Tag Archives: Galatians

Galatians 3:15-25 (SN)

Galatians 3:15-25 – Pastor Mark Neely

Worship:

Trading My Sorrows – Darrell Evans
Let’s Worship – Terry Clark
Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble? – Delirious?
Once Again – Matt Redman
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Blessed Assurance – Traditional

So as we’ve seen, the Law is obviously inferior to Grace. There’s nothing that we can gain by being bound under it, and there’s joy in knowing that we are free. But why is it inferior? In this passage, Paul addresses that question. Basically, there’s three reasons that Grace is supreme.

1) Grace came first

God gave Abraham the promise way before he gave Moses the law. When someone makes a covenant, a third party cannot come in later and make a new covenant that overrides the first one. Even when the Mosaic law was in effect, God still operated by grace. He never changes, and his nature has always been the same. The means did not yet exist to free sinners, but salvation in the OT was still based on looking forward to the promised Messiah, and the justification that He would bring.

2) The Law came through a Mediator; Grace came directly

When God first established His covenant with Abraham, He did it directly. No third party, nothing. He even took Abraham out of the mix by doing it while Abraham slept. By contrast, He had to go through a mediator to give the law to Moses. According to Paul,

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
(Galatians 3:19-20 ESV)

God felt that it was important enough to go to Abraham directly. He wanted all humanity to know that OUR WORKS DON’T MATTER!!! Goodness this theme comes up quite often in Galatians!

3) The Law is obsolete

Have you ever read those books of crazy laws? They’re filled with laws that are still on the books, but due to years of neglect and the changing culture have become completely irrelevant. The Mosaic law is sort of the same way. Due to Jesus’ work on the cross, we don’t have to be bound up by all of those restrictive rules and regulations (alliteration ftw!). We are free in Christ to live as He would please. It’s awesome!

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Galatians 3:1-3 (SN)

Galatians 3:1-5 – Pastor Mark Neely

Worship

All For You – Paul Baloche
Hosanna – Hillsong
Because of Your Love – Phil Wickham
Mighty to Save – Hillsong
Overcome – Jeremy Camp
Glorious – Paul Baloche

It seems like this grace thing is a recurring theme in Galatians. Oh wait that’s because it is!! Today we had three short verses to cover. Short, but jam-packed with great stuff.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

(Galatians 3:1-3 ESV)

Paul is rebuking the Galatians for trying to please God on their own. Because quite frankly, that’s completely impossible. The Galatians were trying to please God and earn His blessing by their works. They were trying to buy something that wasn’t for sale. God’s grace is a free gift, given by His Spirit. There’s nothing we can do to earn it.

Now that’s all stuff we’ve heard before, I’m sure. Here’s the part that I’d never really thought about before: when I feel guilty over failing to walk in the Spirit, that’s my flesh rearing up. It’s prideful. To regret failure implies that I think I could have done better. In reality, to succeed at all in any area of life is purely the work of God through His Spirit. Scripture is pretty clear here:

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

“Polluted garment” is putting it nicely. I’m just going to leave it at that. Anyways, if even my righteousness is so awful, why do I flip out when I screw up? There’s grace for that! God doesn’t want me to wallow in self-pity; He wants me to get up and trust Him to work in me. He’s the only One capable of changing me, period.

I say it again: God is the only One capable of changing me. Everything good in me comes from Him. This is what the Galatians failed to understand. I don’t want to make the same error; I want to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. if your mind isn’t completely blown by that, go back and listen to that whole teaching, because my dad did a much better job of explaining it than I did. It’s not that long, and it’s totally worth every second.

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Sermon Notes: Galatians 1:11-24

Galatians 1:11-24 – Pastor Mark Neely

Worship:

All For You – Paul Baloche
We Have Come To Worship You – Richie Furray
Victory – Gateway Worship
Arms Of Love – Craig Musseau
Once Again – Matt Redman
Revelation Song – Kari Jobe
Praise Adonai – Paul Baloche

So people were having issues with Paul claiming to be an apostle. They said that it couldn’t happen. So in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he addresses that issue. What’s his defense? Jesus. He points out that he was called by Christ alone, and that his conversion was the work of no man.

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

And if his conversion was the work of no man, then his growing in the faith was less so. The “normal” model of discipleship at the time would have been for Paul to go sit under one of the Apostles for a while. He would learn from them as he had learned from his rabbinical teachers before he was converted. Instead, he goes to the middle of nowhere and spends time alone with Jesus. Three years alone with Jesus, in fact.

…I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

This is actually pretty ingenius. God knows that Paul does not need more knowledge. He’s spent his whole life gathering knowledge. What he needs is to get to know how grace affects that knowledge. In the light of the gospel, all of his knowledge of the law suddenly became insignificant, and grace prevailed.

Finally, Paul points out that he wasn’t exactly doing what man would expect him to do after he matured in the faith.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…
(emphasis mine)

Now I’d honestly never really given this much thought before, but it’s really a crazy idea. Paul, who was raised as a Jew, and was basically your A+ model rabbi-in-training, would have been a perfect candidate to witness to Jews. He could relate to them, they knew who he was, and they would probably listen to him. But he’s called to the gentiles??? Really? I mean the irony here is just great. Paul is now going to a people where his previous training means absolutely nothing, and in fact it may actually cause others to be prejudiced toward him. But God isn’t interested in what we think works, He’s interested in doing what brings Him glory.

They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.

So I guess that was really the point today. God’s plans might seem a little crazy. In fact, the whole gospel is a little crazy. And that’s okay. When we can’t understand why something works, God gets the glory.

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Sermon Notes: Galatians 1:6-10

Galatians 1:6-10 – Mark Neely

Worship:

Today Is The Day – Lincoln Brewster
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) – Paul Baloche
Mighty To Save – Hillsong
You Are God Alone – Billy Foote
Overcome – Jeremy Camp
Cannons – Phil Wickham

God saves sinners. By grace, through faith. That is the gospel message. There was a problem in Galatia, and that is that people were turning aside from that simple truth and adding to the gospel of grace. Some said that you had to keep the law to be saved, or be circumcised to be saved. This is simply not the case. Paul says in pretty plain terms that to add anything to the gospel is a grievous mistake.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ…If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

Adding requirements to the gospel is a big deal. To do so is blasphemy. Think about it: Jesus completed the work of salvation on the cross when He said, “it is finished”. If we add requirements or place any value in our own efforts, we are essentially saying that Christ’s work on the cross was good, but not quite good enough. This is why Paul was so harsh regarding those who would try to distort the gospel.

Adding works to the gospel always results in legalism, which in turn creates anxiety and unrest in the body. Too often I am guilty of thinking that it’s essential that do better, that try not to mess up. This is the trap of legalism. Grace recognizes that I am a sinner who is hopeless to do even the tiniest smidge of good, but God is merciful and will move His Spirit in me to good works.

And just because it’s upsetting to a certain other author on this blog…abrupt ending 😀

Update: Aforementioned other author is indeed very upset at the ending, and is now adding her own. Boom. I win.

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