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Galatians 5:7–12 NLT
You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
Galatians 5:6–15 NLT
For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Galatians 5:7–15 NLT
You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
I remember trying out for sports growing up and coming to the realization that trying to impress makes things worse. When we had to run laps, I would do all that I could to be at the head of the pack to show the coach what I could do. I remember that before the laps were over I was a bit behind the pack. I ran my first two sprints decent, but then the rest were not so good. I was so tired and exhausted before try-outs were over that I was not putting on a good performance. I didn’t make the team. I started the race off well. But did not finish well. I looked good at first, but in the end I was not in good enough shape to keep it up. Or maybe something got in the way?
For us as Christians, we start well but don’t finish well or don’t even finish. Jesus was very familiar with this dynamic.
Matthew 13:20–21 NLT
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
Matthew
Paul was deeply concerned with this. You were doing so well? What has happened to you? What has gotten in your way? Who has held you back?
I. False Teachers
A. The false teachers in Galatia are the one Paul is alluding to when he asks them “who has held you back?” How dangerous are false teachers? They are actually able to hold you back from obeying the truth. They are not harmless. This is what Paul is showing us here. They are able to keep you from running the race of Christianity well or even finishing. Remember the video.
B. False teachers in Galatia are not from God. Verse 8 makes this abundantly clear. Whoever they are, they are for sure not from God. God is the one calling us to run the race, why would He try to hinder us? God called you to freedom. If you do not have freedom and are unable, then it is not from God. Whoever is holding you back I can assure you it is not God. And we know that it is not God because they are teaching a false Gospel.
David Platt - “Regardless of whether someone tells you that God ‘called’ them or ‘sent’ them, do not believe them if they are not teaching the true Gospel.”
C. False teachers in Galatia are contaminating. It is amazing how fast and how pervasive false teaching will spread. Paul refers to it as yeast. All it takes is a small amount and it will permeate the entire patch of dough. False teaching will start small, but it will spread like gangrene.
Jesus warns us about bad teaching.
Matthew 16:6 NLT
“Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew
In 1833, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, preached for the first time the actual time of Christ’s return. This would be false teaching because the Bible says that the day and the hour is not known. By 1840, 7 years later, they went from being a small movement to a national one with a national publication called Signs of the Times which is still being published today by 7th day Adventists. By 1841, it spread throughout all of Canada and got to England.
How pervasive? In 1870 a millerite minister named Jonas Wendell preached a sermon that greatly influenced a young 18 year old that would start a journey that was far reaching. He continued to grow in the theology of William Miller and the millerites and he studied them zealously. How pervasive was the false teaching of William Miller? The 18 year old’s name was Charles Taze Russell who in 1881 started the Watch Tower Tract Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
D. So you see in verse 9 we have a vivid description as to what false teaching will do. This is why Paul is so passionately dealing with this issue and why we need to be vigilant for the truth as well. False teachers are so problematic because they affect so many people deeply. This is why Paul is so intense. Remember the video.
E. False teachers will be judged.
Galatians 5:10 NIV
I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.
Paul is also showing here that those who are truly in Christ will be ultimately protected from this false teaching as he trusts Christ. He is also showing that with his warning the true believers will detect the error and will walk in step with the truth of the Gospel. And that those who are teaching this error will be judged by the Lord.
F. Let them be accursed. Anathema. Used in the OT for Jericho. Something very pervasive today are associations. Guilt by association. They gotta stop being supported. And John tells us that those who support false teachers are koinonia partners with the evil work.
2 John 10–11 NLT
If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
G. The False Teachers persecute true teachers.
Galatians 5:11 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.
Paul is saying here that he is being persecuted because he is preaching the true gospel. The people are not accepting of the true Gospel and so Paul is not saying what the people want to hear and that is why he is being persecuted.
H. False teachers will persecute and we see it today.
I. But why would people not want to hear the true gospel. It goes against all the we have come to hold on to. The cross is offensive. What it represents, goes against all our postmodern society stands for. It goes against all self esteem teachings. Existential purpose and meaning principles. It crushes human pride, it eliminates our need for achievement. It wipes out the idea that we are saved by keeping the laws of Moses.
1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
J. And to make the cross pivotal to Christianity is a huge deal indeed. Do we know what it represents?
K. The cross is offensive. That is why when you have the desire to preach so that you don’t offend people the message of the cross is missing. If you do not want the message of the cross then you will not like Christianity. That is why we cling to the old rugged cross.
1 Corinthians 1:23 NLT
So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
L. So if you are preaching that salvation comes from faith and circumcision then you are losing the offense of the cross.
II. Emasculate Themselves
A. Paul is not really taking a shot here. There is a bit of irony here, but it is not to hit back with a sarcastic remark. It is to make a point using some irony.
B. In the Gospel we know that our inclusion into the kingdom of God does not come from circumcision. So at this point, it has no religious value in Christ. What you are simply saying then is a little mutilation carries spiritual value, then be consistent and go the whole way like the pagans who emasculated themselves did to show the gods their true devotion.
C. This is the background as to how the people would have saw it, but it would have brought a laugh as well. Because it is being used facetiously. Just rid the place of these agitators. This is what Paul is showing us about the seriousness of false teachers. Why can’t we all get along? Its not about getting along, but getting them gone. They must be stopped.
Titus 1:11 NLT
They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money.
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