Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5
Thesis: Enemies are those who have an agenda of self-exaltation.
Introduction: Last week we considered Paul's question to the Galatians: Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? We saw that "enemies" seek the actual hurt of their opponents and that "Truth" can never be used in the service of a lie.
This week we are going to look into Paul's application of those realities to the Galatians' situation. In 4:17 he strips bare the hidden agenda of the false teachers so that the Galatians might know who their real enemies are.
September 23, 2012
- I. The Larger Picture.
- A. In 4:14 Paul addressed the issue of "temptation" and commended the Galatians for not being deceived into rejecting his message because of his appearance.
- 1. This issue of "temptation" is the underlying problem in the Galatians' current situation.
- 2. Where they once were strong to "resist", they had a "blessedness" of which they were aware.
- 3. But the fruit of that "blessedness" (a total absence of selfishness) is now gone and it is a root of Paul's theology that when the fruit disappears, something "doctrinal" has come into the picture that is absolutely false.
- 4. If there has been a "doctrinal shift", someone has created a powerful and successful "temptation" to which they have succumbed who did the "shifting".
- 5. It is Paul's strong conviction that those who have created this potent "temptation" need to be exposed at the level of their motives.
- B. In the larger picture of "temptation" in the Bible, there are only three fundamental arenas of susceptibility in man and only one driving force behind the tempter.
- 1. Man's susceptibility exists in his fear and there are three "at risk" areas where fears dominate.
- a. Man fears physical pain and death.
- b. Man fears relational conflict and the risks it brings with it.
- c. Man fears spiritual insignificance and its resulting humiliation.
- 2. The tempter, on the other hand, is only interested in one thing: using fear to get people to exalt him in their eyes to the level of a "superior and more effective person than they".
- II. Paul's Exposure of the Tempters.
- A. His claim is that they are using a false form of what is called "love" to distract the Galatians by turning their focus inward.
- 1. He says that they are being "zealously pursued".
- a. This means that they are the objects of "focused" interest.
- b. This translates into them being considered extremely valuable to the pursuer(s).
- 2. This issue of extreme value is the issue of "love".
- a. "Love" is always in the mix because it is the root of everything done in the world.
- b. "Love" is always a matter of "arranging" items into an ascending/descending order of value.
- c. "Love" is always a matter of some absolute criterion by which the decisions of "arrangement" are made.
- d. "Love" is determined by one final issue: who profits?
- 3. The issue of extreme value is exceedingly dangerous because the question of who profits is not immediately raised.
- a. It is one thing to be the one doing the loving.
- b. It is altogether another thing to be the one being loved.
- c. If one can be deceived into thinking of "love" as an automatic "good", the whole battle and war is lost because by this means the question of final profit can be excluded from the consideration of the lovers/beloved.
- B. His claim is that they are actually most interested in whether, or not, they can be installed in the minds of their "beloved followers" as "the dear leader".