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Faith... Let's Think It Through!

Galatians: SOAR! Faith Without Limits "The Gospel, Grace, Freedom"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:22
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Backsliding is a scary thing. Driving up an icy hill… Hiking on shale rock on the edge of a mountain...
A climber was going up a mountain when he began backsliding down the mountain and over the edge. Hanging by just a branch dangling over the mountain’s edge he begins to call for help! Oh God help me!
YES, I AM HERE TO HELP...
God is that really you? Please help
LET GO OF THE BRANCH...
Hey God, how about you throw a rope, maybe reach down and grab me, or come down to me even...
LET GO OF THE BRANCH...
No, but really God I need help...
LET GO...
But God!… Looking down at the clouds below him… cries out, is there anybody else up there! Desperate now he lets go of the branch and lands on a ledge that could not be seen before.
Faith… sometimes it seems to be approach from the side that we do it blindly.
In our faith Backsliding is dangerous too and should scare us!
This IS NOT the kind of faith Paul is suggesting to his readers. RATHER Paul wants his readers, you and I, to consider a series of thought provoking, rhetorical questions and really think through our faith in our passage today.
Galatians 3:1-14
Galatians 3:1–14 NASB95
1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you. 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. 10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
What Paul is telling them is not new, but rather things forgotten or ignored… Look at the tone Paul begins this argument with...

Foolish…

oh, foolish Galatians’ Ga 3:1. As in the case of ἀσύνετος (32.49), the meaning of ἀνόητος is that people presumably would not use their capacity for understanding and as a result, thought and behaved foolishly. ἀνόητος does not imply the mental state of being an idiot or imbecile.

Bewitched...

to deceive a person by devious and crafty means, with the possibility of a religious connotation in view of the literal meaning ‘to bewitch’ (see 53.98)—‘to deceive, to bewitch

They are abandoning something because of comfort… appeal… pride… rather than thinking it through. Paul is pleading with them WHY HAVE YOU NOT THOUGHT THIS THROUGH?
Have you ever had your parent or as a parent have you ever asked rhetorical questions to make your point?
How did this room get so messy?
Do you think this room is going to clean itself?
How many times do I need to tell you this?
Do you expect me to believe that? Do I look that stupid to you?
What part of no do you not understand?
We really know the answers, BUT we don’t want to answer…
Paul ask some good questions that deserve some thought. The answers should be known, yet answering them will mean adjusting what we do...

1. Was not the clear meaning of Christ death explained to you? Verse 1

Paul explained the message death, burial, Resurrection of Christ so vividly they could have been there!
What part did you not understand? Wasn't it clear?

2. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing with Faith? Verse 2

They knew how the Spirit came when Paul shared the message!
They knew that following the Law had nothing to do with it.

3. Started by the Spirit, are you now trying to be perfected by the flesh? Verse 3

Think this through… if you can’t get the spirit without faith
Why on earth would you try to live each day without faith
your flesh can’t do it people

4. Was all the persecution you went through in vain? Verse 4

Acts 13-14 describe some of the persecution they went through as they listened to this message of Faith
They stood for the true Gospel. Was it vain, pointless meaningless?

5. Has God given you the Spirit and worked miracles because of your good works or because you believed the message you heard about Christ? Verse 5

They knew they had the Spirit by Faith
God had worked miracles through Paul and others not because they followed the Law but by Faith in Christ!
The salvation came through the gospel they heard!!!

They were wanting a Jewish Christianity!

These Galatian believers wanted something special, new or better, they sought appeal… Beware of these ploys by the enemy.
The appeal of the Judaizers was salvation and Jewishness. (true christian… better christian)
Verses 6-14 is basically Paul saying to the Galatians: Swindoll writes on this potion:
“You Galatians want a Jewish Christianity? You want a gospel anchored in the old testament? You already have it!You and all people who come to Christ by faith are the spiritual descendants of Abraham. Circumcision, the Law, Pharisees, and Judaizers all came later. Faith came first!”

The Example of Abraham, the First Hebrew

Paul begins by showing them Abraham Genesis 15:6
Genesis 15:6 NASB95
Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
God had just made a covenant with Abraham and he believed God!
This is what pleased God then and still today!
You have faith in Christ… you are a son (spiritual descendant) of Abraham!
Paul goes on and now takes up the argument along with Abraham and give Old Testament scripture to defend solidify his argument.
Verse 8 Paul takes back to the blessing in Genesis 12:3
Genesis 12:3 NASB95
3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Faith brings a blessing that is shared by Abraham… declared righteous by Faith!

The Testimony of Scripture

Paul is a master of the Old Testament Scriptures! He now will show the people what God’s Word states concerning the Law and Faith!
Paul takes them to Deuteronomy 27:26
Cursed if you don’t abide by ALL THINGS written! Remember James “stumble in one point, guilty of all!”
Verse 11 this is evident because NO ONE can keep ALL THINGS!
Paul goes to another Old Testament Prophet Habakkuk 2:4
So the one who desires to be righteous must live by Faith!
Law is not Faith… Paul is systematic in his argument… Leviticus 18:5
If you are under law then this is how you live rather than by faith
Under law one is cursed according to the argument here… verse 13-14
Back to Deuteronomy 21:23 one who hangs on a tree is cursed!
Christ became cursed not for wrong done, rather because He took our wrong on Himself.
WHY????
Back to Abraham… verse 14
The blessing of righteousness/salvation by faith
Not to be confused with the blessing of land, nation,
The church has not become nor replaced Israel. We are now because of Christ able to share in the blessing of Salvation by Faith as did Abraham the father of Israel.
Paul was challenging them, Don’t Backslide into law! Remember what Christ did, why He did it. He did it for you and me because we could not. Today we will close our service, remembering as we partake in communion what Christ did, take time to contemplate He did what He did because you and I could not.
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