Stand Fast

Posted by on Nov 19, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

November 19, 2006

Sunday Morning

“Stand Fast”

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:1-12

Introduction:

 

A.   Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers can very easily be divided into three sections.

1. The first section could be entitled, “The Gospel of Grace Defended.”

2. Why? Because in Galatians 1-2, Paul goes to great lengths to defend the gospel.

3. He defended it by reminding his readers that it was…

-given by divine revelation,

-approved by the church leaders in Jerusalem,

-vindicated by his rebuking the apostle Peter.

 

B.   The second section could be entitled, “The Gospel of Grace Explained.”

1. Why? Because in Galatians 3-4, Paul goes to great lengths to explain the nature of the gospel.

2. He explained to his readers that…

-the Holy Spirit was given by faith, and not by works,

-Abraham was saved by faith, and not by works,

-justification is by faith, and not by works,

-spiritual blessings come by faith, and not by works,

 

C.   The third section could be entitled, “The Gospel of Grace Applied.”

1. Why? Because in Galatians 5-6, Paul goes to great lengths to instruct his readers how to apply the principles of the gospel to their everyday lives.

 

2. He talked about the…

-position of Christian liberty,

-practice of Christian liberty,

-power for Christian liberty.

 

D.   And so, Galatians can very easily be divided into three sections.

1. The Gospel of Grace Defended (Gal. 1-2).

2. The Gospel of Grace Explained (Gal. 3-4).

3. The Gospel of Grace Applied (Gal. 5-6).

 

E.   This morning, as we continue our study of Galatians, we begin the third section, the gospel of grace applied, and as we do, there are three things that I want us to notice about today’s text. First of all, I want us to notice…

 

I.       A Command.

 

A.   The command can be found in Vrs. 1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

1. Actually, this command has two parts.

2. The first part says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”

3. This is not the only time that we are admonished in God’s Word to “stand fast.”

4. For example, in 1 Cor. 16:13, we are admonished to “stand fast in the faith.”

5. Also, in Php. 1:27, we are admonished to “stand fast in one spirit.”

6. Also, in Php. 4:1 and 1 Thes. 3:8, we are admonished to “stand fast in the Lord.”

7. Finally, in 2 Thes. 2:15, we are admonished to “stand fast” in “the traditions which” we “have been taught.”

8. And so, several times in God’s Word we are admonished to “stand fast.”

 

B.   Now what does it mean to “stand fast”?

1. Well, the phrase “stand fast” is translated from a Greek word (steko) which literally means “to be stationary.”

2. In other words, it means “to not move” or “to not be moved away from.”

3. Now what is it that we are being commanded “to not be moved away from”?

4. Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, Paul said, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,”

5. In other words, “Don’t be moved away from your Christian liberty. Don’t be moved away from the realization that those who have put their faith and trust in Christ as Savior have been freed from the burden and bondage of their sin.”

 

C.   Now notice the second part of this verse, Paul went on to say, “…and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

1. In other words, “Don’t allow yourself to be put you back under bondage. Once you realize that by virtue of your faith in Christ you have been set free, don’t allow any person or any circumstance to place you back under bondage.”

2. If you have been paying attention during the course of our study of Galatians, you know that this is exactly what many of the Galatian believers had done.

3. Even though they had been saved, even though they had been freed from the burden and bondage of their sin, they had allowed false teachers to convince them that they still needed to keep the law of Moses.

4. Notice again Gal. 4:9-10, “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?…Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.”

 

5. And so, even though God had freed these Gentile believers from their former worship of idols, they had exchanged that bondage for a different form of bondage.

 

D.   Did you know that there are false teachers in the world today who would love to rob us of our Christian liberty and put us back under some kind of bondage?

1. They come to us and say things like this, “It’s nice that you have trusted Christ as your Savior, however, if you want to be assured of heaven, you must…

-do this or that,

-obey this rule or that rule,

-conform to this belief system or that belief system.

2. In other words, they tell us that trusting in Christ is not enough, that His sacrifice is not enough, that His righteousness is not enough, that there is something we must do to merit going to heaven.

3. Whenever we hear that, we need to remind ourselves of the command found here in Gal. 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

4. In other words, “Don’t let anyone rob you of your Christian liberty and put you back under bondage.”

5. Our Christian liberty is too precious to give up!

 

E.   Not only do we see a command here, but we also see…

 

II.      A Caution.

 

A.   After commanding his readers to “Stand fast” in their Christian “liberty,” Paul cautions (warns) them about the consequences of not standing fast.

 

 

B.   Notice again Vrs. 2-4 of our text, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing….For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law….Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

1. Do you understand what Paul is saying here?

2. He is saying that if a person makes the decision to rely upon their ability to keep the law of Moses to get him to heaven, then what Christ did on the cross will be of no benefit to him whatsoever.

3. Notice again the words in the latter part of Vrs. 2, “…Christ shall profit you nothing.”

4. But someone says, “I thought Jesus died for every man.”

5. That’s true, He did die for every man.

6. Listen to Heb. 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

7. Listen also to 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

8. And so, Christ did die for every man.

9. However, even though that is true, in order for a person to benefit from what Christ’s sacrifice for them, he must trust Him (and Him alone) as their Savior.

10.   This is why we read in 1 Tim. 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

11.   The point is, if a person makes the decision to rely upon their ability to keep the law of Moses to get them to heaven, then what Jesus did on the cross, even though He died for them, will be of no benefit whatsoever.

 

C.   But someone says, “What difference does it make, whether we get to heaven by trusting Christ or by keeping the law, as long as we make it to heaven.”

1. Your question is based on a false assumption.

2. You are assuming that it is possible for a person to make to heaven by keeping God’s law.

3. That is a false assumption.

4. How do I know that?

5. Well, look again at Vrs. 3 of our text, “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”

6. The only way one could make it to heaven by keeping God’s law is by keeping all of it. (Not just some of the commandments, but ALL of the commandments!)

7. In other words, he would have to live his whole life, from the day he is born until the day he dies, and never once violate even one of God’s laws.

8. This, of course, is an impossibility!

9. This is why Paul cautioned them.

10.   He said, “If you trust in the law to save you, you are going to be totally on your own, because the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross will not benefit you at all.

 

D.   Now before I move on to my final point, I want us to look again the phrase in the latter part of Vrs. 4 of our text, “…whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

1. I’ve heard many people quote this verse trying to defend their position that it is possible to lose your salvation.

2. They quote this verse and say, “See, it is possible to fall from grace!”

3. This, of course, is absurd.

4. What Paul is saying here is that those who seek to be “justified by the law” (trusting in their ability to keep the law in order to get them to heaven), have departed from (gone away from) the principle of grace.

5. In other words, you can’t have it both ways, you either have to trust completely in your works, or trust completely in God’s grace, you can’t mix the two!

 

6. Turn with me, for just a moment, to Rom. 11:5-6, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace….And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

 

E.   Paul concludes his caution by reminding his readers that true righteousness and acceptance with God comes by faith, and not through keeping the law. Notice again Vrs. 5-6, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith….For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

 

F.    Not only do we see a command and a caution in our text, but we also see…

 

III.    A Craving.

 

A.   There was something that Paul craved (strongly desired).

1. What was it?

2. He craved that God would deal with the false teachers who had caused so many problems in the Galatian churches and that they would leave the Galatian believers alone.

3. Notice again Vrs. 7-12, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?…This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you…A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump….I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be….And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased….I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

B.   Notice again what Paul said in Vrs. 12, “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

1. The first time I read this verse, I thought that Paul was merely wishing that the false teachers would be gone.

2. But then I studied the Greek word that is translated here, “cut off,” and discovered that what it means is to “amputate or mutilate.”

3. And then it dawned on me what Paul was saying.

4. The false teachers were telling these Galatian believers, who were Gentiles, that if they really wanted to be saved, they had to “amputate or mutilate” their flesh by being circumcised.

5. If I understand Paul’s words here, he is being sarcastic.

6. He is saying, “If these false teachers are so bent on mutilation, I wish they would mutilate themselves!”

 

C.   You know, there are still many false religions in the world who teach their followers that if they want to be accepted by God, they must mutilate themselves in some way.

1. (Illus.- For example, in the Philippines, some Catholics will actually crucify themselves [have themselves literally nailed to a cross] in an attempt to gain God’s acceptance.)

2. (Illus.- In some countries, Muslims will actually cut themselves with a sword and literally beat themselves with a whip in an attempt to gain God’s acceptance.)

3. (Illus.- And then, of course, we are all too familiar with those Muslims extremists who believe that by strapping explosives to their bodies and blowing themselves up, they will gain entrance into heaven.)

4. And so, the idea of gaining God’s acceptance by mutilating one’s flesh is still around today.

 

D.   Listen, we don’t have to mutilate ourselves in order to gain God’s acceptance.

1. We don’t have to cut ourselves, or beat ourselves, or subject ourselves to being nailed to a cross, or anything like that.

2. Do you know why?

3. Because Jesus has already done these things for us!

4. I love Isa. 53:5, which says , “But he was wounded for our transgressions (we don’t have to wound ourselves), he was bruised for our iniquities (we don’t have to bruise ourselves): the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes (not with our stripes) we are healed.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   And so, as we examined our text this morning, we noticed three things.

1. First of all, we noticed a command (“Stand fast”).

2. Secondly, we noticed a caution (“Christ shall profit you nothing”).

3. Finally, we noticed a craving (“I would they were even cut off “).

 

B.   As I close, let me ask you a question.

1. Are you “standing fast” this morning?

2. Are you standing fast “in the faith”?

3. Are you standing fast “in the Lord”?

4. Are you standing fast “in one spirit”?

5. Are you standing fast in the Biblical “traditions” that you have “been taught”?

6. And, most of all, are you standing fast in the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made” you “free”?

7. While there are times when we need to flexible, there are times when we must stand fast and not be moved!

 

C.   Do you know Christ as your Savior?