From the recording Galatians

Galatians chapter 3 verses 6 to 9 - Abraham; Lessons in the Life of Faith

 Résumé of gospel preached to the Galatians. Résumé of Verses 1 to 6: 

 Paul calls the witnesses: 

Witness 1 – The Cross of Christ (3:1) 

 Christ crucified presented in power by the best of preachers 

 Preached not just with fact but with feeling. 

 Taken them to the cross & showed them the saviour (v1b). “Crucified” – perfect participle, past event with present consequences. Almost as if they had stood there at the foot of the cross. 

 Felt as though when Paul preached the message was just for them. The Spirit of God took dealings with them through the gospel message. 

 Had felt the burden of their sin. Had been moved by the thought of the vastness of the love of God towards them. Touched by the fact that Christ had died for them. Relieved to have unburdened themselves at the foot of the cross. 

Witness 2 – The Spirit of God (3:2-3) 

 Had experienced something of the Spirit of God’s dealings with them: 

Conviction of Sin: Jo16:8-11 
Presentation of Christ: Jo16:13-15 
Transformation of Character: Gal5:22-23; 1Jo3:9,10 

Witness 3 – The Experience of Believers (3:4,5) 

 Things they suffered (v4) & Things they saw (v5). 

 Their initial fervour, attitude condemns there later backsliding. 

 There experience of the gospel had been more than a mere emotional experience. It had moved them and touched them to such a degree that they were willing to suffer for Christ. 

Witness 4 – The Example of Abraham (3:6-14) 

 False teachers offering Jewish religion in preference to the ‘novelty’ of the gospel, to the ‘cult’ of Christianity! 

 Traces back justification by faith to Abraham. No novelty 

 If going to be saved, right with God, not by good works (2:16) nor religious observances (4:10), only by faith, resting in God: Jo3:16; Acts16:31. 

 “accounted”: (v6):to reckon, impute, number: 

“So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (v9) 

 The whole life of the Christian is a life characterised by faith. 

 Taking God at His word, resting completely upon Him for time & eternity. 

 Abraham had faith to commence the journey (Heb11:8) & faith to continue the journey (Heb11:9), faith to start (11:8), faith to stay (11:9). 

 Taking God at His word, resting completely upon Him for time & eternity. 

“Those characterised by the approach of faith are blessed along with Abraham.” (JM Boice) 

 Have we begun the path of faith? Are we continuing? 

Abraham: Lessons Learned in the Life of Faith 

Obedience (Gen11:30-12:5) 

 Old lesson, one God often teaches: Jonah; Saul, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1Sam15:22) 

 Notice the conditional promise of 12:1-3, explain conditional. 

 God’s instruction to Abraham: “Get thee out” (12:1): 

“of thy country” 
“and from thy kindred” 
“and from thy father’s house”, 
“unto a land that I will shew thee” 
 How did Abraham fare with these 4 demands of God? 

Out of his country? Not quite, still in Haran (11:31). The name of his dead brother (11:26). Places named after people. Still in the area of his home. 
Away from his kindred? Not quite (11:31-32). 
Away from his father’s house? (11:31-32) – No. 

 Had God fulfilled His promise to Abraham? 

Had God made of him a great nation? - No 
Had God made his name great? - No 
Had God made him a blessing? – No 

 Partial obedience = Partial blessing! 

 Are we marked by obedience in simple things? 

   Prayer & bible reading? (J. Hunter) 

   We read & listen to the Word, do we practice it? We’ll only be able to put the Word of God into practice by the power of the Spirit of God! 

   “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb10:25). Sometimes legitimate & unavoidable things that will keep us back from the gatherings & Word of God. Amazing how little will keep us away when our heart isn’t right!  

 Something holding us back from obeying the voice of God in our circumstances, eg. Abraham & Terah. 

 Did Abraham profit in disobedience (12:5)? 

 Look at the problems that arose because of what he had gained in Haran & subsequently in Egypt: 

Possessions & numbers were so great that he feared, the land could not sustain him in a time of famine. Maybe if there had only been a few of them he would have rode out the storm (13:6) instead of descending into Egypt (12:10). Recall to no mention of any communion with God all the time he was in Egypt. Only before & after. 
Abraham & his goods, like a town on the move (cf. Gen14:14). Couldn’t just slip in & out of Egypt. Drew the attention of Pharaoh himself (12:15), no ordinary Egyptian (12:12). Unable to live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1Tim2:1). 
Strife (13:7) 

 Don’t be deceived by appearances (Gal6:7). 

Communion (Gen12:8-10; 13:1-4) 

 Abraham one of these men, always knew where to find him, eg JSG study! 

 Before he went down into Egypt, found him at the altar (Gen12:8). 

 After he came up out of Egypt, found him at the altar (Gen13:4). 

 Communion & communication with his God. 

 All the time he was in Egypt, nothing for God. No communication, no altar. 

   Don’t need me to tell you that do you? 

   You don’t even need scripture to tell you that? 

   You could have predicted that, couldn’t you have? 

   You know that when you’re drifting towards the world, you’re drifting away from the saviour! You know that. You’ve experienced that. 

 Notice his relationship with Egypt: 

   “went down into Egypt” (12:10) 

   “went up out of Egypt” (13:1) 

 Abraham’s visit to Egypt (the world) was a descent. 

 Many go down, be warned, not so many that come back out. 

 Carnality will take us down, need a good deal of Divine grace to bring us back out! 

 13:3 – back to Bethel – back to God! Significance not so much in the place, geography, but in the Person whom he had left there! 

 The need for communion, not now via sacrifices & altars: God’s Word & prayer, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph2:18). 

Separation (Gen13:1, 8-9; 14:13) 

 From his country (12:4), Egypt (13:1); kindred (13:8). 

 Family – not all of us called to leave our families, Egypt – all called to leave the world behind us (Eph2:1-3), Lot – a man of different interests. 

 Separate ourselves from things which will drag us down: moral standards of the world, friendship/companionships with the world, entertainments, religion, “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Heb13:13) 

 “Abram the Hebrew” (14:13), kept his identity, in the crisis, send for Abram! 

Sanctification (Gen13:18) 

 Separation has a positive companion: “Hebron” – “joining” 

 He had separated himself from the world negatively. 

 Now he was being joined to God positively. 

 Biblical double definition of holiness (Rom12:1-2) 

 Making progress for God?

A message preached in our bible teaching series of ministry, preaching through Paul's letter to the Galatians, free to download audio recording. 

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie