Community Bible Chapel Podcast
7/21/19 Gospel of Grace –- Gal. 3:15-
Experiences are powerful in our lives.
-I can remember making a commitment before family and friends of my love for my wife.
-There are times in our marriage that I need to reach back and remember that experience.
-There are times that I have experienced the presence of God in my life in such a way that it had a profound impact on me.
-I can distinctly remember the moment that the HS opened my eyes to the Gospel of grace.
-I remember my baptism and call into ministry.
-These and many others are all put together in the category of experience.
-There are other times in my life when I have to recall those past experiences in order to work through a present circumstance.
-Times that I have to remember that God has put up with me for the past 35 years and won’t be leaving me anytime soon.
Today, we are going to continue our study of the book of Galatians.
-Paul has been defending the Gospel of Grace with the legalists in the church.
Gal. 1 He learned the Gospel directly from Jesus and not from the Jerusalem Apostles.
Gal. 2 The Jerusalem Apostles endorsed his Gospel of Grace.
-The rest of 2, Paul is using the truth of the Gospel to stand in opposition to the failure of Peter to live out the truth of the Gospel.
-Now, experiences can have a very powerful influence on our lives, but we also have to be able to interpret and use them correctly.
-And we will see Paul helping the Galatians see the importance of the experience of their faith in Jesus and apply it to refute the legalistic Gospel – which is no gospel at all.
I invite you to join me in Galatians 3. Page 824, youversion.
-We have been following Paul’s defense of the Gospel that he was preaching to the gentiles.
Our Experience of Faith v. 1-5
-Paul begins this section with four questions that help theGalatians understand and apply their experience of faith in his defense of the Gospel.
-The preamble to his questions is the statement
“You foolish Galatians.”
-The word here does not mean stupid but intellectually lazy.
-The Greek term often speaks to a lack of faith the interferes with ones judgment.
-I Tim. 6 speaks of the effect of money on ones thinking.
-Jesus spoke in Luke 24 about foolish men who are “slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken.”
-So, as Paul uses the term, he is not speaking of a intelligence issue, but a spiritual issue.
-And we all become fools when we begin to follow our own feelings and desires at the expense of the application of the truth of God’s Word.
1. “Who has bewitched you?” v. 1
-In other words . . . WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?-They had experienced the mind blowing reality of Jesus crucified.
-Under the preaching of Paul, and the application of faith, the true Gospel had changed their lives.
-But the legalists were saying that the cross wasn’t enough and we had to pick up the slack by following the Law to gain salvation.
-Paul counters by saying that there is no slack in Jesus – His salvation is final and sufficient.
-A believer can’t stay saved by their works any more than they can get saved by their works.
2. How did you receive the Holy Spirit? V. 2
-Wow, here is a question for us today with all the opinions in the church.
-Now, I am unsure of what “goal” Paul is referring to in v. 3?
-Is it the goal of salvation that he has been addressing?
-The goal of keeping their salvation? Or their sanctification?
-But the answer to all those is really the same.-If they started by the Spirit we will also have to continue with in the Spirit.
-In no way can we earn the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by the works of the Law.
-The “human efforts” he refers to can also be translated as the “flesh”.
-And we know that the flesh and the Spirit are at war with each other – right?
-So we will never be able to attain the Spirit by the flesh – He only comes to us through faith.
-If you have faith in Jesus – then you have the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit in you already.
-There is nothing more to be given once the HS is present.
-Now, we do have the option of following the flesh or following the Spirit as we will get to in Galatians 5.
-And we know that we can “quench the Spirit” but rest assured that the HS will continue to pursue the believer, relentlessly remediating us over and over again.
-The Holy Spirit is never the goal of the believer – He is the power to live a faithful life in Christ as we relinquish control of our lives to Him.
3. Have you suffered for nothing? V. 4
-If the Galatians have converted through faith in Jesus, then they would be suffering for it.
-But if they have converted to Judaism and the following of the Law, then they are suffering as a Christian without being one.
-That would be foolish!
4. How does God give the Spirit and miracles? V. 5
-This last question is again based on the experience of the Galatians.
-Does God provide the Spirit and miracles because you keep the Law or through faith?
-Miracles is translated from the Greek “dunamis” (dynamite) and refers to God’s power.
-Eph 3:20 says that “God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine according to the power (dunamis) that works within us.”
-And again, that power of God comes to us by grace through faith, not by keeping the Law and working for it.
-We sum up this defense of the Gospel of grace in the fact that we have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit when we placed our faith in Jesus Christ.
-It is foolish to think that we can attain or enhance what God has already given us through any human abilities we might possess.
Then Paul turns to the example of Scripture in his defense.
-As we enter this section, allow me to borrow from one commentator.
-He charted the logic of Paul’s argument like this
Faith Abraham Gentiles
-Faith has always been God’s provision for our forgiveness of sin and our salvation.
-Faith connects the justification of Abraham to our forgiveness of sin and redemption in Christ, at which time we receive the HS.
-The Jews turned that into this formula.
Law Works of the Law Curse
-The Law was given, we keep the Law to earn or keep our salvation, which ends in the curse because we depended on our flesh rather than the Spirit.
-Abraham’s justification came to him by faith that God was going to send a Savior in the future.
-He “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
-Once faith is established as the trigger that brings that forgiveness and righteousness of Jesus, Paul simply makes the point that it’s the same for us as it was for Abraham.
-Abraham was given grace through faith, then He obeyed God.
-V. 8 quotes that promise given to Abraham in Gen. 12:3-Abraham believed God about the Gospel that was still in the future and we believe the Gospel of grace that has happened in the past.
-The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the event that all of history looks to in order to be justified – sin forgiven – given Christ’s righteousness.
-Without that, we are all lost in sin.
-Paul returns to the foolishness of trying to earn our salvation by keeping the Law.
-I have never met a person who was perfect or even thought they could be.
-But what do we do with that sin?
-We believe that God will grade us on the “good” things we might do.
-We believe God will grade on a curve.
-We believe that we are better than the next guy.
-We just deny that we sin or that we have sinned so badly that we are out.
-But all of those are built on fantasy and not reality.
-A system of works rather than God’s system of grace, and they will all fall short because it’s grace that we need.
-Paul brings us back to reality in v. 10
“Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Law”
-If we are depending on our keeping the Law, we have to keep the entire law perfectly.
-Jesus said the Law is summed up in loving God and loving others.
-Who among us can say that in every second of every day of their lives they resisted the temptation to act on their selfish desires and always did what was best for God’s glory and for the other person?
-I have failed in that already today! You?
-I desperately need God’s grace.
How do we receive grace? V. 12-14
-So, what do we do with our sin?
-Jesus, who was perfect, took on the curse for us and died in our place.
-V. 14 states the reality of our redemption in Jesus.
-The redemption that comes by God’s grace not only brought freedom from the curse of the Law to the Jewish believers, but included us into Abraham’s blessing without having to become Jewish.
-Faith in Jesus brings us forgiveness for sin that we so desperately need.
As we sum up this section of the passage, Paul’s point is that it’s not wrong to attempt to live a Godly life of obedience, but we can’t earn our salvation through it.
-We need faith in Jesus, who kept it all perfectly, and died as the payment that is needed to bring us forgiveness of our sin.
-If you have never trusted in Jesus or if you are here today depending on being a good enough person to earn your way there – ABC
-Without experiences in life, our faith would be just a bunch of doctrines that have no relevance to our daily life.
-But in the context of those experiences, our faith has the opportunity to explode into full bloom.
-Sometimes we are given the opportunity to apply our faith to extreme difficulty as we learn how to trust God in the midst of it.
-Sometimes God makes us wait, and we grow in patience.
-Sometimes life is amazingly wonderful and we have the opportunity to see God’s amazing goodness in the midst of it.
-Sometimes we have the opportunity to apply our faith in the mundane events of life, like changing diapers, going to work, and brushing our teeth as we learn to care for the temple of the Holy Spirit.
-It’s in the experiences of life that we have opportunity weave our faith into our lives . . . and that’s when it blooms.
-James would say that those can’t be separated.
-But it can also be an opportunity lost when we chose to follow our own desires rather than to live by faith in the practice of those experiences.
-But when we weave our faith into those experiences, they become powerful testimonies of the grace of God in our lives.
-In addition, those experiences become the basis for how we minister God’s grace to others.
-II Cor. 1 – “comfort others with the same comfort you have received.”
3. Applying God’s Grace
-As an example – How many of you read God’s Word?
-How many of you feel guilty when you don’t have time on a given day?
-Now, I want to communicate this well.
-Reading God’s Word is valuable to us and even essential to our growth in Christ.
-But if I nurture the idea that I am more acceptable to God when I read the Bible than when I don’t, I’m beginning to step toward legalism.
–We are fully loved by God in Christ, not in reading the Bible, prayer, or going to church.
-Now all of those are essential to our growth in Christ, but God won’t love you more if I do them.
-You might grow to love God more as you do them, but He won’t love you more.
-On top of that, it’s very easy to begin to look around at what others are doing as a form of judgment and a way to make myself look better.
-We begin to judge others based on what version they read or how much they read, or what church they go to.
-We have created all kinds of criteria for what a Christian does and that can bleed into our efforts to extend grace to those who are sinking into hell.
-We had some great discussion at our Life Groups over how God’s grace effects how we live out the Gospel before unbelievers and within the church.
-As we work to apply Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we need to major on the truth that the Gospel of grace is what brings us into His family and is also what empowers us to live the life of Christ after we are in His family.
-And it’s is worthy of our discussion and application into our lives, our families, and our church, because it is so easy to fall off the road into the ditches of legalism and license.
Our God is a great God – His grace is sufficient and wonderful . . . .