Sunday, July 17, 2011

All The Way From Slavery to Son-ship

Galatians 4:1-11
1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
When you write a sermon, it is a good idea to keep it simple. Simple, in what you’d want people to walk away with.  Some times, it might be necessary to give 12 points but for the most part, people don’t remember 12 points.  They remember what you were wearing or if the room was too cold OR one to three points from the talk.  If I were to give you a three-point outline right now, do you think you would remember it?  Most likely.
Here is the three points of this passage today.
  • You were once slaves
  • Now you are Sons
  • It would be rather foolish to return being a slave.
In the Jewish culture, a young boy becomes a man at around 13. (In the west, the term ‘teenager’ came into usage around 1910.) There was a Bar Mitzvah.  The father verbally says something like: From birth till now, I have been responsible for this child, but now, he is under the care of God Himself.  He is now God’s responsibility.  In Norway, the ceremony is called ‘Russ.’ In the US, Sweet 16 for girls, Shinto- 11-17, called Genpuku. Buddhism: age 20, Shinbyu; Christians-confirmation, believers Baptism, but that is not a coming of age thing. The young person notes a change.  Now, the older people don’t look on him as a child.  Earned some respect. Has to live up to a higher standard.
In Greek society, Paul knew that full well.  Boys between 7-18, there would be a state sponsored event where the child was given to the State for two years and after, into society.  In the Roman tradition, the boy removes the toga with the purple ribbon on the bottom and replaces it with a pure white toga—now considered a man with the full understanding of what is expected of him and what he can now do. Not a child, with adult responsibilities and roles.
Here, Paul reminds the Galatian Believers that their roles have changed as well.  From being a slave to being a true Son.
Two points here: 1. Unlimited resources  2. Limited rights.
For the first, unlimited resources, the child KNOWS that the estate will be his; all of it.  One day, it all will be his, but not yet. By promise and by agreement from the family BUT not yet to experience it because his is too young.  The reality is that he does not have ‘use’ of the estate. His guardians will hold it for him.  Stop him from doing certain things. Govern even when he goes to bed; when he awakes. He has it all but can’t really use it at all—until he becomes of age.  Much like a slave who works in a rich man’s house.  All the wealth is around him. He sleeps in it and eats of it and lives his life under the control of a Master. Unlimited resources.
2. Limited rights. He is still a minor or a slave UNDER authority. He cannot do certain things. Not free to act—not yet.
Verse 3-4 explains that’s how it is with us.  We too were under slavery—to the Law. To the Basic Principles of the world.  Earth, wind and fire and how it affects us.  We are influenced by the basic creation! See in verse 8, WHEN we did not know God, we were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  
But NOW that you know God—rather are known BY God—why would you want to return to the slave-like life style.  Jesus came to, what—set us free! And we sometimes look for rules and situations and people to make us once again slaves and not free!
The Devil has used the Law of God (that what was good and perfect) in a way that the Father did not intend it to be used.  Satan was the bad tutor.  He abused the child. Took him for a ride. Stole from him. Hurt him. He even tried to kill the child! 
God uses the Law to reveal sin and to drive Mankind to God. Satan uses the Law to reveal sin and to drive men to despair. To condemn man. Hold him in bondage. But the Lord’s desire is to move man from slavery to freedom. From being a slave to be a Son (a child of God!). As it says in Verse 5,
“to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”   
We were helpless—and He came at just the right time. 
God sent FORTH the son.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost…in bondage under the Law.  We have new things to wear. Sons now! Part of His Family. Heirs to the Kingdom. Join hairs WITH the Son of God.  Jesus is our Big Brother.  God has purposed from eternity to reach into this time for you and I, to both hear and believe His Message.  All He has done for us.
a. He provides us with a present intimacy
b. He provides us with a future inheritance.
He provides us with a present intimacy. Verse 6 uses a wonderful name.  “Abba, Father.” That God, the Father would send the Spirit of the Son to us.   
Used two other places:  
Acts 16:7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.Philippians 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
Here we can see the Trinity at work.  The Father, setting things going. The Son for the reality of going Himself and the Spirit Who applies this to our Salvation. 
John 14:23  “Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”John 16:13  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all Truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”
2. He provides us with a future inheritance.
God has made you an heir to His Kingdom.  2 Peter 1:3-4
He has done this by adopting us into His family.
Paul is asking the Body then—and now—to correct the focus and to continue in the faith.  Correct and Continue.
Many will say that they know God.  We know all about Him! We have a deep interest in Him. He is ever so important to me.  Yet they might not yet really know Him.  You don’t really know Christ unless Christ is in you!
You may know all about someone but still not be related to him. But He knows my name. He knows my every thought. He knows my pain. My joys: better than we know ourselves. Paul is asking us to correct our focus! He knew us when we were lost in the past.  When we did not even know Him, He sought us out. He knew what we were doing but He has indeed shown us a better way: the Way of Jesus. 
Paul wonders if he was wasting his time with them. (Vs. 11) The people were looking to the ways to get to God—the rungs on a ladder.  Using that to get to God.  Correct your focus and continue your faith.  Stay the Course.
To live the Christ Life; remember what you once were: slaves. Realize where we are now: sons. See how far you have come? 
John Newton (Amazing Grace) had a sign in his room he ALWAYS looked at each and every day.
Deut 15:15. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you.
REMEMBER YOUR PAST, but you are set free in your present. Do you know 4:6 to be yours? “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” The relationship is there or it is not.  If not, do all you can to get it! IT is free and it is amazing!
John Wesley—the man who help start a denomination. He was ordained, active in the community, regular in worship, gave to charity, generous in his giving, serious in prayer and diligent in fasting, missionary work in the Colonies with the native Indians. He looked saved. Acted Saved. Thought he was saved. He was on his way back from the mission trip when he attended a street meeting on Aldergate Street. He listened to the sermon and a strange feeling came over him.  He called it a warming.  His heart was moved. He spoke after the event. He knew ABOUT the Lord but his heart was not filled WITH the Lord. He had not trusted in Christ for his salvation until that day on the street. He left being a slave and became a Son of God. 
Once were slaves, now set free to be sons-strange to want to return to being a slave again.