Galatians 4:1-4:20

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Text: Galatians 4:1-20

THE PRESENT AND FORMER

STATUS OF BELIEVERS

INTRODUCTION:

A problem developed in the churches of Galatia. After Paul preached the gospel and people were saved in this geographical area, others came along and preached a gospel of a different sort.

Paul had preached that one is saved, and hence declared to be righteous, by grace and through faith. The Judaizers came along and preached that a man is declared righteous by keeping the Law. This, of course, confused not only the people, but confused the truth as well.

Now, don't be surprised when things like this happen. Satan is a master at confusing the truth and counterfeiting it.

In the latter part of Galatians 3 we saw the relation of keeping the Law and faith.

Galatians 3:21-29 - (21) Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. (22) But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (23) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. (24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

In Galatians four we see that believers have moved away from their prior relation to law to liberty in Christ. Remember that Galatians 5:1 will help keep your thinking straight in this fourth chapter just like it did in the third chapter. Galatians 5:1 teaches us that we need to continue in our status as free persons in Christ and not return to our former condition as slaves.

Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

I. WHILE A MINOR CHILD, THE STATUS OF AN HEIR IS SIMILAR TO THE STATUS OF A SLAVE - 4:1-2

Galatians 4:1-2 - (1) Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; (2) But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

II. A BELIEVER'S LIFE PRIOR TO SALVATION IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE HEIR WHILE THE HEIR IS A MINOR CHILD - 4:3

Galatians 4:3 - (3) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

III. A BELIEVER'S LIFE AFTER SALVATION IS COMPARED TO THE HEIR'S LIFE AFTER HE HAS REACHED MATURITY - 4:4-7

1. When the time was right, God sent forth his Son - 4:4

Galatians 4:4 - (4) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son. . . .

2. God's Son was made of a woman - 4:4

Galatians 4:4 - (4) . . . God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. . .

3. God's Son was made under the Law - 4:4

Galatians 4:4 - (4) . . . God sent forth his Son, . . . made under the law,

4. God sent forth His Son to redeem them that were under the Law - 4:5

Galatians 4:5 - (5) To redeem them that were under the law....

5. God's redemption of those under the law enabled believers to receive the adoption of sons - 4:5

Galatians 4:5 - (5) . . . that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6. Our sonship results in our receiving God the Holy Spirit - 4:6

Galatians 4:6 - (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts. . . .

7. Our sonship and our receiving God the Holy Spirit enable us to call God Abba, Father - 4:6

Galatians 4:6 - (6) . . . crying, Abba, Father.

8. Individually, my sonship means that my status is no longer that of a slave but that of a son - 4:7

Galatians 4:7 - (7) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son. . . .

9. My sonship means that I am an heir of God through Christ - 4:7

Galatians 4:7 - (7) . . . and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

IV. THE PRESENT PRACTICE OF THE GALATIAN BELIEVERS DOES NOT MATCH THEIR POSITION IN CHRIST - 4:8-11

1. They were previously slaves to idols - 4:8

Galatians 4:8 - (8) Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

2. Now that they have been delivered from slavery, it makes no sense that they wish to bring themselves back into slavery - 4:9-10

Galatians 4:9-10 - (9) But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? (10) Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

3. The genuineness of their salvation is in question - 4:11

Galatians 4:11 - (11) I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

It is not indicating that they might have lost their salvation; instead, it is raising the question whether they had ever been genuinely saved in the first place.

V. THE PRESENT PRACTICE OF THE GALATIAN BELIEVERS WILL HURT THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH PAUL - 4:12-20

1. Paul urges them to be free in Christ as he is - 4:12

Galatians 4:12 - (12) Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are. . . .

2. Paul advises them that they have not injured him - 4:12

Galatians 4:12 - (12) . . . ye have not injured me at all.

3. Paul reminds them of his sickness when he first preached the gospel unto them - 4:13

Galatians 4:13 - (13) Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

4. Paul reminds them how they had originally received him - as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus Himself - 4:14

Galatians 4:14 - (14) And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

5. Paul mentions that the Galatians no longer had the same esteem for Paul that they previously had - 4:15

Galatians 4:15 - (15) Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

6. Paul wonders if his telling them the truth has made him their enemy - 4:16

Galatians 4:16 - (16) Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

7. The Judaizers have played mind games with them - 4:17-18

Galatians 4:17-18 - (17) They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. (18) But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

The Judaizers want followers. Paul does not care whether he has a following as long as the Galatian believers are doing what they should be doing.

8. Paul is agonizing over their perfection in Christlikeness because he stands in doubt of them - 4:19-20

Galatians 4:19-20 - (19) My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (20) I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

CONCLUSION:

We remind ourselves again of Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

We have been set free. Let's not go back under rules and regulations which enslave us to someone's thinking. While I have no problem with wanting standards, we need to be careful that we don't fall victim to the enslavement of externalism so prevalent among fundamental Bible-believing Christians.