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For Freedom: Living in the Glory of the Gospel

Galatians: Jesus + Nothing  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Issac means "Laughter". Sarah laughs at God when He tells her she will have a son and He will multiply their family and bless the nations through them. It is funny to think of a 90 year old woman giving birth, nursing, and raising a baby. It is equally funny, and amazing, to think of a virgin giving birth, nursing, and raising a son who was God in the flesh. The reality is it is as funny/amazing that God would see fit to save you out of your wretchedness and rebellion as it is that a 90 year old woman would give birth, or a simple virgin would nurse our incarnate God. We who are followers of Christ are children of the promise, don't be a slave to the law (your own ability), the Gospel brings FREEDOM.

Notes & Transcripts

Intro: You are free, you just don’t realize it

The reverse Matrix
What if you were free and you didn’t even realize it?

Breaking down the passage

Paul is using allegory/parables to make his point about freedom and slavery.
Issac represents FREEDOM and the Gospel
Ishmael represents SLAVERY and the Law
This would have been offensive to the Jews and Judaizers.
They believed they were “children of the promise”
He was writing to a people that were struggling to believe God could and/or would offer salvation and redemption FREELY, without any requirements for us.
Let’s look at these two women in Genesis

Two Manifestations of Sarah’s Lack of Faith

Genesis 17:15–17 ESV
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Genesis 18:15–19 ESV
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Genesis 17:15–18 ESV
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”
Genesis 17:15–19 ESV
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.
Genesis 18:
In God promises Abraham He will him the Father of a Great Nation.
Some time passes and Sarah begins to
Sarah was barren () and they were getting old.
25 or so years later Abraham is told in Chapter 17 “Sarah is going to have a son.”
Some 10 years passes and Sarah has not born a son, God’s promise seems to be running out of time.
Abraham is 100 years old, Sarah is 90
Examine - Hagar and Ishmael
Genesis 16:1–3 ESV
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
“Abraham fell down and laughed”
Gen 16:1-
Sarah took matters into her own hands. To her God’s promise seemed to be beyond that ability to be fulfilled.
This points to Sarah’s lack of faith in God’s promise and His power.
She knows God’s promise, but He isn’t making it happen.
Maybe He doesn’t have the power to make it happen?
Maybe God’s promise is dependent upon Sarah and Abraham’s actions.
“If I do this then I can fulfill the thing I most want and that God has said He would give.”

his laughter does not so much reflect a total lack of faith as it does a limitation of his faith in what God must do to fulfill his promise.

We feel like we own a piece of our justification
Abraham laughed because of how crazy such a things sounds. “A 100 year old man and his 90 year old wife having a baby? HA!”
Genesis 18:9–11 ESV
9 They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.
Genesis 18:9–15 ESV
9 They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
25 or so years later, God again comes to Abraham and tells him Sarah will have a son. Sarah overhears the conversation.
Gen 18:9-
Later, God again comes to Abraham and tells him Sarah will have a son. This time Sarah overhears the conversation.
Later, God again comes to Abraham and tells him Sarah will have a son. This time Sarah overhears the conversation.
“The way of women had ceased” means Sarah had gone through menopause, her body was no longer producing the things necessary for having babies.
Not to mention Sarah had been barren, she had never been able to have children.
God had told Abraham 25 years before that Sarah was going to have a son, and now 25 years later she is outside a tent listening to God make that promise again, her body unable to produce the thing necessary to make a baby.
Genesis 18:12–15 ESV
12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Genesis 18:12-
Sarah was bitter and frustrated. How could God use her old and broken body to do something so magnificent?
Her understanding of God’s power was limited by her own humanity
Genesis 18:14 ESV
14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
God intended to make Abraham and Sarah wait, so that He can display His power.
It is so easy to forget who God is and what He is able to do.
We tend to make
Sarah’s lack of faith in God’s power caused laugh out of the ridiculousness of her, an old, post-menopausal woman, having a baby.
Does the Gospel ever sound ridiculous to you?
Genesis 21:1–5 ESV
1 The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Genesis 21
See why Paul calls Isaac the “son of promise”?
Visited Sarah “as he had said” and did to Sarah “as he had promised”.
God’s saw through her barrenness, her old age, her bodily limitations and did what ONLY HE COULD DO!
Sarah’s reaction is profound:
Genesis 21:6–7 ESV
6 And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Genesis 21:6
Do you know what Isaac means? - “he laughs”
Sarah now laughs out of her joy and amazement for what God has done.
She say, “Who in their right mind would believe I would give birth and nurse a son?!? And, yet, here I am!”
Paul wants us to see the difference in Hagar and Sarah.
Galatians 4:23 ESV
But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
Flesh and promise
How have you come to Jesus - through your flesh or through the promise of salvation in Christ?
If we have experienced true salvation then we should be like Sarah, bewildered joy.
bewildered= Confused or perplexed.

Living in the Glory of the Gospel

The gospel is hard for us to believe, it just sounds too good to be true.
Sarah laughs at God when He tells her she will have a son and He will multiply their family and bless the nations through them.
It is funny to think of a 90 year old woman giving birth, nursing, and raising a baby.
It is equally funny, and amazing, to think of a virgin giving birth, nursing, and raising a son who was God in the flesh.
The reality: it is as funny and amazing that God would see fit to save you out of your wretchedness and rebellion.
Romans 5:6–9 NIV
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Romans 5:

The Gospel should set us FREE!

Galatians 5:1 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Much of the reason Christians do not experience freedom in Christ is because we are not amazed by the Gospel.

We don’t get the depth of our sin and the magnitude of Christ payment on the cross.
We don’t understand the plan and purposes of God.
We
His plan isn’t YOU-centered, but you are a part of it.
God’s plan is GOD-centered and He includes us in it.
That is reason to praise Him.
We have a shallow understanding of the Gospel.
We believe it is transactional - Jesus died for me, so if I believe in Him I get to go to heaven.
Rather, it is transformation - God intervened into my sin and rebellion and saved me out of it so that I can be His child.
The first allows us to enjoy the benefits and keep our identity.
The second should cause us all to be transformed by the fact that we are recipients of this glorious Gospel.

Answer these questions:

Does the truth of the Gospel make you laugh with joy at how ridiculous it is that Jesus died for you?
Or do you say to yourself “Of course God would save me.”
Or do you
May we all laugh with bewildered joy at Glory of the Gospel.
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