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Galatians 4:12-20

Talks for Growing Christians

Paul’s Concern for the Galatian Believers to Grow in Christ

Galatians 4:12-20

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. False teachers are not concerned about their own integrity.
  2. False teachers are not concerned about the welfare of others.

Practical Application

  1. Have you gone into labor lately?
  2. Would the apostle Paul be perplexed about you?

Questions

  1. Why did the apostle Paul say to the Galatians that he was perplexed about them?
  2. What were the non-Christian Judaizers teaching?
  3. What were the Christian Judaizers teaching?
  4. “Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you.” What did Paul mean by this?
  5. What is meant by the expression, “pluck out your own eyes?”

Answers

  1. Because the Galatian Christians had come under the influence of the false teaching of Judaism, and Paul was concerned that they were turning away from the pure gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
  2. They were teaching that the keeping of the law was necessary for salvation.
  3. They acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah and Savior, but they said that sanctification came by keeping the Mosaic Law.
  4. Paul said this because he had been under the law before he became a Christian, but then he was free from the law after he became a Christian. He was refuting the works-oriented salvation and works-oriented sanctification as taught by the Judaizers. He was concerned when some of the Galatian believers were under the spell of the Judaizers.
  5. It means giving up everything for someone.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Paul asked the Galatian believers, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16) What happened to the wonderful relationship they had shared? The false teachers had come in and undermined Paul’s authority and character. As a result, the Galatians were treating Paul as an enemy when he was telling them the truth. The same is true today. When false teachers cannot deny the message, they attack the messenger. False teachers are not concerned about their own integrity. Beware lest you be taken in by false teachers.
  2. Paul said of the false teachers, “They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.” (Galatians 4;17). The false teachers did whatever they could to alienate the Galatian converts from the apostle Paul. They courted the Galatians with flattery in order to gain a following, not because they were concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Galatians. The same is true today – false teachers are not really interested in the welfare of the people, but are more interested in gaining a following for themselves. Beware lest you be taken in by false teachers.

Challenge

  1. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19) Paul likened his relationship with the Galatians to a mother with a baby. He went into labor, as it were, at the time of their salvation. Now he was in labor again in reference to their Christian growth. He wanted the Galatian converts to grow in grace, and he was so concerned for them that he went into labor for them, figuratively speaking. Are you as concerned about the new Christians that you know? Have you gone into labor lately?
  2. Paul wrote to the Galatian church, “I have my doubts about you.” (Galatians 4:20) As Paul looked at the wavering Galatians, he was perplexed as to their susceptibility to the false teaching of the day. He was genuinely concerned about their faith. Suppose the apostle Paul looked at your life and lifestyle; would he have doubts about your commitment to Christ? Would he see a woeful lack of Bible teaching? Would he see church-going and rule-keeping, but not a lot of love and devotion to Christ?

Key Verses

  • “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16) “They zealously court you, but for no good…” (Galatians 4:17) “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19) “I have doubts about you.” (Galatians 4:20)

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