Friday, June 14, 2013

Let me ask you a question

Galatians Chapter 3

Paul ended the previous chapter by explaining that if we add anything to the finished work of Jesus Christ then we are frustrating the grace of God, and Christ has died in vain. In this chapter Paul does a beautiful job of explaining how an individual is saved. If you are saved this morning then you have been saved by faith in Christ alone.

Dr. Wiersbe was recorded as saying that the 60 verses that make up the third and fourth chapters of the book of Galatians are the strongest of all of Paul’s writings. This makes sense when we realize that he was in the middle of a war. These false teachers were using any means necessary to capture the churches in Galtia and therefore Paul cannot pull any punches. In these two chapters he proves the doctrine of salvation by faith and faith alone.

Paul begins chapter three by asking them several questions. I want us to look at the questions Paul starts the chapter with, and maybe ask ourselves the same questions. If you are thinking of leaving a church that is teaching and preaching the truth then you should definitely ask yourself these questions.

These people are being foolish and not using their mind. Verse one begins with our first questions. “Why aren’t you using your mind?” The root Greek word in this first statement is “nous” and it means your “mind.” Paul is saying you are not using your mind or your head.

He follows that question with another one. “What has gotten into you?” “Who has bewitched you?” Jesus Christ had been clearly presented to these people, they have trusted in Christ, and by so doing it has changed their lives. If what they believed changed their lives then what are they doing turning from that truth?

The same thing happens every day today. I once heard a false television minister make the statement that most of his followers were former Baptist church members. That is a terrible statement. This means that his followers are people who once heard, and knew the truth. These people have been “bewitched” into following someone else.

The same is true of the modern day movement. Most people you find in these movements were once found in a Baptist church. I believe there are several problems that contribute to this problem. I believe that many people have turned away from the truth because of a group of Pharisaical Baptist. This group has hurt an untold number of believers. These believers will no longer be a part of the Baptist church because of the way they were treated by these men.

The other problem is these people are leaving the truth they once held for something new and different. Everyone wants something new today. People are not satisfied with their homes, their cars, their cell phones and they certainly are not satisfied with their churches any more. It has become part of our culture to constantly want something different. It is my opinion that the church has to evolve over time, but should never change. We can’t be stuck in the days gone by, but at the same time should not be willing to change our standards to suit the times. Some sadly leave the truth in order to seek out something different.

In verses three Paul wants them to begin to think about what they are doing. If they were saved by faith in Christ, are they now going to be so foolish to turn away from what saved them? If they began in the Spirit then why not continue in the Spirit. When a human child is born they have all they need for life. The doctor does not say to that child, “You were born into this world but I’m going to need you to obey these rules to keep on living.” As ridiculous as that sounds it happens in churches every Sunday.

“I know that you were born of the Spirit, but I need you to follow these rules to stay saved.” This message has been proclaimed from many pulpits across America. The trouble is that my flesh has never done anything but let me down. If you are honest you will say the same thing. In fact if you differ you are a liar according to 1 John. This church was made up of sinners and they could not live up to the standards God had set forth. So are they now on some higher plane that they are going to be capable of doing what they could never do before? Of course not!

Next we see that this church had suffered for their salvation. In these days it cost you something to be saved. If they turn their back on what they believed now then all of that suffering would be for nothing. “Did you suffer in vain?”

Paul now asks in verse five, “What about the miracles that were done among you?” Paul had preached among them the gospel. Paul was an apostle, and as such had performed miracles among them. Did Paul do this by the power of the Holy Spirit or by the Law?

The truth is that the reason these men were able to perform miracles was because God was giving them signs to prove their message was true. You have to understand that the people that Paul preached to were in many cases Jews who keep the rituals of the Law. Now a missionary was telling them that what they had done for generations was null and void. This was hard to swallow therefore God would allow them to perform miracles to prove their message was coming from God.

This is not the case today. In fact it seems that most of these sign gifts began to fade with the fading of the apostles, and with the writing of the New Testament. This does not mean that we are not seeing miracles performed every day. God is still performing miracles within lives.

“Do you really believe the miracles in the bible?” a skeptic asked a new Christian who had been a terrible drinker. “Of course I do!” the believer replied. The skeptic laughed. “Do you mean that you really believe that Jesus could turn water into wine?” he asked. “I sure do! In my home He turned wine into food and clothing and furniture!”

These people knew all of these things. They had trusted Christ. They had believed the report of Paul. They had seen the miracles. In spite of all of this they were contemplating turning back to the Law. No wonder Paul asked “What has gotten into you?”

So, that is my question to you today. Those of you who are thinking of leaving the truth that changed your life. Are you willing to turn your back on the truth?

In the remainder of the chapter Paul will use the example of Abraham to show them once again that they are saved by faith and faith alone. In our next blog we will look at these verses.

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