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Galatians #04 2 In Defense of Freedom

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Freed to be Free #4

Galatians 2:1-10

In Defense of Freedom

Well, Happy New Year to you all.  I’m still struggling with my voice, but am praying and listening to my Doctors and taking my medicine.  I hope you will keep me in your prayers.  This is a very frustrating time for me. 

So, we move back to the book of Galatians to continue being taught by the Holy Spirit’s Word’s through the Apostle Paul. 

Let’s catch back up.  If you remember, Paul had founded the church in Galatia.  The Gospel that Paul preached was the simple Gospel of Grace.  The Gospel that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and that whoever would place their faith in him would be justified freely by the blood of Jesus Christ. 

We don’t have to DO anything but receive what has been done FOR us. 

Keeping the Law was NOT a requirement for salvation

The Gentile Christians were not required to be circumcised or otherwise follow the requirements of the law FOR their salvation.  Now that is not to say that Paul preached a gospel of license, do whatever you want, however you want.  But on the contrary, living a Christian life of grateful obedience; a sinner falling on the mercy seat of God and finding Grace in Jesus Christ. 

Now, after Paul left Galatia, some self-appointed men from Jerusalem came to straighten out these Gentile Christians. 

And it worked.  Paul says in chapter 1, that they “turned to a different gospel”, and that they had been, “thrown into confusion … pervert(ing) the gospel of Christ”  

They, under Paul, had come to Christ under a pure gospel, but now had submitted to this form of Grace and Law Hybrid. 

And that is NOT Good News … and if the news isn’t good, it isn’t GOSPEL!

Only Grace Could

There is a tradition that Jonathan Edwards, third president of Princeton and America’s greatest thinker, had a daughter with an ungovernable temper. But, as is so often the case, this infirmity was not known to the outside world.

A worthy young man fell in love with this daughter and sought her hand in marriage. “You can’t have her,” was the abrupt answer of Jonathan Edwards. “But I love her,” the young man replied. “You can’t have her,” said Edwards. “But she loves me,” replied the young man.

Again Edwards said, “You can’t have her.” “Why?” said the young man. “Because she is not worthy of you.” “But,” he asked, “she is a Christian, is she not?” “Yes, she is a Christian, but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else could ever live.”[1]


So, Paul still laying the groundwork … moves to Chapter 2 …

READ 2:1-10

Warren Wiersbe refers to Paul as a “Freedom Fighter” … He recounts Elmer Davis from his book But We Were Born Free – in speaking of the United States he wrote

“this will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave”

Do not be deceived folks, the Christian life is a battle.  That’s why Paul told us how to put on the Spiritual Armor.

Ephesians 6 says we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but rulers and powers and authorities of this dark world. 

So we must begin with an important truth when it comes to defending the Freedom we have in Christ Jesus, and that is …

1. Satan is at Work

He is diametrically opposed to everything that God is doing.

God has brought to completion the glorious work of grace and has freed mankind from the bondage of sin and the Law and Satan has one desire and that is to destroy the work and return the believer to bondage and keep enslaved those who have never known Christ.

What does Satan do?

  A. He Deceives

    1. “false brothers”

    2. the word “false” lets you know that deception has happened and deception always has a source - Satan

    3. pseudadelphos /psyoo-dad-el-fos/ a false brother; one who ostentatiously professes to be a Christian, but is destitute of Christian knowledge and piety

    4. It would not surprise us to know that there are people in every church that perhaps believe that they are Christians and are in fact not truly born again.  However it should not surprise us to be aware that there are often those in the church who are not only NOT true believers but who have ulterior motives for being in the body.

    5. These were “Judaizers” … that is those who wanted to take those in the Christian movement and just bring them back into mainline Judaism.  They wanted to take these Gentiles who had been converted, circumcise them, acclimate them to the law and traditions. 

    6. These infiltrators had probably been deceived into thinking they were doing good things, even doing God’s work.  That’s what Paul thought before he met the Truth for himself.  Paul was busy persecuting Christians thinking he was on a mission from God.

    7. Deception has ALWAYS been Satan’s mode of operation, from Heaven where he talked 1/3rd of the angels into joining him in a revolt against God; to the Garden where he deceived Eve into questioning the veracity and goodness of God.

    8.  Jesus said that Satan is not ONLY a liar himself but is the Father of all lies.  He was the first liar and all who tell a lie are following his lead. 

    9. Satan deceives and he includes false brothers in the process and brings them into the body and as they infiltrate he uses them as he

  B. He Divides

    1. over theology

    2. over doctrine

    3. over non-essentials

    4. over felt needs … “my needs aren’t being met like their needs”

    5. over vision and ministry – “why won’t they embrace my ministry?”

    6. over preaching and worship style

EVEN over the color of carpet or

    7. Peter said that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion – 1 Peter5:8 – be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour

    8.  How does a lion hunt?  She lays low, she creeps in quietly, and then she runs the herd.  Why does she run the herd, to divide them.  When the herd runs, the young, old and infirmed get separated and he picks them off. 

    9. Satan does the same.  He will divide Christians and Churches by any means necessary for the purpose of devouring … he is not playing games, if given an opportunity he will …

Let us not forsake the assembling together of the brethren, as some are in the habit of doing

Submit to one another out of reverence for God

It’s why Jesus Prayed for unity

  C. He Destroys

    1. you can be sure that Satan is not playing around

    2. when he deceives and divides, it is for the purpose of destruction

    3. he wants to destroy churches that proclaim Christ to a fallen world

    4. he wants to destroy your faith, your will, your purpose.  Don’t get me wrong, if you are truly born again, he cannot take away your salvation, but he can keep you wallowing in fear instead of faith, in weakness instead of resolve, in aimlessness instead of purpose. 

    5. he is bent on destruction, one of the names given him in scripture is Apollyon which means “destruction”. 

    6. we cannot let him deceive us, we cannot let him divide us because when he does we are just one step away from destruction

So Paul had every right to be angry, and take the offensive against these false brothers.  A shepherd doesn’t look at wolves and say, “aw look at the puppies”.  Nor does he say “oh it will work itself out” or “they don’t mean harm” … no he takes the initiative … his rod will fly and the sling slice a stone through the air …

Satan is at work. 

And he used these false brothers in a carefully planned and carried out step by step covert operation of


spying and gathering information, and then

imposing destructive false doctrine

And in this case and as is often the case in the church

2. Truth is Always in Danger of Being Compromised

  A. Truth Under Attack

What was the Truth being attacked here? 

V5 – “the truth of the gospel”

    1. These Judaizers were seeking to CHANGE the Gospel.  Jesus Christ had set us free in COMPLETING the Law and freeing us from the bondage of trying and trying to keep it.

The law was not given to MAKE us right with God but to prove the fact that we were NOT right with God.

Circumcision was something that God gave to Abraham as a sign that he belonged to him and that he was in relationship with him.

But that requirement was done away with at the Cross

    2. The law was given to point us to God recognizing our sin and need for a Savior.

It did not make us right.  And so, the Cross of Christ made us right with God. 

    3. The Law drew attention to our separation from God.  Even the mercy seat, on the Ark of the Covenant, was separated from the people by a 15 foot high Curtain a foot thick.

So the Law cannot bring me to God

    4. But when Jesus Christ died on the cross, and the earth shook, and that Vail was torn top to bottom giving us access to God

I Pe 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God …

1 Tim 2:5 there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Ro 5:1-2 1since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand …

    5. As long as Satan is loose in this world, the Truth will always be in danger of being compromised

Satan deceived these Judaizers, they in turn deceived these baby Christians

    6. Paul said the “infiltrated” that is the came in and joined, looked and acted like one of them, but Paul also said they were “spies” with an ulterior motive of returning the church in Galatia to the bondage of the law. 

    7. The worst danger was not so much to these baby Christians but to those who had not yet been converted and could be subjected to a false Gospel that would not set them free in the First place.  Those already converted were set free and saved, but were needlessly returning to sit in unlocked cells, on the contrary, those who did not yet know Christ were in danger of being sidetracked into trusting the law for salvation instead of Christ. 

     8. That’s why we fight falsehood and lies that compromise the Truth.  Because we want to present a pure Gospel and sometimes that brings up conflict. 

Conflict is not ALWAYS bad when defending Truth.

James 3:17 says the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; THEN peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere

So we must defend and preach Truth with love and grace.

  B. The Truth of the Gospel

These false brothers had attacked the True Simplicity of the Gospel

    1. The simplicity of the gospel is that whosoever will may came and drink from the waters of life

    2. Jesus said, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. (John 7:37)

    3. There are some brothers who take a stronger line in the doctrine of salvation and they struggle with the simplicity of whosoever will make come.

They say “but only the elect can come.” That may be true, but,  they want to decide for themselves who that is and they want to say only the elect CAN come and I would rather put it THIS way, “only the elect WILL come” so I’m going to present the Gospel to everyone, I’m going to call everyone, I’m going to tell everyone that they can experience the Grace of God if they WILL

    4. THAT my friends is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life

    5. I’m going to proclaim that to as many as receive him, he has given the right to become the sons and daughters of God.

    6. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be Saved

    7. I’m going to preach that if you will confess your sins he is faithful and just forgive you of your sin and cleanse you of your unrighteousness

    8. I’m going to tell the truth that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

That is the Gospel and That is Good News and I will defend that truth against all compromise and any false doctrine …

Because Satan is at work wanting to confuse and cause conflict … wanting to deceive, divide, and destroy. 

But the good news is that

3. Living by Truth Leads to Freedom

Here’s the interesting thing about this conflict over observing the law or freedom to NOT observe the law and still live godly lives.  When Paul went to Jerusalem in Acts 15, you basically have the founding of the first denominations in the history of the church. 

  A. Denominations?

    1. Some people will try and get self-righteous and say “I don’t believe in denominations because there aren’t denominations in the Bible” And some will say “I attend a non-denominational church because there weren’t denominations in the Bible

Look that’s silly.  At their base, Christian denominations are faithful Christians with different understandings of scripture, different preferences for ministry who choose instead to part ways and in freedom do ministry and reach more people separately than we could reach by fighting understandings and preferences and staying together. 

    2. And so those in Jerusalem choose to be a Jewish Christian Denomination, if you will, with Peter and James as their leader and those in the Gentile world to be a Gentile Christian Denomination with Paul as their leader.

    3. You know what though, living by Truth leads to Freedom - If a church will live by the Truth that Jesus Christ saves alone; and that salvation comes through the cross of Christ and was completed there, there is freedom in the way we express our faith, ministry, and worship. 

    4. The bondage comes when the freedom of choice or convictions is confused with Biblical Commands

> Notice, there are three different ways to view our orthodoxy and orthopraxy that is our doctrine and practice. 

      a. There are Biblical Commands – these are clear instructions from scripture that are the same for all people.  In regards to salvation – the ONLY clear instruction from scripture is that except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom and that you must come to God through the Cross of Jesus Christ that there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved than Jesus.

The false brothers had tried to ADD to the Biblical Commands and so created a different way to salvation.  They wanted salvation to be by Judaism and then Jesus. 

You can have salvation with Jesus and then practice Jewish ways.  You can have salvation without Judaism with Jesus alone.  But you cannot have salvation by requiring anything but Jesus.

      b. The second group is  Personal Convictions – these are convictions that are not necessarily for everyone but they are true and binding for you.  The Lord has revealed that this is the way that YOU should live and practice your faith.  These are where some denominations often differ.  Things like ways of baptizing, ways of observing the Lord’s Supper, ways of conducting missions and ministry are personal convictions but not necessarily Biblical Commands.  That is what happened with Paul, Silas, and Barnabas, and Peter, James, and John.  They both recognized that the churches and individual Christians were free to operate under the stipulations of the law, or free to live free from the law.  Both were free because salvation is in Jesus alone.  So knowing the TRUTH sets them FREE to worship him and honor him according to their personal convictions.  And if it is a personal conviction it IS binding for the one holding the conviction but not necessarily for others

      c. The final and least restrictive after, commands and convictions, is Personal Choices or preferences.  Those are not commanded to all, they are not commanded to some, they are commanded to none but chosen by some.  Worship style, building architecture, pastoral structure, government options are all personal choices or preferences and knowing and living in the TRUTH of God gives us FREEDOM to live the life of Christ and worship him in Spirit and Truth. 

But when we don’t know the Truth we are bound

Paul was a Freedom Fighter.

  B. Freedom Fighter

    1. Deceivers had come to add to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

And Paul said “unh-ah no way” Salvation is Grace alone, Jesus plus nothing

You can add to your expression but you can’t add to salvation. 

    2. If you are serving Jesus because you think that KEEPS your Salvation, you are in bondage

If you are living a faithful Christian life, being good, in hopes of keeping your Salvation, you are living in bondage, but the Truth Always Liberates, it always sets us free.

    3. When I know that my salvation is not bound in my service, I serve out of love.  I serve in obedience to his commands but not in expectation of needing to earn my salvation

    4. When I know keeping my salvation is not based on my goodness but God’s grace, I am free not to live any way I want, but to live under the direction of God.    

      a. And when I know the truth that in confessing my sin I find cleansing and forgiveness, I confess my sin not in fear but in a loving relationship, knowing that my sinful actions hurt the Lord, who loves me more than life, and I want to return the love and walk in the light of his love. 

      b. So, yes I try and walk in truth, and yes I confess my sin when I walk outside the light because I LOVE him and because I KNOW the Truth and the Truth has made me free.

Ladies and Gentlemen – we will always seek to know and present the truth as faithfully as we know how.

We will challenge you to walk in the light of his Word

We will unashamedly offer you the simplicity of the Gospel and without shame call all, who will, to come and experience the wonders of the Grace of God.

Two stories I want to leave you with today from the great hymn writer and former pastor, John Newton


Three Wonders In Heaven

John Newton said, “When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be, to see many people there whom I did not expect to see—the second wonder will be, to miss many people whom I did expect to see; and the third and greatest wonder of all, will be to find myself there.”[2]

Prayer Prelude Of Newton

Two or three years before the death of John Newton, when his sight was so dim that he was no longer able to read, a friend and brother in the ministry called to have breakfast with him. Their custom was to read the Word of God following mealtime, after which Newton would make a few short remarks on the Biblical passage, and then appropriate prayer would be offered.

That day, however, there was silence after the words of Scripture in 1 Cor 15:10 were read where Paul says “by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace was not bestowed on me in vain …” just silence.

Finally, after several minutes, Newton spoke, “I am not what I ought to be! How imperfect and deficient I am! I am not what I wish to be, although I abhor that which is evil and would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be, but soon I shall be out of mortality, and with it all sin and imperfection. Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was: a slave to sin and Satan. I can heartily join with the apostle and acknowledge that by the grace of God I am what I am!” Then, after a pause, he said. “Now let us pray!”[3]

My prayer today is that if you have never experienced the Grace of God that today you would open your heart to receive it and you too can say with Paul, By the grace of God, I am what he has made me to be.

Oh would you let him recreate you in his Gracious Salvation?


[1]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[2]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[3]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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