Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
Thesis: The key relationship of the relational universe is established when its central truth is declared and received.
Introduction: In an earlier study I argued that Paul fully inhabited a relational universe in which everything is measured by the impact it makes upon the relationships between the inhabitants in that universe.
The reason God refuses to justify those who seek that determination by dint of their efforts at "obedience" is that such pursuit inevitably attacks relationships by establishing a basis for boasting in men who are prone to self-exaltation as a most fundamental matter of course. Relationships shatter when those within them seek to elevate themselves above the others within them.
The reason God freely justifies those who seek that determination by dint of Christ's works alone is that such pursuit makes harmonious relationships possible within a context of bitter competition for exaltation. Relationships grow when those within them are willing to take the lesser position of being the servant rather than the master.
This evening we are going to look into the two concepts that make the establishment of a relationship possible by clearing the garbage of competition away.
November 7, 2010
- I. The First Concept: Preaching.
- A. The concept of "preaching" is addressed three times in the two verses that posit the reality of an eternal curse upon those who "mis-preach".
- 1. Our first necessity: to understand that "preaching" is something everyone does.
- a. The pretty common command, "Don't preach to me", indicates that most people understand that "preaching" is something everyone does.
- b. There are those whose "calling" is "preaching", but that just means that they are especially suited to do whatever "preaching" entails, not that they are the only ones who do it.
- c. Jesus' declaration, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45), means that everyone voices what resides "abundantly" in their hearts.
- 2. Our second necessity: to understand that everyone's "preaching" is directly tied to one basic issue -- the audible presentation of what the "preacher" believes will make relationships work.
- a. Generally this has this setting: fracturing relationships.
- b. Because of this general setting, we must understand that "preaching" generally has both a "confrontational" element (wherein "wrong" is addressed) and a "correctional" element (wherein "truth" is inserted into the mix).
- 3. Our third necessity: to significantly grasp what Paul advocated in the two verses of our text -- there is a potent curse upon everyone who gets it wrong.
- B. The concept of "preaching" zeroes in on three critical objectives.
- 1. The first objective is to get "truth" in the mix.
- a. The most fundamental assumption of all "preaching" is that there is such a thing as "truth" and the setting (fracturing relationships) indicates that it is being left out of the "relating".
- b. Thus, there is no escape from the implication of the "preacher" that he/she has a legitimate grasp of what "truth" is.
- c. But the fact is that no one has a legitimate grasp of what the "truth" is who does not get that "truth" from God.
- 2. The second objective is to make "faith" possible.
- a. All of God's "truth" has one objective in mind -- enabling the hearers to live -- and one methodology in mind -- enabling the hearers to believe.
- b. All "preaching" is an attempt to get the hearer(s) to embrace the content of the preaching.
- c. Embracing the content is the most fundamental definition of "faith".
- 3. The third objective is to establish the one relationship that makes all other relationships possible.
- a. Jesus was the consummate "preacher" in that He was both "full of grace and truth" and He was actively vocal in every setting of His ministry life.
- b. The biblical declaration regarding His preaching is twofold.
- 1) "Receiving" what He said was, in effect, receiving Him.
- 2) Receiving Him issued forth in the establishment of a person as a child of God (John 1:12-13) and in the establishment of everything that was to come after (Colossians 2:6-7).
- C. The concept of "preaching" in Galatians 1:8-9 was designed by Paul to fundamentally establish "grace" as God's methodology of "Life".
- 1. For Paul and the Galatians, the "preaching" that led to "Life" was totally exclusive of any kind of "Galatian-induced" motivation.
- a. The Galatians had done absolutely nothing to bring Paul and his preaching into their context.
- b. Thus, their exposure to the "truth of God" was entirely gracious on God's part, Who sent Paul to them.
- 2. For Paul and the Galatians, the "preaching" contained no element of "demand/performance" that would have undercut the "grace" issue.
- a. The content of Paul's message is given in 3:1.
- b. The translation "that ye should not obey the truth" is unfortunate on two levels: it is not likely even a part of Paul's text; it is a poor translation in any case.
- c. The basic assumption of Paul's preaching is that "Christ crucified" means two things: He is the solution for all disobedience; and there is nothing to "obey" (it is to be believed or not).
- d. Just before the chapter 3 text, there is the declaration of 2:21.
- II. The Second Concept: Receiving.
- A. For Paul, "receiving" was a permission for "Christ crucified" to take up a position directly alongside of oneself.
- B. This "permission" was given when the "preaching" was "received".
- C. Acts 10:44 may not have been the "norm" for the period of the Acts, but it could not have been contrary to the truth and it is highly likely that what happened there also happened in Galatia.
- 1. This means that the "receiving" of the Gospel and the "receiving of the Spirit" occurred apart from any action taken by the Galatians.
- 2. Thus is established "salvation by grace through faith apart from works".