2And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches (plural) of Galatia:
As I start, I ask you to remember this: Christian freedom is the liberty to become all that you can in Jesus Christ; it is not the license to do whatever you please.
This letter was written because the Galatians were Gentiles (no background in Judaism) who were saved after Paul had shared the Gospel with them. But now after Paul’s departure, Judaizers (Judaizer defined as those who were seeking to impose many of the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament, especially circumcision on the Gentile converts to Christianity) came and told them additional requirements to be a Christian, i.e., they must believe in Christ and be circumcised and hold to the ceremonies of the Jewish (Mosaic) law.
This is a salvation by grace plus Jewish customs/beliefs to be a Christian when, in truth, salvation is by grace and faith plus nothing!
Important Note: Let us dig in (6 chapters to go) before you worry about a loose salvation in which you say a simple prayer and then you can live any ole way you want. That is NOT the message of Galatians.
These Judaizers came in and were discrediting what Paul had just told the churches of Galatia as to what was required of salvation. Like many new believers, they were eager to do right to prove their faithfulness. So, when they were taught these things by the “traveling teachers” (Judaizers)…“Well, ok then, if that’s what we need to do, then we’ll do it.”
First question: Why do so many EVEN today want to serve a God with a bunch of rules and get offended at a salvation of true Grace and true Faith plus NOTHING? Could it be we want to EARN our salvation!!!
Thus, we finally come to verse 1: Paul, an apostle, (not of [from] men, neither by [through] man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Paul right off from the start lets them know he is an “APOSTLE.”
Paul always began his epistles in one of two ways:
1) To the Romans and the Philippians, to Titus and Philemon, he introduced himself as a servant, or prisoner of Christ.
2) To the Corinthians and the Ephesians, to the Colossians and the Galatians, he presented himself as an apostle.
Why? Because to those who embraced and welcomed his ministry, he was a SERVANT, but to those who challenged his authority he was an Apostle.
The basic meaning of the word Apostle means one who is sent out on a mission.
A) Jesus Chose 12 Apostles - Mission to Change the World !
B) The first 12 apostles who were sent out by Jesus seemed to have a unique place in the history of the church! God's plan!
C) They were used by the Lord in the birthing of His Church and in the putting together of God's Word! ( Inspired!)
Then, he clarifies his calling is NOT of MAN or NOT by MAN.
Paul was later added to this unique group of original apostles – but as he mentions here in
v.1 – He was added not by men – but by the Lord.
Paul was not commissioned by a church, or a denomination, or a theological institution… but by the risen Lord Himself.
And ends this verse with “by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead”. This makes it clear what “Jesus” we are talking about. It’s the one who came from the Heavenly Father and was RAISED FROM THE DEAD.
There is nothing wrong with institutions per se, but if you are called because of any man-made reason, you are deceived. First and foremost your call has to come from God (then, it is often confirmed by spiritual leaders).
Verse 2: And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches (plural) of Galatia.
“all the brethren which are with me” Paul didn’t come alone to deal with this problem. He was not alone on this doctrinal issue.
"unto the churches (plural) of Galatia". As we said in our introduction last week, this letter was to more than one church. The churches of Galatia were made up of likely 4 churches (Acts 13 & 14) - Iconium, Antioch, Lystra, Derbe.
Let’s close today with a story:
Sitting on top of the United States capitol building is a 20-foot statue known as the “Freedom Lady.” She was sculpted by Italian artists in the city of Rome and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to her perch in Washington, D.C.
During the delivery, the ship carrying the statue encountered a fierce storm.
Howling winds and huge waves threatened to capsize the ship. Its skipper ordered the cargo thrown overboard.
But when the men went to toss the Freedom Lady overboard, the captain shouted, “No, never! We’ll flounder before we throw “Freedom” away.” This is the message of Galatians… Never throw away your freedom.
For more history on Freedom Lady go to: http://ladyfreedom.net/history.html quite interesting!
So we conclude this week’s lesson on Galatians.
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