Scholars believe that the letter to the Galatians is the earliest New Testament writing. It was written by Paul shortly after his first missionary journey, where churches were started in various cities throughout the province of Galatia (hence the clever name!). This letter was written to churches full of very young-in-the-faith Christians…
Scholars believe that the letter to the Galatians is the earliest New Testament writing. It was written by Paul shortly after his first missionary journey, where churches were started in various cities throughout the province of Galatia (hence the clever name!). This letter was written to churches full of very young-in-the-faith Christians, and something had happened after he left that he believed threatened their spiritual existence.
Sounds overly dramatic I know, but it wasn’t to Paul. And you feel the weight of this as you read it. Galatians is different from Paul’s other letters in that it is far more intense than anything else he wrote. He normally starts with praise to God, then thanksgiving for what God is doing in the churches, then reminders on who God is and what he’s done, followed by some challenges he feels led to give.
Not so with Galatians. Right off the bat he goes after them with accusations of deserting God and turning to a different gospel. Wow!
As we together dive into the six chapters of this 2000-year old letter, we’re going to seek to understand what exactly had happened that caused Paul to be so upset, and we’re going to see just how Paul chose to address it.
Now here’s where things get interesting. I believe that if Paul were writing a similar letter to us today (Memphians?), he would spend four chapters on the content of chapter 5 and one chapter on the contents of chapters 1-4. Why? Because what we struggle with today is not so much a legalism that prevents true gospel freedom. Instead, I think we’ve been deceived. We believe we have found true freedom but we’re actually in bondage, and the reason is that we’ve believed the lie that freedom comes when we’re in charge.
We’re going to spend the first week setting the stage for what was going on with these churches and with Paul. Then we’ll spend two weeks on the gospel. After that we’re going to tackle Paul’s teaching on the law and justification. Finally we’ll turn our attention to how the gospel combats the lies we’ve believed about God, ourselves, and the good life, and we’ll end with some practical thoughts on what it looks like to walk in the spirit and thus the life of freedom that God has for us.
This is going to be a heavier series, but I truly believe that if we will do our work, then God will do some good and deep work in each of us.
7/16 – Prayer & Worship Night
7/23 – Introduction to Galatians
7/30 – The Gospel in Life
8/6 – The Gospel in Community
8/13 – Meal Night
8/20 – Faith vs. Work (Justification & the Law)
8/27 – Kingdom without a King
9/3 – Labor Day – no gathering
9/10 – True Freedom
9/17 – Life in the Spirit
9/24 – Weekender