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One Way Streets

Grace and Power  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:49
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Power Opener

We have too many men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.… Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

Too much foolishness in our world. We need direction. We need true knowledge that comes from above. We need Jesus.
If we intend to avoid folly, we need to travel the right direction down One Way Streets, avoid being foolish. Don’t attempt being a Christian in your strength; not good idea. Yet, how frequently this happens.
The Galatians are heading the wrong way. In addition, going their way in their own strength. (This happens when we don’t follow God).
Paul is freaking out! He has a really difficult time believing the Galatians can be sooo foolish. Have the Galatians taken a trip to stupid town? What madness has overtaken the people?
This is why Paul strings together what we read in today’s text:
Galatians 3:1–5 NASB95PARA
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Sound like a rebuke? Yep, and was not Paul’s first for the Galatians. Let’s back up for a moment and look at something we’ve previously noted in this letter:
Galatians 1:6–9 NASB95PARA
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
In our text for today, Paul is not simply saying the same thing again. Paul is, however, focusing on making the facts crystal clear. The Galatians are attempting to “get to heaven” or “get right with God” through works of the flesh. They hope to travel the Christian road by the flesh instead of the Spirit. They are about to take a wrong turn onto a one way street. They are about to leave God’s powerful presence to follow their own thinking and in their own power. A really bad choice.
BAK - Let’s pause to consider the historic setting. Male converts wanting to get circumcised. Sure the pressure is on them. They are Jews after all and thats what Jews have done for centuries. Now, the pious one have convinced them that this is how to get right with God. After all, hundreds of years and thousands of people can’t be wrong. Surly this is key and they would never take a wrong turn.
It appears that even while the Galatians started in the right direction, these agitators have convinced them they need to go a different direction. They convinced the Galatians that they needed circumcision in order to be saved. The same thing they were doing in Antioch, the Judaizers were doing in Galatia:
Acts 15:1 NASB95PARA
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.”
Sadly, the Galatians were turning their wheels from the right direction into oncoming traffic. They Judaizers had them convinced.
Paul is deeply troubled over what his happening to the Galatians. The people have given up the true gospel for a lie.
What is going on in the mind of Paul:
Paul wonders if all his word is for nothing:
Galatians 4:11 NASB95PARA
I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
They were doing well, only to stop:
Galatians 5:7 NASB95PARA
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
It appears they are “falling from grace:”
Galatians 5:4 NASB95PARA
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
They’ve turned away from Jesus:
Galatians 1:6 NASB95PARA
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
Paul knows that unless they change directions, they will not arrive at their destination. What should Paul do?
Paul decides to plead with the Galatians. He asks them to look to the Spirit instead of the Law. The Law will accomplish nothing while the Spirit brings power and direction.
The proposition is before the Galatians. It is one that, we too, must answer.
How can we make the presence of God’s Spirit known?
What does it mean to be full with the Holy Spirit?
Paul tell us God supplies the Spirit:
Galatians 3:5 NASB95PARA
So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
So, how is it that God makes His Spirit available to humankind?
That is what we are endeavoring to discover this morning. Our message answers the question. Let’s look in as Paul helps the Galatians get going and in the right direction.
First v.1:
Galatians 3:1 NASB95PARA
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
PRAY

Supply from the Savior (v.1)

Paul rewinds, call the Galatians back to when they first were filled with Spirit. Paul asks the people to recall what they saw, remember their experience with God. He reminds them how their life changed because of the experience of the cross; of how seeing Jesus crucified changed everything.
Do you see it, literally Paul says “it was before your eyes.” The idea promotes a vivid relocation. Paul is painting a vivid illustration in the minds of the people. He asks them to think back to, and call up the image of, Christ on the cross. What takes place is the people begin to see the torment of Christ as well as the torment Paul has bringing all this to their attention.
Look here, Paul speaks of being “crucified with Christ” (2:20). His suffering was real; beaten and bloody. The Galatians see Christ, in their mind’s eye, on the cross and Paul’s many bruises and scars.
In this, Paul helps them recall that the Spirit only comes by way of the cross; by way of the Savior. That is, God supplies people with a Savior who covers sin and then can send, to them, His Spirit. Unless we are forgiven, God can’t send the Spirit to us. If God did send the Holy Spirit to us, while unforgiven, the Spirit would destroy us not change us into the image of Christ.
What is Paul then saying?
The Spirit comes through Jesus on the cross. The Spirit never goes around the cross. Our new life begins with forgiveness that takes place at the cross. The Spirit then comes through Jesus like a window opened to a fresh breeze.
You and I, we must return to the cross again and again.
We all struggle with sin. Do we not pray “forgive us this day?” Sure you don’t loose your connection with God’s Spirit, but sin does cause a great interference. Just like a fading radio station, when we allow sin in our lives, we loose are ability to hear from God.
James tells us to confess our sins to one another. Jesus said pray daily “forgive us.” Ever noted how good that feels? See, when we let loose that burden of sin, God’s Spirit can fill those voids in our soul, make us strong, and we can once again enter in the presence of God.
Acts notes this process quite well:
Acts 3:19 NASB95PARA
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
TRANS - Let’s now look at vv.2, 5
Galatians 3:2 NASB95PARA
This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
and now v.5
Galatians 2:5 NASB95PARA
But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Supply from the Sound (vv.3, 5)

We noted our supply from our Savior. Now let’s consider our supply from what we hear, from the sound coming to our ears.
As mentioned, the cross is like a window that, when opened, lets in the Spirit like a fresh breeze. God comes into our lives.
Paul asks the people how the recieved the Spirit; by law or hearing with faith?
The Galatians were confused, but surly knew that circumcising and the Law was not how they recieved the Spirit. Recall what happened when Peter was preaching in Joppa?:
Acts 10:45 NASB95PARA
All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
See, the Galatian knew the Spirit came to both circumcised Jews and uncircumcised Gentiles who didn’t have the Law.
Paul lead the people to consider how the Spirit continues to come; that is to fill people. Note that in v.3 Paul says “who supplies the Spirit…hearing with faith?” New life come, continues, and completes with hearing of faith.
God pours His Spirit into you in response to your hearing with faith; your response to the gospel. So, two ways we hear 1) by the ear and 2) by faith. It’s the second one that matters to God.
Little side note, things we do such as church stuff, if done without faith, doesn’t matter then to God if not done in faith. That’s why churches fail. The do stuff, but not in faith.
Here, FBC Minneola knows the Bible is important. It is our authority. We are a Baptist church proud to claim God’s Word is our guide. We read it, study it, believe it, and live it. But, without faith even that is all for not.
God pours His Spirit into a certain type of person as we see in Isaiah:
Isaiah 66:2 NASB95PARA
“For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.
God supplies the Spirit to those who respond to the sound of His voice, His provision, and do so in faith.
TRANS - Let’s shift to something that scares the world, but serves the Christian. First v.4:
Galatians 3:4 NASB95PARA
Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Supply from the Suffering

Supply of our Savior and the Sound of His voice. Somehow Suffering seems a bit out of place here, or does it? Let’s see.
The windows are really both the cross and the hearing. Supply comes from both. The Spirit comes by hearing in faith in the message accomplished at the cross. But is their another window?
Yes, God supplies through suffering. A little side note, I’m note saying we have three gospels, just one. I am saying that God’s Spirit is supplied through the cross, through the Word, and through suffering.
Paul talks a good bit about suffering. Look again at v.4:
Galatians 3:4 NASB95PARA
Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
Why do you suppose Paul reminds the Galatian about their suffering? Why say all that suffering was waisted if you revert to no gospel at all? Sounds like Paul is beating them while they are down.
Paul helps the Galatians to recall how God provided for them through their suffering.
God gives His Spirit to us during times of great distress. Recall that the Galatians underwent tough times when coming to Jesus? Their new faith came with challenges and challengers. Yet, within those circumstances, God provided His Spirit that strengthened them. We can see an example of that work of the Spirit in Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 1:6 HCSB
and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.
Are you the person that only wants people over when the house is clean? It’s easy to think the same way about the Spirit. We only have the Spirit over when things are going well. However, that is not the true Christian experience. It may be the lie lots of people believe, but not true Christianity. Truth is in this life you will suffer. Paul learned from his experiences:
2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB95PARA
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Know how he did that?:
2 Corinthians 12:10 NASB95PARA
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
He remember the Word’s of Jesus:
2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB95PARA
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
I know many Christians who’ve lost a loved ones and are still able to rejoice because they have God’s Spirit in them. Their lives may be shaken, but they have faith and God honors that by giving them His Spirit who gets them trough on His strength.
God loves to be present with us, empower us, embrace us with His Spirit. So, it this way, suffering for the Christian is not preventing us from having a relationship with God, but another window supplying that fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit.
I want to encourage you, don’t be discouraged by difficulty, but encourage because God wants to walk with you through every part of life. In this way, we take hold of suffering knowing it is another source of supply where God will pour into our lives when we look to the cross and in faith hear Him say:
Matthew 28:20 NASB95PARA
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus, with us always. His Spirit supplied in our Savior, by the sound of His voice, and supplied even through suffering.
TRANS - Let’s bring this together.

Conclusion

We all face challenges. Think, now, of one of your biggest challenges.
How will you find the needed power to make it through that until the end?
God supplies His Spirit to you through the Savior, through the sound of His voice, and through your suffering.
You and I need a filling of the HS each day. It is the only way we have to get by. We trust, have faith, in the HS, his presence and power.
Sometimes we try in our strength; that is why things, sometimes, seem so draining. We try to life for God apart from the empowerment of the HS. That never works.
Recall, I know you do because I say it pretty often, Galatians 2:20?:
Galatians 2:20 NASB95PARA
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Let’s agree right now to all go back to the cross of Jesus our Savior, to God’s Word to hear the sound of His voice, and not to surrender to suffering but be empowered by the HS to endure all things because we live by faith in Jesus.
This is the right direction down a One Way Street that leads us all the way to a glorious destination.
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