Saturday, December 18, 2010

Unit 10 - The Vocation of Freedom in the Daily Life of Congregations

I. Introduction

A. Last unit in our study of Galation
B. Covers Ch. 5:13 - 6:18
C. Paul transitions from discussing theology to practical implications of that theology.
D. Underlying theme in these verses is Freedom. Paul discusses Freedom in context of three areas of Christian Living

1. How we treat our neighbors
2. Works of the Flesh and Fruit of the Spirit
3. How we treat those who falter in sin

II. How we Treat Our Neighbors

A. Freedom to 'love your neighbor as yourself'
B. Freedom from succumbing to petty bickering

III. Works of the Flesh and Fruit of the Spirit

A. Christian freedom does not mean we can indulge in our human weaknesses with impunity but rather to walk in the life of the spirit (Barclay, p. 56)
B. Issue is not that the joys of the flesh are inherently evil but rather whether we let them control us, enslave us.
C. True freedom is not a matter of autonomy and absolute independence as many in our culture think (Saunders p.89)
D. True freedom comes from knowing, accepting, and reflecting God's love

IV. How We Treat Those Who Falter in Sin

A. Paul tells us not to look down our noses at those who sin
1. Danger is for those of us striving to live a Christian life to judge harshly those who falter. Element of hardness in good people (Barclay, p. 63)
B. Christian duty is to get these people on their feet again. Pick them up, dust them off, and set them on their way again.

V. Closing Thoughts

A. Why The Big Push to Convert to Judaism?
1. Freedom from persecution - Romans acknowledged and accepted Jewish religion
2. Trying to put on a show to win the favor of God
3. Jews wanted to boast about Galations as their latest 'conquest'

B. Overall Theme
1. Accepting God's gift of grace and living as he calls us to live gives us true Freedom
2. Freedom to escape the power of earthly desires
3. Freedom to experience true peace

(1) Interpretation Bible Studies: Philippians and Galations, Stanley P. Saunders, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001
(2) The Letters to the Galations and Ephesians, William Barclay, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002
(3) Interpretation Bible Commentary: Galations, Charles B. Cousar, John Knox Press, 1982

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