Family Perks: Children of Promise Galatians 4:21-31 1. Salvation does not occur because of us, but because of God. (vv. 21-23) 21 Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. 23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. As we wrap up our series on family perks we look as Paul tries again to show the church in Galatia that they are no longer slaves, but children of God… Children of Promise! Up to this point in history every religion had a works aspect as part of their beliefs in order to get to God. Now that God has come to us through Jesus Christ, we no longer have to work to get to Him. This was revolutionary, but hard for many to grasp in the early church, as well as the church today, as they tried to hold on to the idea that people have a role in their eternal salvation. To help illustrate this issue to the church, Paul decides to use a story that everyone would remember: the story of Abraham and his two sons. 2. When it comes to salvation it's either God or God plus something. (vv.24-27) 24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. 25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. 26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!” When we look at salvation we can either look at it as God alone or God plus. We either trust God fully in our salvation, or our faith is in God plus something. Paul talks about God’s promise to Sara and Abraham in the same light as God’s promise to those who are lost. God made a promise to Abraham that He would have a child, but he and Sarah thought they needed to help God. They decided to let Abraham have a child with the servant Hagar. This caused many problems that we are still dealing with to this very day. God is faithful, and if they would have put their trust in Him alone, a lot of heart ache would have been saved. Even after being on the earth almost a century Sarah gave birth just as God promised. In this same way, God will save whoever calls upon His name. It doesn’t require them to perform a certain task before; it doesn’t require you to say some special words exactly right; it requires nothing except God. When we try to add to the saving Grace of God, we don’t add anything to salvation, because if we do we take away the amazingness of Grace. Less is more. 3. STOP! Just let God be God. (vv.28-31) 28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. 30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman. We as Christians are children of promise (just as Isaac was to Abraham and Sarah), not children of any work of any man. We are not born again by any human effort, but by the work of Jesus on the cross. Just as Abraham was told to get rid of the human effort (the slave and her son), we are also called to lay down everything we try to add to salvation (legalism), and let God be God, let grace be grace, and embrace our title as the children of promise.
Children of Promise
May 27, 2018 • Ryan Robertson
Slaves No Longer • May 20, 2018 • Monty Mullenix
Family Perks: Slaves No Longer Galatians 4:8-20 I. We were all in slavery; 4:8-11. 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God-- or rather are known by God-- how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. There were two religious dimensions of the Galatians religious past: they did not know the true God, and the gods they did know were not gods. Despite having received the knowledge of God, they had reverted to their former ways. They had converted wonderfully because of Paul's preaching, but now they were turning back to those weak and miserable principles. What is revolutionary here is that Paul considers moving into Judaism (observing special days and months and seasons and years) as nothing other than a reversion to paganism. For Paul their move from idolatry to Christianity and now to Judaism is no different than a venture back into "idolatry" or "paganism." He had worked hard on the Galatians' behalf and for the gospel. There is great heartache and fear that come when a believer wavers, stumbles, and even falls away. Whatever leads one away from sole reliance on Christ, whether based on good intentions or depraved desires, is not Christian and therefore condemned. Every human being is captive to the “element principles" in some way, and is only set free by Jesus Christ. We are continually tempted to go back to old patterns of behavior, attitudes, ways of thinking, lifestyles, and coping mechanisms. II. Don’t sell yourselves into slavery again; 4:12-20. 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! Most likely Paul means something like: "Become like me by freeing yourself from the law of Moses. I became like you Gentiles when I abandoned the law, accepted that I too was a sinner, and then turned to Jesus Christ.” Paul reminds them of how they had previously responded to him, in the hope that they will repeat it, abandon going backwards in their faith, and once again align themselves with the gospel. His illness did not bother the Galatians. They looked beyond it and saw in Paul's preaching the truth of God because his message was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, they received him as if he were an angel, even more, they received him as if he were Jesus Christ himself. Paul says they were so receptive that they would have given their eyes to him, had they been able to. Reminding the Galatians of their former commitment and friendship to him makes the present situation unbearable for Paul: "What has happened to your joy?” and "Have I now become your enemy?" Paul contends that the Judaizers were zealous to win them over. They wanted to alienate them from Paul, so that they may be zealous for them. Paul now interjects that it is good to be zealous if one is zealous for God. It is for no good, however, if one’s zeal is contrary to the gospel. And their zeal ought to be expressed for God always, and not just when Paul was with them. Paul now senses that their “zeal for the gospel" has declined and needs to be rekindled. He wanted the Galatian converts to grow in the Spirit until the image of Christ was formed and transformed in them. Paul must now "again" go through the process of leading them to the faith they once embraced. He wants them to grow into Christ-likeness. The world is full of things and opportunities to pull us back into slavery and its principles, therefore rendering our lives ineffective. We have Jesus as our model with examples in the Bible and other believers who are living in the freedom of Christ. Our old lives, as well as legalism, seek to put us in slavery again. God has given us His Spirit to empower us to live in accordance with the gospel that we have accepted.
Children of God • May 13, 2018 • Monty Mullenix
"Children of God". The first in a three part series entitled, "Family Perks". Galatians 3:26-4:7 I. As believers, we are all children of God; 3:26-29. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Paul had said that those who believe in Jesus are "children of Abraham," and now he points out that they are "sons of God." Being a "son of God" is a special promise by God for the last days and describes that special relationship of intimacy that the believers can have with God. Baptism in the early church was the initial response of faith. Baptism was a symbol of dying with Christ and rising with Christ. A Christian is one who is “in Christ." Those who are “in Christ Jesus" are those who believe in him. Those who believe in Him come from all walks of life, from every nation, and from both sexes. A Jewish blessing that was prayed daily by some is reversed. "Blessed be God that He did not make me a Gentile, blessed be God that He did not make me a slave; blessed be God that He did not make me a woman." Paul is most likely responding to such a demeaning classification of people. There is a cultural directive where there is "neither Jew nor Greek." Cultural divisions are to have no part in the church of Jesus Christ. All people must be treated in light of God's love in Christ, not in light of their culture. There is a social directive where there is “neither slave nor free." Slavery was widespread in the ancient world among Gentiles and Jews. “In Christ" the slave becomes our “brother." Both freedmen and slaves have the Spirit and are in the body of Christ. There is a male/female directive where there is "neither male nor female." Paul spoke these words in a context that clearly believed in the inferiority of women. There was to be no cultural/racial distinctions and no social status prejudices, and there was to be no male/female prejudice. Everyone who believes, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, is accepted by God. If they are Abraham's seed, then they also inherit Abraham’s promise—a relationship with God that is intimate and eternal. II. As believers, we are heirs; 4:1-7. 1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. A child who is destined to inherit an estate is no different than a slave as long as he is a child. He cannot inherit the estate until he becomes an adult. During this period, he is subject to the "guardians and trustees." The “childhood period" is the period of the law, and the “inheritance period" is the time inaugurated by Jesus Christ. The time of the law is a time of slavery; the time of Christ is a time of freedom. Legalism and the ritualistic way of relating to God are over. God sent His Son so that the inheritance could be had. The barrier was knocked down between God and people, and they could become "sons of God." Being a "son of God" means having God's Spirit, which is the promise of Abraham. The Spirit of God enables the son of God to cry out "Abba."