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Sons of Freedom

Galatians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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True freedom comes from a life of faith, not from following the law

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Introduction - Turning the Argument Around
When I was in college, the first time, many years ago, my public speaking professor told a story about how when he was in college, he was on the debate team. Heading into a big debate, he and his teammate didn’t have time to research all the facts … so they just made them up. They created an “expert” and said that according to the expert, their point was right. It worked really, really well. Until their opponents figured out what they were doing and turned the tables on them. They expanded the quotes to make them appear as though the made up expert actually was agreeing with them and that my professor had taken the quotes out of context. Since they knew the truth, they couldn’t argue or they would have been disqualified for falsifying the information. Their trick was turned against them.
In our text today, Paul does something similar to the Judaizers who were using the Old Testament story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. According to one commentator,
So, you
I had coffee with a friend of mine this past week and the subject of this book we are studying came up. He mentioned that one of the things that he loves about Galatians so much is the logic and arguments that Paul uses to make his point. He loves how Paul takes the presumed logic and turns it on it’s head. And we see that he is about t
Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians Chapter 15: Who’s Your Mama? (Galatians 4:21–31)

Their interpretation may have gone like this: “Jews derive their ancestry from Isaac, the son of the free woman (Sarah), and owner of the inheritance. Ishmael was the son of the slave woman (Hagar); he received no inheritance; he was essentially a Gentile. Jews received the liberating knowledge of the law; Gentiles are in bondage to ignorance. Jews are children of the covenant by birth; Gentiles can’t enjoy the blessings of the covenant naturally, but they could be adopted into the family by circumcision. By embracing the Mosaic law they can align themselves with the church of the circumcised in Jerusalem, the mother-church of true ‘Christ-followers.’ ”

Paul does what all good Bible teachers do - he corrects their massive misunderstanding of the Scriptures and leads them to a deeper understanding of the truth. And that’s what I want to do today. I want to show you, from this text, that freedom isn’t probably what you think it is and it comes from a very unlikely source. True freedom, this text shows us, is not doing whatever you want or living according to your rules. Instead, true freedom comes from living according tho how God wants you to live - a life of faith and trust in Him.
The Law Speaks
Paul begins this portion of Scripture by asking a simple question. A few weeks ago, we looked at the truth that the law is good when it is used for it’s intended purpose. That purpose, Paul tells us is that the law of God is like a flashing sign pointing us to Jesus and our need for a Savior. The law reminds us that we are not perfect. The law speaks to us and points out our shortcomings. And Paul asks the question if you are going to live by the law why are you not listening to what it is actually saying?
We are all familiar with a GPS enabled navigation system in your car. Julie and I had one way back when and then we started using our phones because it was easier and up to date. We use GPS’ because they make it extremely easy to get to where we want to go when we don’t know where we are going. And usually, we are very obedient to what it says. “Turn left. Go Straight.” We do what it says and it’s sort of like a law to us as we travel about. But imagine if we try to use a GPS but we just ignore what it says? We just go whatever way we want to. That is a surefire way NOT to get to where you are wanting to go.
And yet, we do this all the time, don’t we? We ignore what the experts tell us. We ignore the directions all the time. And never more than when it comes to the law. We just don’t listen to what the law is actually telling us. Speed limits are there to make us slow down in order to keep us safe. But we don’t listen and we drive as fast as we want. Likewise, we don’t listen to the moral law of God and how it warns us to slow down and turn back to Christ, to live by faith and not by works. We just don’t listen.
It is a reminder that every law that there is remains impossible to keep all the time. We may not violate ALL the aspects of the law, but we violate certain aspects of it. We may not speed, but we may roll through a stop sign. We may not steal, but we fudge a number on our taxes. Even when it is a law that we have made up, like the Judaizers, we don’t keep it 100%. And we just can’t keep God’s moral law 100%. Paul reminds us that is the purpose of the law.
And so, we are faced then with a choice, just like Abraham was after God promised him, an old man and his wife Sarah, an old woman, that they would have a son. And that through that son, all the nations of the world would be blessed. Will we trust God by faith or will we turn to God and try to do things ourselves by our own walk. Will we seek freedom God’s way or our own way. That’s the question that this text forces us to deal with. Will we live God’s way or our own way? What is true freedom?
Scripture Speaks
Paul is reaching back to the Old Testament to show us the truth about trying to live or find salvation by our own methods rather than by God’s design. Paul uses Scripture to illuminate the current situation that these Christians find themselves in. And in doing so, he reminds us that the proper interpretation and use of Scripture is crucial to finding true freedom. There are many, many, MANY people who like to take Scripture and twist it around to suit their own agendas and their own whims.
But as we look at this text today, we need to see that Scripture speaks as well. The Word of God speaks. It is LOUD and it is CORRECT. And there is a proper interpretation of every jot and tittle in this book. To be fair, there are areas that are of secondary importance that we can have disagreements on. But the simple truth is that we both cannot be right. If you and I disagree on something, we both can’t be right. We can both be wrong, and chances are good we both are, but the reality is that we both can’t be right.
There is a message in Scripture. It is the revelation of God, teaching us what we need to know about God. And what it teaches us is that God always keeps his promises. This is the point of Abraham and Sarah. I noticed something I had overlooked in the past as I was preparing this week. God called Abraham when he was 75 years old. Sometime later, God promises Abraham the land and many descendents. About ten years later, God performs the covenant ceremony with Abraham and shortly thereafter, Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham to father a child. Abraham is 85 years old. After his next birthday, Abraham is a proud papa of Ishmael at 86. And it’s not for another 13 years when God shows back up and promises them Isaac and told them they were doing it all wrong. It wasn’t until he was 100 years old that Isaac was born. Because it is just a few pages, but we miss the fact that it was over 25 years that had passed between God first making the promise and fulfilling the promise.
The Judaizers took Scripture and twisted things around to suit their agenda. Yet, Scripture tells us a different story. In some places, Abraham and Sarah didn’t conceive because they were filled with sin. Other people today would have told them they lacked enough faith, which, ironically they did and it led them to disobey God with Hagar. And the sad part is they think they are doing God’s will and they think that they have all the answers.
Friends, the Bible has a message for you today. It’s that God loves you and offers you adoption to come into His family. He will make you an heir to his kingdom. That his goodness and mercy are greater than all our sins. The Word of God speaks to us through it’s pages. Paul knows this. And the message it tells us is that all who live by faith are children of faith and thus children of the promise and thus children of freedom. True freedom comes from faith and not from following the law. Just as the law reminds us that we are unable to keep it and are in need of a Savior, the Scriptures point us back to the one who CAN save us and invites us to place our faith and our hope there.
We must be people who respond to what both the law AND the Scriptures are telling us. That we are hopelessly lost and unable to save ourselves - this is what the law teaches us - and that God did something about it for us in our helpless estate our of his love and mercy - this is what the Scriptures teach us. And in total, they give us the good news that is the gospel and it has something to say to us as well.
Gospel Speaks
Gospel Speaks
The gospel reminds us that God is working through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to make all things new. That means you will be made new by trusting in Christ. I will be made new by trusting in Christ. It means I don’t have to pretend to be something that I am not. The Gospel isn’t freedom to do as we wish - it is freedom from needing to pretend we are something we are not.
I remember many years ago going into a Christian book store to purchase a new Bible. I knew what I wanted but this was before we shopped online so I had to go to the store to see which one I wanted. In chatting with the manager of the Bible department, I found out that Bibles were their most shoplifted item. I was shocked - I mean, the Bible has some strong language about stealing. But the manager told me that people felt a pressure to have a certain Bible to “fit in”. And likewise, every group has a standard by which they measure if someone is holy or not. It could be the clothes you wear, the music you listen to and so on.
Paul is reminding the Galatians that just like Isaac is a child of God’s promise to Abraham, those who trust in Jesus Christ are likewise children of the same promise. The gospel is speaking a message of freedom. Not freedom from sin, we will still stumble. But freedom from our feeble attempts to make our sins right. Freedom to instead have a Father who we know loves us no matter what. Author Steve Brown puts it this way: “What if you had three free sins? Better, what if you had unlimited free sins? Even better yet, what if your sins weren’t even the issue? What if the issue were living your life with someone who loved you without condition or condemnation?” 1
The Gospel speaks and tells us that we are not only secure in Christ when we die if we trust in Him, but we are secure in Christ TODAY if we trust in Him. As Janis Joplin once sang, the gospel reminds us that true freedom is when we have nothing left to lose. Rather than pretending we have it together, that we are fulfilling a man-made set of rules and regulations, that we are practically perfect in every way, we can rest in the reality that we are not perfect, but we rest in the one who is. We can say, “Yup, I blew it” but know that our Father’s love is stronger than our sin. The gospel is telling us the good news that God loves us not because of us but in spite of us. And that, my friends is truly good news.
The question is if we will truly listen to the Gospel and believe what it is telling us. We are quick to believe the law when it tells us that we are law breakers. We are almost as quick to believe the Scriptures as they tell us that God is loving. And while we may believe that the Gospel is accurate when it comes to eternity, we cannot fathom that the Gospel is telling us the truth we are children of freedom. But we are. As reminds us:
1 John 3:1 ESV
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Will you believe what the Gospel is telling us? That when we place our full faith and trust in Christ, we become children of promise and thus children of the freewoman as well?’
The lesson of Sarah and Hagar is simply this - when God makes you a promise, do you believe he will actually accomplish it? Sarah laughed at God and believed that she knew better than he did to try and see the promise fulfilled. So did the Galatians, under the influence of the Judaizers. They believed that the only way God could love them would be if they were obedient to the law. And we are no different. Back in 2016, there was a meme going around after the World Series - (PICTURE). On a more serious note, we tell God, “Heal me of my sickness, and I’ll go to church.” We attempt to bribe God to give us his blessing in life.
John 8:31–32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Paul reminds us that children of promise cannot do anything to inherit the promise except inherit it. Isaac didn’t earn his status as a child of promise any more than Abraham earned his status as the father of many nations. And when we have nothing left to prove, we are truly free to experience life the way that God intended for us to experience it. We no longer strive to earn God’s approval but we rest knowing we have it and then act out of the sense of love and security.
We are all tempted to run through the obstacles of life with a mask on. The Galatians wore a mask of legalism and performance. They thought there was no way God could truly love THEM for THEM, but would only love their performance. And yet, we know that God loves what lives behind the mask.
And we are no different. Back in 2016, there was a meme going around after the World Series - (PICTURE). On a more serious note, we tell God, “Heal me of my sickness, and I’ll go to church.” We attempt to bribe God to give us his blessing in life.
Those Jews wanted to argue with Jesus. “We’ve never been slaves to anyone! We are Abraham’s offspring!” They claimed that they were children of the promise, sons of freedom. And yet, just like the Judaizers in Galatia, they believed that the way you are made right is by obeying the law and performing rituals and ceremonies. They were not listening to what the Law told them, the Prophets had told them nor what the Scriptures told them. For if they had, they would know who Jesus is.
The joy of our salvation is that we did not earn it. It was a gift. And just like a gift of a good meal at a fine restaurant, I am free to enjoy the steak and wine without worrying about how to pay for it. Paul wants us to know that we are children of promise by grace through faith in Christ. And this what it means to be free indeed. Will you trust the son today for your salvation and taste this incredible gift of freedom.
What Jesus is telling us through the law, through the Scriptures and through the Son is that freedom mean you can just do whatever you want nor does it come the way we think. As Jesus tells us - if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. The question is this - if true freedom comes from trusting in the Promise and the Promise Giver for the salvation of our souls and payment of our sins, why would we want to try and live any other way?
Let’s Pray.
Paul is about to take us on a journey of what true freedom is. Not freedom to do whatever we want. Not freedom from an oppressive government. Not freedom from
1 Bush, D., & Due, N. (2015). Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians (p. 143). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

“What if you had three free sins? Better, what if you had unlimited free sins? Even better yet, what if your sins weren’t even the issue? What if the issue were living your life with someone who loved you without condition or condemnation?”

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