Profound and Practical Part 1
Sermon Summary
Part one of this two message mini series deals with several related ideas that Paul shares with the churches in Galatia. First there were people attempting to lure the Christians back into a belief that salvation involved following the letter of the law. Paul was adamant about salvation being by God’s grace through Christ! Paul then address the temptation by some to flaunt grace as a way to indulge their selfish and worldly passions without consequence. Paul strongly admonishes the church against this kind of misuse of God’s Grace. Both the legalist and those abusing freedom were causing great disunity in the family of God. Paul tells them the only way to avoid these two issues was to allow The Holy Spirit to guide them. He then gives examples of what The Holy Spirit would guide them to avoid and what The Holy Spirit would guide them to embrace.

Community Group Discussion Guide
Ice breaker: Just because something is profound doesn’t mean it’s not practical and just because something is practical doesn’t mean it’s not profound. Give an example of something in your life that has been both profound and practical at the same time. (examples - advice you’ve been given/a spiritual truth you discovered/a concept you’ve discovered)

1. What are some of the dangers of trying to earn favor with God by attempting to keep the letter of the law?
Gal 3:10  All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."

2. How could someone misuse God’s Grace?
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.(NIV)
Rom 6:1  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
Rom 6:2  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

3. Paul was very concerned the controversies facing the churches in Galatia were going to lead to disunity and the destruction of the church’s witness to the world. How important is it that we work together in the family of God to achieve our God given purpose, mission and vision?
Col 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Col 3:13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Col 3:14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Col 3:15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Col 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sermon Notes


Man I helped on the side of the road in Jackson Mississippi on a Sunday Morning before church. He had a cowboy hat on and had probably been partying during the night. I was dressed and headed to church. He was totally blown away that I would stop on my way to church to help a heathen.

He told me, "You're different!" I have a sister who is very religious. If she would have seen me broken down on a Sunday morning, she would have just yelled out the window, "serves ya right, sinner!"
Now I hope we don't ever act that way towards anybody. In fact, we will begin a two part sermon today that will help us  live out our salvation!

I'm going to share with you some very profound and practical advice from Paul the apostle to the churches in Galatia. It is advice that applies today as much as it did back in Paul's day.

Let's Pray!!

As I stated, today's message and the message next week will deal with some very profound ideas which are at the same time extremely practical!

Profound: Very great or intense, showing great knowledge or insight!

Practical: of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas:

 Paul wrote a letter to the churches in the region of Galatia. He was deeply concerned about them for several reasons. There was a temptation for the Jewish members to get caught up in legalism again, and to seek to force that legalism on the gentiles.

The Problem of Living Under the Law

 Paul spends much of the letter, confronting the temptation to fall back under the law and to seek to earn salvation based on works. What a lot of people don't realize is this: religion that seeks to earn a relationship with God is filled with human pride. Why? Because it's based on how good you are and how much you do, as apposed to how good God is and what He does on your behalf!

Eastern religions are very popular in western culture today. Why? People may not like to hear this, but it may be more of a pride thing than they would be willing to admit. You see, in most eastern religions, your advancement in the faith is based on your good works. How much you meditate, pray, help the poor, and practice various spiritual disciplines.  

Don't get me wrong, I believe in praying, meditating on God's Word, helping the poor and even practicing the spiritual disciplines. However, I've learned that my salvation is not dependent on how good I am or how much good I do.

 Paul sums up his case against seeking to be made right with God through good works in Galatians 2:20-21…

20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:21 (NIV)

 Folks it just doesn't get any plainer than that!!

We are saved by what Jesus did on the Cross, not by our own righteousness!

John William MacGorman made this powerful statement in the Broadman Commentary concerning Paul's understanding of grace and the law...

"For Paul, God's supreme revelation was in a Person, not in a code...

For Paul right relationship to God came through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead, not through tribal identification or legal conformity...

For him ethics was an experience in bearing the fruit of the Spirit, the consequence of an indwelling Presence, not a moral or ritual checklist."

Let me put it this way…
We shouldn't do our good deeds with the motivation of trying to earn our salvation!  We should do good deeds because God has been gracious to save us and we desire to show our gratitude!  

Let me remind you of three of my favorite verses in all of God's Word...

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

9not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:9 (NIV)

10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

We are not saved by our good works, we are saved by God's good works through Jesus on our behalf. However, we are saved to do good works!
God saves us for a purpose!
God saves us from the punishment of sin, begins helping us make choices that have different consequences and guides us to live our lives in a way that transforms us and others!   

Now I want to share with you just a moment on a very practical issue and something that is often debated.
If a person is going to be saved, does Jesus have to be Lord of their life?  

Let me put it this way. When a person is confronted with the truth of Jesus and has to make a decision whether or not they are going to follow Jesus, if they have something in their life they are not willing to surrender to Jesus, this is a problem. Remember the rich young ruler in the Bible? He had done many good things in his life, but his riches were more important to him than his relationship with God!

 Let's read the story...

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10:17 (NIV)

18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
Mark 10:18 (NIV)

19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ’”
Mark 10:19 (NIV)

20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Mark 10:20 (NIV)

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:21 (NIV)

22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mark 10:22 (NIV)

23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mark 10:23 (NIV)

The rich man was not willing to walk away from the very thing that was consuming his life and preventing him from truly trusting God.

So he went away sad, and I can tell you God's heart was sad also. The guy had chosen his worldly wealth over the spiritual wealth only found in a relationship with Almighty God!

Did you notice a big command Jesus left out of His list when He quizzed the rich ruler?
How about the first two of the ten commandments?

7“You shall have no other gods before me.
Deuteronomy 5:7 (NIV)

8“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
Deuteronomy 5:8 (NIV)

Now I want to clarify something for you today. Some people believe when you come to Jesus, if you make Him Lord, He'll not only forgive you of your sins, but He'll deliver you immediately from everything you've struggled with. Some believe if you still struggle with a particular sin, then you must not have made Him Lord and are not truly saved.

Nothing could be further from the truth. When you come to Jesus, confessing the things you struggle with and asking Him to help you overcome those things, you'll begin a journey where God immediately begins to help you, but God's Word doesn't say you will immediately be free from the struggles of temptation.

Forgiveness happens instantaneously, but learning to overcome the power of sin by applying the power of the Blood of Jesus is a daily process. This a process known as sanctification and Jay or I will deal with this topic in detail when we begin our series on the Cross towards the end of August.

However, I want you to know this…
You must be willing to let go of sin and let God begin His work of transformation in your life. If you've got something in your life you say you'll never give to God, that's a big problem. It may be that you've allowed that particular thing to become your god. You have to be willing to let God change your heart and your life.

If you're willing to admit to God you're struggling with something and don't know how you're going to overcome it, ask God to begin His miracle of transformation in your life and He will begin working immediately!!

 Just remember, you're not saved by how good you are, or how much you do, or because you deserve God's love, but because God chooses to give you His undeserved favor. We call that Amazing Grace!

 This is a profound and practical message we must understand!

 Now here's the kicker…
The Galatians were not only tempted to go back into a strict legalism, they were also tempted to go to another extreme.

 Paul turns his attention to this surprising problem facing the Churches in Galatia, and gives some of the most profound, and at the same time, most practical spiritual wisdom for followers of Christ!
What was the surprising problem?

The misuse of grace!

The Problem of Misusing Grace

 You might wonder, how in the world could someone misuse grace?
Many ways!
Some think because they are under grace that it doesn't matter how they live their life. "I'm under grace so it doesn't matter what I do."

That's got to be one of the most selfish attitudes a person could take.

 It's like saying, "I don't care how my actions effect someone else! I don't care about the consequences of sin in this life, as long as I'm saved in the end! I don't care how much my sin hurts and breaks the heart of God or how much it caused Jesus to suffer on the Cross!"

I believe strongly, as did Paul, we are not saved by our works, however, I believe, as did Paul, once we are saved there should be a definite difference in the way we live our life!
Paul put it this way in our text for today...

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Galatians 5:15 (NIV)

It's such a wonderful thing when we don't have to worry about whether or not we've done enough good works, or said just the right words, or if we've accidentally broken some kind of rule or law that would keep us out of heaven and separated from a relationship with God!

However, it is a very sad thing if we come to a place where we get so smug in our grace that we no longer care how our actions effect the lives of others or how our actions might effect the family of God!

 Now I'm not trying to throw anyone back into some kind worrisome bondage where they can't even enjoy life because they're worried about every little thing they say or do. No! What I am saying is we are free in Christ, but we are to never use that freedom for self-indulgence or for our own personal gain!!

 Sometimes we can become quite spiritual in the way we fight amongst ourselves as Christians. We can share gossip in the form of a prayer request. We can point out someone else's shortcomings, by saying, "Well, I'm just so concerned for this person, I thought I would share."

 Check your motives. Sometimes it might be appropriate for you to share with someone in leadership if you are genuinely worried about a person. However, check your heart.

Satan does his greatest damage to the church from within, not from without. In fact, if you study history, when the attacks come from without, it draws the people within together as they unite against a common enemy. When the church faces persecution it always becomes stronger and thrives.

However, when the problems are from within, division and disunity occur and the church suffers severely.  Remember the words of Christ..

24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mark 3:24 (NIV)

25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mark 3:25 (NIV)

 If there were ever a time in history when the Church needed to be united in it's purpose, mission and vision, it is today my friends!!

So what is the answer to living under the law or abusing grace? What is the answer to the potential for division in the family of God?

Paul emphatically states the answer in the next verses of our text ...

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Galatians 5:16 (NIV)

17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Galatians 5:17 (NIV)

18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:18 (NIV)

So the logical question would now be, "How do I live by the Spirit?"
A really great question!

The Holy Spirit of God lives in the heart of every man, woman, boy or girl who has asked Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sins and to live in their hearts and lives.
We trust the Holy Spirit of God to teach us God's Word, to strengthen us, to encourage us, to help us with our struggles, and to use us to help others.

Receiving The Holy Spirit happens when a person receives Jesus as their Savior!

Being led by The Spirit is a daily, moment by moment, decision to let God lead us by His precious Holy Spirit!

Paul had written a personal letter to one of his dear friends who had worked with him on his third missionary journey. Titus was dealing with some tough issues as a leader and Paul wanted him to understand how important it was to walk in the Spirit of God.  

Listen to Paul's advice to Titus...

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
Titus 3:1 (NIV)

2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
Titus 3:2 (NIV)

3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
Titus 3:3 (NIV)

4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
Titus 3:4 (NIV)

5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:5 (NIV)

6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:6 (NIV)

7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:7 (NIV)

8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Titus 3:8 (NIV)

9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
Titus 3:9 (NIV)

Wow! Profound and ever so Practical!

 When you are being led by The Holy Spirit He will lead you to avoid harmful, wicked things and He will lead you to embrace helpful, righteous things!!

Let's look at some of the things The Holy Spirit will lead you to avoid…

 Things The Holy Spirit will lead you to avoid!

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
Galatians 5:19 (NIV)

 Debauchery is depravity, indecency and perversion.
Back to the to avoid list!

20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:21 (NIV)

 Remember The Kingdom of God is where God rules. If you are involved in these kinds of things, it is obvious God has not been crowned the ruler of your life.
If we are allowing The Spirit of God to lead our lives, He will lead us to avoid these things because they only harm us and God wants to protect us!!

Things The Holy Spirit will lead you to embrace!

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:23 (NIV)

24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24 (NIV)

25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 (NIV)

26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:26 (NIV)