“You Were Running Well”
(Gal 5:1) It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
WHAT IS PAUL SAYING??
1. He reminds them of the salvation...the freedom that they received in Jesus.
2. He then expresses deep concern and dissappointment for their going back like they were.... In their case circumcision...
3. He reminds them that, "For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness."
4. We've got to follow Christ.... Stop being what we were!! We also can't be influenced by the "leaven" of others. If what we see in others discourages us, don't copy them - encourage them!
5. Someone was bothering their peace .... convincing them that being a Christian wasn't enough... you had to be circumcised, too.
6. By their forgetting what they had become... and going back to what they were... they were severed from Christ!!
a. Had they completely abandoned all the teachings of Christ & gone back and embraced the whole law?? NO! But Paul said they might as well have.
b. Had every Christian in
7. Was Paul rebuking them because they were not following him? Was it HIS PRIDE...HIS EGO?..... NO! It was his responsibility!
a. EVEN AS AN APOSTLE....PAUL KNEW HE HAD TO BE CAREFUL
(1 Cor 9:27) but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
b. AS AN APOSTLE, HE COMMANDED TIMOTHY....IF HE WERE TO BE A PREACHER HE HAD TO...
(2 Tim 4:2) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
c. AND HE TOLD TITUS THE SAME THING....
(Titus 2:15) These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Why "with all authority?"..... Authority of Christ
Why "Let no one disregard you".... the message wasn't his
WITH ALL THAT SAID..... I CAN SAY ALONG WITH PAUL TO MY BRETHREN HERE...
(Gal 5:7) You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
(NOT FROM GOING BACK TO CIRCUMCISION.
TRUTH = RESPONSIBILITIES IN OUR CASE)
1. MEN: 18 months ago the business meetings were crowded.
Now....Many of you have stopped coming.
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = zeal for God's work)
2. Our attendance is up on Sunday mornings, and we have remarked on this but...down overall... esp. our evening and Wed. services. (Look around - who is missing tonight who was here this morning?) (HEB 10:25)
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = not forsaking)
3. Our visitation program has become a great DISCOURAGEMENT when it was so encouraging.
Last Sunday night, three people showed up! It's all the groups - not just one. I see the cards - very little visiting is being done. Lots of phone calls and cards - but very little visiting in people's homes. Are we all guilty? NO! But more and more of us are becoming affected by this "leavening". We sometimes grow weary, and feel we're the only ones working any more.
(Gal 6:9) And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = caring and bearing one another's burdens)
4. When we decided to have ushers..... now, rarely do I get visitor's cards.
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = doing assigned work)
5. Our last gospel meeting...we passed out flyers in the community...did you show up? Only a handful did. Can you guess who they were? One of them was Marvin - a man with only one lung, but he came. NO one under forty years old came at all! Well, if you didn't have time to come that Saturday, did you ask your neighbors, or your friends at work? How about your family?
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = zeal &, dedication to duty)
6. The call-in recording - "Bible Talk" Did you listen last week? Does Wes change his message from week to week? When's the last time you listened? Have you EVER listened?
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = edifying one another)
7. When I
first came here, any time there was a Gospel Meeting in the area,
it was ENTHUSIASTICALLY attended by Christians from
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (truth = studying to show ourselves approved)
Jesus said to the church at Laodacea
(Rev 3:14-22) "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"
I have publicly commended this church many times for its zeal and growth, but I am afraid for her. I am afraid she is - we are - becoming lukewarm. We still LOOK great - our offering is up...attendance is good on Sunday morning...there is a lot of love flowing...but we've fallen backward. We've gotten lazy.
Are we in a rut? Are we like the cliche' housewife who sleeps til noon, watches soaps all afternoon, then slaps a frozen dinner on the table when the family gets home , and says, "I'm sorry, I had a hard day". Let's examine ourselves - be honest. Are we slipping back? We need to "Wake up and smell the coffee." as Ann Landers used to say.
What's the answer?
We need to be renewed. We need to be revived. We have a gospel meeting coming up - make a commitment now to be here - every time!
ROMANS 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
The rest of this chapter spells out this renewal: Teach; study; work; pray; have the right attitude
3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.