01/1/2018, 11:00 AM
Watch the sermons here.
05/23/2018, 5:10 PM
1. What kind of garden have you tended? What did you enjoy about it? What did you dread?
2. As brothers and sisters in Christ, what responsibilities do we have for each other?
3. How do v. 1-2 illustrate ways of helping someone to "keep in step with the Spirit" (5:25)? What is the "law of Christ" (see 5:14)?
4. How does v. 5 relate to v. 2? Are they contradictory? (The word "load" in v. 5 does not mean a crushing burden, but rather a small, individual pack.) What sort of burdens do your friends or family carry? How do you (or could you) help them with these burdens?
5. What is the main point of Paul's teaching on a life that is surrendered to the Holy Spirit (v.7-10)? Where in your life do you need to sow to please the Spirit instead of your sinful nature?
6. How does Paul sum up the motives of the false teachers (v. 12-13)? His own motives (v.14)?
7. Why does Paul call these Gentile Galatians the "Israel of God" (v. 16; see 3:6-9)? How is that a final rebuke to those who would compel these believers to obey Jewish rules?
8. What does it mean to have the cross as your model in your daily life? What does it mean to "boast" in the cross of Jesus (v. 14)? Is this boasting a part of your life?
Credit: Week 7 Study Questions adopted from the Serendipity Bible, Zondervan
05/13/2018, 3:50 PM
1. Pastor Sarah shared about hiking near her family farm house in Ohio and her first experience of "freedom" in her life. Share one early childhood memory of you feeling freed for the first time.
2. When you first moved away from home, what did "freedom" mean to you? Free to do what? Free from what?
3. What does it mean to be "free" in Christ (Gal 5:1)
4. What two things are in conflict with each other (Gal 5:17)? If we are made alive by the Spirit, why do we still struggle with sin?
5. Can a person who lives according to the "acts of the sinful nature" in verses 19-21 be a true Christian?
6. In her sermon, Pastor Sarah shared about seeing her parents modeled a life lived by the Spirit, and comparing to her own shortcoming with knowing about the "freedom in the Spirit" only as a head knowledge. Why is the temptation of sinful desires often time feel stronger than the desire to walk in the Spirit? What are some practical ways or spiritual disciplines that have helped you and God's spirit weed out the sinful nature and grow the fruit of the Spirit?
7. Which spiritual fruits (Gal 5:22-23) are blossoming in your life? Which are still in the bud?
05/6/2018, 9:54 AM
If you haven't done so, watch the 8-min summary video on Galatians as a group: youtube.com/watch?v=vmx4UjRFp0M
This past Sunday May 6 we heard some powerful messages from our confirmation students here at FCC. If you were able to hear any of them, what did you appreciate about their confirmation speeches? Why do you think is important that the voice of our youth be heard in our church community?
Read Galatians 4 again this week and any other previous week’s intro to help refresh where we are.
1. How much joy did you have in the beginning phase of your Christian life?
2. How does Paul express the following emotions as he writes these words: Concern (v. 11)? Nostalgia (vv. 13-15)? Self-pity (v. 16)? Jealousy (v. 17)? Compassion (v. 19)? Anxiety (v. 20)?
3. What are the "weak and miserable principles" (v. 9) that the Galatians are turning back to?
4. Read the following excerpt from “Galatians” by Scot McKnight
“Paul’s wish (4:19–20) Paul now expresses a wish to be with them so he can rectify things. We see here the heart of a pastor (much like the pastoral section 2 Cor. 2:14–7:4). His goal was clear: “until Christ is formed in you” (v. 19; cf. 2:20; 2 Cor. 3:18). He wanted the Galatian converts to grow in the Spirit until the image of Christ was formed—actually “transformed”—in them (cf. Rom. 12:1–2; 13:14; Eph. 4:23–24; Col. 1:24–2:5; 3:10). This would be a life of the Spirit, not the law; it would be centered in Christ, not Moses; it would be the universalism of the Abrahamic promise, not the nationalism of the Judaizing view of the Mosaic law.
Paul’s description of the Galatians’ situation leads him to think of his pastoral role to be one like giving birth to children…. Paul must now “again” (4:19) go through the process of leading them to the faith they once embraced.¹⁷ He wants them to grow into Christ.
4a. What does it mean for you to have Christ be formed in you? Where do you sense a desire to personally grow more into the image of Christ?
5. Read this excerpt from “Galatians” by Scot McKnight
“Paul’s goal was not to have people say he was a great evangelist; not to have the approval of others; not to have the sanction of Jerusalem. His goal in working with people was to have Christ formed in them. In verse 4:12b we find that Paul was not “personally hurt” when the Galatians succumbed to the Judaizers, and in verse 16 he shows that he was willing to be an “enemy” if he had to be in telling them the truth. These two statements can only come from someone who sets out in ministry only to please God and not be bothered by human rejection. What does Paul want in others? As I outlined above, this would be a “Spirit-led life” and a “Christ-centered existence.” What is our goal?
We are, no doubt, as seduced as Paul was to gain the approval of others. We may begin with no desire but to serve God, but we find, after a few good experiences, that the approval of others is gratifying. The approval of others, I believe, can be cancerous. Before long we look forward to it and find, after even longer, that we are partially motivated by it. How do we see this? When we are disappointed when people do not approve of us.”
5a. What are some unhealthy views of self that might lead us to people-pleasing over pleasing God?
5b. Why is a healthy view of self needed for truly pleasing God?
6. What is a way that God might be calling you to follow him this week despite what others think of you?
Reflect on where we need God to strength us this week in our walk with him. In a moment of self-reflection, think of times when you succumb to the pressure of pleasing people rather than pleasing God. Like the Galatians, we can also slip back into some old habits or old ways, from which Christ once delivered us. If so, lift those up to God and ask him to give us strength to face and confront them.
04/28/2018, 11:00 PM
Children of Promise
Week of April 29-May 4
Watch the 8-min summary video on Galatians: youtube.com/watch?v=vmx4UjRFp0M
It is very important to remember that Paul’s arguments in Galatians are with religious extremists. The Term “Judiazers” is used by several biblical scholars to describe an Extremist Nationalistic Group who were trying to persuade the Gentile Galatian churches that they had to become fully immersed in Jewish Nationalistic identity in order to be fully Christ followers. This is not to be confused with faithful Jewish followers of God and with all the early church leaders who were Jewish Christians.
Here’s a Note from Author Scott McKnight about the extreme characteristics of these religious parties.
The Danger of the Religious/Nationalistic Zeal Tempting the Galatian Church
“Though the term “zealous for you” can mean nothing more than “working hard to proselytize you,”¹⁵ the term here describes the intensity of their action as well as the general national character of that action. In other words, while these Judaizers were not themselves using warlike violence to make full converts, they were part of a larger movement that was intensely nationalistic which, under better conditions, might erupt into violence. Physical force may have been used in Galatia (cf. notes on 2:14 and 6:12).
We must remember that the central feature of their zeal was Israel and the law—and especially the law of circumcision. Circumcision was the act that separated the Jew from the Gentile. In essence, therefore, their “zeal” was nationalism.¹⁶ This helps define the meaning of “alienate” here: “to alienate you [from us]” means “to enter you, through circumcision, into Israel,” “to allow your passage from one group into another.” The Judaizers’ goal, of course, was that the Galatians might be “zealous” for them: devoted so much to the law that they would carry on their agenda of separating God’s people from the Gentile world by constructing the barriers that Jesus Christ had broken down. Their action, however, was “for no good” (v. 17): that is, it would not lead to acceptance with God as Paul has outlined from the beginning of the letter.”
- Scott McKnight (NIV Application Commentary on Galatians)
Read Galatians 4:8-19 (Special Focus on verses 8-11 and verses 17)
Here Paul is describing the problem again that he is seeing happening in the Galatian church. These Galatian Christians were once followers of Greek and Roman pagan gods and and then they became followers of Jesus by grace. Now they are being convinced to turn to Jewish national identity and strict following of Torah in order to prove their love for God. Paul finds this to be a step backwards in their faith journey.
Where do you see this temptation to extremes present in your personal faith?
*Think of ways that you can either be more hard on yourself or more hard on others?
Where do you see the temptation for Christians today to follow the allure of American nationalism and our Western values over and against following Jesus and his teachings? What are some areas where they conflict with each other and where the Church must make a distinction in its loyalties?