Sunday School Material 2-12-17: New Birth Brings Freedom





(Galatians 4:8-20; 2/12/17)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Paul wants his readers to work on their discipleship, instead of giving in to bad influences. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on our discipleship, instead of giving in to bad influences.

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Body:

Read Galatians 4:8-11

I. Wrong Focus. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about how his readers used to be slaves to those things that were not gods. Now that the readers know God and are known by God, they are expected to live differently. Paul is wondering about the ministry investment that he has made in them.

Applications -

- Growing from where we used to be. Notice in vss. 8-10 the call to remember where we have come from. A benefit of remembering where we have come from is that it helps us appreciate where we are. And hopefully, it is will motivated us to not go back.

Of course, this assumes that we have grown in the Lord. There are some who are too close to where they have started. Let’s work on growing, so we can receive the benefits from remembering where we have come from.

- Wasting time and energy. Notice in vs. 11 that Paul mentions his concern about wasting his efforts on the Galatians. Every God sent leader wants to hear the Lord say, “Well done.” In order for this to be the case, those who follow the leader need to demonstrate some growth.

If the people are not growing, there is a concern about the leader’s effectiveness and stewardship of effort. Let’s work on growing in the Lord. We grow to the extent that we study and obey God’s word. Our greatest motive for growing should be our relationship with God. However, our growing also makes a leader look good in God’s eyes.

As leaders, let’s be wise stewards of our shrinking time and energy. We are called to keep the main thing, the main thing.

- Walking together in Christian love. Notice in vs. 16 and 17 the idea of turning against those who have helped you grow in the Lord. The devil is always trying to cause division among the people of God.

Let’s work hard on walking together in Christian love. As we all struggle to live by God’s word, we should strive to love and forgive. It is the devil who wants us to be segregated and fighting one another.

Read Galatians 4:17-20

III. Misplaced Eagerness. Paul talks about how his readers are being influenced by ungodly elements. The ungodly elements are trying to get the readers to forsake attachments to Paul. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about his being perplexed and desiring to be with the readers with a different tone of voice.

Applications –

- Having zeal for the right thing. Notice in vs. 18 the idea of being zealous about the right thing. On one hand, there are those who seem to have no zeal for God or anything else. And on the other hand, there are those who are zealous but for the wrong thing.

Let’s work on being zealous about obeying God’s will. Prayerful study and wise counsel will help us understand God’s will. We should be excited about how obedience leads to our being blessed, instead of being punished.

- Reconciliation. Notice in vss. 19-20 the desire for reconciliation. As people of God, we may run into conflict from time to time. However, because we are people of God, we should work hard to resolve conflicts and save relationships, when it is possible.

The hands, arms, and shoulders have to get along with the eyes, ears, and mouth as well as the toes, knees, and hips. We are all in this thing together. Discipleship includes loving and forgiving for the sake of God’s agenda. Let’s work on reconciliation.

Conclusion: Let’s work on our discipleship, instead of giving in to bad influences. God has much for those who obey His will.

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