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Community Bible Chapel Podcast
8/4/19 Gospel of Grace – Living in Freedom Gal. 5:1-15
What does it mean to live in the freedom of Christ?
-There is all kinds of teaching about what that freedom means.
Today, we are going to continue our study of the book of Galatians and Paul begins to answer that question.
-Paul has been defending the Gospel of Grace with the legalists in the church.
-And I’m excited because today we begin to turn with Paul to some deeper application of the Gospel of grace that we have been solidifying.
I invite you to join me in Galatians 5. Page 824, youversion.
Paul has spoken to how he received the Gospel and that it was endorsed by the Apostles.
-The legalists countered that something more than just grace was needed to be saved – that the Law had to be followed in addition to grace.
-He opposed Peter, who jumped to fit in with the legalists by not eating with the
Gentiles, and discredited the Gospel of grace.
-Last week we went with Paul and saw how the ABC’s of our faith are meant to grow us toward maturity.
-We were never supposed to be stuck in the ABC’s, but to mature to apply those ABC’s and actually read.
-The Law was designed to lead us to God’s grace and then grow to live that out in our love for others.
-We concluded that our spiritual maturity is not measured by how much we read the Bible or go to church, but how much doing those things changes how we live in this broken world.
Today, begins to answer the questions that would have been asked as a challenge to the idea of grace.
-So, we can just do whatever we want and God will be glorified by that?
Strengthens his defense v. 1-6
-Now pay careful attention to what I’m going to say.
This is very important!
-Jesus came to set us free so we would be free.
-That is revolutionary thinking and a totally new reality!
-In Christ we are free.
-Now, for anyone who knows their own hearts recognizes that that can be a scary and dangerous thing.
-And that is just what the legalists questioned.
-If we take the Law away, then people will resort to wild living.
-And in our extreme way of living, we go back and impose a bunch of rules to keep everyone in line.
-But Paul warns us.
Yoke of the Law
-If you are free, don’t go back under the yoke of slavery.
-A yoke is something used to control an animal to do what it doesn’t want to do.
-The yoke of the Law is meant to control us to do what we don’t want to do.
-But it lacks the ability to change the heart and that’s the problem.
-We will always find ways around the Law to get what we want.
-But Paul recognizes our tendency to think that the rules can make us mature and perfect so that God would accept us on our own merit.
-Somehow we think we can live righteously and earn God’s love, when God just wants us to admit our sin and learn to love Him.
-Paul uses circumcision as an example of the yoke of the Law.
-And if you go back to your own efforts to keep the Law, three things happen.
1. “Christ will be of no value to you at all.” V. 2
-Trying to earn our self righteousness says we don’t need Jesus
-I can do it.
-And if I can do it, then Jesus is on no value to me – I don’t need Jesus.
2. “You are obligated to keep the whole law.” V. 3
-As you strive to be self-righteous, you will fail because you have to keep it all.
-Not one single law can be broken because that single failure places you outside of God’s loving presence.
-God doesn’t grade on a curve – and He doesn’t weigh your good against your bad…perfect righteousness is needed.
-And you and I both know that we are not perfect – we are only human!
-So we also know that leaves us with a problem we can’t solve by doing good things.
3. “alienated from Christ” v. 4
-Keeping the Law and living by faith are mutually exclusive.
-So, if you are working to be self-righteous, you are alienated from Jesus and His perfect righteousness that is only given to you by faith.
-Distancing yourself from His grace because you are saying you don’t need it.
The result of self-righteousness? V. 4
-The phrase Paul uses “you have fallen from grace” is often misunderstood to mean that we can lose our salvation.
-But if we read it in context, we see that is not what Paul meant at all.
–First of all, Paul refers to them as brothers, fellow believer, all through the letter.
-So if they had lost their salvation, he would refer to them with a different term.
–Secondly, many think that they might lose their salvation by committing certain sins.
-Maybe anger and murder or adultery leaves us outside of God’s grace.
-But if our salvation depended on our righteousness, then grace would no longer be grace.
-Paul is just emphasizing his point that living by the Law is mutually exclusive to living by God’s grace – you can’t have it both ways.
-If you are living by the Law, then the natural result is that you are not living by grace or have “fallen from grace.
Result of Faith v. 5-6
-In contrast to self-righteousness, is a perfect righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus.
-Living in Grace
-V. 5 hints at our progressive sanctification as he recognizes that we are not perfect yet.
-We are awaiting the perfect righteousness of Christ that comes by God’s Spirit through faith.
-That is the already and not yet reality in our lives.
-God see’s us perfectly righteous through faith right now, but we are still on earth and having to deal with our sinful nature on a daily basis.
-Positionally we are perfect in Christ, practically, we still have sin to work on.
-And so Paul continues to use circumcision, and exhorts us, it’s not about circumcision and the ABC’s of the Law at all, but it’s about developing a mature faith . . .“that expresses itself through love.”
-Faith provides us the perfect and complete love of God.
-Every need we might have is perfectly met in Christ.
-With our well filled and gushing over, we love others with that some kind of love.
-Doing what is best for others, no matter the cost to me.
-Only faith in Jesus can produce that kind of love for others.
Spiritual Detour v. 7-13
-Paul uses two illustrations to describe the spiritual detour . . . .
1. -The Galatians were running the race in the lane marked “grace”.
-Then someone cut into their lane and pushed them into another lane called Law.
-Who cut in on them?
-Was it Jesus who called them to faith?
-NO! it was someone else.
-Paul continues to persuade them back to faith with the OT illustration of “yeast”.
2. -Yeast always speaks to evil.
-You put yeast in a batch of dough.
-It seems small and insignificant, but as it gets working, it changes the entire batch of dough.-Sin certainly works that way as James 1 points out.
-It seems insignificant, but then leads to death.
-The yeast of legalism was introduced into the church in a small way . . . .
-It’s good to be morally pure, so avoid eating with gentiles.
-That’s what tripped Peter.
-And if Paul didn’t oppose him, a huge Spiritual detour would have taken place.
-We become legalists as we begin to use good standards for life and then use them to evaluate “how spiritual we are”.
-In truth, that reveals how immature we really are.
-No set of rules will ever make us Spiritual – Jesus set us free from that kind of thinking so we could love Him and others.
-Paul’s warning is still applicable today.
-By on guard against legalism in its infancy and don’t allow it to grow in our lives or in God’s church.
-Paul’s wish is that those false teachers would not stop with circumcision, but would “emasculate themselves” so they couldn’t reproduce more children of slavery.
Back on the freedom track v. 13-15
-Paul has argued at length that the external Law will never change us.
-For that, we need the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, to help us apply the sufficient love of God into our lives.
-He now begins to address the opposition of the legalists.
-If there is freedom in grace, then people will use that as a license to sin.
-Paul declares our freedom in Christ.
-Free from guilt from sin because Christ took our guilt and forgives us.
-Free from the penalty of our sin because Christ died in our place.
-Free from the power of sin because the Holy Spirit strengthens us to obedience.
-Free from our own selfish desires to love God and others.
-But Paul warns us about what grace looks like.
-The legalists missed the reality that the flesh is what drives self-righteousness.
-Legalism is not more spiritual than grace because it’s powered by the fles -death.
-That’s the same sinful flesh that is driven by our selfish desires.
-But grace is powered by the Spirit and brings life.
-Instead of living by the flesh and it’s selfish desires, the Holy Spirit powers us to love God and others.-Flesh and Spirit are opposites just as love and selfishness are.
-The opposite of love is not hate – it’s selfishness.
-One commentator described it with this equation.
Liberty – Love = license – driven by the flesh and selfishness.
Liberty + Love = faithful service to others
-So use your freedom in Christ to love on others.
Living out the Gospel of Grace
“Biting and Devouring each other”
-The Galatian church was living out the fruits of legalism and the flesh.
-Our words are a good example of the flesh and the Spirit.
-We can bite and devour each other in many ways.
-A quick strike that they never saw coming that brings destruction.
-Some people use their words to attack and destroy the other person.
-Relationships are destroyed with this kind of communication.
-All day drizzle
-All day – just an ongoing light sprinkling that drenches everything.-Some people never have a good thing to say.
-It’s just an ongoing drizzle that never compliments or builds up the other person.
-It just wrecks your day – and all those days come together to wreck the relationship with the other person.
-A quick storm that blows in and floods everything.
-Some people just burry their spouse or others in a flood of words and endless issues that leave them overwhelmed and quickly swept away.
-Before they can address on issue, there are ten more on the table.
-Baking the ground so nothing can grow.
-Some people are caustic and use their words to sap the strength and joy out of the relationship.
Will our words cost us our salvation? NO!
-But Paul is warning us to not use that freedom to indulge the flesh and our selfishness.
-Instead use your words to grow your relationships by building other people up.
So, how do you use your words?
-And I’m not talking about when your sweetie makes your favorite dinner or accomplishes all the things on the “honey do list”.
-I’m talking about when you don’t get any meal or the honey do list is untouched for weeks.
-How do you use your words to build up your spouse or to build the relationship with your kids or your difficult boss or the person at the grocery store that never smiles.
-Our maturity in Christ spews out of our mouth when we don’t get what we want.
-Our words have the opportunity to reveal the joy of the Lord working itself out in our lives.