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Freedom! - intro to book of Galatians

Freedom in Christ - Letter to the Galatians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:17
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It’s for freedom that Christ has set you free!

Faith and freedom, that is what this book is about, just telling you that from the start. We start a journey tonight into what is known as an apologist “magna carta” that defends justification by faith to counteract false gospels that are out there.
Key verses in Galatians
Freedom (Gal5:1)
Galatians 5:1 NASB95
1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
(freedom picture)
Can you picture it? Can you see it? Can you hear it? FREEDOM not just some timid freedom but freedom that frees you from sin, freedom that was costly, freedom that is eternal as you walk in the Light. Freedom that is yours, but it is also freedom that is under attack. IT was under attack in Galatia and under attack here today.
Out of the ordinary of how I typically do an intro, I want to get the reason, the purpose, the occasion for the letter right from the get go.
Purpose of letter:
To counter, combat the threat coming against the churches of Galatia
To defend Paul’s apostleship
To demonstrate, illustrate the gospel of grace free from the Law
Some good reminders and instructions about Christian living
I think there is no doubt that today we live in a troubling time just as there was a troubling time then. The gospel and the validity is under attack, there are false gospels that are being proclaimed that lead people into further slavery and not to the freedom that is in Christ. Or that lead people into a false sense of security in Christ when there is no “in” Christ. Sin is being accepted, under the guise of “tolerance.” Heaven is believed, but Hell is not really a subject matter much less the consequences of sin considered.
As Paul penned this letter to the churches of Galatia in a troubling time, he could be penning one very similar today, couldn’t he?
Immorality runs rampant
Good morals, virtue, integrity is not the common ground anymore
Religions are many, yet ineffective, misleading, misguiding or even leading people away, luring people away from the truth.
That leads me to our next key verse, key theme from the letter.
Faith (Gal2:16)
Galatians 2:16 NASB95
16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Our faith, our freedom, are founded, rooted, grounded in Christ. It is not by any works.
Our faith in the finished work on the cross is central for our salvation and our life as believers.
Our faith is confirmed, sealed, empowered by the Holy Spirit who plays a vital role in our walk, and is clearly seen in the letter.
Now onto the rest of the introduction stuff.

Author and recipients

May we look at the scripture to see who the author is, who are the recipients and maybe some other key people, figures along the way.
Author - Paul (Gal1:1-2; Gal5:2)
Look at what the scripture says
Galatians 1:1–2 NASB95
1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
So, Paul identifies himself here as the author of the letter and where his authority came from.
Now look at another confirmation
Galatians 5:2 NASB95
2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Paul again identifies himself in the midst of the letter too.
Interesting fact, scripture says who it is, but in the early 19th century there was a portion of scholars who challenged authorship of many of the books of the New Testament, but there was no dispute over Paul’s authorship of the letter.
So, here we have Paul, an apostle, not of man, but of God through Jesus Christ, who was formally Saul of Tarsus (Act9:1-2)
Acts 9:1–2 NASB95
1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Champion to the Gentiles (Act9:15)
Acts 9:15 NASB95
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
Little did Saul/Paul know to what extreme he was going to go to as an apostle.
Author of many books of the N.T. and great truths like this (Eph2:8-9)
Ephesians 2:8–9 NASB95
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Paul identifies himself as an Apostle and tells us more about his apostleship, it is from God the Father through Jesus Christ (v.1). He tells, or starts to make his defence of his apostleship right from the start by saying it is not by man or through man. Being an apostle could only be through the power of God, that raised Jesus from the dead.
While Paul and his apostleship and his gospel have been challenged by some as mentioned before, Paul makes an excellent defence throughout the letter, hence why called an apologist “magna carta”
Apologist: (noun) a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial. Synonyms: defender, supporter, upholder, advocate, proponent, exponent, propagandist, apostle, champion, backer, promoter, campaigner, spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson, speaker, arguer, enthusiast
Paul was not alone look again at (v.2)
Galatians 1:2 NASB95
2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
He had others who were with him, travelling with him and by doing such are showing support of Paul and the gospel he is preaching. Now that leads us to the recipients.
Recipients (Gal1:2)
Look again at (v.2) you can see it is “churches” meaning more than one body of believers, but they were located in Galatia. When that is said, it is said both of geographically and politically according to (ISBE).
Geographically we are looking at the northern part of Asia Minor in which Paul visited on all three of his missionary trips (Act13:14-14:25; Act 16:1-7; Act18:23)
1st Trip
Acts 13:14 NASB95
14 But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
In the first trip, Paul along with Barnabas established several churches in the Roman province of Galatia.
You can read much more about that trip in Act13:13-14:25
2nd Trip
Acts 16:1–2 NASB95
1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, 2 and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.
During the second trip he is travelling with Silas and he visits them again and comes to Timothy he wants to travel with them.
Acts 16:3–4 NASB95
3 Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
Acts 16:5–6 NASB95
5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. 6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;
I thought it was important to put all of these verse there so you see the cities he is visiting again, also that this is where Timothy was from.
3rd Trip
Acts 18:23 NASB95
23 And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
And the third trip, again passing through the area, this time strengthening all the disciples. So here are churches that are loved, visited, but under attack too and Paul is writing to them. But first I mentioned geographically and Politically so let me give you a map of area and a few words more before moving on.
(Galatia Map Picture)
Politically seems to point to the southern region of the Galatia a Roman province including cities such as Antioch Pisidia, Iconinum, Lystra, Derbe)
Time of Writing (after AD48)
It had to be after the Jerusalem counsel noted in Act15 (look at Act15:12; Act15:22) that happen according to history books, especially works of Josephus in AD48). We also know that it transpired after the prophesy of Agabus of the famine that occured under Claudius Caesar (41-50AD).
The Jerusalem counsel was held to discuss the problem that was happening in Galatia as well as other places about the law and grace having to work together, Peter spoke up (vv.7-8) and judgment was handed down that it was by grace through faith and that the gentiles did not need to be circumcised and follow Jewish law (vv.13-21)
Acts 15:12 NASB95
12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
and then look at
Acts 15:22 NASB95
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,
The Jerusalem counsel in agreement sent them back out!

More on the purpose

The church is being infiltrated by the bringing of disturbing and distorted gospel. Paul wastes no time with many of the pleasantries seen in other letters, there is a problem and part of it is with the churches of Galatia.
Disturbing and distorted gospel (Gal1:6-7; Act15:1)
Galatians 1:6–7 NASB95
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
This is what is mentioned in the Jerusalem counsel
Acts 15:1 NASB95
1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Paul even calls the Galatians fools (Gal3:1)
People can be easily swayed can’t they? That is why Paul calls them fools is they give in so easily
Galatians 3:1 NASB95
1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
This is so serious it is a salvation issue (Gal5:4)
Galatians 5:4 NASB95
4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
This form of teaching that Paul is speaking of which is disturbing and distorted, that they are foolish to believe and they are being bewitched is a salvation issue.
Content of letter
Paul’s defence of his apostleship (Gal1-2)
Paul’s defence of justification by faith (Gal3-4)
Paul’s call to standfast in Christian Liberty (Gal5-6)

Freedom! - The Letter to the Galatians

Freed with a purpose, freed the the provisions of man. Liberty that was given at a great cost and we should always be ready to defend this “Magna Carta” of Christian liberty (freedom).
Theme verses (Gal5:1; Gal2:16)
Galatians 5:1 NASB95
1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Freedom!
____________________________________________
Freedom from bondage of sin (Gal2:16)
Freedom from the Law of Moses (Gal4:4-5)
Freedom “to” serve one another in love (Gal5:13)
Freedom from works of the flesh (Gal5:16-21)
Freedom “to” show the fruit of the Spirit (Gal5:22-23)
Freedom as spoke of by Christ (Jn8:34-36)
Freedom where there is no condemnation (Rom8:1-2)
______________________________________________________
Freedom from bondage of sin (Gal2:16)
Galatians 2:16 NASB95
16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Freedom from bondage of sin (Gal2:16)
Freedom from the Law of Moses (Gal4:4-5)
Galatians 4:4–5 NASB95
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Freedom from bondage of sin (Gal2:16)
Freedom from the Law of Moses (Gal4:4-5)
Freedom “to” serve one another in love (Gal5:13)
Galatians 5:13 NASB95
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Freedom from bondage of sin (Gal2:16)
Freedom from the Law of Moses (Gal4:4-5)
Freedom “to” serve one another in love (Gal5:13)
Freedom from works of the flesh (Gal5:16-21)
Galatians 5:16–17 NASB95
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Galatians 5:18–19 NASB95
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Galatians 5:20–21 NASB95
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Freedom “to” show the fruit of the Spirit (Gal5:22-23)
Galatians 5:22–23 NASB95
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Freedom “to” show the fruit of the Spirit (Gal5:22-23)
Freedom as spoke of by Christ (Jn8:34-36)
John 8:34–35 NASB95
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
John 8:36 NASB95
36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Freedom “to” show the fruit of the Spirit (Gal5:22-23)
Freedom as spoke of by Christ (Jn8:34-36)
Freedom where there is no condemnation (Rom8:1-2)
Romans 8:1–2 NASB95
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
(invitation slide 1 - Freedom)
Freedom our Christian assurance that we should have and walk in daily
Freedom by the empowering of the Holy Spirit that is in us and is in the Word to lead us
Freedom that empowers us to walk by faith not by site
Are you walking in freedom? - Don’t get enslaved to bondage again of any kind, do not be a fool and be bewitched, don’t walk it under your power, walk in the power and guidance (leading) of the Holy Spirit.
But there is no freedom outside of Christ (invitation)
(invitation slide 2 - walking in freedom) Song (exit slide)
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