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Lesson No. 49—Have An Open Bible and An Open Heart

LESSON THEME:—GALATIANS

Galatians 5:22-26.

  • KEY WORD—”LIBERTY.”

  • KEY VERSE,—Galatians 5:1.

  • KEY PHRASE—”FREEDOM FROM WORKS AND CEREMONIES.”

Home Readings.

Galatians settles forever that man is free from the Law. Read a chapter a day this week, and for family altar read:

WRITER—Paul. DATE—Probably 57 A. D. from Corinth.

THE COUNTRY—Galatia was a province of the Roman empire in Asia Minor, and derived its name from the Gaul or Celtic tribes who settled it 279 B. C. The people were impulsive and quick to receive impressions, so that they gave an enthusiastic welcome to Paul on his second missionary journey, and eagerly embraced Christianity, but were soon led away by false teachers.

THE CHURCHES—This letter is addressed to the churches of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pesidia, which were in the province of Galatia. Remember that Antioch in Pesidia was 300 miles northwest of the great missionary church at Antioch.

OCCASION OF THE EPISTLE—Semi-Christian Jewish teachers were claiming that even if Christianity were true, Christians should be circumcised, and do all the works of the Law. The reason Paul did not teach this, these false teachers urged, was because he was not a true apostle and had learned his doctrines from others.

PURPOSE

  1. To trace Paul’s gospel back to God Himself.

  2. To show that the believer is free from the Law and is saved by faith alone.

GREAT FACTS:—

  1. Teaching.

  2. Contrasts.

  3. Freedom.

Great Facts I. Paul’s Teaching Was Authorized by God Himself.

Galatians 1; Galatians 2.

Paul marvels that his recent converts should so quickly give up the gospel of freedom, and take up with a Jewish message that was no gospel at all. If an angel from heaven were to preach any gospel other than that Paul preached he would be accursed. To prove that Paul’s apostleship and gospel were of divine origin he urges the following facts:

  1. Only God could have changed him from a bitter Pharisee to an humble preacher of the gospel.

  2. He did not consult men as to what he should preach, but retired to Arabia for three years and there consulted with God.

  3. He was with Peter and James but fifteen days so could not have learned much from them.

  4. When he went to the church council at Jerusalem, the apostles added nothing to his message, but gave him the right hand of fellowship into the company of the apostles and approved his message.

  5. To show that Peter was not a greater apostle than he, he points out how he had openly rebuked Peter for being two-faced about Jewish customs. This proves he was not dominated by Peter’s teaching.

LESSON:—

1. Just as the Galatians were urged to supplant Paul with Peter, when in reality they both stood for the same Christ and the same gospel, so today unwise voices cry, down with this leader and up with another to the injury of the common cause. If a church or denomination instead of unitedly rallying around Christ breaks up into different parties, then the tempter blights the influence of all the parties concerned.

2. Perverters of religion did not die out with the Galatians. They are a type of those who worship Christ plus somebody else! Who believe the Bible plus the keys or decrees of man! Who are trusting their salvation to faith plus ordinances or masses or penances! The wonder Of all wonders is that any man would give up a gospel of freedom and faith for a religion of tyranny and works.

Great Facts II. Contrasts Between Law and Grace.

Galatians 3; Galatians 4.

Here the apostle reminds them that they received the Spirit not as a result of obedience to Law, but because they heard the gospel with faith. Not the circumcised, but those whose lives are based on faith are the true sons of Abraham. The Law cannot give righteousness, but it does curse all who do not keep everything in it God’s covenant of faith with Abraham was not made of none effect by the Law given 430 years afterward. If the Law cannot give the Spirit, nor righteousness, nor a blessing, nor affect the faith-covenant with Abraham, of what use is it? To show man his guilt, and to direct him to Christ! Hence all distinctions between Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female have vanished, for all are one in union with Christ Jesus. As long as the heir is under age there is no difference between him and a slave for he is subject to the control of guardians. So with us, we are under the trifling, childish teachings of this world, but since Christ came to ransom us, we are no longer slaves, but possess all the privileges of full-grown sons and heirs. Paul reminds them that they welcomed him as if he had been an angel of God, or even the Lord Himself! And how they would have torn out their own eyes and given them to him. Now he wants to be assured that they are as loyal to the gospel of grace as when they first received it! Illustrating again their exalted state as freeman in Christ he reminds them that Abraham had two sons, one Ishmael, the child of Hagar, the slave, and the other Isaac, the child of Sarah, the free woman. Ishmael enjoyed not the blessings of Abraham’s house but was cast out, so must it be with those who seek to be saved by keeping the Law. But as Isaac was the child of promise, so ye all who become sons through faith in Christ, are heirs of spiritual promise.

LESSON—Notice the remarkable contrasts.

  1. Grace vs. Law. Under Grace God graciously bestows salvation, but the law demands that we should deserve it.

  2. Faith vs. works. Through faith we trustingly receive salvation, but works would keep us ever feverishly seeking to earn it.

  3. Spirit vs. flesh. Living in the Spirit gives one daily victory over sin, but walking after the flesh makes one ever prone to sin.

  4. Cross vs. world. The principles of the Cross are those of love, sacrifice and consecration, but those of the world are force, selfishness and pleasure.

One never saw a woman sewing without a needle. She would make but poor speed if she sewed with only the thread. So when God is dealing with us, he puts in the needle of the Law first, for the fact is that we sleep so soundly that we need to be awakened by something sharp. But when He has the needle of the Law fairly into our hearts, then He draws a life-long thread of Gospel love and peace and joy!

Great Facts III. Freedom From Works and the Flesh.

Galatians 5; Galatians 6.

Paul beseeches the Galatians to hold fast to their gospel liberty, for if they seek to be saved by keeping a part of the Law, that binds them to keep the whole Law. As Christ’s freemen they ran such a splendid race, why be hindered? If they are so anxious to keep Law then love one another, for this is the summing up of the whole Law. Not only so but free yourselves from the cravings of your earthly nature, for these result in seventeen evil works, Galatians 5:19. Far better it is to yield the nine-fold fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:11-23. He that soweth to the Spirit will reap spiritual harvest, but he who sows to the lower appetites will reap moral weakness and suffering, Galatians 6:7-8. Show a gentle spirit to one caught committing a sin, remembering that you also may be tempted, Galatians 6:1. False teachers glory in the number of their converts, but God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Galatians 6:12-14.

LESSON—The commonest fault of Christians is, that when converted, they do not cut loose from old habits, unscriptural beliefs and unscriptural friends. They are like two drunken men who one night went down to where their boat was tied and sought to return home. They got in and began to row, but when morning dawned they saw that they had never loosed the mooring line nor raised the anchor. That is just the way with many who would like to grow in grace. They get into the good boat “Conversion.” but they never let the Spirit pull up the flesh anchor, and the world and the devil have pretty strong lines upon them. To consciously realize the abiding presence of the Spirit gives the believer a victorious life, Galatians 5:16, creates Christian character, Galatians 5:22, inspires prayer, Ephesians 6:18, helps our weakness, Romans 8:26, and makes real the rights, privileges and wealth of sonship, Galatians 6:6-7.

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Give the key word and verse.

  2. Name author, date and place of writing.

  3. Tell of the country at Galatia.

  4. Was the letter to a church or churches?

  5. Give the occasion.

  6. What the purpose?

  7. Name the great facts.

  8. Give five points showing that Paul’s apostleship and gospel were of God.

  9. Show the folly of division about leaders.

  10. How is the gospel perverted today?

  11. Tell what the Law does not do.

  12. Illustrate by Ishmael and Isaac.

  13. Contrast the Spirit and flesh.

  14. Contrast the cross and the world.

  15. if one seeks to keen part of the Law what else is one bound to do?

  16. How may we free ourselves from earthly cravings?

  17. What is a common fault of Christians?

  18. Tell what the abiding presence of the Spirit does.

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