The Big Read – Galatians
Powerpoint Pictures: Brownie; Professional Footballer; Fireman; Mensa Logo; Shredded Cheese
Think for a moment about how you become different things.
How do you become a Brownie? [You need to be a girl between the ages of 7 and 10; you need to pay membership fee and termly subscription].
How do you become a Professional Footballer? [Be good at football; spotted by a talent scout of a club; be offered money to play football].
How do you become a Fireman? [Pass various tests – medical, eye, psychological, physical plus an interview].
How do you become a member of Mensa? [Your IQ needs to be in the top 2% of the population; Pass a test to prove it].
How do you become an expert in shredded cheese? [Love cheese; Hard work, focus, dedication on the subject of shredded cheese].
How do you become a Christian? That was the question Paul answers in the book of Galatians.
In the churches in Galatia, there were some people saying that to become a Christian you needed to trust Jesus and obey the Old Testament law by becoming a Jew. But they were wrong, and Paul wanted to make sure that the Galatian Christians knew this.
He writes: “So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not be observing the law, because by observing the law no-one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)
The only way someone will be accepted by God is by trusting in Jesus. No-one will ever be accepted by God by keeping the law, because no-one could ever do this. Now because the way you become a Christian is by faith in Christ, this means that anyone can become a Christian, whoever they are.
So Paul says: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… There is neither Jew not Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, 28)
You may not ever be able to be a Brownie or a professional footballer or a member of Mensa, but you can be a Christian if you trust in Jesus.
More talks from The Big Read for Kids can be found HERE.
My notes from John Piper’s talk in the fourth session at EMA (Evangelical Ministry Assembly)…
Living by the Power of the Spirit
The gospel of Jesus shines most brightly on the cross. Nothing more glorious that His death for sinners and the resurrection as vindication of His work.
The Holy Spirit is given to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He’s in the world to make Jesus magnificent. The Son is glorified as we see who He is (we have affections in our hearts for what has been revealed) and respond rightly.
We need the Holy Spirit. We can’t love, we can’t follow Jesus without Him. My vision of Christ fades everyday as good things rise up and start to take over Jesus.
7 observations from Galatians 3:1-5
1. The way we receive the Spirit and the way we go on experiencing His power are the same.
How did you get the Holy Spirit? Hearing with faith. The way we begin and continue the Christian life is the same.
2. That single way (of receiving and experiencing) is called ‘hearing with faith’.
What does that mean? This is faith in response to a heard message about Jesus, the gospel (Romans 10).
3. This parallel of receiving and experiencing is confirmed in Galatians 5:25.
If you began in the power of the Spirit, only way to go on is in the power of the Spirit. Begin with hearing with faith, live by hearing with faith.
4. Walking by the Spirit is also described as bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
Holy Spirit in you bearing fruit – first summary fruit is love. Walking by the Spirit means becoming a crazy loving kind of person. Holy Spirit does it by hearing with faith.
Hear the gospel – believe it – something happens – love.
5. Galatians 5:6 confirms that.
Fruit of Holy Spirit is love. Fruit of faith is love.
Faith is when we trust Jesus as Saviour, Lord and supreme Treasure. Saviour and Lord leave you unaffected. Faith to the point of treasure changes everything in life.
Cherishing Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit.
6. Our act of trusting God’s gospel promise and the Spirit’s coming to us are simultaneous acts, but the Spirit’s act is causally decisive.
1 John 5:1 – everyone who believes (present) has been born again (past). This shows clearly that believing is the consequence of the new birth. The present act of believing is evidence of past act of the new birth. The Holy Spirit is the cause of the new birth.
Faith, Gospel, Spirit simultaneous at point of regeneration. Work of the Spirit is causally decisive.
7. From all that we’ve seen, it’s clear that the Holy Spirit binds Himself to Christ-exalting word of the gospel in His saving and sanctifying work.
Holy Spirit has come into the world to glorify the Son of God. The gospel is the apex of glory. Preaching that the Holy Spirit flies with tandem with, magnifies the greatness of Christ and how satisfying He is.
Paul’s emphasis is on living by the power of the Spirit pursued by the way you receive it – the simultaneous acts of hearing, believing and being empowered. Stop trying to live another way than the way you received Him.
Our job is to see and believe the promises of God for next act in our life. Spirit’s job is to fly with the Word empowering us.