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Introduction to Galatians

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Let us begin our time together this morning with a reading of God’s Word.
Please open your Bible’s to the third Psalm.

1 LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

Well it is good to be with you all this morning to say the least.
This last week has been a blessing and I am looking forward to the days to come when some of the things that come with moving are done and we can sit back and really begin to enjoy being here.
I forgot last week with everything that was going on to say thank you to every one for your care towards my family during our transition time.
It really meant a lot for us to be so cared after and I’m confident that we have never eaten so good in my life.
It really was nice to know that while I was back in Kansas City for those two weeks that my family was well taken care of.
So that was my little note of appreciation and there’s plenty more I could say but I’m gonna be talking a lot today anyway so I hold my voice.
We have many announcements today, some of which were things that from a practical standpoint just make sense and others that might not but rest assured, if you have any questions please feel free to ask about them.
I talked a lot with the leadership about the idea of firming up some things in the area of accountability.
Several changes are taking place and others will be taking place in the future.
Talk about financial accountability and the need for a CPA.
Talk about the need for accountability within the body for Children and Teenagers.
Talk about the need for accountability within the body f or Children and Teenagers. t
Church cleaning position/two fold
Memorial Day stuff Men here at 7, stop working around 12 for family cookout.
Sign up sheet
I would like for you to invite some of the people who no longer come here as well.
If there are no other announcements, let’s go to the Lord in Worship.


As we were going through some of the initial getting settled phases of moving down here and pondering over what books of the Bible might best serve the Church at the very start I had originally thought that maybe 2 Corinthians might make for a good place to begin.
However, as time moved on and more and more details of who Kirkwood Baptist Church is as a body of God’s set apart people is, I began thinking that maybe 2 Corinthians might not be the right place to begin.
Maybe as a Church we could all be most edified by looking at Paul’s letter to the Church in Galatia.
So with that in mind I approached the leadership here to see what their thoughts might be and it seemed as though we all stood in agreement that this letter could greatly benefit us as a body of believers.
As we begin our study, we have several questions we always need to keep in the forefronts of our minds and though they may seem basic, they help us to really grab ahold of what and who is being addressed in this passage and in light of that we then gain the ability to see how a particular passage of Scripture applies to our own lives.
Now I haven’t found an easier way to lay this out so that a person doesn’t feel as if they’re being talked down to but rest assured that is not my intention and you’ll understand that statement more here in a second.
When we read our Bible’s it is always important to ask 5 questions before grabbing application.
This is going to sound child like but it’s “Who, What, Where, When and Why.”
Now trust me, I’m sure all of you already know this and I’m not going to personally ask those questions from up here at all.
But it might surprise you to know that most of the time, since we are reading the Word of God, we fail to ask those questions.
We get it into our minds that since this Word is living and active and sharper than any two edge sword, we fail to recognize some of the basics of literature when we read our Bibles.
So once again, trust me when I say that is not meant negative. I personally have done this and occasionally still do it.
When something seems to get to be too much for me I would quote “I can do all things through Christ Jesus whom strengthens me.”
Although I’m positive in most cases it doesn’t apply to that instance, I still find myself doing this.
So prayerfully with a little gentle guidance and love we can work through that with one another to keep each other from misapplying Scripture to our lives.
I also know we talked at one point early on about always needing to grab and understand the historical context of the Scripture we’re reading and going through this is one thing that will help us to do that.
So with that in mind as we begin our series through Galatians, I want to ask and answer three questions for us to begin with.
Who were the Galatians?
When did Paul write to them?
And why did he write to them?
Now I would like for you to rest assured that I am not trying to ask academic minded questions when I bring these up, my goal is merely to faithfully preach the Bible and understand it properly within it’s right context and application for us today.
Often times when we don’t do this we find ourselves maybe not necessarily twisting Scripture but misapplying it to our own lives for sure.
Well with all this in mind, let’s open up our copy of God’s Word and turn to .
Now I make no promises of getting through this introduction here this morning but I wouldn’t feel in bad company as MacArthur took 45 minutes to just begin talking about Galatians so I wouldn’t feel bad being in good company.
Well let’s read the Word here and go to the Lord in Prayer.
Read and Pray.
So as we begin this study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the first thing I would like to do is establish a timeline of when it was written.
There are multitudes of Scholars who place the letter as being a late letter.
What I mean by that is that they would place this letter in the late 60’s of the first century.
There are also other scholars who would place Galatians in the early 40’s of the first century.
Now I hold to an early view on when it was written and that is for several reasons.
One of which concerns Paul’s lack of using the Jerusalem Council to defend his position on salvation by grace and faith alone.
Now just as a reminder of what I’m talking about on the Jerusalem council.
This is that section in where certain men had crept in to the Church and they attested to the work that God had done in their lives in the way of salvation.
The Church and the Elders received them into the body, yet there had arose among them some Pharisees who claimed that it was needful for a man to be circumcised and also to keep the entirety of the Law of Moses.
When the Elders found about this, they and the Apostles got together to see what it is that they should say to them and the end result was a little set of commands and it surely did not include circumcision.
It actually only included a few things that would keep Jews and Gentiles from being offended with each other.
We will get into more of those details later on through this letter but for the moment, I just want to cover some of the reasoning for dating this letter early and not late.
The Jerusalem council is thought to have taken place right around 50 A.D.
With that in mind, it is my thought that Galatians was written around 48 A.D.
My reasoning for that is that Paul gives no mention of the decision made at the Jerusalem Council.
All throughout the letter to the Galatians, we find not one mention of the Jerusalem Council which would have affirmed everything Paul was addressing here.
Not only would it affirm what Paul was saying but it would hold the weight of everyone who was there.
Which in this situation concerning the Pharisees would have truly established Paul’s Gospel.
Now normally I would be against an argument made from silence.
Because that’s what this is here that is an argument made from silence.
Just because something isn’t mentioned doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make the case for that position.
If we took an argument based upon silence this would be Kirkwood Presbyterian Church and not Kirkwood Baptist Church....
Oh come on that was meant to be funny because of infant baptism…lol
Now I say that jokingly as I have a great love for my Presbyterian brothers.
Throughout the ages they have been the ones that held to core Biblical truth while most others were abandoning it.
I am however serious when it comes to arguments made from silence.
Generally the case that is made doesn’t actually hold water.
It’s like the liberal argument stating that Jesus didn’t say anything concerning homosexuality so therefore He didn’t address it.
However we know that this just isn’t he case.
The Apostle Paul very clearly addressed human sexuality and the natural order of God’s design in .
But I do think that we can rationally deduce an argument from Scripture in this situation because of the magnitude in which it would have been useful for Paul, which we will cover more here in just a few minutes.
You see the Pharisees that had crept in were claiming things such as Pa
With that in mind, we need to try and figure out exactly who it is that Paul is writing to.
However, in this situation, the magnitude of the situation of what Paul was dealing with in Galatia
On the surface we would answer that it was to the Galatian Churches and while that would be correct, there’s a little bit more to it than that.
You see there was a physical location that was Galatian not only in name but also in heritage.
And there was an area of Galatia that was crossed with a variety of ethnicities.
If we look back to Paul’s missionary journey’s in and 14,
The deeper part of that is that there is not a definite indication as to the geography
This is known as South Galatia and North Galatia, with the northern area being closer to the Province of Asia and the south being found with the Roman Province.
While this might not seem like much of an issue for us today, believe me when I say that in the first century, this information is vital.
If we could find something to correlate to it today it would trying to blend Asian, African, Russian and Western cultures together within the Church.
Not that shouldn’t be done as the Gospel overcomes every ounce of our culture or shade of our skin.
But within that scenario you find troubles and hardships.
Let me see if I could explain this just a little bit deeper.
In the first century, where you were from and your ethnic background counted for everything.
There were people who were considered unclean just because of their ethnic backgrounds.
We see this clearly in Scripture in the Samaritan separation and how the Jews removed themselves from them.
This was just the common idea of the time.
Much of your value and worth came from the ethnicity attached to you.
Another great example of that is found back in the book of Acts.
In we see this clearly laid out.
In fact, let’s turn there real quick and read those 7 verses.

22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, 24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. 27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. 29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined hima: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

In fact, let’s turn there real quick and read those 7 verses.
Do you see what was happening here?
This human being, this person made in the image of God was treated as a second class person.
Paul was stretched out to be beat and when he spoke up telling them that he was a Roman Citizen everything changed.
To this culture, under Roman Law if you were a citizen you had special rights and privileges.
You couldn’t be mistreated without purpose or without trial.
If Paul had not been a Roman citizen, he could have been treated any way the guards pleased in order to keep the peace.
Actually there is many sermons packed into that short text from Acts but for the moment, we’ll avoid going there and merely use it as a reference.
The whole point of going there is to show you that there were divisions in the first century that had to do with not only your nationality but also your ethnic background.
For us in trying to understand the original audience that Galatians is written to, things like that are vital in understanding the text.
And the reason is that we are not 100% sure of whether Galatians was written to Churches in the physical land of Galatia or to Churches that were established within ethnic Galatia people groups.
However, that lack of knowing for certain which physical location is being discussed does not negate what we have in our hands.
This is still truly a letter written by a God ordained Apostle through the power of the Holy Spirit to a body of God’s chosen people.
None of that is done away with, especially as we will see here in the text.
We already know from Paul’s missionary journey’s recorded in Acts that he visited Galatia.
We know that from and .
Either way when it comes to the historical side of things, we know this was a Church that Paul had a great deal of interaction with.
So the next question we need to answer as we dig in a little deeper here is why did Paul write to the Church in Galatia?
For answering that question, I want to give you a quote from Martin Luther.
Not that we need to go into great detail about it at this time but this is the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation that was spurred by Luther when he posted his 95 Thesis to the Church door at vittenburg on October 31st 1517.
And Luther’s inspiration in much of what he said in the 95 Thesis came from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
In his commentary on Galatians, Luther wrote this,
“The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart.”
I think that if we could break down what Luther was trying to say here concerning Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we would find ourselves with a short summation of Galatians.
Luther was speaking on the issue of the frailty of the human heart and it’s ability to be solely dependent upon the Gospel.
And as we will see when we finally dig into Galatians, mankind has this horrible attribute about us where we always think we need to add to something.
No matter what it is we feel that in some way we must have our own contribution.
Yet with the Gospel it is not so.
There will be nobody who is made right before God in heaven on the basis of anything besides what Christ Jesus had done for them.
Christ is the full atonement.
Yet as fatally flawed human beings we have the hardest accepting that.
Oh of course we may very well say it with our mouths.
We may very well sign our name as covenant members professing that we are made right with God on the basis of faith alone in Christ alone.
But given a little bit of time, we then begin to fade away from that.
We may at the earliest stages of our salvation, recognize just how broken and in need of the full measure of God’s grace we need.
But after many years of walking with Christ in the faith, were do we truly find ourselves?
Do we find ourselves magnifying the Gospel in a reflection of the true atoning work of Christ?
Or do we find ourselves adding things to it?
I can tell you that in most cases we find little things that we add to the faith and make them to cover our gap.
Let me illustrate exactly what I mean.
(Draw out illustration) include conversion and the cross going all the way across in a straight line.
You see this gap right here?
This is the gap that comes in over time as you grow in your walk with the Lord.
That gap comes in as we truly begin to see our sin in light of holiness of God.
So the more we know about the holiness of God, the farther we slide down the bottom and the bigger the gap then becomes.
And we as fallen people begin to fill this gap with other things.
We fill it
We fill it with religious practice.
We fill it with specific observances on our own part.
We add things to the Gospel that were never designed to be there.
We begin to assign certain things to the Gospel.
We tell ourselves that we are saved by Faith alone, through Grace alone in Christ alone, yet our practice doesn’t reflect this.
We develop convictions not set out in Scripture and we assign those things as equating to the Gospel.
We add our own action.
And then over time, these things that we’ve added on our own are then applied to other people.
And the next thing you know we have brought in the entire Church into our little realm of salvation.
A salvation that begins by grace alone through faith alone but ends up adding an our own element to the Gospel.
We then look at other people and project this onto them.
For the Galatian Church it was adding observance to Jewish law and circumcision.
For us it might be something different.
But it is none the less the exact same thing.
Now please don’t hear me wrongly on this!
I am not singling any of you out nor am I singling out Kirkwood Baptist Church.
Trust me when I say that I am not.
I have thought in my own mind many times this very thought, “Well that person cannot be a Christian! You see what they’re doing? Christians don’t do that!”
What did I just do?
I added to the Gospel!
Now there may be many times where that line of thinking is correct.
Yet more often than not I’m sure that it’s not.
You see I took and added an external attribute to the Gospel when the reality of the Gospel happens at the heart.
It happens at regeneration when the Christian is made right before God on the basis of the Gospel.
And this Gospel isn’t merely a halfway built house that we need to finish.
The Gospel wasn’t designed to get us halfway there and then drop us off just short of truly bringing about redemption.
No, the Gospel is the complete fulfillment!
The Gospel is to be magnified in such a way that it removes every external attribute and is turned into the greatest joy that mankind will ever know.
Walk back to the board
As we grow in Christ, we don’t fill in the gaps with our religious practices or our ideas and thoughts about God.
Yes we recognize the vast gap of separation between the Holiness of God and our totally depraved nature.
But we don’t fill in the gap through addition.
Instead we do what God intended us to do.
Draw the Cross
We take and we magnify the cross of Christ to see that no matter how far this gap is, it is wholly filled with the Cross of Christ Jesus and His atoning work!
, it is wholly filled with the Cross of Christ Jesus and His atoning work!
Yet as Luther said, in our hearts we just have such a hard time believing this.
It’s who we are.
The sin in the garden was a sin of action and ever since that moment of time, man has thought himself to be able to be made right with God through work.
Every religion in the world teaches that there is something you must do to be saved with the exception of Christianity.
Mormonism tells you in 2nd Nephi 25:23 this: For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;
Sounds good right?
Here it is, listen real closely.
For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
The Quran will tell you that you can not know if you’re made right but you must work through being saved by the 5 pillars.
Listen, those are merely two religions.
We could stand up here all day and go through other religions and the end result would always be that there is something that you must do in order to be saved.
Yet in Christianity, says that by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.
The only thing you need to do to be saved in the Christian religion is to believe the Gospel.
And if I can I give you a little peak at the next book of the Bible I’d like to preach, you’ll find out that even having that faith is not of yourselves for that is the gift of God.
So what must a man do to be saved and remain for all eternity?
Be given faith by the Sovereign Lord of the universe.
The whole point in all this is to back up and point out one of the best ways of summing up Galatians and Paul’s reason for writing it.
There is nothing that can be done or that must be added to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The bill has been paid in full!
Not only has the bill been paid but you can’t even leave a tip!
There is no little space at the bottom of the bill for you to sign.
There is no gratuity alloted for with the Gospel.
The entirety falls upon Christ and when we can’t truly recognize this it’s because we’re thinking of a redeemer who’s too small.
Walk back to the board, draw the Cross
One not truly great enough or large enough to take the weight of all your wickedness upon Himself.
And that my friends is precisely what the Galatians were doing.
They were being taught that they needed to add to the Gospel and their addition would be for them a sign of just how clean they were.
Can I layout a quick reality for just a moment.
The bum in ragged clothes covered in tattoos and the smell of alcohol laying up under the bridge who is brought to salvation and attributes it wholly to God is more beautiful than the man who dresses nice and has a westernized form of morality and adds Jesus to the very top like a cherry on a sundae.
Jesus is not the addition to what we do and there is nothing we need to add to Him.
When Jesus Christ hung upon the cross of Calvary and God poured out His wrath upon His Son, it covered every single sin of every person who would ever be redeemed.
There’s not some things left in the darkness of your heart that Jesus’ atonement missed.
It paid it all.
Every last sin was paid for.
From the thoughts you might have had this morning to the things you shouldn’t have done last week.
They’re all paid for.
And not only are they all paid for, but there would be other form of payment
And not through what we might do or add but solely through Christ.
And when we come to truly recognize this, we stop that whole process of acting like the Galatians and we begin to live our lives wholly encased in the Gospel.
Wholly encased in every single aspect of our lives is the grace that we recieved through the atoning of Christ Jesus.
Faith alone.
That is the core of Paul’s intention here with the Galatians.
And if I could quote Luther one more time from his commentary on would just add this,
“This doctrine of justification means that we are redeemed from sin, death and the devil, and are made partakers of eternal life, not by ourselves (and certainly not by our works, which are less than ourselves), but by the help of another, the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ.”
This is Paul’s intention.
This is what he longs for the Galatian Church to realize.
That there is but one true Gospel and that Gospel is completely adequate for redemption.
Not only is it adequate but it is the only Gospel that redeems.
Nothing else is suitable.
Nothing external can add to what Jesus has done.
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