converts were called Christians for the very first time. - They had a private meeting with the leaders who were mixed with some false believers, troublemakers who accused Titus of uncircumcision - No discord was done. Peter, James and John recognized their ministry to the Jews and Paul's ministry to the Gentiles. - They were in harmonious fellowship in unity anchored in Christ
- Paul related Peter's behaviour that Paul couldn't agree and corrected Peter's Gospel. v11 - Peter had a weakness of being scared of what people think - Peter went back to Antioch and was having no problem eating Kosher food with the Gentiles - When some Jewish people came, Peter decided to go back to Jewish way of eating. He was afraid of what people think - Peter was like many of us who didn't do the right thing when we seek approval of men
- This was a point that potentially could have created 2 kinds of congregation - Paul confronted Peter for not representing the Gospel correctly by dividing Jews and Gentiles again based on customs and not uniting them by faith in Christ
SCRIPTURES : Gal 2:11-21
STUDY - Truth matters more than unity. The disagreement between Peter and Paul showed that - Peter used to eat with Gentiles but under pressure from some visiting Jews, he withdrew - And even Paul's Jewish partner Barnabas was stumbled and did the same as Peter too
- Jesus broke down all these laws and established true righteousness founded in Him only and not on our observance of customs - Jesus brought Peter through this stripping away of his theological framework by that encounter with Cornelius. Acts 10 - Peter finally understood that God embraced even the Gentiles. His behavior of eating together with the Gentiles in Antioch v11 showed that - But now Paul took issue with him for reversing this
- Antioch largely made up of Jewish Christians whom begin to emerge out of Judaism and Paul wouldn't allow them to return back - If Paul hadn't rebuked Peter, it may not be so that the coming out of Judaism happened - Thank God for Paul daring to stand up against Peter to tell him that he's wrong even though Peter was appointed by God to reach the Jews - Throughout chapter 2 Paul was speaking to Peter and divided to 3 paragraphs by the pronouns that Paul used - You (Peter), We, I (Paul)
v15-17 - Key word justified used = proving yourself blameless or innocent (condemned or justified) - The day will come when God will judge us one by one based on who/what we based our justification on. We are all accountable to Him
- Paul said 3 things about himself and Peter to present his argument
1. Both are born as a Jew. Common Experience - Brought up to know the law. Bar Mitsvah at age 12 to become a son of the Law - Both had every opportunity to keep the law but realized they couldn't. They lived to tell the impossibility - So then how do you expect these Gentiles to do it??? - So by the justification through the law, the verdict is condemnation. But through Christ, we can finally be made right for it's by Him and not us
2. Statement of Scriptures - Paul convinced Peter through their Scriptures - The Psalmist wrote judged by God's law, no one can be acquitted
3. LImitation of Logic - Scriptures is above logic - For example - Logic concludes God is evil from Calvinistic predestination. Logic concludes God is unfair when a bad man goes to Heaven at last hr - Paul said Peter had allowed logic to derail him from scriptures - From Peter's logic, he was afraid what other people would think about Jesus - If people would see Peter eating with Gentiles, they would think that Jesus encouraged lawlessness. v17 - Does that make Jesus a lawbreaker? - Certainly not! It's the opposite meaning of Amen. IE: NEVER! POINT : Follow the scriptures and your own experience. Let not logic rule. There are mysteries of life that logic can't explain
- Now Paul goes to use his own personal experience by using I - If leaving the Law makes Peter feel guilty, turning back to law and leaving Christ was what makes Paul guilty - The only purpose of law is to prove that people are capable of breaking them and bring them to punishment. - No law, can't bring transgressors to task - v19 - Through the law, Paul realized he's killed by it - That's good news, because Paul laid down his self-righteousness and live through Christ's righteousness - When we looked at the Cross and see Christ dying on it, we see ourselves dying with Him too. - We see ourselves die, all our filth and self righteousness, all dead so that through Christ I now live - The law brought me to death. I came to the Cross and that completed my death. v20 - After which I find new life and from then on it's all the way, I have life in Christ living in me - That's the only way to live right, by faith in the Son believing the Gospel - So Paul was not ever going back to trying to be right by keeping the law - But through his new life in Christ not by a single ounce of self credit, this new life produces the right living - I live right by continuing trusting the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Stay and live at the Cross of Jesus. - If I go back to salvation by keeping the law, I will be throwing the grace of God back at Jesus' face! v21
SCRIPTURES : Gal 3:1-18 (Hymn : I know whom I believed)
STUDY - There are only 2 types of religions in the world. - One based on trying to be good (Judaism) and the other based on trusting how good God is (Christianity) - There's no compatibility between these 2 - Paul having experienced the former that only brought death and never achieved being right before God, he went around fiercely preaching the latter - Never think that Christianity is mixed by trusting and trying on our own
- Paul turned from talking about his own life to focusing on the Galatians - Many of us like the Galatians started by trusting but over time, understanding the call to live holy lives, turned to trying and get all frustrated - Illustration - Sailing boat vs Rowing boat. The boat is still moving forward but former is relying on an external power instead of own - So are we rolling or sailing as a Christian?
- Paul said oh you silly stupid Galatians. He didn't say you sinful Galatians - Because it's not sinful to go back to works but plain stupid - Imagine there's a strong wind blowing and instead you lower the sail and start rolling?!?! Stupid right???
- Paul had already presented 2 arguments, 1 from experience and 2 from the Bible on the works of Grace through Christ
v1-5 - Argument from experience - He brought them back to their starting experience where he fixed their eyes on Jesus crucified. Eyes off that, we derail... - That's how you get people right with God. You paint the picture of the Cross - Illustration: Story of church of England Bishop in Australia being shown pic of cruxificion and made to reflect. He was a drunk boy challenged to ask evangelist to convert him - Paul was mad with the Galatians how quickly some had brought them away from the true Gospel
- When you believe in Jesus, God confirms that by the giving of the Holy Spirit - Paul asked them whether they received the Holy Spirit by keeping the law or by faith in Jesus? It's always belief in Jesus - We must always go back to the starting point, our faith in Christ and through Him we are enabled. And this is how we should live all our lives - When you continue to experience God's work through the Spirit, it's still by belief in Him and not by our works. v5
v6-8 Argument from scriptures - Now instead of giving a series of questions, he gave a series of quotations - Questions are to surface our experiences. Quotations surface biblical facts - 7 quotation from the Bible. Out of 6 were from Moses - Paul's intent by quoting these scriptures is to show from the whole picture of the Word from OT to NT the consistency of God - Paul was trying to draw out the greats from OT Abraham, Moses and the greatest in NT Jesus - Does the religion of Jesus follow Abraham or Moses? Because the thing Abraham learn and Moses taught are completely incompatible
Abraham - Father of Jews - Man who was comfortable in his life but at age 80 obeyed God and launched into uncertainty. - Abraham was recognized as a great and good man. How did that happen? - Gen 12 : Abraham believed God to be the father of generations - That night that Abraham believed God, he became a good man. God credit him as righteousness because of his belief - v7 As long as we believed God, we are counted as sons of Abraham. That includes everyone and not only Jews by descent
Moses - 430 years later came Moses - Came down from Mt Sinai and instructed to keep the law - The difference. God said to Abraham, "I will bless you/give you this land/I will I will" - Through Moses, God said, "Thou shall, thou shall keep this and that...." - The law brings you not into blessings but a curse. v10 - Because it's crystal clear that if you don't keep the law, you'll be cursed - And unfortunately, the law demands perfection. Which means all will not make it! - Therefore the law came to not make people good but tell them how bad they are - Not only perfection is demanded in the law, faith is ignored - Faith is believing only. Law is about achieving. do do do - But we are justified by faith in Christ not by perfecting the law v12
Jesus - Both promise to Abraham and law through Moses was from God - Which did Jesus take up? Both. Which did He pass on? Only Abraham - He was made the son of the law of Moses. He kept the law. - At the age of 33, he was put under the curse of the Cross while keeping the law. - What He was doing was that He was ending the curse of the law - The curse wasn't on Him because He kept it perfectly. (The only One who had ever done that) - But He hang on the Cross to take our curse for us who can't keep the law - Every curse was pinned on Him for us. That's why we must preach the Cross - Jesus kept the law yet was punished as if He broke every single one of it on our behalf - Now the promise of Abraham is released even to the Gentiles all based on Christ's merit and faith in the Gospel - Because the promise is passed down to the Seed of Abraham and God stand by his covenant that's forever sealed - The blessings of the promise is ours by trusting Christ and the finished work of the Cross
SCRIPTURES : Gal 3:19-29
STUDY - One puzzling question most Christian has is what to do with the OT? - Through OT, the promise to Abraham and the law to Moses were both used by Jesus to unwrap the purpose of revealing Him to both Jews/Gentiles - Jesus fulfilled the Law and then stopped the law so that we are no longer needed to be justified by the law but by faith in Christ - Jesus broke the curse for us by being curse for us. v13 - The promise to Abraham was also passed to a Seed of his descent - Jesus - So Jesus who was the Seed mentioned. He took the law and stopped it and took the promise given to Abraham and Him and passed it on
- We often will take religion and make it an effort. We will take what is an offer and turn it into a demand. - And what God meant it to be delight and turn it into a duty - And these were what the Galatians were doing. Turning back to try from trust. - But if don't catch properly, we may misunderstood Paul that he was suggesting that God made an awful plunder by giving the 10 commandments - That it was God who tells us that we must keep the law.
- So v19, why then the Law? Why did God even gave the Law? - But God knew perfectly well what he was doing! - The law holds a very important place in the religion of man. What is that place?
Passage divided into 2 parts - The law shuts us in. The promise lets us out. - Eg: You can't forgive a man until he knows that he's guilty - You got to show them that they are in the wrong before you can make them right - You can't release him from his sins until he realizes he's a sinner. - In other words, the Gospel doesn't make sense until a person realizes how much he needs it
- The law was added after the promise. Meant only as a temporary addition to lead you to the promise - It's necessary because of human lawlessness. - The law does 2 things - 1) Prove people are breaking it 2) You put a brake on offenders with penalty - Until I have the law, I won't know how lawless I am - God never gave the 10 commandment to make you good but show you how bad you are and stop you from getting worse - Rules are needed until a person matures and doesn't need to come under the law but will do the right thing regardless
- If you have a very important message to pass on, you will not have multiple mediums. You gives it direct - Paul argued here v19-20, the law is lesser than the promise. The law is not so important that it was given thru angels then to Moses - Whereas the promise was given directly to Abraham. - v20 : What's the meaning - If you use a middleman, it's usually in a state of negotiation - The law given through Moses is a 2 sided contract with conditions. Obey and be blessed. Disobey and be cursed - The promise is not a contract. But a 1 sided covenant with no conditions but based on promise. IE: I will regardless... - The promise is much more like the character of God than a contractual God. - So we don't bargain with God in our relationship with Him. He is One. A one sided God who makes a promise
- v21: Paul addressed the possible thinking that the law and promise were 2 systems that God has given for us to choose to get right with God - Paul said "Never!" because the law is never adequate to make someone good. So choosing to follow Law to get right is doomed always - All the law can do is to prove that you are guilty and gives evidence that you deserve the wrath of God - But the promise can put us into that right standing
- v23 : We are locked up by the law until the freedom when the promise of freedom comes through faith in Christ alone - Paul describes 3 stages of freedom from bondage
1. Paul painted bondage in 2 pictures - prison and schoolmaster. v23 - A slave (schoolmaster) Paidagogos was tasked to discipline/punish the children until they come of age. The parents don't do it - After the grown up age, for the first time, the child is called a son and the father now trust him as a mature son. There's no need for a schoolmaster - The main task of the schoolmaster is to pass on the child to the Father when the day of belief/maturity comes. The law was the schoolmaster - When we come to Christ by faith, the law finished its job! "Paidagogos a sort of attendant who took the charge of young children, taught them the rudiments of knowledge, and at a suitable age conducted them to and from school. Thus the law was the pedagogue of the nation, and a length conducting them through its types and prophecies to Christ. When a Jew came to a believing knowledge of Christ, this office of the law ceased."
- Illustration: Imagine the feeling of freedom when the schoolmaster say, "School's over, you are free to go home!" Yaye!!!! - Paul said this freedom happens when you were baptized - When you are baptised you are wrapped up in Christ - It's a picture of the togas robe given to the Jewish boy by the father at the coming of age - We are not just sons of God but we are all part of Him v28 - Implication: I have the right to claim the promise which is the Holy Spirit
- Has the law any place in religion today? Yes, only as a guardian that leads you to Christ. - It's the law that brings you low and the Gospel that brings you up. - It's the law that makes you guilty and then the Gospel comes and sets you free - Now we as Christians who have been set free when we look at the law again and fall short of it, the law drives us back to grace, our Jesus
SCRIPTURES: Gal 4:1-11
STUDY - We are all obsessed with our lives to build different relationships. Parental, frienships, work-place - The most important relationship in your life is with God - And this chapter Paul is asking, "Is God is your boss or your dad?"
- Paul used we (Jews) and you (Gentiles) - And Paul used the same terms on both Jews and Gentiles - He used sons - So Paul called both his brothers - That's what happens when we are brought into the same family through Christ
- Paul started using an illustration of the household rule - As long as we are underaged, we are still put under rule and under custodian - Paul is saying "Grow Up!". That you become sons and not a minor under a guardian
v3 - Paul said we were still bound by elements if we were still underaged - Meaning we still turn to religion of superstition and bound by it (Horoscopes, etc) - But when we come to Christ, we are set free from superstition laced by fear
v4-5 - Then at God's appointed time, Christ came to become a servant so that those are servants might become sons - Born of a woman points to the humanity of Christ. Born under the law. Christ was a Jew and was required to keep the law - He was brought under the law and He came up above it so that He purchased freedom for all of us through faith in Him
- Adoption : Is not like how we understood it. - It's not making someone's child your son but making your own child your son - Tradition: The child puts off the toga from 14-17 and accepted as a man and being called a son by the father. That's adoption - From now on my business/inheritance is yours - A father may already have children but he may only adopt 1 because of his maturity - And God sent the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts and it's the Spirit who shouts out "Abba" v6 - It means that when we are born again, it will be evident for the Holy Spirit works deep within our hearts - Our whole being cries out our new identity as sons through His Spirit - And Paul v8-9 questioned them how can they ever go from sons back to slaves again!
- The Gentiles were slaves to their gods created by their own traditions and observing their superstition v10 - These superstition is feeble, weak. - They can't do anything for you but it makes you do things for these superstitious beliefs (Observing their practices) - These Gentiles Christians went back to turning Christianity into calendars and observing special days and months
- Luke 15 - Parable of the prodigal son - Make me a hired servant. Jesus also told this story to illustrate that this son felt so unworthy that he wanted to be a servant to gain back the relationship. The father saw him as son rather than servant. The elder brother also had this servant mentality. He never addressed his father as Abba but he said he had been serving as a servant all these while. The father reminded him that the younger one is his brother. God wants to tell us that He wants sons not servants
SCRIPTURES : Gal 4: 12-31
STUDY - Paul appealed to the hearts (sentimental) and heads (scriptural) of the Galatians to the argument to never go back to the law for their righteousness
SENTIMENTAL - A appeal to their memory. Paul described a personal relationship with them and appeal them by saying "My brothers, please..." v12 - Paul appealed for them to stand with him as he stood with them before. It's an emotional appeal - This reveals the strategy of evangelism. We become as they are so that eventually they will become as we are - That's the first step to winning people over. - Paul left his Jewishness and lived like a Gentile so now he appealed to the Gentile Christians to hear him out
- Secondly, Paul appealed to them by saying that they did them no wrong so don't spoil the relationship now - And also, Paul came to preach the Gospel to them because of a physical illness. An illness can be an instrument to advance God's purpose - How can this come about? They are up on the hills of Pamphilia and also down are swampy areas infested with malaria mosquitoes - Usually people went up Pamphilia to avoid the swamps. It is probably that when Paul reached Pamphilia, he had contracted malaria - If Paul was 'forced' to go up the hills to get some relief or treatment, it falls in well why it was because of his illness that he continued the spreading of the Gospel to Lystra, Derbe, Icononia (Churches in South Galatia) - Point : His physical illness was a terrible trial not only for him but also for them that it became a trial to them. v14 - Maybe Paul looked terrible and scary. Maybe they were afraid of contagious spread... - But their reaction was one of welcome fit for an angel and as if he was Christ himself - Paul was tugging in their heart strings and asked "What happened to all that???" v15 - He didn't rebuke them for "treating/exalting" him like a messenger or God-like because of his intention to pull at their hearts - Paul seemed to be suffering from some bad eye condition and was confident the Galatians would exchange their eyes with his - But it seems so different now even as Paul was consistent to stay faithful to tell the Gospel truth to them. - And Paul was reacting with a mother's heart for them. v19 - Paul said he had pains of childbirth as a mother again because he wanted to bring Christ out in you again 1. The pain that brings them to new birth 2. The pain that goes on until Christ is brought out in them - And Paul expressed it in extreme tone for he's at this wits end about them. v20
SCRIPTURAL - Paul now moved from emotional appeal to scriptural appeal - Paul tells us how to read the OT as Christians - Read just as history? No. You'll be wasting your time - But read it to see what spiritual reality as taught by the historical events - Read as allegories. Read for spiritual truths - The way God dealt with Abraham is the same way God would deal with me
- Paul used an OT scripture to talk about law and promise - Abraham had no children and so slept with maid Hagar and had Ismael - Hagar became very proud and was nasty to her mistress - And in all these God was silent. He didn't approve but He didn't say a thing too - Then Sarah had Isaac later and when she saw Hagar teasing Isaac, she told Abraham to get rid of Ismael
- What has this story has to do with me? It has because we are in the story. We are either an Isaac or Ismael - Paul looked at the motherhood of the 2 boys and then the brotherhood
- God is in 1 sense the father of all for He gave us life. But the important thing is who is our mother - The boys took their destiny from their mothers. Slave girl ==> Slave boy. Free woman ==> Free boy - Now Paul said the most offensive thing to the Galatians. That they were like the descendants of Ismael - Arabs are descendants of Ismael. Jews descendants of Isaac - So even though Jews are not of physical descent of Ismael but can be spiritually. - They become that way through the law of Moses. They are born into slavery v25 when they are born into the law - But the new Jerusalem where people are born free and not under law but promise through faith in Christ - So Paul asked which mother did you come from? Hagar slavery or Sarah free
- Now from the brotherhood angle - Humanly speaking Ismael shouldn't be born. Intended by man but not by God - When Isaac was time to be weaned, Ismael was already 17 years old and started bullying him for Ismael was not born of the promise. v29 - Ismael was jealous of Isaac. - Isaac had the inheritance because he was born of the Spirit. While Ismael labored but will never enter into that inheritance for he's born of the flesh - Every one of us falls into these 2 categories. We are born of natural ways, struggled to get inheritance but will never make it - Or we can accept the gift of the promise by faith in Christ that leads to the birth in the Spirit - So we either be a spiritual Ismael or Isaac. And these 2 identities are always in tension - The real divide now is always faith or works, grace or law that determined whether you are a spiritual Ismael or Isaac - Regardless whether you are Jew or Gentile, you become a spiritual Isaac by receiving Jesus. That's how! - Receive Jesus the one who is the Son of God who became a son of man so that we can become the promised sons of God.
SCRIPTURES : Gal 5:1-12
STUDY - Freedom is the hardest thing to get and the easiest thing to lose - But we need to know what freedom is. What is freedom? - Common answer is I want to be free to do what I like (Freedom of speech, freedom of rights) - That's not freedom at all. That's the worst slavery - But real freedom is not to be free from God, not to be free to do what we like , but it is to be free from ME/SELF
- When we are free from SELF, the pursuit of freedom by our own strength/ways/effort, that's freedom - When we are freed by Christ and rest secure in His life in us through us, that's real freedom - It's not what is Freedom but WHO is Freedom? - When Christ set us free, at last we have been set free to be good by Him. - And He meant to keep that freedom that's gained through Him. (Hymn: He will hold me fast)
- Paul was bringing a warning against including the work of circumcision in the salvific equation - And if they do that, they make Christ's work worthless to set them free and continuing to keep them free. v2 - Basically, if they want to keep the law, it's keeping ALL or nothing. v3 - And if they want to keep the law, then they were beyond grace. v4 - Law and grace don't mix. It's either all the way by effort or all the way by His grace - Illustration: > Watchman Nee. A man saw another drowning. Only went down to save when drowning man stopped struggling and not immediately - If immediately, drowning man would have killed both - Only when we have given up trying to save ourselves with our own effort, would grace be able to come in to do what we can't do but had been trying to do
The basis of true Christianity is in 3 persons and 3 relationships v5 - Father/Son/Holy Spirit - Full trinitarian basis - Begins with faith, then hope and love - Faith in Son which leads to SURE hope (elpis - absolutely sure of something in the future) - This is the hope we wait for but not work for. - The waiting for us to become The righteousness - God treats you as a good man. God also transforms us into a good man - Justification - Treated as a good man. Sanctification - Transforms us into a good man - Then love comes also. Faith leads to trust which leads to love. It must be expressed in that way. That's real faith. v6 - So this is the basis of the Christian faith in 3 persons/3 relationships. And not in works in oneself
- Paul loved to use sports language and used this language to the Galatians who are Gentiles - Paul said the Galatians were running so well. They started well. - However a good race is not just about starting well but going on and finishing well - But what is cutting them now and stop them from putting the truth in practice? - Once you stop obeying/behaving what you believe, you stop running - Satan wants us to just become academic and not practice truth - But God expects us to live out truth. Any otherwise, it doesn't come from God. v8 - So when we hear otherwise, it's like a little yeast infect the whole batch of dough. v9 - Paul had confidence that the Galatians will take no other view but to follow what Paul had taught them. v10
- Rumor that Paul was actually preaching circumcision. v11 - Paul actually circumcised Timothy a Christian believer. So maybe that's why rumor - Paul did it for a social reason. To make a social gesture so that Timothy can be accepted by first trying to be like them first. - Though it's absolutely not a requirement to be saved - It's just like how missionaries grew pigtails in China in their missions work
- So if he was still preaching circumcision, then why he was still persecuted? - Which means he wasn't! He was preaching Christ which got him persecuted! - The preaching of the Cross was what made Paul's message so offensive and people were offended by his message - So on the Cross, there's nothing good in me which gives me so much joy as God set me free in Christ by making me good in His sight through faith
- So Paul said crudely that those who spread rumors or preach this wrong doctrine, they should be castrated - Was he just being crude or angry? No, he was saying something very profound with a relevant context of comparison. - Galatians were worshipping pagan Goddess of sibili - Male prostitutes and female prostitutes part of worship. And male prostitutes will be castrated to prevent birth - So Paul was saying the people who demanded circumcision to be saved were no different from this pagan priests who demanded castration of the male prostitutes - So it's all part of paganism and legalism! - There's another profound thing - If the Galatians did what the false teachers told them. Paul was saying they would stop reproducing true Gospel disciples! - So Paul wished figuratively speaking, that the false teachers will be cut off so that they can't produce after themselves!
Illustration - Camel slowly goes into tent. Owner slowly allows it to come in and finally got edged out himself - A little yeast will have huge implication! - If we get back to slavery after we come to Christ, usually it just a small step of compromise at a time - 1 spark starts a forest fire
- Paul begged the Galatians not to go back to slavery - How? Hold on to Christ with 1 hand and the Cross with the other hand
SCRIPTURES : Gal 5:13-24
STUDY - Paul warns not to use our freedom in Christ as an excuse to indulge in licentiousness - We are set free not only from self but for others - It's not freedom to sin but freedom not to sin
- Now that we are free from the law, then who is going to run our lives now? - Paul used the word flesh which not only meant body only but refers to all that we are by nature/heredity/environment - It means the intellectual/emotional/moral side of us. It means what we are naturally - So the more our 'self' expresses itself, the more evil you will see, but inherently, we are evil - Therefore self expression is slavery again but Spirit expression is freedom
- What happens when we abused our freedom and do what our "self" would naturally want to do?
1. The law will be unfulfilled - The law is finished for the Christian - But there are 2 ways to end the law - abolish it or fulfilled it. - Jesus came to end the law by fulfilling it not abolish it - Illustration : How do we obey law when driving? Either by signposts telling us the law or by having a police inspector in the car with us - Both get the law fulfilled. One is external but the other is an internal guide
- The main purpose of the law is to try to get people to care for one another as much as we do about ourselves - And it's summed up in v14; love your neighbour as yourself - If people can naturally do that, the law is fulfilled and therefore no need for it - So in Jesus, as my life is led by the Spirit (Led from within), the law is fulfilled because Christ in us will lead us to fulfill it
2. The flesh will be destroyed - Paul here used a language to infer animal behavior - When we let the old self run our lives, we behave like animals - If we abolish the law and let self reign, we destroy society. It happens in every arena of life - marriage, work, family, government, etc... - Not only will the law be unfulfilled, so that what it tried to do will not get done but it will ultimately be impossible to live with each other - Let the Spirit reign, you will voluntarily serve and love others in their needs - And you are set free from sin for service. v13
- Now Paul turn to the life in the Spirit v16 - Every step we take meaning every moral decision we take has implication in our relationship with people. Therefore, let the Spirit lead - So Christian life is not merely taking 1 gigantic step but many small steps constantly, walking with the Spirit - What happens when we let God lead? - You can't let the old self run anymore but not both. It's either or. It's a decision we make everyday - The flesh and the Spirit are mutually incompatible. They work opposites. v17 - Therefore, the tensions of my life increases tremendously when we become Christians - The unbeliever doesn't even want to follow the Spirit so there's no tension but the believer who wants to follow the Spirit is still under the pull of the flesh. Rom 7 - A true believer will definitely feel the tension between this pull of the flesh and the desire to follow the Spirit - When we let the Spirit lead us, we are not bothered with the law because we will be guided to do the right thing. v18
- So far we have been talking about the principles of walking in the Spirit. But how do we know? By looking at our practices or the product - When the flesh reigns, certain works/acts are immediately produced. v19 (Factory) - Whereas when we let the Spirit reign, fruit is produced. (Orchard) - Which do you prefer? Factory or Orchard? - 4 groups of works here
1. SEXUAL - God made sex beautiful and designed it to be expressesd in a very specific limited way - The first gift of God that has gone wrong is in sex - 3 types of distortion here
1) Promiscuity - God instituted ONLY 1 circumstance for this physical act that is marriage. Promiscuity says any where any time any how - Consequence: Insecurity, erotism, unhappiness, 2) Dirty-mindedness - Comes out in entertainment, media 3) Debauchery - indecency. Meaning you don't mind being shocked by others socially
2. RELIGIOUS - This is in the arena of occultism and drug addiction - Idolatry : Behind these idolatry is demons that gripped a person when they worship idols (Physical or not) - Witchcraft : pharmakeia which gives the word pharmacy. The administering of drugs poisoning - Occultism and drugs often go together. So the bible does talk about drug addiction
3. Emotional - Hatred/Jealousy/temper (Boiling over what's your boiling point), Rivalry, Envy - That's what happens when self rules
4. Social - Means people can't have a good time without over indulgence
- Paul warned that those who go on doing these things will not inherit God's kingdom - Does that mean Christians will lose their salvation? No - It means that those who go on/repeatedly practise these may not be born of the Spirit or true believers at all
- Fruit produced over time unlike works that comes out immediately - Fruit is singular. 1 fruit 9 flavours Broken up into 3 - Relationship to God > Love for God > Deep joy for Him > Peace in Him - Quiet serenity (Many need artificial inducers of medication to create serenity)
- Relationship to others > patience > kindness > goodness - Only 2 men named good - Joseph of Barnabas and Joseph of Arimathea - Why? 1) Both were generous, Barnabas Acts 11:24 sold a land and gave it to the apostles. Joseph of Arimathea Luke 23:50 gave burial land for Jesus > Steady faithfulness and reliability > gentle
- Relationship to ourselves > Self control. Ability to say no to himself
- So when we live in the Spirit, we don't need the law to impose because the Spirit will guide us to do the right thing v23 - Those in Christ have nailed the desires of the flesh unto the Cross. Jesus nailed them there. - Interesting note: Crucifixion doesn't kill us immediately. It tortures us to a slow death. And the nails can be pulled out - It's agonising to crucify yourself/flesh. But Paul is saying, "Let the flesh die" - Each day as we keep in step with the Spirit, the Fruit will grow - So the final question is what are we controlled by? The Spirit or the flesh? - That makes the difference between licentiousness and true liberty.
SCRIPTURES : Gal 5:25 - 6:5
STUDY - v25. Walk in the Spirit. It seems that Paul is repeating himself... - No. Paul uses 2 slightly different meaning of walk that's translate both as simply walk in English - v16: Walk = Walking alone, progressing in one's life - v25: March = Walking together with someone in stride - God besides being concerned with our personal walk with God, He's also concerned that we are walking rightly with one another - The Church must be able to march together as an Army. So she must learn to march in step in unity and advance together against the Enemy - Paul was saying Let the Holy Spirit so deal with us so much so that we may be able to walk with one another as believers
- Why is this so important? Important to Jesus as He summed up the Law to love God love neighbor and to love one another - And loving one another is probably the hardest. Why? - Comparatively easy to love God because He's such a lovable Person. - The more we know Him the more we love Him. The hardest part is that it takes faith - It's comparatively easy to love your neighbor because you don't have to live with him. Help and move on... (Helping the Samaritan) - When it comes to loving your fellow Christians, you don't get to choose them in the Church. - And because we are not entirely sanctified, we irritate each other. Family irritate each other - When you join the Church, you are not joining a club which you can quit anytime. You are joining a family and you can't quit on the family. - When Jesus had given the love commandment John 13:34-35, the whole 12 disciples loved each other. There's no sub cliques! - Satan has put Christians out of step with each other by destroying the love for each other
v26 - Deals with 3 ways in which people can get out of step with Christians - You just need one instrumentalist out of tune and the whole ensemble becomes ruin. Same with the Church - Paul said the main cause is PRIDE - How does it get in and what does it do? - Christianity condemned pride and lift humility
- 3 ways in which prides shows itself 1. Those who want to get ahead of others to get a good reputation (Gone ahead) - We hear alot about inferiority complex. But what about Superiority complex - You can actually do this with natural gifts and spiritual gifts and think that it's you but it's actually God who gave to you - And you walk far ahead and leave others behind and with lots of pride. - 2. Those who stay in line but so provocative (Gone aside) - Those who regard others as not co-workers but rivals. Competitive spirit - Rivalry pricks others. This produces a tear sideways
3. Those who get envious of others and pull behind and not willing to show up (Gone behind) - An inferiority complex says, You can do better than me, I'm resigned to it - So they don't do anything. It's inverted pride. It's burying any form of talent altogether
v6:1-5 - Deals with 3 ways which people can get in step - Paul says you need to help each other if we want to keep in step - Winston Churchhill story - A wounded soldier will be helped/Extra load carried by others. An immediate closing of ranks... Paul used military imageries here
1. Someone can slip (Devil love lying bananas around) v1-2 - This happens in every Christian fellowship, yielded to temptation - What should you do when that happens? Gossip? Obstracise? - The spiritual mature should get that man on his feet and get him back in the ranks again. Don't leave him there and talk about him - But do it without any pride lest the banana skin may be under your feet - Eg : Jesus restoring the adulterous woman. Gentling saying, "Go and sin no more"
2. Someone can be overloaded. v3-4 - Life can be very pressurizing with strains and stresses - Some fellow Christians can be under such load - Greek : Burden/Load = Overwhelming crushing load - Paul didn't say pray for them BUT carry some of their load! - Offer to help bear some of other's load - And do it again with humility
3. Someone v5 - Every member must be responsible to carry his own load - Greek : Burden/Load = Kitbag - If he doesn't carry his kit bag, someone else will have to carry - So be responsible with your own assignment and not compare with what others do with their assignment
- What a picture we have of Church. - No one is proud, provokes, no envy of others, pick up each other when fall, every church is active in their own assignment - Such church is when every Christian walks in the Spirit and walks in step - May we pray that God will help us walk together in the Spirit
Hymn : All praise to our redeeming lord
SCRIPTURES - Gal 6:6-10
STUDY - God is teaching sowing and reaping
1) it talks about those who sow the Word - It flows with v1-5 in carrying each other loads, that the Teacher teaching the Word should also be cared for - And here it's flows to v7-10 on sowing and reaping that those sowing spiritual thing reap material things - First God has raised teachers to teach His Church to help understand the Word. God gave gift of teaching - 2 dangers. 1. To treat teachers as the final voice. Therefore, be diligent to do our own study like the Bereans. 2. To make yourself the final voice. I have the Bible/Holy Spirit. I don't need teachers or study commentaries, etc - The pupils in return to give support to the teacher in material ways 2 dangers again here 1. The teacher become professional and motive becomes going after the material gains 2. The teacher may be pressured to give what the receivers want to hear
2) it talks about those sowing Habits, reaping character as a result - Paul started with a very blunt statement. Don't fool yourself. You can't fool God - No man can turn his nose up at God. Particular Paul was refering to the thing many people were under. That they can get away with wrong doing - Forgiveness doesn't wipe out the consequences. It only removes the penalty by God - Illustration : Small boy steal half ripe apples. Penalty is that he will be spanked. Consequences he get a tummy ache. Penalty can be removed by consequence can't. - Eg: King David. After he fell, he paid the consequence his entire life even though he repented Psalms 51 and forgiven and penalty removed. - So this spiritual principle applies to both believers and unbelievers - If we sow to our Flesh, a bad character will be reaped. Vice versa - If we sow to the Spirit, we reap a quality life that last eternally
3) it talks about those sowing generous deeds in other people's lives. Though it's unrewarding at times, but don't give up - A Christian is someone who does good deeds but a person who does good deeds is not necessarily a Christian - I'm not saved by good deeds but I'm saved and given a new life in Christ that produces good deeds - Doing good to others doesn't bring instant results. - Our "instant noodles" culture makes us impatient with slow results or reaping that takes very long to happen - Sowing may not seem to yield results for years.... For example the Bees work. - So leave the result to God in His ways and timing. Just go on sowing the seed and trust the Lord at all times and be at rest - Don't get weary doing this for God will provide the Harvest - Look at Jesus, he sowed 3.5 years and 3000 got saved at Pentecost. Don't we think that this harvest had something to do with Jesus' sowing?
- The circumference reach of our good deeds is the world - Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. - John Wesley - A Christian has a duty to help the world but a specific duty/responsibility to help his own family - Whoever provides not for his own household is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Tim 5:8 - Charity begins at home but it must end there. - We need to do good to our own brother and sisters for the Lord commanded so - We do good to as far as to the world but starting from our immediate families first.
Hymn: Take time to be holy
SCRIPTURES: Gal 6:11-18
STUDY - Why did Paul write big letters himself? - Paul would sign off himself at the end of his letter to prove authenticity even though he uses a scribe to write his letter - Why was Paul's handwriting so bad, so distinctive? Because Paul suffered from partial blindness - Blindness affects back and front of eye - On Paul's conversion day, the great light burnt his back eye and blinded him and this kind heals very slowly - Tricoma - aggravates the front of eye, disfigures the cornea. Destroys both near and far sight, aggravated by hot climate and dusty road - It explains a few things why Paul said certain thing - He said I wish you can donate a eye to me. He said he couldn't recognize the high priest even though he's near the high priest - torn in the flesh - Could be tricoma. Therefore it explains why his writing will be big and spidery - Why then did he draw attention to this? - v10, He said have a concern for his own household. Look at his handwriting. I'm concerned for you and you know it takes a lot out of me to write this - v13, He said people are concerned for their own appearances, but look at his handwriting, I'm not concerned about appearances - Another explanation would be Paul used a scroll with fixed length and realised that he had little space left. So it explains that his last few verses is very concentrated to express and summarize what he wanted to tell the Galatians - Now he went back to the subject that started it all, the false teaching that says - you have to be a Jew to become a Christian and it means you must be circumcised. - Basically, choose between religion or Christianity, Circumcision or the Cross
v12-13 - Man is a religious animal. He invents religiosity to relate to divine powers - Religion has certain motives/characteristics - Paul was raised in religion and realised religion was worthless rubbish. It got him no where - Paul view circumcision in that light though his fellow men viewed it so highly - Paul peeled off the religious veneer to expose 3 underlying things that they were actually concerned about and these 3 things you can find them in all religions
1. Social distinction - Because every generation practise this thing - The Done Thing - Paul made it clear that the Cross is not socially acceptable and it will never be - Talk about your church or pastor, it may be acceptable. But talk about the Cross, it will not be - Religious people don't like persecution or opposition - When persecution comes, the religious people will be first to leave the church
2. Outward respectability - It means we are more concerned with outwardly how we present ourselves to earn respect rather than looking at the inner condition of our heart - It means we are obsessed with the outward rituals and forms - Paul stripped that off too. The Jews doesn't really care about keeping the law. - For once circumcision is done, they have earned the respect for their identity as God's chosen and upholding this sacred form in their religion - Many people go through religious forms but they don't know Jesus, sadly.
3. Human merit - Worse of all, is to attribute to human merit - These circumcisers are doing it just to boast about their successful mission of circumcising others and fulfilling their sacred duty
Boasting in the Cross - So religion gets us no where but it's the Cross - Cross means not religion but regeneration. New life - Paul will not boast about his spiritual achievement but to be associated with the Cross and be proud of it - It's like saying "I boast in the hang, electric chair" - That the Cross crucified the world in me and me in the world
- Then He points out 3 features that runs opposite of any religion but that is based on the Cross
1. As against social acceptance gain in the world, it's a personal detachment from the world - Gk word Cross in v14 means Instrument of punishment and also means putting a stake erect at a fence - You build a cross and you build a fence in the same way --> vertical and then a horizontal beam - It means you are fenced off. A separation from the world - The world is dead to me and I'm dead to the world. No taste for the world - So real religion in God is that it has no concern for social popularity but seeks only to please God
2. As against outward respectability, the Cross is concerned with the inward righteousness of a person - v15, It doesn't matter what religious forms you conformed to, but it's about whether we have been changed inside - Christ didn't die to make us respectable, He die to make us good, changed us from the inside which affects the outside eventually
3. The religion of the Cross is not based on human merit but on divine mercy - Divine mercy is when a human recognizes he completely can't pay his debt and is been given at the Cross when the person comes to the Cross - The Cross turns me away from social popularity as distaste for it forms - The Cross turns me into a new person from the inside - The Cross brings me mercy and therefore brings me peace v16 - There's only peace when we know we are make right with God. And only God's mercy at the Cross provides that. - Paul made a bold claim. Peace and mercy to the True Israel. (Spiritual Israel who believes in Christ) - Before Christ came, there are only 2 races - Jews and Gentiles - But Roman emperor calls the Christians the 3rd race - Every believing Jews/Gentiles belong to the 3rd race = the True Israel
- Paul was marked too for the suffering for Christ. v17 - It's not the marks of circumcision you need but the marks of Christ as a sign of your life in Christ. - So Paul ended off his letter by saying, "let no man interfere with my mission of bringing the true Gospel" - Let no one be derailed back to religion from true Christianity - His scars or marks attest to his commitment to be faithful to the true message of the Gospel - How did Paul do it? How did he endured all hardships and stay committed to the Message - He said "God's grace is sufficient for him" - So Paul ends off his letter by how he started.... The GRACE of Jesus be with us all - Grace is the most precious word in the Christian vocabulary - It's the inward experience that commonly runs through in all brothers and sisters in Christ.