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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,
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
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.
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?
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.
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