THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-23-03
LESSON TITLE: TO THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA: "CHAPTER 5: CHOOSING TO WALK WITH GOD"
Good morning and welcome to the Living Word program! Thank you for choosing to give this time to God, as we together strive to honor Him according to His will. As always, this morning it will be our privilege to sing hymns about God and to study from His magnificent Word. Now let's bow our heads before His throne in prayer!
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Romans 1:16, where the inspired Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Truly as followers of God we need not be ashamed of our Creator or His Will. Today we want to begin with a song that reminds us of the true boldness we should have as those who love Christ. So won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing, "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord!"
(SONG # 1)
We all have read many thought provoking concepts from the Old Testament Writers. In fact, one of the best writers that gives us so many of these ideas is Solomon. If you think about it though, who better than Solomon to guide us in the ways of God? You might recall that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, because he prayed to God for wisdom and it was granted to him.
In Proverbs 2:21-22, Solomon made this thought provoking statement, "For the upright will dwell in the land, And the blameless will remain in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it." This quote is dealing with two main thoughts.
First, we see that Solomon was reminding us that if we are trying we will be able to dwell in the land with God. However, the blameless or perfect are those who will be able to remain in it. You see, all of us reap the blessings that God gives to those of this earth. We all are alive, we breathe, and we have the abilities which God has created us each with. We also know that God sends the sun and rain and it falls on and helps both the just and the unjust. However, what is it that causes a person to receive the right to remain in His promises? Obviously, it is when an individual strives to do what God has said and what God asks us to.
On the other hand, he went on to state that the wicked will be cut off and the unfaithful rooted up. Let's face it, it does take an active roll on our part for God to know that we are on His side. Our faith has to be one that is seen as active, otherwise we are not of God - as is stated here, we are wicked. James put it like this, "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works," chapter 2, verses 17 and 18. Isn't it our active works that prove our faith in God.
I'm reminded of a story told by Jesus in Matthew 25. Here the Lord himself, was trying to teach us that we should do good and care for all men. In fact, He said when we do good to others, it is as if we are doing it to Him. Now, this is the very same point we are trying to make this morning. Jesus said that He knows when we are faithful, because He sees it in our actions. Just as Solomon said in Proverbs, that our reward is according to what we do, Jesus also confirmed in this same passage. In verse 34, He talks of the reward for those that show their faith through action, but in verse 46, He says that those who didn't prove their faith would be destroyed.
Start living today in a manor that proves to God and the world that we are truly following His commandments. Then and only then can we be found faithful and justified in His sight!
This morning we will continue our study together entitled, "to the churches of Galatia." Our specific discussion of the day is, "Chapter 5: Choosing to Walk With God!" So please stay with us and after our next song I will lead our lesson thoughts of the morning. Now let's join in our next hymn of the morning, as we glorify God our creator. The name of this song, "I am Resolved."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning and now we go back to God's Word. We have again the privilege of studying from the book of Galatians as we study a series on the churches of Galatia, just as it stated there in chapter 1 of the book.
We see that Paul here has been doing a fine job really, a job that's so difficult as we have said several times to cover a chapter per week, but I think we're getting at least an overview of what the book is all about, what he is trying to say and bring out some of the major points, really the heart and the meat of the discussion at hand as Paul addresses these Christians in the different churches of Galatia and really tries to encourage them primarily again in this issue of Judaism as compared to Christianity. Many of them have responded and claiming to leave Judaism follow Christ, but yet, after becoming Christians they seem to want to hold on to and keep doing those old things, the traditional things, many of the ritualistic type concepts that were found under the old law.
You might remember there again as we reveiw just briefly in chapter 1 that Paul dealt primarily with the gospel and the concept that there is one true gospel, again in connection to trying to help those in Galatia to see that you can't follow two laws. You can't have two masters, but you must follow one. There is one truth. "Anyone who teaches anything different," he said, "should be and must be accursed." Therefore, he was trying to help them to see that truly they should and must follow God in relationship to faith in Christ Jesus. That's where really chapters 2 and 3 take us as Paul there stands boldly face to face against Peter and others telling them that as they hold onto old concepts like circumcision, those things under the law, they really condemn themselves by the law because they have left those things through Christ Jesus. "Those things have been nailed to the cross," Colossians 2:14. Put away in order that we might serve a better, a greater, a more perfect covenant based on a greater and more perfect sacrifice.
In chapter 3 then, we looked at the concept of being justified then by faith rather than law and how that Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham, the special promise that was given would bless all nations and as we saw in several verses, would allow us to become children of God, sons of God, as it says there, as we put on Christ through baptism. Children of promise, heirs according to what God hath given through His Word. But there again also in chapter 3 confirming once again the fact that the old law has been done away, confirming the fact that the truth that really it was a tutor, a schoolmaster bringing us to Christ, but after the tutor has been used and after the schoolmaster really has been used in a significant way and then Christ comes, that which is perfect, then there is no longer a need for the tutor because we have the real thing and that's found in the very son of God, Christ Jesus.
In chapter 4 last week, we were able to look deeply at the concept of how truly you and I are not slaves of this world but we are children and slaves of God. And in that fact, we really are individuals who must serve God and do what He has asked us to according to His Will. There is a comparison that is used here to a woman, if you'll notice, in chapter 4 and verse 21, a lady that is familiar to us back in the time of Abraham as we use him as an example and the seed of Abraham and so on and so forth, a lady named Hagar. There we see that her son, Ishmael was one who was the children that was born a descendent of him but yet again we find that there was another, Isaac, who was actually the child of promise. Symbolically, it says here in verse 24 of chapter 4 that these two sons represent the two covenants really that you have one who is the son of promise, Isaac, and then Ishmael, who was the son really who was of an illegitimate situation and she was really not the actual wife of his father. Therefore, we see that it says, "of the two sons these two laws are represented. One being of the owned womand, the woman who was bound or the bondwoman and the other being the free woman who was actually the wife. Out of these two situations..." it says, "the son Isaac representing of the new law." This is the one who had the promise, the child of promise. Whereas, Ishmael who had the concept of the old, the things that are just not really as God had set completely in motion, but yet had been replaced by a better, a greater promise. Therefore, as we build on those concepts then and we are told in verses like verse 29 and 30 that we are not born of the bondwoman but the free woman, of those who are free in Christ Jesus.
Then we can see in chapter 5 and verse 1 what it is that Paul starts out by saying, "Standfast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." You see there as he has been talking about Isaasc and Ishmael, the two sons there of Abraham, the two different mothers that are involved in the situation. You have on one hand Sarah. You have on the other hand Hagar. Again, representation of the old and the new, how that really only one is the truly promised, the greater, the better. Here we have the new law, the liberty it says, the freedom that is found, notice not by Christ, not by the yoke of bondage as it refers to the law, but is that which is a freedom through Christ Jesus. How wonderful it is to know that you and I are under a greater, a better, a more perfect covenant based on a more perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ and how that we are free in Him, no longer bound and held to the handwriting of ordinances, as we've already mentioned in Colossians 2:14, those things that it seemed to be saying, "A,B,C,D and if you don't, you're going to get these results." A very hard and harsh law to follow. And now we have actually, by faith, Christ Jesus in our hearts, in our lives, in a loving way Him showing His love for us and us in return showing our love for Him.
But as we move on from verse 1, we see again that he returns back to the very same major issue evidently that the Galatians were having of circumcision, the concept of holding on to a lot of the traditions and acts, ceremonial things of the old law. And in verse 2, he says, "Indeed, I Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised Christ will profit you nothing." Basically Paul says here that under Christ Jesus, circumcision-whether you have it or you don't, doesn't make a bit of difference as far as spiritually. Christ isn't going to profit you more and consider you as better because of it. IN fact, if you might remember back in chapter 3 that it was there that it was clearly saw in about verse 28 that it doesn't matter in Christ whether we are Jew or Greek or slave or free or male or female. We are all one in Christ Jesus. We are all children of God. We are all sons of God. Therefore, again as he says, that circumcision profits us nothing even if we are Jews or if the Jews impose circumcision. Whether you do it or not doesn't make a bit of difference to Christ because it is a work of the flesh, a work of that which was bondage or yoke of bondage and not what is commanded under the new law that is made for all men, again no matter who they are, not matter where they're from, no matter what their background, cultures or heritage is, no matter what their color is. All can one. All can be found faithful before God by doing what they should.
In fact, in verse 3 he actually condemns them in a way or asked them that they reconsider what they are doing because in verse he says, "And I tell you again or testify again to every man who becomes circumsized that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. Paul says, "Look if you are going to hang on to the old laws or traditions, then you've got to keep it all. You're in debt to that. If you're under that law, then follow it." You see the fact was that these Jews who were wanting to follow Christ were just wanting to hold on to the things that they wanted or the things that they felt made them better than the Gentiles, the things that somehow set them above others because they were of the old Jewish faith and did the rituals that God had wanted. You see again, the concept that under Christ doesn't make any difference because we're all one, all equal under Christ Jesus. So he says here, "That's not important. What's important is faith in Christ Jesus."
So now, I want to cover something just briefly in verse 4 as we come into that discussion that helps us to think clearly, clearly, clearly to see as someone can be in Christ, a follower of Christ, acceptable for Christ, yet can fall away from Him. You know many today in our religious world teach that you can't fall away from grace or Christ or somehow can't fall out of His graces. I want to remind you that this verse here clearly and these verses in these chapters in this whole book is addressed to the churches of Galatia, that would mean "the called out, " "the faithful," "the Christians," and to those who were being, in many ways, condemned and even in many ways rebuked because they as Christians, already faithful, already followers in many ways, were not doing all that they should do, but yet were holding on to some of the old. In fact, if you'll remember one of those addressed was even Peter. Are you trying to tell me that Peter wasn't a Christian? Certainly he was. Certainly all of these people being addressed were of the faith and again, we see, as he refers to them as "brethren" and as "Christians" and as "followers" and as "beloved," that that's again exactly who he is talking to.
Well in verse 4 then he says, "You have become estranged from Christ who have attempted to be justified by the law. You have fallen from grace." Notice here, "you," "you brethren." That's who he is talking to. "You who have attempted now to follow Christ, but yet are holding on to the law. You are attempting..." as it says here, "to be justified by that law and to try to impose on Gentiles that they do certain things to also be justified by the old law." What does he say to them? He says there in verse 4, "You have fallen from grace." Not that you might, not that you can, not that someday will. He says that "you have, by doing this, you have." What does that tell you? What does that tell, friends, brethren, those that are listening? It tells me clearly that yes, one can and many times will fall from grace. Not because of what God has done but because they choose to reject what God has asked them to do. It's their fault in the fact that they have done it.
In fact, you might also look at Hebrews chapter 6. Hebrews 6 deals with the same idea and talks about a similar situation as it talks there about those in verse 4 of chapter 6 "who were once enlightened," it says. It says, "those who have tasted." Not might taste, but have already "tasted (past tense,) the heavenly gift." "They have even become, as it says here, "partakers of the Holy Spirit." They have all of these things but then what? "They have tasted the good Word of God already (notice past tense) the power of the ages to come..." verse 6, "if they fall away." Is the Hebrew writer teasing them? Was he lying? Was this inspired writer warning them or talking to them about soemthing that was impossible? He was talking to faithful people, people who had the heavenly gift and tasted it. They knew of the powers to come, the word. They had it all. And what did they do? If they fall away
That's the same idea here in verse 4. It says that "they had fallen away." Why? Because as followers of God, they continue to hang on to the old customs, the old laws and were enforcing them on others, especially Gentiles, those outside of the Jewish faith, also enforcing on them and imposing on them that they follow or that they would not consider them as brethren. You see there one can and might very well fall from grace.
But rather again in verse 6 he says that "faith works through love." Not circumcision. That really the uncircumcized, the spiritual concepts of what we are all about today in Christ Jesus.
Now I want to spend the remainder of our time a little bit further on because basically our next several verses deal continuously with the fact of the law of liberty, about freedom and how they were still trying to hold on to the old and really weren't focusing on Christ, the seed and the things of new.
In verse 16 and following, we begin to see here the concept of choosing to walk with God and what does it mean to walk with God? Well these verses tell us it means to "walk in the spirit." And it says there in 16 that "we walk in the spirit so that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Why? "Because the flesh is against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, and these things are contrary one to another. We've either got to serve God and serve God through Christ under the new law or we've got to serve the old, and that's what he's telling us. Put away the fleshly things, the works things that are binding on those that have not done them under the old law but rather follow Christ in spirit"
Notice some of these things that he says are really the works of the flesh. There in verse 19, they are evident he says, "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contemptions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, seditions, heresies, envies, murders, drunkenness, revillings and the like." Notice all of these bad things which are mentioned. He says, "These are things which are the works of the flesh, things that we allow our flesh to get involved in." What's the outcome of one who participates in such? Well verse 21 ends by saying, "Those who practice such things, any of those or the life, will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Well then Paul, as you were inspired, what is it that we must do? Well, we must follow the fruit of the spirit. Then he mentions what those wondrous, Godly characteristics are again in verse 22, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, and against there is no such law."
Here again the fact. Look, we are under Christ. We are under the Spirit. The Spirit has given us the Word from Christ Jesus according to the Will of the Father. These are the things that we have now under Christ Jesus. Not the law. That's why he again turns around and says, "Don't then bind yourself according to the flesh." In fact, if you'll notice there in verse 24, he says, "And those who are Christ have crucified the flesh with it's passions and desires." Not about the flesh, about the spiritual things, the godly things, righteousness. It's about the spirit of God. It's about Christ Jesus and Him crucified. Not about the flesh. Put away the old, the works of the flesh, and all those evils that might be again keeping us from Him and causing us not to inherit the kingdom of God and focus on Christ, righteousness, goodness, godliness, and that's the concept being brought out here. Why? Because in verse 25 he says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." There we have it. If we want to live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit. Do it God's way. Do it as He has asked us to, not so that we might in some way deceive someone or provoke others or envy others as he ends there, but he says to do what we do because of goodness and godliness and because we love one another and we respond to God because He has first loved us and we have an attitude and outlook, an aora in life that shows that truly that we not only love God, but that we present the fruit of the spirit in all that we do because we are New Testament Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. Through faith we find salvation. Tehrefore, we put the law, the things of the flesh, those things that often were binding according to what man would say. We put them away in order that we might serve the spirit and serve God and do His Will.
I hope each of us can continue to learn from this great book that the apostle Paul was trying to encourage not only them, but even us, to be those who are strong and faithful and obedient children of God in all things so that we might be found proper in His sight.
(SONG # 3 - "The Lily of The Valley!")
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As we live every day on this earth which God created, may we chose to walk in Him and according to His Will.