Freedom: A Study of Galatians

Freedom: A Study of Galatians
Aug 2015 - Feb 2016
Following Christ is about what you do and don’t do. Right? That’s what it means to follow him. Isn’t it? When people describe Christianity, they are more likely to use the word ‘religion’ then ‘freedom’.

But the Apostle Paul was violently opposed to religion. He wanted the Galatians to understand the purity and freedom that is found in believing and living out the true gospel.

This fall we will work through the important letter to the Galatians to better understand the gospel and the dangerous imposter to it. And not only will we seek to understand these critical truths but how they daily impact our lives.

Will you join us as we explore true gospel freedom?

Sermons in this series

Gospel Redux
Sun, Feb 14, 2016
Duration:49 mins
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - (Galatians 6: 14 ESV) Fear is a powerful motivator. Mix that with our desire to please others and you have a dangerous combination. But when one or both of those are used as a method to try to force holiness, watch out! This week we close out our look at Galatians. As Paul closes out the book, he takes pen in hand and his passion comes through. I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the final chapter of Galatians to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
Gospel Faithfulness
Sun, Feb 07, 2016
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6: 7-9 ESV) I think if I was a farmer, I would automatically have a better understanding of the Bible. But the only farming I do is sorting through the produce section of Kroger for unbruised apples (but only when my wife sends me). Because of that, I have little appreciation for the labor and patience it takes to grow an excellent crop. But if we are going to understand ongoing, faithful, fruitful Christian growth, we are going to all become spiritual farmers. Take a few minutes to read through Galatians 6 to prepare your heart and mind for the passage this week.
Gospel Relationships
Sun, Jan 31, 2016
Duration:50 mins
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh . . . Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:16-23 ESV) Theology. Many people think this is for academics and ivory towers and not board rooms or dining room tables. If you are one of those people, the last few months through Galatians have been rough. We have been swimming in some pretty deep water. There has been a lot of discussion about the nature of justification. There has been a lot about the place of works and grace. And most recently, we have been outlining the nature of our sanctification. You might be saying at this point, "What does this have to do with me?" A lot actually, because what you believe about the gospel impacts your day to day life. But this week we are going to take a decidedly more personal turn. As Paul closes out the letter to these churches, he wants us to understand how we are to relate to each other. He wants the gospel to become the framework for their relationships. Why not take a few minutes and read through Galatians 6 to prep your heart and mind for this section? And consider bringing someone with you to church this Sunday.
Living out the gospel in the Spirit (Part 2)
Sun, Jan 24, 2016
Duration:59 mins
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh . . . Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:16-23 ESV) If you are honest, we often wonder if people can change. That’s because we question if WE can change. We work to modify what we say and what we do. Sometimes we even have some success at various levels. We might change what we say or what we eat or how much we exercise. But to change at a deep level, the level of our desires and emotions and loves seems impossible. In a real sense, you are correct. To change things at that level will take supernatural action. Last week we waded into this passage that reveals every believers internal struggle. If you missed it, I want to encourage you to take some time before Sunday and listen to it. Also, take some time to read through Galatians 5-6 to gain a greater context. Hopefully it will provide some ideas and encouragement that God can work in you to accomplish this deep change. Join us as we talk about it. If you want to dive even deeper, check out the discussion questions and consider working through them with a Community Group.
Living out the gospel in the Spirit (Part 1)
Sun, Jan 17, 2016
Duration:54 mins
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17 ESV) How are those New Year’s resolutions going? We are a couple of weeks into the new year, and those with resolve are still steaming forward. But for the rest of us who have lost the desire, never had a plan, and are adverse to the pain, the hopes of change for 2016 are fading fast. I always kinda chuckle at how full gym parking lots are in January, but how empty they are in March. How about you? This week I want to talk about growth and change, but from a perspective that is greater and deeper than you may have ever considered. Paul believed that when the gospel entered a life, something was different, radically different. Far from the external conformity that the Galatian false teachers were promoting, this transformation would affect them from the inside - out.
Spiritual Gospel
Sun, Dec 13, 2015
Duration:54 mins
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13 ESV) “Liberty means responsibility. That’s why most men dread it.” - George Bernard Shaw. The book of Galatians has been a declaration of freedom. The gospel is freedom from sin, from Satan’s kingdom, and ultimately from death. But it’s also freedom from self-salvation projects. We are not trying to earn God’s love for us. The gospel tells us we already have it! Amazing! But now, what do we do with that freedom? Are we to live however we want? And what, or maybe better, who helps us discover life in this newfound freedom? This week we begin to explore this new life, a life in the Spirit. I want to encourage you to read Galatians 5 to prepare your heart and mind for what we will explore this weekend. Why not invite someone along to celebrate the Christmas season. We will have our advent wreath and reading along with singing more carols this week.
Gospel Freedom
Sun, Dec 06, 2015
Duration:40 mins
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV) I feel in some ways, we live in an age with schizophrenic cultural dialogue. There is a call for tolerance and acceptance. And at the same time, there seems to be no place for those that disagree with whatever the cultural status quo is at the moment. Reading our upcoming passage, I don’t know how well Paul would have fit into our age. As we begin Galatians 5, Paul comes full force at the false teachers. But he also exposes how the gospel both frees and offends. He shows that Christ and salvation by grace is an exclusive offer and how adding even the slightest requirement re-engineers it. Take some time to read through the passage to hear Paul's strong words.
Sarah's Gospel
Sun, Nov 22, 2015
Duration:58 mins
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. (Galatians 4:21-22 ESV) We are weird creatures. Given a choice between slavery and freedom, you would think our instinct would be to choose freedom. But that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to our spiritual life. While we may say we want the freedom the gospel gives us, we easily and regularly choose the slavery of sin and self-salvation. We think by doing this, we will gain God’s favor and increase our merit. But the whole book of Galatians has been warning us away from such a path. In this final appeal, Paul goes back to an Old Testament story to illustrate our heritage of faith in the gospel. And he shows how when we step outside of that faith, it comes with dangerous consequences. To get you familiar with the story, take some time before Sunday to go back and read through Genesis 16 & 21. This will set the context for what Paul will explore in Galatians 4. Also, would you take some time to begin praying for someone you can invite to Hope during the Advent season? It’s a natural time for folks to visit a church. An invite from you might be all the encouragement they need to visit Hope. Begin praying now!
The Personal Gospel
Sun, Nov 15, 2015
Duration:48 mins
It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! (Galatians 4:18-19 ESV) Who do you think is better off spiritually: a person stuck in Buddhism; an atheist; or a church-going, rule following Christian? You might be tempted to create a scale. On one end are the people without any kind of spiritual beliefs, and on the other end is the card-carrying Christian (and somewhere in-between is the "spiritual" person). On the other hand, we might think it's better to have nothing than to have the wrong thing. However we arrange it, I’d like to challenge you to shake up your thinking. In our upcoming passage, Paul challenges the Galatians with the thought that they are in imminent danger of worshiping the wrong thing, themselves. This week, we will explore Galatians 4:12-20. I’d encourage you to take some time to read through the passage. Listen to Paul’s personal appeal. Through it I hope we will not only understand more of the gospel, but pick up Paul’s passion for people around him to be shaped by Christ.
The Fatherhood of God
Sun, Nov 08, 2015
Duration:49 mins
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV) The Fatherhood of God is basic Christian teaching. It's fundamental. In fact, the 19th century so closely associated it with the message of the whole Bible, they felt they could reduce its teaching to two ideas--the brotherhood of mankind and the universal Fatherhood of God. While it might be a bit of an oversimplification, it points to the idea that addressing God as Father is fundamental. But it might be new to you to realize that before the New Testament, this idea was faint, if not completely absent. And, I'm guessing that while we use it often in prayers and discussions, we have done little thinking about the origin, meaning, or implications of God as our Father. I confess I was a little captured with the idea when we ran across it last week in Galatians 4. So I want to take a week to explore it a little further. This is not going to be a drive-by guilting on being a better father (there will be something there for the ladies too). But it won't be a theological elocution about Trinitarian Spiration (yes, those are theological terms--I didn't make them up). But I want us to understand, enjoy, and live as children of our Father. So plan to attend and bring someone with you.
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