Woodland Baptist Church
Morning Worship – May 20, 2012
Galatians 4 – Pastoral Frustrations
2) READ GALATIANS 4
3) Verses 8-11 Adopted SONS should not desire SLAVERY again
- Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
- Paul compares what we were to what we have become – we were slaves, now we are sons…how can we revert back to being enslaved again?
- Formerly, when you did not know God, you were Slaves to those who by nature are not gods– before Paul came to Galatia, these pagans were enslaved to all different types of strange idolatry:
- Acts 14:11-13 – 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.
- But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces?
- know – ginosko – to know through personal experience – experientially; Luke 1:34 – And Mary said to the Angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know a man.’ The same idea presented in Genesis when the man are woman are described to be a “one flesh union.”
(i) 1 John 4:10 – 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- Known by God – it’s really more important that God knows you than you knowing him – example of the President.
- Turning back – [epistrepho] – to those weak and miserable forces – again the stoicheion – pedagogos, the guardian – why go back into that again, when Christ has set you free from empty, powerless religious systems that are incapable of saving you? You KNOW the true GOD now through Christ Jesus – HOW is this happening???
- Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
- Do you wish – thelo – are you determined – is this really what you want? To go back to slavery??
- The best example I can give you of this in modern day Gentile Christian circles – Drug/alcohol addiction – Christ sets us free from the god of alcohol and drug addiction…and what do we do…we want to go right back to it…flesh…flesh…flesh.
- You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
- Days – Sabbaths, sacrifices…etc.
- Months –
- Seasons – Passover, Feast of Tabernacles…so forth.
- Years – The year of Jubillee…etc.
- I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
- Paul is deeply concerned that their desire to be obedient to the false teachers and abandon the gospel he brought them was evidence that perhaps they were never saved to begin with – perhaps they had proven to be hard soil…false converts…all his time and effort had been for nothing…
- 2 Peter 1:9-10 – 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
4) Verses 12-16 – The Shepherd once RESPECTED becomes REJECTED
- 12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
- Martin Luther observed, “These words breathe Paul’s own tears.”
- Become like me, for I became like you…Dr. Timothy George describes this as Paul’s ability to cultural accommodation without compromise of conviction.
- 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
- Because of an illness, I first preached to you…
- We have no idea what this illness/weakness was – there have been four primary ideas: malaria, epilepsy, an eye problem or ailments from being persecuted and beaten from gospel ministry. When he came to this group of Galatians, they had to care for him in his weakness…
- This illness was a trial….
- They obviously had to put themselves out for Paul – he was sick and weak and this was something that obviously took him a considerable amount of time to overcome…even in his illness/weakness…
- They still treated him as an angel of God –
- They welcomed him and treated him as fellow brother…obviously his weakened condition acted as a conduit for the gospel to be preached.
- Much like the video we saw last Sunday night with the young man that was critically injured in the car wreck – what an opportunity and platform to preach the gospel.
- Where is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
- Something has happened with the Galatians…do you sense the deep perplexity with which Paul writes?
- They had received him “as an angel…as Jesus Christ himself,” and something had gone terribly wrong…those false teachers…perverters of the gospel that shadowed Paul’s every step on his first missionary journey and beyond…those that would cause many in Paul’s churches to be deeply troubled in mind…”those people” as Paul would call them in the next verse had done an excellent job of bewitching the Galatians from Paul’s gospel to another gospel…which was no gospel at all.
- This church in Galatia would have torn out their eyes [renounce the most precious things for another’s advantage] for Paul if he had needed them…but now…things have changed…the church had been infiltrated…Paul’s gospel was being gravely threatened by a gospel of Christ + works…circumcision and the law.
- Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
- The shepherd has gone from respected…to being rejected…rejected for a different message from different men…and when Paul got wind of it and sends the message of correction…many in the congregation turned on Paul…characterizing him as a false apostle…false teacher…an enemy!
- Dr. Timothy George – “We must remember the pastor is not called to be popular but to be faithful. He has been commissioned by the Lord of heaven to preach the Word of God in season and out of season; he must no fail in his divine assignment whether he be applauded warmly or shunned as a leper.”
- Dr. James Montgomery Boice – “Ministers should not be received and evaluated on the basis of their personal appearance, intellectual attainments, or winsome manner, but as to whether or not they are indeed God’s messengers bearing the word of Christ.”
5) Verses 17-20 – Be zealous for the TRUTH and not charismatic PERSONALITIES
- 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.
- Zealous to win you over – zeloo – jealous, eager to possess – but for no good; why? because it was a false gospel…
- They want to alienate you from us…so that you will have zeal for them
- Ekkleio – to shut out, exclude
- These false teachers, presumably the Judaizers that we have been talking about for months, had come behind Paul with their impressive speech and lofty doctrine and nearly supplanted Paul’s gospel. They had listened to these zealous teachers and no doubt had been wooed by them and were in danger of being alienated, shut-out and excluded from the true gospel of grace and exchanging it for one of works – all because of the personalties in involved.
- 1 John 4:1-3 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
- 1 Timothy 6:3-5 – 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
- We must be constantly aware of zealous false teachers – many times, we think because they are so excited and charismatic that they are anointed by the spirit…and they are…it’s just not the Holy Spirit…but a demonic spirit. The Galatians had been bewitched…foolish Galatians….
6) Verses 19-20 – We must PERSEVERE with believers led ASTRAY by false teachers
- 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
- My dear children – what a term of endearment – Paul just gives it to them hard and just a few second later…he returns to his parental spirit again as he compares himself to a mother in the birth pains again.
- the pains of childbirth – [odino] – I am in travail, suffering birth pangs – whose souls I am striving with intense effort and anguish to conform to the mind of Christ.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:7 – 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
- until Christ is formed in you – [morphoo] – form, fashion, shape or mold – this is a medical term for the growth of the fetus into an infant within them; it is as though Paul is saying that he must possibly labor again to see that the “embryonic Christ” may be developed in them
- Paul did not want them to suffer a spiritual miscarriage but desired instead that, as Peter says in his letters, their calling and election is made sure.
- Paul wishes he could speak to them face to face, but all he can do is write at this point, but if he could talk to them in person, perhaps he could get more information to clear things up and change his tone…but he has to correct and rebuke based on the information at hand.