On Sunday, we finished our series “Jesus = Freedom” on the book of Galatians. It was immensely rewarding and I’ll be posting next week about the overall lessons I learned from it. But for now, here is the recap of my teaching notes from Galatians 6:11-18.
- The Walking Dead = The bid to just survive.
- Every day, we are surrounded by the walking dead. If you doubt that, then just consider the recent headlines about the Ashley Madison scandal, famous people caught in adulterous relationships, and others caught in various crimes against children.
- We are the walking dead!
- Galatians has shown us that only Jesus gives freedom.
1. Carrying the gospel to others is worth whatever cost it has for me. – v. 11, 17
- Paul gave up his health (v.11) & beaten in his body (v.17)
- He was arrested, imprisoned, beaten, flogged, and stoned. He was physically scarred from his gospel ministry.
- We have a hard time getting off of the couch to help our neighbors.
- There should never be the hint of shame, hesitation, or fear in talking about Jesus. No nervousness.
- We always, always talk about what is important to us, or what is on our minds: football, baseball, politics, or whatever is ailing us. If we aren’t talking about Jesus, it’s because we aren’t thinking about Him or because something has pushed Him out of prominence in our lives.
- The gospel is the one thing in our lives for which we can have unflinching confidence and unhindered sacrifice.
2. Legalism is about ego, not about relationships – v.12-13
- Judaizers took a sacred symbol (circumcision) and defiled it. Ripped it from the symbol God intended it to be & made it into a man-centered practice of arrogance.
- John Stott: “They have debased a religion of the heart into a superficial, outward show, and God has repeatedly sent His messengers to reprove them and to recall them to a spiritual and inward religion.” (Galatians, BST, page 178)
- Conforming to the practice of the legalists is more for their ego than for your benefit.
- Ultimately, everyone who seeks only the Law is an arrogant hypocrite.
- They are proud of how they made you conform but forgot to do it themselves.
- Legalism ends badly for the enforcer and the victim.
- Legalism deceives us into thinking that its shackles are our freedom.
- It deceives us into thinking that we can please God and fulfill our need for self-worth. We cannot. Ever.
3. The only boast we should have is in the cross of Jesus – v.14
- In the cross, the world is dead to me. I am in no need of its pleasures for me to pretend that I have found joy and peace.
- In the cross, I am dead the world. It will reject me utterly. And I’m fine with it.
- Crux (cross) was close to a profanity in the ancient culture. Not used in polite company. They substituted the phrase “Hang him on an unlucky tree.”
- Clarence Jordan said in The Cottonpatch Gospel: “God forbid that I should ever take pride in anything, except the lynching of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- I am lynched to the world, and the world is lynched to me. Separation from sin and sinfulness is not a quiet afternoon agreement over tea. It is a violent thrashing against our base desires, and a wearying struggle against temptation that leaves us spent, but temptation defeated.
- John Stott: “Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
- Nothing about me can compare or measure up.
- “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” -Jonathan Edwards
- In the cross, Jesus assumes upon Himself the wrath of God for sin. He pays my debt on the eternal ledger book. While innocent, He receives the judgment of condemnation that was meant for me. The divine Son of God has His human life snuffed out in the vilest of public executions so that I could be freed from my shame. His innocence is laid upon my guilt. I am forgiven.
- Once an enemy who lived in darkness like a troll consumed by his sin, I am brought into the kingdom of light to be made the child of the Most High God.
- “Cheer up: You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.” -Jack Miller
4. The only thing that truly matters is becoming a new creation. – v. 15-16
- Your pedigree has no bearing on your eternal destiny.
- Timothy George: “The Israel of God is an eschatological reference to the whole people of God who find mercy in the Messiah, both converted Gentiles and completed Jews.”
- Pagan Galatians are welcome. The faithful remnant of Israel is welcome.
- You are welcome!
- God is most concerned in taking your sin-soaked soul and making you new.
- There is no other way to becoming new. The way of the Law is a long, painful, and violent journey that ends in an eternal death. The way of the Cross is actually the shortcut for us to eternal life.
- In the work of grace, Jesus equals our freedom. You can be made new.
- HYMN: Beneath the Cross of Jesus
Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me.
And from my stricken
Heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss.
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.
Jesus = Freedom