You Were Called to Use Your Freedom: Removing Hindrances to Running Well

Brian Mahon - 2/27/2024


Call to worship: Hosea 6:1-6

Text: Galatians 5:7-15


Paul affirms, the Galatian believers had started well; but as steadfastness in the truth agrees with smoothness of gait, their toleration of a false gospel had hindered their running. They were attempting to go forward with a backward looking limp. Paul assures them a self-justifying view of the Mosaic law is not from the God Who called them in His grace. And as they were united by faith in Jesus, they needed to know: a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Paul expresses his confidence in Christ that, as Christians, they'd adopt the apostle's view and 'cast out Ishmael.' As with Paul, faithfulness would come at a cost. Forfeiting what stroked the flesh in order to preach the cross would come with a cross to bear, but that only confirmed the divine truth of it. Paul wishes the troublers would reap in full what they've falsely sown. Christ has set these churches free that they might learn to love one another, fulfilling the law in the power of the indwelling Spirit.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Running free insists on fidelity to the truth of the cross. (5:7-12)
    • This fidelity will call out hindrances to freedom. (5:7-9)
      It will also cast out hindrances to freedom. (5:10b)
      It will finally bear a cross in keeping to the cross. (5:10a, 11-12)
  2. Running free will look like love serving one another. (5:13-15)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Galatians 5:7-15.
  2. In the immediate context, what does it mean for a church to be running well? What does obeying the truth have to do with it? Why is it critical that a freed people point out false teachers and teaching (5:8-9)? What is a church to do with a person teaching a false gospel among them (5:10b)? Should the reputation of the person matter?
  3. In Whom is Paul's confidence that these churches will take his view? What does this teach us about the Lord's continued work in the fidelity/faithfulness of His people? What is Paul's view? What did Paul used to preach? Why does Paul not preach that anymore? What does Paul now preach? Why don't the opponents preach the cross (6:12)? In preaching the cross, what can we expect? Outside of a work of grace, why can we expect that?
  4. We were called to freedom, and to use our freedom. What prevents us from using our freedom to indulge our flesh? Is our freedom from the penalty of our sins only? What of its power?
  5. Thread together Galatians 2:19-20, 3:2, 3:10-14, 4:4-6, 5:5-6. How do these verses (with what follows in 5:16-26) develop our understanding of 5:14 and what it means to live the Christian life? Is our fulfilling of the law a justifying fulfillment? Or is it an application of Christ's achievement in our souls? How do we come to serve one another through love? Are we characterized by the look of spiritual freedom? How does growth in grace depend on frequenting the cross?
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