On Deck: Galatians

On Sunday, September 9, I will begin a sermon series on the New Testament book of Galatians.  It’s one of the Apostle Paul’s earliest letters, and it’s written to a group of churches that he planted in Galatia on his first missionary journey.  It’s a letter of passionate correction to followers of Jesus who were being led astray by teachers teaching a warped gospel.  At the beginning of the letter, Paul writes, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”  And he ends the letter by saying, “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”  Paul usually dictated his letters…but not this one.  This one was just too important.  He had to write this one himself.

Galatians was Martin Luther’s charter of liberty during the Reformation.  Luther’s writings – in turn – brought the truth of salvation by faith to John Wesley’s heart in London on May 24, 1738.  It was Wesley whom God used in such a remarkable way to spearhead revival in the British Isles, leading eventually to the founding of the Methodist Church.  And that revival positively affected the entire English-speaking world.

May God use this study to bring instruction, refreshment, and even revival to us as we study it together.

What Is Our Message?

Preparing to preach the New Testament book of Galatians.  In it, Paul passionately defends the true message of the Gospel against the false message that had crept in to the churches in Galatia.  I’m doing a lot of reading in preparation for this series, including reading Prodigal God by Tim Keller.  It’s a short book meant to lay out the essentials of the Christian message using the account of The Prodigal Son from Luke 15.  Here’s a quote I came across that made me stop dead in my tracks…

The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avaunt-garde ones.  We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people.  The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church.  That can only mean one thing.  If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message Jesus did.  – Tim Keller, Prodigal God, Pages 15-16