A Heart For The Gospel
Paul has been in a mode of Defending the Gospel and had a stern tone with his readers! Galatians 1:6
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
As we come to our passage of scripture we see Paul shift to a mode of exhortation...
Originally I was going to approach this passage in light of Paul’s urgency for the Gospel (see notes in bulletin)
I had to pause, and look at this from Paul’s perspective with a Pastor’s heart
Stand unwavering in the truth, doctrine, and defense of the Word of God
Reach out embrace, affirm in love, open your heart… leave yourself vulnerable (WHY? because you care deeply…)
Paul is not apologetic for what he has said, or how he has said it. Nor should he be!
But he pauses here to share his heart
While still having an urgency for this gospel, I want us to consider the “Heart of the Gospel”
To do this better we will read this in the New Living Translation… Galatians 4:10-20
10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. 13 Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News. 14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible. 16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? 17 Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. 18 If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you. 19 Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. 20 I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.
Formal Practice vs Personal Relationship
Can you imagine wanting to approach God and your interaction with Him in a formal way???!!! (Verse 10)
Imagine setting a part of a day or maybe two! just for Him… wouldn't that please Him!?
What if we only focused on Him on certain holidays or times
Start making it formal here and other areas slip in even easier...
The church in Galatia was considering this over a true relationship...
Paul felt he had taught them in vain… they had not heard his message of freedom in Christ!
We are drawn to the same traps though:
Locations (church/studies) “I am the church… Join me at a Place of Grace”
Lip service to holidays (Christmas/ Easter)
Communion (event / ritual?/ first Sunday...)
Last Sunday we broke bread together at potluck!
Paul would later in his letter to the Roman church write in Romans 14:5-6
5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
This is not a formal practice required to earn God’s approval or to win His favor… this is a relationship.
Imagine a marriage formal
Imagine parenting formal
Imagine a church family formal
We share the Gospel with Real People
We need to be real with people as we share the gospel… Verses 12-15
Paul reflects on his journey to them to share the Gospel and how he approached them and they recieved him… RELATIONSHIP!
Verse 12 presents a challenge to us today in our testimonies
A life worth following...
Paul was an example to follow: Freedom in Christ!
A life that is not legalistic…
As Peter was but willing not to make things non-pertinent to the gospel an issue!
Paul became as a gentile to reach the gentiles. (they were trying to be Jews for “greater spirituality”) Philippians 3:4-9
although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
We need to walk in such a way so we can reach the world, BUT not grow so close as we are no longer distinguished from the world!
They saw Paul’s heart, even to share in his hardship (willing to pluck out their eyes)
Do people see your heart relationship with Christ or your legalism?
legalism is harder to share… we are never quite there
Relationship is different, we have a desire to share Christ
If you know the Truth, Do you share the Truth?
When was the last time you shared the truth of the Gospel with someone?
I believe many in the church have become comfortable with the relationship part of things
However, when we share the truth, some will become offended, or as Paul stated: He felt they viewed him as an enemy for telling the truth
Truth is not always popular...
Truth must be shared in love...
If we truly have a heart for the gospel, or a heart at all, we will share the truth.
As a well known atheist once challenged believers, “ if you truly believe what you say, and don’t tell people, you are of all people the most selfish and non-caring”
If we love people we will tell the truth even if it brings difficulty.
What extent would you go to???
Paul says he will continue to labor in pain
Calling ones who have hurt him Children
Wishing to be present… to show his heart and change his tone
a tone of concern
a tone of perplexity
a tone of sternness
Paul is not going to leave them with just a defending:
The truth of doctrine
Paul will use the rest of his letter with the same tone to exhort the people with the heart of a pastor on how they are to
walk in the freedom of grace that is found in nothing and no one else but the finished work of Jesus Christ.