Sunday, February 5, 2012

On 2-12-12 Galatians 3:1-14 will be our International Sunday School Lesson/Adult Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Freed from Law through Christ aka The Blessing for All

Freed from Law through Christ
The Blessing for All
Galatians 3:1-14
International Sunday School Lesson
February 12, 2012

Jed Greenough

What are you willing to fight for?  How about your spouse, your kids, friends or your country?  What about fighting for the gospel?
Once upon a time in what seems like a lifetime ago, I spent weeks fighting for just that.  The church we were at was going to bring in a program that supposedly facilitated the introduction of the gospel to people but in reality it didn’t sound anything like the gospel. 
The good folks of my church were quite naively willing to adopt this program for numbers sake.  Without researching the program they were willing to accept it based on worldly reasons not Biblical ones.
It really pained me to go through the process and I don’t look back on the “fight” fondly but it was a fight to defend the gospel and for me there was no choice.
So, I pray that your church is solid as a rock but I would be shocked if your church hasn’t recently utilized, is currently using or planning to put in place some group, some class, or some program, just something that is off track.  Have you realized it and stood quietly by?  Have you relied upon people a little too new to their faith or just not called to teach to choose curriculum because they were willing to lead?  Have you researched the material and the authors?  Have you examined other things that they may have done?  If you cannot answer positively to these questions I would use the same descriptor that Paul did towards the Galatians, you foolish Christians!
You know that sounds just as harsh when I use it as when Paul did but when it comes to the defense of all things Biblical there is no time for timidity.  I challenge you going forward to examine through a different lens the curriculum and the qualifications for your teachers than you might have used before.
My personal opinion is that much of what is utilized in the church today started as a crutch to make it easier to get people to teach, used as a tool to make a different kind of appeal to raise involvement and because of a lack of discernment.  What resulted is a lot of materials and programs that aren’t worth the paper they were printed on or the memory they took up in a program.
That is no small part of why I really love the Uniform Series/International Sunday School lesson idea because week after week it is the study of God’s words not 10 steps to a healthier, wealthier, happier you with a little church talk thrown in for good measure.
That fight for the gospel is what Paul was doing with the Galatians.  He was really upset and concerned as you can see from his writing. 
To them Paul says “Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”  That is an integral part of today’s lesson if you gathered nothing else from this take that away.  “Christ and Him crucified” is the famous quotation from 1 Corinthians 2.  If you look at those words you see there aren’t many more things you would have to stress than those to open the minds of many.
They might ask:
Why was He crucified?
Why did He have to die?
What does that have to do with me?
Why couldn’t He have just done it in another way if He was God?
What if I believe this or what if I don’t?
We could go on and on but it was this simple message of the cross that was given to the Galatians which caused them to come to faith in Christ Jesus.  But you know what happened?  Disruptive influences happened not dissimilar to those types of things we can see in our churches today. 
This is why Galatians was written.  This is why Paul had to take the time and make a stand for the purity of the gospel message.  Paul had to get rough; he had to remind them that taking on the Law by observing even part of it was taking on a curse.  He had to remind them that they weren’t Christians now because of observing any laws but rather they were Christians now because after hearing of Christ and Him crucified they came to faith.  Period.
Are you willing to get a little rough for the purity of the gospel?

For Discussion:

1.     Do you know who the Galatians were?  It is an interesting history, research and discuss.
2.     Challenge yourself and those in your group to carefully read, pray over and discuss verse 1.  Foolish and bewitched are pretty strong words meant to get one’s attention.
3.     Paul’s argument can be presented with one question to defeat those who had begun considering or engaging in these legalistic thoughts, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?”
4.     Discuss not letting confident and zealous teaching intimidate you or cloud your discernment from recognizing incorrect and false teaching.  Galatians 4:17.
5.     Discuss as a hypothetical what could be done, if as I said, hypothetically, there were materials, groups or teacher/leaders in place that were off base.
6.     What if you reviewed all the teachings in your church and you found that literally there were things in place that shouldn’t be, would you try and do something about it?
7.     Discuss having a week of nightly meetings or a group that met on a certain night for an agreed number of times that was a return to discussing the gospel in its most basic form of Christ and Him crucified.  No fluff, just scripture that simply educates all that attend so they can with confidence boldly proclaim the gospel.
8.     Discuss having an introduction to the gospel series of meetings for your community.  Determine the number of nights.  Incorporate a meal.  Simple, short, well thought out messages that build to a conclusion/climax for the attendees would be my suggestion.  Advertise via whatever means your budget allows.  In groups of two go door to door inviting people.  Involve the youth.  Encourage members to invite and literally bring people they know. This is statistically the most effective method for the following reason.  There are people desperate to come through your doors but the fear of walking up the walk and opening that door is ruling over them, discuss how to help them.
9.     As usual, if you need an upcoming lesson that is not posted, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

2-19-12:  Heirs to the Promise (Inheriting Abraham’s Promise) Galatians 3:15-18, 4:1-7
2-26-12:  Fruits of Redemption Galatians 5:22-6:10
3-4-12:    Wisdom’s Part in Creation (Wisdom’s Origin) Proverbs 8:22-35
3-11-12:  The Word Became Flesh John 1:1-14

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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