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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 5 Part 1)

We are continuing our brief look at several major themes in the book of Galatians.  We’re getting ready to take about a fifteen-hour flight to Jeju Island, Korea, to teach students at the Word of Life Bible Institute.

I’m certainly learning a lot about this book.  And I hope you are as well.  The next theme that comes in this great epistle is the theme of freedom!  We see in verse 1 of chapter five that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”!  Free from what?  Free from trying to justify ourselves by our pathetic efforts to keep God’s law!

Note that the verse doesn’t say “It is for Himself that Christ has set us free.” It is for FREEDOM!  What should be the experience of FREEDOM for the believer?

As servants of the Savior we are free from the yoke of slavery of keeping the whole law (v. 3).  We seek to be obedient because we love the Lord, not because our obedience saves us!  Putting ourselves under the law in a salvation-sense means: (1) we have been alienated from Christ!; and (2) we have fallen from grace (v. 4)!  Those are certainly not two consequences that I want in my life! How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Galatians

 

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One Hundred Questions about the Book of GALATIANS! (Ch. 4)

I’ve never been to Korea!  My sister-in-law said when she first went to Disneyland, “This is the first time I’ve never been here!”  I’m looking forward to that week in June when I get to teach the book of Galatians!  Word of Life Korea is the venue.

We’re asking a bunch of questions about this amazing epistle.  Let’s pose some interrogatories (my Mom would have been proud of my use of that word) about chapter 4:

Sixteen Questions about Galatians chapter four:
1. How is an heir like a slave (vv. 1-2)?
2. What is meant, do you think, by “the elemental spiritual forces of the world” (v. 3)?
3. Verses 4-5 are incredible! This “set time” — what made the time Jesus entered His own world the right time?
4. Galatians has a great deal to say about “the law,” doesn’t it? What’s meant by “born under the law” in verse 4?
5. What are two benefits of the Son’s coming into the world for the believer (v. 5)?
6. This epistle has a LOT to say about God the Holy Spirit. What do we learn about the Spirit here in verse 6?
7. There are two stages to a person’s life — what are they (vv. 8-9)?
8. Why is being “known by God” more important to Paul than knowing God (v. 9)?
9. What’s wrong with the observance of special days and months (v. 10)?
10. What do we learn about Paul’s “illness” in this chapter? Could this be related to his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12?
11. If childbirth were up to men, the world’s population would be so much smaller! How does Paul use the labor/childbirth metaphor here (v. 19)?
12. We have the idea of “promise” brought up again in verses 23ff. Where has Paul talked about God’s promises in this epistle?
13. Put into your own words what Paul’s primary point seems to be with his Hagar and Sarah analogy (vv. 21ff).
14. What does Paul mean by “the Jerusalem the is above” (v. 26)?
15. I spent a week in Palestine recently, among the descendants of the “slave woman” (the Arabic people). There is so much conflict in the land between the Jews and the Arabs! How does this text help us in a spiritual sense (vv. 28-31).
16. Construct a chart contrasting the two women here in verses 21-31.

 

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2018 in Galatians

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 14)

The SHOULDER PRESS is a machine that will challenge your masculinity.  It basically measures how much weight you can “press” upwards at a 45 degree angle. I think all the weights and angles have been calculated by a skinny, pale-skinned, technician at Star Trac, who laughs diabolically as he designs these machines that he will never use.  But that’s just my theory. Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 7.30.59 AM

"I'm a tech at Star Trac!"

“Better tighten my belt!  I’m a skinny tech at Star Trac!”

Anyway, I’m glad that I’m healthy enough to “go to the gym” and “work out” and “do my ‘reps’.”

Which brings us to our study: the Epistle of Titus, whose theme seems to be how to be SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY.

We listed a few questions in our last post.  Let’s take a shot at answering some of them.  But first, let’s review our verses from 2:9-10 —

9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

1.  How are we to respond to the whole “slave” thing in the Bible?  Does the Bible support slavery?  Paul isn’t telling these slaves, “ESCAPE WHENEVER YOU CAN!” How do we “justify” slavery in the Word of God?  First of all, the Bible does not support kidnapping or forced slavery.  There are several forms of slavery in the Bible (as in culture).  Paul Copan’s articles on slavery are well worth reading.  His understanding of the New Testament teaching is found here.   His article asking if the Old Testament supports slavery is found here

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 7.09.34 AM2.  Assuming that Paul’s primary point here is that Christian slaves should submit to their masters, what other verses in the Bible teach us about our slavery?  Pre-conversion we were slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6, 16), to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness (Rom. 6:19) but now should be slaves to righteousness (Rom. 6:15, 18), leading to holiness (Rom. 6:19).  When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness (Rom. 6:20).  We’ve now become slaves of God (Rom. 6:22).  Before coming to Christ we were slaves to non-gods (Gal. 4:8).  The Spirit doesn’t make us slaves, but sons (Rom. 8:15).  We are not to become slaves of human beings (I Cor. 7:23).  As slaves of Christ, we are to do the will of God from our hearts (Eph. 6:6).  There are clear instructions for both masters (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1) and slaves (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22; Titus 2:9; I Pe. 2:18).  We are to live as God’s slaves (I Pe. 2:16).

3.  How are slaves to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive?  What does that expression mean?  We are to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.  The word “attractive” comes from a verb meaning to ornament, adorn, to embellish with honor.  The original meaning of that verb is to put in order, to arrange, to make ready.  We can “uglify” the truth about God, presumably by the way we live or don’t live.  Doctrine is more than verbal expression.  We must live out as best we can what the Bible actually teaches about the Lord!

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 13)

I can’t remember the last time I had to row a boat, but the people at STAR TRAC apparently think rowing is a useful skill.  So the next machine I use is creatively simply called “ROW.”

PreviewScreenSnapz068You put your chest up against a padded thing, stretch out your arms, and pull backwards.  The amount of weight you pull against is determined by the little red thing and I go for maximum pull for a man my age: 60 pounds.

We use expressions that remind me of this machine all the time: “That’s a hard row to hoe,” “Row against the currents,” and “Row, row, row your boat.”  (I can’t seem to get that tune out of my head when it’s turn for my “reps” on this machine).

Other than trying to recapture my youthful physique, the reason we are talking about HEALTH is because I’ve been looking at the little epistle of Titus and its theme seems to be SPIRITUAL HEALTH.

Which brings us to our next section in chapter two, and a few questions to ponder:

9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 7.19.17 AM1.  How are we to respond to the whole “slave” thing in the Bible?  Does the Bible support slavery?  Paul isn’t telling these slaves, “ESCAPE WHENEVER YOU CAN!” How do we “justify” slavery in the Word of God?  Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM

2.  Assuming that Paul’s primary point here is that Christian slaves should submit to their masters, what other verses in the Bible teach us about our slavery?

3.  How are slaves to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive?  What does that expression mean?

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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Life Is More Than “Angry Birds!”


I’m a 61-year-old grandfather of 1 and 1/2 grandchildren (my son and daughter-in-law produced our 1st grandchild Ryland and our daughter and son-in-law are eleven weeks pregnant — that’s the 1/2) and I must confess:  I love “Angry Birds.”

Twelve million copies of Angry Birds have been sold with 30 million free downloads.  The franchise employs forty people full-time.  If you don’t know of this game, where have you been?  I got my copy when my brother “bumped” Droid phones with me, sending me the application wirelessly.  Ain’t technology grand?

I recently bought the game ($4.99) for my laptop — and the graphics are great.

By the way, the birds don’t look particularly angry as they eagerly climb into the slingshot and prepare to be hurled against glass buildings so that little green pigs can be blown up.  They look determined, purposeful, happy.  The sound effects are outstanding.  The game really is fun, even for bird-lovers.

I’m not a crusty old curmudgeon, but life is more than a video game, even if that video game is “Angry Birds.”  There is a place for diversion, for play, for fun.

We read in I Timothy 6:17 that “God has given us all things richly to enjoy.”  Surely this includes technologically-advanced video games.

For me the key is not to become enslaved by anything, especially by those things that are good diversions.  We read in I Corinthians 6 where the Apostle Paul is quoting the Corinthians who said, “I have the right to do anything.”  His response is, “yes, but not everything is beneficial.”  He agrees that “I have the right to do anything” — “but I will not be mastered by anything.”  Even by “Angry Birds.”

Discussion Question: When does a healthy diversion become an unhealthy addiction?

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in diversion

 

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