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The Man of Faith

Galatians - Freedom!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The true child of Abraham is justified by faith, and trusts in the message from God.

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Abraham’s Children

Please open your Bibles to .
Read .
The Galatian churches were Christians, that had fallen for a trap.
They had a genuine conversion.
Verse 3 of this chapter, says they had begun by the Spirit.
Conversion only happens because of the Holy Spirit.
Though conversion happens because of the Spirit, it doesn’t mean Christians are invulnerable.
We still sin.
We still make mistakes.
Satan masquerades as an angel of light, why? Because he’s trying to deceive us.
I Peter says that he is our adversary, prowling around like a lion.
We can still be tempted.
We can still be attacked.
The Galatians had been attacked and fallen victim to a trap.
They had fallen for a trap set by a group called the Judaizers.
The Judaizers were Jews that called themselves Christians, but used their race as a way to make themselves super Christians.
Basically, saying unless you make yourself Jewish, you aren’t fully Christian.
The Galatians were not Jewish, but were fooled into thinking they needed to become Jewish.
They became legalistic.
They adopted Judaism.
The men were being forced to be circumcised.
They were being forced to obey special diets.
They were attempting to put on the old ceremonial law.
In the end, they wanted to be called a child of Abraham.
That’s not a bad desire.
This is something that the big 3 religions of the world all would consider a compliment.
This is something that the big 3 religions of the world all would consider a compliment.
And Christianity, all embrace Abraham.
In fact the most annoying Sunday School song of all time, echoes that same desire.
“Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had father Abraham. And I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord.”
But the reality is that not all people are a children of Abraham.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In , Jesus has this conversation with the Jews.
He addresses them as Jews, knowing that they trace their lineage, their birth back to Abraham.
, he says, “I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.”
Your ancestry goes back to Abraham.
But you don’t live like a child of Abraham.
I had a conversation with a dad, who was frustrated with the behavior of his grown children.
His children were raised in the church.
Were taught good things.
But they didn’t live out what they were taught.
And with a sad, tired acceptance, the dad said, “I didn’t raise them to be this way.”
The Jews weren’t supposed to be that way.
They weren’t raised to be that way.
They had:
The Law.
The Prophets.
The history.
And yet, when Christ came they missed it.
They might have been descendants of Abraham, but they certainly didn’t live as children of Abraham.
Paul talks about this in .
Paul says that being born a child of Abraham isn’t what counts.
he says, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”
And these same people, these children of the flesh, who didn’t live as children of Abraham, came to the church saying we have the credentials, be like us.
You want to be a child of Abraham? Be like me.
It’s not “be like the Judaizers”, because they’re disqualified.
They are preaching a different gospel.
It’s a gospel that says it’s Jesus and something else.
It’s Jesus plus something.
That’s a different Gospel.
Earlier in the book, he said if anyone preachers another Gospel, let them be accursed.
That’s why Pauls starts off by saying in verses 6-7, “just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.”
Paul is clarifying, it’s not be like the Judaizers.
The Galatians were trying to live up to the Judaizers expectations.
The Galatians were trying to live up to the Judaizers expectations.
And Paul says, “That’s not what it is. It’s believing in God. It’s trusting in God. The true son of Abraham is he who has faith.”
he says the true child is “the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”
But we love to compare ourselves.
We love to have standards.
The Galatians had fallen for the trap of comparing themselves to someone else.
They were comparing themselves to the Judaizers.
And this is a trap that frequently raises its ugly head in the lives of Christians.
During the time leading up to the Protestant Reformation, it was the rules of the Roman Catholic Church that became the standard.
Be like the priests.
Be like the pope.
Obey these rules.
A couple of weeks ago, 7 of us went to Grace Community Church for the Shepherds’ Conference.
A couple of weeks ago, 7 of us went to Grace Community Church.
It’s this huge church.
Lot’s of programs.
Lots of people.
It’s thriving.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to them, and say, we aren’t a true church, till we are Grace Community Church.
I compare myself to John MacArthur.
I need to be more like him.
Then I’ll be a good pastor.
Do you ever look at other Christians, and compare yourself to them?
And you think, you’re not good; you’re not a real Christian, until you’re like that super Christian over there.
When we live our life by comparing ourselves to other people that is not living as a child of promise.
Instead of saying, “God has chosen me and blessed me and loved me.”
On some level we are saying, “God loves me because of what I’ve done.”
What makes that so terrible is we are taking our eyes off of Christ.
First, we become proud.
Jesus said we are to be disciples of Him.
He is who we follow.
But when we look to other people … we make them the standard.
We exalt them other than Christ.
Who’s your spiritual hero?
Whoever he or she is … remember this, he or she is not Christ.
If you make them the gatekeeper for your worthiness … then you put yourself into the very same situation, the same trap that the Galatians were in.
Comparing ourselves is the wrong approach.
Instead it should be, “I am nothing, and He is everything.”
The words to Rock of Ages says, “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”
Everything we do should be based on a love of Christ.
Think of the ministry of the church.
We don’t exist to make the church bigger or to be like some mega church.
We exist to love Christ.
Because we love Christ … we share the Gospel.
Because we love Christ … we obey Him.

The Galatians saw that Abraham was a standard of what it means to follow Christ. - Abraham’s Call

Abraham is special.
And he is a model of salvation.
But he is a picture of how God saves.
Had they been, they would
And it begins with a call, so our second point is to look at Abraham’s Call
In order to appreciate Paul’s argument, we have to look back at Abraham’s life.
In verse 6, Paul says that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
That is a quote from .
In , God swore to Abraham that He would make Abraham into a nation.
And then in , Paul quotes .
What do we know about Abraham?
If we go back to , it says, “… ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”
Abraham wasn’t in the land of Ur, going to church every Sunday, and worshipping God on a regular basis.
He was with his family serving other gods.
Ur was a place of heavy idolatry.
If you go back in your Bible to , it tells us about Abraham’s family history.
It says, “Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.”
Ur was Abraham’s family’s original home, and it was a place of lots of idolatry.
We learn that Terah, Abraham’s dad, took the family and they moved.
They went from Ur, to a place called Haran.
Haran was the home of a moon god cult.
It had a similar make up to what they experienced in Ur.
They went from one idolatrous town to another.
In Haran, there was a cult temple that lasted all the way into the 13th century when it was destroyed by the Mongols.
Basically, this was no fly by night mystical religion, it was established.
Here’s the thing, Abraham and his family were no innocent bystanders.
It’s not like when you go to Las Vegas and only look at the pretty lights and don’t participate in any of the gambling there.
They were willing participants.
says, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”
They went and they participated.
Abraham didn’t come from a family that went to church every single Sunday.
Abraham wasn’t being taken to Sunday School or Wednesday night Bible Study.
He was a part of a pagan family, in a pagan land, worshipping pagan gods.
And it was there, that God chose him.
Not because he was good.
Not because he was worthy.
Because he was none of those things.
He was an idolater.
is what is called the Abrahamic Covenant, and it describes God’s call to Abraham.
It says, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham came from a people of idolaters.
The second command of the 10 commandments is to not make any false gods.
Abraham was an idolater.
And do you
Do you know what God’s final judgment is for those who worship idols?
says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
That’s Hell.
And yet, God didn’t give that to Abraham.
God chose Abraham.
God spared Abraham.
God made a promise to Abraham.
What we see with Abraham is God establishing a pattern, He chooses.
He doesn’t choose on worthiness - because Abraham wasn’t worthy.
He doesn’t choose the best.
Abraham wasn’t the best.
He was an idolater.
says that no one seeks after God, no not even one.
Not even Abraham.
And what about you dear Christian?
We share the same spiritual head, Adam.
We enter this world as sinners.
We have our own sins that condemn us.
There’s nothing in you that makes you stand out that says God should choose you.
But just as Abraham was called, you too are called.
says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ ...”
He chose you before the foundation of the world.
He didn’t choose you because you were good, or because you were the best of the best.
You were like Abraham, in that you participated in the sin of the world.
I think it is good to look back on our sins and be reminded of where we were, and what we were.
Some of you might be struggling right now.
And you wonder how you could possibly be saved.
Maybe you’ve fallen victim to the same trap of the Galatians, you must become good enough.
That you must live up to some impossibly high standard.
That you
That’s where I take you to the choosing grace of God.
I remind you He isn’t choosing the best.
He’s choosing sinners.
And then He is kind to the sinner.
says, “In love he predestined us for adoption ...”
it says that we too needed redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.
You might be the worst, but He gave the Best for the worst.
This means the Christian is not only chosen, but he needs grace.
The Galatians were fooled into thinking that they could live up to the impossible standard set upon them by the Judaizers.
And Paul reminds them of Abraham, that it is not of works, but it is of faith.
And the same for you, who come here today, thinking that you have to live to some impossible standard.
It’s not of works.
Your works condemned you.
God called Abraham from his sin, and God calls us from our sin.
The only way we can come to Him is if He intervenes.
Sends His Spirit, and gives you faith.
says, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
Do you want to be like Abraham?
Do you want some standard?
Know that it doesn’t begin with you, but with the Father who predestines, and the Spirit who regenerates, and the Son who loves and died for us.
I need to hear that.
Jesus loves those who don’t deserve it.
And maybe you see your sin and you think you are unloveable.
Remember the call of Abraham.
An idolater, called by God.
Remember your sin.
You too have been loved and called by God.

Abraham’s Faith

Which then leads us to the question of what did Abraham believe?
Back to in verse 6 it says that Abraham believed God.
Verse 7 says that it is those of faith who are sons of Abraham.
Verse 9 says, “So then it is those who are of faith that are blessed ...”
What is it that we believe?
It begins with God communicating.
Verse 8 says, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham ...
Do you see what that says, it says that Scripture preached something to Abraham.
What Scripture?
Abraham had no Bible.
We read about Abraham in Genesis, but it wasn’t written at the time.
There was no book of Genesis when he was alive.
Moses wouldn’t come around for about a thousand years.
So there was no Bible
Yet it says Scripture was preached to him.
So what Scripture are we talking about?
says that in the beginning was the what?
The Word.
, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Then in it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
So what Scripture did Abraham receive?
He received the actual spoken word of God.
It was the same Word that said, “Let there be light”
God spoke to him.
And yet, here it is called Scripture.
I can’t help but think that that word is there for our benefit.
Because we aren’t going to hear the audible word of God, not like Abraham did.
But we will hold it in our hands.
We will read it on our phones.
We will read it to our children.
What am I talking about?
I am talking about the Bible itself.
says of this book, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
When we read in the Bible, “the Scripture says” you might as well think of it saying, “God has spoken”.
Scripture is not like any other book that you will read.
It is true, because the one who spoke it is true.
What Abraham believed … he had heard from God.
And what we believe … is what we have read from God.
I have often said, if you want to hear from God … open your Bible, and read it.
We don’t go beyond it.
We are content to live with what He has revealed.
Back to it says that the Scripture was “foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith”
How was Abraham justified?
Back to verse 6 it says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
He was justified by faith.
How are the Gentiles justified?
By faith.
But notice that it says the Scripture was foreseeing this truth.
This means that Abraham believed that the Gentiles would become a part of God’s great nation.
What did Abraham believe?
He believed that the Gentiles would be included as his descendants.
But this foreseeing, this prophecy was not a reaction to the state of affairs on the earth.
A lot would happen after Abraham.
Israel would demand a king.
Israel would split.
Israel would reject Jesus.
It wasn’t that Israel had failed in their mission to proclaim God’s message to the world, and so God had to come up with a plan b.
It wasn’t that the Jews rejected Jesus and then called for His crucifixion and God said, I’m through with you, I’m going with the Gentiles.
And it wasn’t a reaction to a bunch of people from foreign nations in Jerusalem at Pentecost.
God’s plan was always to have people from every nation included in the church.
speaks of a coming day, ““In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
In Amos, God says the day is coming when people from all the nations who are called by God, will be in His glorious kingdom.
says, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. … Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”
And if I read , can say that this plan was made before the foundations of the world.
The plan was never to have just a purely Jewish nation.
It was to have a people from every tribe, nation and tongue, that Jesus would rule.
This is what Abraham believed.
What else did Abraham believe?
The second half of verse 8 says that the Scripture “preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
That tells us a lot about what Abraham believed.
First, notice that it says that the gospel was preached to Abraham.
It’s not just a message.
And it’s not just news.
But it’s the Gospel … literally good news was told to Abraham beforehand.
What was the good news?
The end of verse 8 quotes this good news, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
That was his hope.
Abraham looked forward to a day when all the nations would be blessed.
And if you fast forward to the end of the Bible, here is what John sees.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
You’ve got this multitude.
This people from every nation.
All tribes.
All languages.
Every one is represented.
And who are they praising?
The Lamb.
Who is the Lamb?
The pleasing sacrifice to God who suffered and died for our sins.
Abraham knew of this good news.
By His death, burial and resurrection, He paid for his people’s sins.
It was preached to Him.
And through His resurreciton
In , Jesus said of Abraham, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
He believed this good news and he was counted righteous.

We are starting to see a pattern here.

It’s not be like the Jews.
And it’s not be like Abraham.
It’s what has God done to and for Abraham.
It’s recognize God’s action in life.
Recognize how you were nothing … and God chose you.
Recognize the conviction of the Holy Spirit as He revealed sin to you.
Recognize how through the hearing of the word you understood the glorious Gospel, as Lojza told us last week.
And if you want to do something … it’s have faith.
Abraham heard the call of God and was preached to by God and he believed it.
He trusted in it.
And he was counted as righteous.
And when you understand your own conversion happened because of God rescuing you from the dark waters of sin, you can’t help but rejoice.
Then when you see that Jesus is the Good News.
He came for us.
He died for us.
He purchased us.
The response is faith.
Trusting in that message.
That’s faith.
You are blessed.
What is the blessing?
Knowing that your sins are removed, and God sees you as perfect.
Something that should be completely amazing, because your sins say otherwise.
Your sins say you aren’t righteous.
But Jesus in your place says you are.
God sees you as perfect.
says you are glorified.
This all started with the Galatians saying they wanted to be like Abraham.
And we read of these heroes of old, and sometimes get sucked into that same line of thinking.
That we need to be like them.
I need to be like Abraham.
I look at others around me and want to be like them.
But this all ends with something better, it says we are blessed along with Abraham.
Did you see that, along with Abraham.
Side by side.
And how is that?
By faith.
By trusting in what Jesus has already done.
This is a message for the religious.
For those who have been in church.
For those who are familiar with religion.
We are in it for so long that we forget where it all started.
It began with God having a plan.
God revealing it.
God calling us.
God saving us.
To look to Him, and believe Him.
Then like Abraham, we are called righteous along with Abraham.
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