O Foolish Galatians

Posted by on Aug 27, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

August 27, 2006

Sunday Morning

“O Foolish Galatians”

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:1-5

Introduction:

 

A.   As we begin our study of Galatians chapter three, immediately we learn at least two things about these believers to whom Paul was writing.

1. The first thing we learn is that they were conducting themselves in a foolish manner (they were being foolish).

2. Notice once again.”Vrs. 1, “O foolish Galatians,”

3. The word translated “foolish” here is the Greek word “anoetos (an-o’-ay-tos).”

4. According to one Greek scholar, the word “denotes the stupidity that arises from deadness and impotence of intellect.”

5. It means “lacking in the power of perception.”

6. It refers to someone who does not reflect, someone who fails to use their own powers of perception.

7. It’s like Paul was saying, “You Galatians are not using your heads, and because you are not using your heads, you are conducting yourself in a foolish manner.”

 

B.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why weren’t these Galatian believers using their heads?

2. They weren’t using their heads because they had come under the spell of false teachers.

3. Notice again Vrs. 1, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you.”

4. The word translated “bewitched” here is from a Greek word that is found only once in the New Testament and it means “to fascinate” or “to put under a spell.”

5. Now I don’t believe that the false teachers were actually practicing “magic” and casting “spells” on the believers in Galatia.

6. However, I do believe that because of the demonic powers that accompany all false teaching, these believers had fallen under their influence and been persuaded to believe a lie.

 

C.   Now, this morning, I want us to focus our attention on the first three words in Vrs. 1 of our text, “O foolish Galatians,” and I want us to answer the question, “Why were these Galatian believers foolish?”

1.  Paul said they were foolish, but why were they foolish?

2. According to our text, there were at least three reasons. why they were foolish. First of all, they were foolish because they had…

 

I.       Disobeyed The Truth About Christ’s Crucifixion.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 1, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

1. Now let me say, first of all, that these Galatian believers were not having a problem with the fact of Christ’s crucifixion.

2. They accepted the fact that Christ had been crucified.

3. They even accepted the fact that Christ had been crucified for them (for their sins).

4. What they did not accept, however, was the fact that Christ’s crucifixion on their behalf was sufficient in and of itself to guarantee them a place in heaven.

 

B.   Let me remind you that these Galatian believers had been deceived into believing that if they wanted to be sure of heaven, they not only had to trust in Jesus, but they also had to conform to the law of Moses.

1. In other words, Jesus was not enough.

2. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not enough.

3. Jesus’ blood that was shed for them was not enough.

4. This is what I mean when I say that they had disobeyed the truth about Christ’s crucifixion.

5. They did not accept the fact that Christ’s crucifixion was sufficient in and of itself to atone for their sins and guarantee them a home in heaven.

 

C.   Now let me ask you a question.

1. Is Jesus enough?

2. Is His sacrifice on the cross enough?

3. Is His blood that was shed for us enough?

4. Is Christ’s crucifixion sufficient in and of itself to atone for our sins and guarantee us a home in heaven?

5. Let’s let the Word of God answer that question.

6. Turn with me to Rom. 5:8-10, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us….Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him….For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

7. There are two phrases in this passage that I want you to notice, first of all in Vrs. 9 it says, “…being now justified by his blood.”

8. By what are we “justified”?

9. We are “justified by his blood.”

10.   Then in Vrs. 10 it says, “…we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

11.   By what are we “reconciled to God”?

12.   We are “reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

13.   Notice that is doesn’t say anything about being circumcised, or keeping the law, or doing good works.

14.   And so, according to this verse,…

-Jesus IS enough,

-His sacrifice on the cross IS enough,

-His blood that was shed for us IS enough.

 

D.   Now turn with me to Eph. 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

1. According to this verse, the “blood” of Jesus is sufficient to provide for us at least two things.

2. First of all, it is sufficient to provide “redemption.”

3. Secondly, it is sufficient to provide “the forgiveness of sins.”

4. Notice that it doesn’t say anything about being circumcised, or keeping the law, or doing good works.

5. And so, according to this verse,…

-Jesus IS enough,

-His sacrifice on the cross IS enough,

-His blood that was shed for us IS enough.

 

E.   There is one more passage that I want us to look at before I move on to my next point, and that is 1 Pet. 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

1. With what have we been redeemed?

2. According to this verse, we have been redeemed with “the precious blood of Christ.”

3. Notice that is doesn’t say anything about being circumcised or keeping the law or doing good works.

4. And so, according to this passage,…

-Jesus IS enough,

-His sacrifice on the cross IS enough,

-His blood that was shed for us IS enough.

 

F.    And so, the Galatians were foolish because they had disobeyed the truth about Christ’s crucifixion.

1. While they had accepted the fact that Christ had died on the cross, and while they had even accepted the fact that He had died for their sins, they did NOT accept the fact that Christ’s death (sacrifice) was all sufficient.

2. Because they had fallen under the demonic influence of false teachers, they had been led to believe that if they wanted to be sure of heaven, they must “add to” what Christ had already done.

3. Let me tell you something, contrary to what most professing Christians believe, we don’t have to add anything to what Christ has already done!

4. What Christ did when He died on the cross for us was all sufficient to guarantee us a home in heaven.

5. All we must do is accept, by faith, what Christ has done.

6. John 3:16 says it so well, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son (on the cross), that whosoever believeth in Him (His sacrifice) should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Amen?)

 

G.   Notice, secondly, that the Galatian believers were foolish because they had…

 

II.      Disregarded Their Spiritual Roots (Beginnings).

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 2-3 of our text, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?…Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

1. In other words, Paul asked them the question, “How did you come to Christ in the first place? Did you come to Christ by conforming to the law of Moses or by simple faith in Him?”

2. The answer, of course, was they had come to Christ by simply putting their faith in Him.

3. Paul goes on, “Are you so foolish as to believe that one is saved by faith alone, but then is kept saved (“made perfect”) by keeping the law?

 

B.   By the way, did you realize that the vast majority of professing Christians today believe this same foolishness?

 

1. (Illus.- Not too long ago I was discussing this very thing with a man who professed to be a Christian, but was not a Baptist. Early in our conversation, he asked me, “Don’t you Baptists believe in ‘once saved, always saved’?” When I told him that we did, he said, “Well, I just can believe in that.” While he didn’t use the word “foolish,” I could tell by the way he said it that he thought that Baptists were foolish for believing in eternal security. I read him Eph. 2:8-9, and asked him if he believed in salvation by grace through faith alone. In so many words, here is what he said, “Yes I do, but I also believe that once we are saved, it is then up to us to keep ourselves saved by living a life that is worthy of eternal life.”)

2. Now that man thought I was foolish because I believed in eternal security, however, according to Gal. 3:2, I’m not the one who is being foolish. (Amen?)

3. And so, the vast majority of professing Christians believe the same foolish lie that the Galatian believers had come to believe.

 

C.   Let me tell you something, the same grace that saved us when we first trusted Christ as our Savior, is the grace that keeps us saved today! (Amen?)

1. We are not only saved by grace, but we are kept by that same grace.

2. I love the words of Jesus found in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:…And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand….My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

3. Paul put it like this in 2 Tim. 1:12, “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

 

4. Peter put it like this in 1 Pet. 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,…Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 

D.   And so, the Galatian believers were foolish because they disregarded their spiritual roots (beginnings).

1. We, as believers today, need to be very careful that we do not disregard our spiritual roots.

2. Paul wrote in Col. 2:6, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”

3. How did we receive Christ?

4. We received Him…

-by faith,

-with joy,

-in anticipation.

5. Well, if that’s how we received Christ, that’s how we should live our lives today,…

-by faith,

-with joy,

-in anticipation.

6. You might remember that in Rev. 2:4, our Lord Jesus rebuked the church at Ephesus for disregarding their spiritual roots.

7. He said, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

8. This church had clearly gotten away from their spiritual roots.

 

E.   There was a third reason why the Galatian believers were foolish, and that is because they had…

 

III.    Disavowed The Basis Of God’s Miracles.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 4-5 of our text, “Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain….He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

1. One of the things that accompanied Paul’s ministry as he went about preaching the gospel, winning people to Christ, and establishing churches, was the working of miracles.

2. These miracles included healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead.

3. For example, while Paul was preaching in the city of “Troas,” on the last night he was there, he preached “until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)

4. We are told that a young man named “Eutychus,” fell asleep and fell out of a third story window and was killed by the fall.

5. According to Acts 20:10, Paul stopped his preaching, fell upon the young man’s lifeless body, and restored his life to him.

6. The point is, just like the other apostles, the working of miracles accompanied Paul’s ministry.

 

B.   Now Paul asked the Galatian believers a question.

1. “While I was with you, ministering to you and preaching the gospel to you, and God was working miracles in your midst, was God working these miracles in response to faith or in response to conforming to the law?”

2. The answer, of course, was “in response to faith.”

3. In Mark 9, we are told about a man who brought his son to Jesus.

4. This man’s son was possessed by a demon spirit that caused him to fall on the ground, gnash his teeth, foam at the mouth, and wallow in the dirt. (Mark 9:18,20,22)

 

5. Sometimes the demon would cause the boy to throw himself into a fire.

6. The father brought his son to Jesus and said, “Have compassion on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)

7. Do you remember what Jesus told him?

8. He said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23)

9. Notice He didn’t say, “…all things are possible to….

-him that is circumcised,

-him that keepeth the law,

-him that doeth good works,

but it says, “all things are possible to him that believeth.”

 

C.   By the way, Jesus’ own disciples had tried to cast this demon out, but had failed.

1. After Jesus had cast the demon out, His disciples came to Him and said, “Why could not we cast him out?”

2. Do you remember what Jesus told them?

3. According to Mat. 17:20, Jesus said, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

 

D.   And so, the Galatian believers were foolish because they had disavowed the basis for God’s miracles.

1. You know, I believe God still works miracles today.

2. No, I don’t believe that any human being today possesses the gift of miracles like Paul did, but I do believe that God still works miracles today, and He often does so in response to our faith.

3. Do you need a miracle in your life today?

4. The Bible says in Jam. 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him….But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   Notice again how Paul began this third chapter of Galatians, he said, “O foolish Galatians.”

1. Why were they foolish? Three reasons.

2. First of all, they were foolish because they had disobeyed the truth about Christ’s crucifixion (they had failed to accept the fact that Christ’s death on the cross was [all sufficient] sufficient in and of itself to guarantee them a home in heaven).

3. Secondly, they were foolish because they had disregarded their own spiritual roots (they had been led to believe that even though they had initially been saved by grace through faith alone, if they wanted to keep their salvation, they had to keep the law).

4. Finally, they were foolish because they had disavowed the basis for God’s miracles (they had been deceived into believing that even though God had wrought great miracles among them in response to their faith, faith alone was not sufficient to get them to heaven – they needed to keep the law as well).

 

B.   Not only were the Galatian believers foolish, but anyone who rejects the simple truth that all a sinner has to do to be saved is to believe (trust) in what Jesus did on the cross when He died for our sins, anyone who rejects that truth is also foolish.

 

C.   How about you?

1. Are you like those foolish Galatians?

2. Have you been deceived into believing that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient, and that you must add something to what Christ has already done if you want to go to heaven?

3. Listen, Jesus doesn’t need our help to save us.

4. All we must do is trust in what He has done for us.

5. Have you done that??

6. I certainly hope so!