Church of the Spirit or of the Flesh?
Sunday March 10th 2019
Galatians 4:21-31(NKJV) – 21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” 28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.29But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
Introduction: The Galatians were Gentiles. But Judaism was an approved religion of Rome. Christianity was not! Judaism escaped persecution; Christians did not! Christian Jews wanted to return to the laws through circumcisions. Paul is writing to tell the church it cannot be both law and grace!
1. The Attempt to Become “Holy” Through the Law
Romans 14:15-18(NKJV) – 15Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
ILL: Last week I sinned greatly and carried my granddaughter with me. We went to Red Lobster for their “lobster fest”.
Leviticus 11:9-12(NKJV) – 9‘These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat. 10But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. 11They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination. 12Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you.
Lobster, crab, oyster, clam, shrimp, pork, steak and milk in the same meal – are all sins under Leviticus. When I was a “Mormon” I could not drink coffee, tea, Pepsi, Coke, smoke, eat chocolate – I sinned! Grandmother Willis was a Methodist. She wore a black dress every day which covered her neck to her feet. She said no man had ever looked on her body and if the undertaker tried to see, she would shoot him! The “holiness” came from the Methodist. Mrs. Roberts, a Pentecostal Holiness, would not cut her hair, shave her legs, put on makeup or wear jewelry – all to become holy. A Baptist pastor got elected to the State Convention through a sermon, “They’re dancing a Wake Forest” Mary and I were “dancing partners” until I became a Baptist pastor – dancing and “movies” were forbidden!
2. Why do Christians Attempt to Become Holy Through the Law?
Galatians 6:12-15(NKJV) – 12As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
A. They want to boast in their superiority.
Galatians 6:3-5(NKJV) – 3For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5For each one shall bear his own load.
ILL: We had a time of retreats and dealing with personal problems. When the men returned they would testify as to what they had gotten free from. After one such testimony I heard an elder’s wife say, “oh my God he has been in adultery.” Not true! No evidence!
B. What are we supposed to do with a member breaking the law?
Galatians 6:1-2(NKJV) – 1Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Philippians 2:3-4(NKJV) – 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
ILL: The Apostle Paul was himself a “law breaker.
1 Timothy 3:1-7(NKJV) – 1This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Paul was not married and for one year I have had no living wife. Tell me those who want to judge me will you try to use the law?
The Apostle would not glory in his Jewishness nor in his obedience to Jewish law:
Galatians 6:14(NKJV) – 14But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.