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Fullness Of Time

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Galatians 4:4, 5


A.      Time is an elusive concept

1.       something we all have the same amount of (24/7)

2.       no matter

a.       how rich or poor we are

b.       how strong or weak

c.        how spiritually mature or immature

d.       how young or old we are

e.        what gender we might be

f.        what color of skin we might wear

g.        what ethnic background

3.       all have the same amount of time

B.      Several years ago, read an article about God and time

1.       time is a man-made concept

2.       with God, there is not time

a.       all time

b.       past

c.        present

d.       future

e.        is NOW with God

(that’s a sermon in itself)

C.      Thoughts to consider

1.       God who is not limited by time has stepped into time during certain points of man’s existence to interact with man in a major way

a.       the call of Abram in Gen. 12

b.       the deliverance of the Israelites in Ex. 1-20

c.        the building of the Solomon’s temple

d.       the rebuilding of the temple

e.        but the greatest interaction by God in time is referred to in our text today in Galatians 4:4-5

2.       other passages that speak of time in the same way:

a.       Genesis 21:2

b.       Ecc. 3:1-8

c.        Mark 1:15

d.       John 7:8

e.        Romans 5:6

And then our text:  But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Exegesis of Galatians 4:4, 5

Normally, when we look at a passage of Scripture in order to explain and understand it, we begin at the 1st verse of the passage and take it one phrase or word at a time, but today, let’s begin with the last phrase in verse 5 and work backward.

V. 5c  “that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

  “we”---reference to you and me


                                  the human race

“might receive”

           to receive

                not earned

                when one works at a job for a certain amount of time or does a certain task for hire, one earns

                      the wage; the agreed compensation for the work done; it is earned

                here, it is a gift



                             is given

                      the gift

                         not because of what he has done

                         but because of what the giver has done

“what is the gift”

      Paul stated it another way in a different passage:  “the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

         Here, Paul calls it “the adoption as sons”

            To be brought up into the position of sons

                 More than being a


                        Or other relatives

                        Or the family of God

                  But A son

                     With all the privileges and responsibilities of being a son

                          The privileges

1.       can call God “Abba, Father”


   Not a distant Supreme Being

   Not one that we must

            Placate to keep His wrath from us

             Convince to listen to us by all kinds of means

                     Remember the story of the prophets of Baal

                          The prophet told them to yell louder to wake him up

                           They cut their wrists

                           They yelled

                            They screamed

                            But Baal did not listen to them

                   Not the same with this God, that we can call “Abba, Father”

            Nor do we have to trick Him to do something for us

                    Jesus said “If you then, being evil [not holy like God, the Father; without any evil or impurity] know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Mt. 7:11

2.       heir “so that thou are no longer a bond-servant, but a son, and if a son,

then an heir through God.”

a. Bond-servant—obeys out of duty

    heir—obeys out of love

b. bond-servant—not privileged to know will of God

    son (heir)—privileged to know the will of God, the Father

c. bond-servant—might not have a personal relationship with God

    son (heir)—has a personal relationship with the Father

                                The responsibilities

                                These thoughts are from book by Rick Warren’s book

                                    The Purpose Driven Life

1.       “Love God with all your heart”:  you were planned for God’s pleasure, so your purpose is to love God through worship.

2.       “Love your neighbor as yourself”:  you were shaped for serving, so your purpose is to show love for others through ministry.

3.       “Go and make disciples”:  you were made for a mission, so your purpose is to share God’s message through evangelism.

4.       “baptize them into…”:  you were formed for God’s family, so your purpose is to identify with his church through fellowship.

5.       “teach them to do all things…”:  you were created to become like Christ, so your purpose is to grow to maturity through discipleship.

                So, who can receive this gift?

                    No one deserves it

As Scripture says “All our righteousness is as filthy rags”  when compared to God’s righteousness

Even the best person who has ever lived [except for Jesus Christ] has had pride, which is the root of all unrighteousness

                     So no one can receive this gift????

v. 5b “those who were under the Law”

a.       What is the Law?

1.       Man-made laws?

a.       no, Romans 2:12-13

1.       For all have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are as law to themselves.”

2.       So the Law is the inborn instinct of men to know and have a relationship with the Creator

3.       from the beginning of time, man has sought after the Creator—from the worship of

a.       Baal

b.       Buddhism

c.        Islam

d.       all religion is man seeking a relationship with the Creator, with someone outside and better than himself

2.       because of man’s inability to do this in his own strength and power, man

a.       has been frustrated

b.       has failed

c.        needs something or someone to provide that bridge between man and the Creator

b. Therefore, the Law, whether written down as in the Pentateuch or not written down condemns man to failure and doom

c. But as verse 5 says, “He might redeem those who were under the Law”

1.       reference back to verse 4 “His Son”

2.       He cam to redeem

a.       both Jews & Gentiles

b.       from the curse of the Law

c.        and from subjection from it

3.       He suffered the penalty of sin

a.       which the Law said that sin must be paid for by the slaying of blood

4.       one writer put it this way:

“He was visited with the penal consequences of sin, with its curses and wages…from

the day he entered into humanity by incarnation.  The deliverance wrought for us was the result of purchase.  Thus we are entitled to regard the cross of Christ as the fulfillment of the Law, the expiation of sin, the ransom of the Church, the sacrificial blood which brings us near to God in worship.”

v. 4b “God sent forth His Son”



                                The Father

                                Holy One

                                1st person of the Triune God

                Sent forth His son

                                “these words imply the pre-existence as well as the Divine nature of Christ.  The Son

                                existed as a Divine Person with God before he came to be made of woman.  He was

                             the eternal Son of God, as God the Father is the eternal Father.  They are two distinct

                             Persons, else the one could not send the other.  He came, not without a compassion, for

                                Father sent him; and he came to do the Father’s will, and became ‘obedient unto death,

                                Even the death of the cross.’”

v. 4c “born of a woman.”

                Not just any woman

                                Gen. 3:15  God speaking the serpent “And I will put enmity

                                                Between you and the woman,

                                                And between your seed and her seed;

                                                He shall bruise you on the head,

                                                And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

                From a woman will come the Messiah---

                                Not the seed of man

                                Isaiah 7:14 “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son,

                                                And she will call His name Immanuel.”

                                Matthew 1:18—25 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows.  When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.  And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.  But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”  Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”  And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

v. 4d. “born under the Law,”

                subject to the Law

                “His subjection to the Law, as well as his mission, was in order to our redemption; the one was the way to the other, as appears from the particle which connects the last clause of the fourth verse with the first clause of the fifth.  Both Jews and Gentiles were under the Law as the condition of life by the fact of birth (Rom. 2:14; 3:9).  The meaning of the phrase is that he placed himself under Law with a view to the meritorious obedience by which we are accounted righteous (Rom. 5:19).  Thus he fulfilled all the claims of the Law for us, both as to precept and penalty.”

Final phrase:  V. 4a “But when the fulness of the time came”

                Carries the idea of fulfillment

                                The right time had arrived for what follows to occur

                                “Paul’s whole argument is that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.

                                                From Adam to Abraham, from Moses to David to Isaiah, Jeremiah

                                                And all the prophets, the plan was always there for the coming Messiah.”

                The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to this fulfillment.

                All of preceding history, from Adam to Christ, pointed to the birth of the Son, Jesus Christ.

                He came at JUST the RIGHT TIME---six aspects of the 1st century that point to the perfect time

1.       the language

a.  after the Tower of Babel, mankind

1.       was scattered throughout the earth

2.       languages developed that caused man to not understand each other

       b.      at the time of the birth of Jesus,

1.       Greek had become the common language

2.       In commerce

3.       In the law

4.       For the common man

this allowed for the message of Jesus Christ to be able to be spread throughout

  the known world of that day

2.  the literature

a.       “the writings of that day show a longing in the hearts of the people for

b.       a hero,

c.        a messianic figure

b.        the whole world was looking and longing for relief and divine mercy

         3.  the lord

a.       there had been many different types of empires over the years

1.       Egyptians had had 30 different dynasties

2.       Babylonians owned a large chunk of the world twice

3.       Assyrians had a major empire

4.       Persians, Greeks and finally the Romans

b.       now the title Lord had come to designate one in authority that caused a time of Pax Romana  (peace)

        4.  the Land

a.       architectural achievements of the Roman government

b.       building of roads and highways

c.        travel from one end of the Empire to the other was easier

d.       Jews had been dispersed throughout the world that allowed for a place for the message to be proclaimed

       5.  the law

            a.  common law throughout the world

            b.  allowed a common means of governing

      6.  the love

           it was time for man to see what LOVE was all about


I.                    God has brought us to this time in our world where information is the key to everything, the power behind men, governments, and business.

The Internet—the information highway


                That use a basic language called binary language composed of 2 states of being:  on or off. This is all, on or off.

                That store information

                                My first computer was a 286 that I could only do one thing—enter data

                                                In a program that was used by school systems for school


                                                Not very much memory (RAM)

                                                Very small hard drive

                                My 1st portable

                                                32 KB of RAM

                                                no hard drive

                                                ran on 3 ½ floppy disks

                                from there my computers have progressed to today’s computer

                                                Celeron processor running 750 MHz as compared to about 4

                                                384 MB Ram

                                                10 GB hard drive

                                                something unheard of earlier, a CDRW-DVD drive

                                all of these parts used to store information

                                but the greatest part is the device used to connect to the world wide web


                                                                running through a phone line

                                                                or in my case, a cable modem using the same cable that is

                                                                                used by my cable TV

                                                                much faster retrieving and sending forth of information

                                                                                not just text

                                                                                sound in real time

                                                                                video like one would see on a TV set

                                                                                                (Danny Kaye movie from the 50’s)

                                it (the internet) source of information at one’s fingertips:

                                                looked up song lyrics by using only the title

                                                look up

                                                                sports scores



                                                                you name it, it can be found if one is patient

                                                                                enough and persistent enough to look for it

                                As churches with the greatest message for all mankind, we have an obligation to

                                                Use this tool to

                                                                Not only tell the world

                                                                                Where our church is located

                                                                                The times of our services

                                                                                The members of our church staff

                                                                But it is to be used as a tool

                                                                                To spread the good news of Jesus Christ

                                                                                To comfort those needing comfort

                                                                                To encourage the discouraged

                                                                                To strengthen the weak

                                                                                To convict the sinner

                                                                                To need the needs of those in need (and isn’t this


                Recent statistics tell us that nearly 60% of homes in the US have access to the internet

                Many business allow employees access to the web to find information to do their jobs

                                And to keep them informed of what is going on in their company


So why aren’t more churches using the internet to spread the gospel?

                Lack of computer knowledge on the part of the pastor, church leaders and congregation

                                As a whole

                Lack of financial commitment to use the internet

                                As a source to retrieve information

                                As a source to spread the gospel

                It takes work to make use of this tool just any other tool that God has given us to use to spread the gospel:  SO WHY AREN’T WE DOING IT?

Second application:  the more important application: 

                Do YOU have a personal relationship with Jesus,

                                God with us

                                Who came to earth

                                Who lived as a man

                                Who died on a cross

                                Who shed His blood

Who was buried in a bowered tomb

                                Who rose on the third day to live again

                                Who ascended to the Father after the fulness of time had come.

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