Sunday, January 3, 2016

Paul's Epistles - Galatians Part 1 – Introduction

Paul's Epistles - Galatians
Part 1 – Introduction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION
We have already looked at the book of Acts, meaning “acts of the Apostles”, describing the events from the Pentecost, (when the Apostles received the Holy Spirit) to the first martyr (Stephen).

By the way, a true martyr is not one who kills for his faith, but who has died because of it.  One who kills for his faith is not part or a religious order, rather a cult.

The book of Acts also showed us the churches persecution by Paul, and his conversion, as well as Paul’s ministry, seed sewing and church planting, all the way up to his imprisonment.

We learned from the book of Acts how the church was founded, established, and operated during good and bad times.

From there we looked at the book of Romans. This book establishes the doctrines of Christianity.

1.      Justification by faith revealed in the Gospel
2.      Universal need for justification by faith
3.      How we are justified (by being obedient to the faith)
4.      How justification is not a new doctrine
5.      Blessings that follow justification (peace, joy, glory in tribulation, love of God in your heart)

We also read of the duties of those who are Justified in Chapters 12-16

From there we looked at I & II Corinthians.

Here we read of the problems that have come to a new church which Paul has founded, as well as the correction he has made, and their turning (repenting) from sin, and forgiveness of those sins, and being in a right standing with God once more.

We will now examine Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Galatians whose message is of Christ as the Deliverer, from the Law to Liberty!

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Galatians 1:1-5

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul’s greeting in the first five verses of the text immediately reminds the Galatians who sent Paul, why he was sent, and introduces the atonement once more. A truth once so dear to them, but now practically rejected by them.

After his short greeting, he immediately goes into reproof, expressing his disproval of their current state as a believing church.

He shows his great surprise that they should “so soon” have accepted another Gospel, which was no Gospel at all!

When Paul states in verse 1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead...”  he is making it clear that he did not submit the authority of his Apostleship to man, nor was it given to him by man.


    I.      GALATIA
a. The location of Galatia
                                                                   i. Galatia is located in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey.
1. Today Turkey is 98% Muslim.

2. Mostly Sunni and Shiite

3. The population includes members of the Armenian Apostolic and Greek Orthodox churches, Roman and Eastern Catholics, and Jews. Today, approximately 120,000 Christians and 26,000 Jews live in Turkey, out of 73 million of the total population.


b. The people of Galatia
                                                                   i. In Paul’s time it was mostly inhabited with the Gauls.
1. They left their own country in 300 B.C. (modern day France)

2. After a successful military campaign, they settled here and gave the land their name, Galatia.

3. They are fair haired, blue eyed and in Paul’s time spoke a Celt-like language, close to German.


c. The Church Paul established in Galatia
                                                                   i. Paul, who was delayed by illness (vs. 13) during his second missionary tour (Acts 16:6) preached the Gospel.

                                                                ii. He mostly preached “Christ Crucified”, which allowed him to be received as a heavenly messenger, and in turn was allowed to establish a church there.

                                                             iii. We see that they lavished their love upon him because of the message.



II.      THE EPISTLES PURPOSE (So what happened?)
a. The church was being mislead
                                                                   i. We see that one of the problems with the Celtic temperament is they loved novelty and change
                                                                ii. So when the Judaising teachers came that way, teaching salvation by works and the necessity of circumcision, the Galatians embraced their views. (v 6)


b. Because of this, they had become backsliders
                                                                   i. Paul, after hearing of their backslidden condition, wrote this epistle in hopes of correcting the problem.

                                                                ii. Writing this entire epistle himself (v 11) because there were no amanuensis to take dictation and write the manuscript for him.


c. notable differences in this epistle from others Paul wrote
                                                                   i. There is an unusual tone of severity in this epistle

                                                                ii. Paul begins the letter without a word of praise or thanksgiving
1. This is unusual for Paul’s letters

                                                             iii. There is no request from Paul for them to pray for him
1. How could they pray for others, they were backslidden?

                                                               iv. This epistle has solidified the emancipation of the Christian from Judaism, Ritualism and every other form of externalism that has ever threatened the freedom and spirituality of the Gospel.

                                                                  v. This was Luther’s favorite epistle, and played a huge role in the reformation.

                                                               vi. The doctrine of Justification by faith is stated here more than any other of Paul’s writings.




III.      THE EPISTLES OPENING
a. The Greeting
                                                                   i. Paul wastes no time establishing his authority will not bow to man, nor does it come from man
                                                                ii. Paul’s detractors falsely accused him of not being a true Apostle, while they pushed their way into the church for money, control, lordship and to gain affection by being “pleasers of men”

                                                             iii. Revelation warns of floods of ear-tickling pleasers of men in the end times entering pulpits around the world, telling people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.


b. The Reproof
                                                                   i. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.vs 6

                                                                ii. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” vs 7

                                                             iii. At this point, the biggest problem was the Judaising teachers, who appeared to be followers of Christ, accepting Him, but teaching you still need to do works for Salvation, as if the blood of Christ was not enough to fully satisfy the payment of sin!


c. Correction and Curse
                                                                   i. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” vs 8-9


CONCLUSION - “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

As we continue to look at Galatians we will see Paul establish for them once more, his Apostolic authority, as well as defend justification by faith alone, reception of the Spirit by faith, our Sonship through faith, our liberty through faith, and close the epistle with our duty and responsibility as those who are justified by faith.



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