This is the sermon for Sunday, October 17th, 2010.

Galatians 5:7-15 HCSB – 7 You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from the One who called you. 9 A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. 10 I have confidence in the Lord you will not accept any other view. But whoever it is who that is confusing you will pay the penalty. 11 Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated! 13 For you are called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.

Introduction: As leaven in the bread dough causes the bread to rise and grow, so does hypocrisy and idolatry within the church.  If we allow it to remain, other cancerous sins will grow and rise from it.  Let’s begin unpacking our text.

Idolatry is a dangerous thing!

Galatians 5:7-10 – 7 You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from the One who called you. 9 A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. 10 I have confidence in the Lord you will not accept any other view. But whoever it is who that is confusing you will pay the penalty.

  • The Galatians were facing a hindrance (verse 7). The Galatians start their Christian walk on the right path, but now the Judaizers are hindering them from obeying the truth.  Let’s do a short word study.  Prevented is the Greek word enkopto (encopto). It means, “to cut into, to impede, to detain, to hinder.”  Obeying is the Greek word peitho (pi’-tho). It means, “to agree, believe, have confidence, persuade, trust, yield.” The Galatians were being hindered in obeying because their confidence in what Christ has done for them was being eroded.
  • That is what false doctrine does; it slowly erodes the truth of what the Gospel reveals, and piece by piece chips away at our confidence in the Lord.  That is why I stress so hard about being careful of media ministries, even to the point of just not watching any of them; it is because they are filled with both false teachings and false manifestations.  Many within the religious media empire of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • This legalistic doctrine did not come from God, but from the yeast of the Judaizers (verses 8-9). Most of the time in the New Testament, yeast is used negatively.  Here are a few examples: Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; 1 Corinthians 5:6.
  • There are just so many doctrinal fads that invade the church.  One the surface, these are exciting, but the root is diseased for its root is idolatry.  We must get back to the Bible doctrine of grace and get rid of the leaven of idolatry.

  • Paul is confident that the Galatian Christians will accept His teaching concerning the Judaizers (verse 10). If the Judaizers refuse to repent of their sin of idolatry, they will pay the price – i.e. be judged by God.
  • We don’t like to talk about judgment much these days do we?  But those false teachers who teach the Law as a way of finding peace and justification with God will be judged by God if they refuse to repent of their sin.  Why?  Well, because they are trying the hinder the Gospel of Grace and blindly leading blind people down the wrong path.

The persecution and the persecutors.

Galatians 5:11-12 – 11 Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!

  • Paul is being persecuted by the Judaizers (verse 11). I think the ESV Study Bible’s note explains verse 11 well: “If Paul was still preaching that people had to be circumcised, then the offense of the cross would be removed because human pride in human effort would return.  In other words, there would be no offense to humble us by declaring that no work of ours can make us righteous before God.”

  • Paul’s strong desire concerning the Judaizers (verse 12). Essentially what Paul is saying is, “if circumcision justifies, then completely castrate yourself in order to be more justified.  Paul is using sarcasm here to show the silliness of the Judaizer’s doctrine.

What true Christian freedom looks like.

Galatians 5:13-15 – 13 For you are called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.

  • Christian freedom is a calling (verse 13a). It’s what took place at salvation when God called us out of sin and imputed His righteousness too us.
  • Christian freedom doesn’t look for opportunities to fulfill the lust of the flesh (verse 13b). This means, don’t look for the opportunity to commit sin.  The sin talked about here can be sexual, lashing out in anger, idolatry (pursuing false doctrine and false teachers), lust for material possessions, etc…

  • Christian freedom looks toward serving other Christians in love (verse 13c-14). Christian freedom’s first focus is to love God; it’s second focus is to love other believers.  Of course the third focus is to love those outside of the family of God.

  • Christian freedom recognizes that backbiting and division will destroy people (verse 15).

Conclusion: As we conclude, we need to be careful of the leaven of sin: no matter what form it comes in.  We’ve been set free by God’s amazing grace from sin and the results of it.  Use your Christian freedom to love and care for each other; not pursue fleshly desires.

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