From September 2017 to October 2018, I was privileged to preach through the book of Galatians on Sunday evenings at the church where I serve as Associate Pastor. Here is the resulting outline, with a summary of each message:
Foundational (Chapters 1-2)
- The Only Gospel (1:1-10) — There is only one true gospel and anyone who preaches another gospel should be accursed.
- The Divine Origin of the Gospel (1:11-24) — The gospel we preach is not man’s gospel, but came directly from Christ.
- The Gospel Preserved for You (2:1-10) — The integrity of Christ’s gospel was preserved for us by Paul and the apostles and has been preserved through history.
- No Return to the Law (2:11-21) — We must not draw back from the gospel of justification by grace through faith, as Peter did, because it has set us free from the bondage of the law.
Doctrinal (Chapters 3-4)
- Sanctification by Faith (3:1-5) — The justifying and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is in response to faith, not works.
- The Gospel Preached to Abraham (3:6-9) — If we live by faith, we are children of Abraham and heirs of the blessings promised to Abraham.
- Cursed For Us, Part 1: The Curse of the Law (3:10-14) — If we live by law, we fall under God’s curse, being unable to keep the law perfectly. We must turn to Christ, who became a curse for us.
- Cursed For Us, Part 2: Christ Our Substitute (3:10-14) — Christ redeemed us from the law by paying its penalty, dying in our place, that all may be saved and receive the Spirit by faith.
- The Law and the Promise (3:15-18) — Since God’s promise to Abraham concerning Christ was given before the law, we know that the law has not annulled God’s promise or been added as a prerequisite to receiving the promise.
- The Purpose of the Law (3:19-25) — The law was given as a temporary covenant to reveal our sin and, like a schoolmaster, bring us to mature faith in Christ.
- The Gospel that Breaks Barriers (3:26-29) — Set free from life under the law, we now enjoy a new identity in Christ that breaks down ethnic, class, and gender barriers.
- Sons and Heirs (4:1-11) — Since Christ has redeemed us from the law, we are no longer slaves but sons and heirs, and recipients of His Spirit.
- Until Christ is Formed in You (4:12-20) — The goal of gospel ministry is to produce Christlike converts. (Paul expresses this in a personal, pastoral appeal on the basis of his relationship with the Galatians—a relationship formed while ministering during a time of illness.)
- Children of Freedom (4:21-31) — Like Sarah’s son Isaac, who was born according to God’s promise by supernatural means, we should be children of freedom. We should not be in bondage like Hagar’s son Ishmael, who was born according to ordinary means by human self-reliance.
Practical (Chapters 5-6)
- Stand Fast in Freedom (5:1-6) — We should treasure the freedom we have in Christ, and guard against threats to our freedom. Adding a requirement to salvation (such as circumcision) undermines the sufficiency of Christ. In Christ, the only thing that counts is faith working through love.
- Gospel Hinderers (5:7-12) — Judgment is severe on those who hinder Christians from running the race of faith.
- The Law of Love (5:13-15) — When Christian freedom is used as an excuse to satisfy the flesh, churches are divided by the unloving attitudes and agendas of its members. One cannot satisfy the flesh and truly love.
- Life in the Spirit (5:16-18) — The only way to have victory over the flesh and truly love is to walk by the Spirit. As long as we walk by the Spirit, we will never satisfy the desires of the flesh.
- Walk by the Spirit (5:19-28) — Those who live by the flesh are exposed by their works, and will not enter the Kingdom of God. Those who live by faith through the Spirit are marked by loving character.
- Burden Bearers (6:1-5) — Spiritual churches should cultivate a culture of grace where sin is confronted in a loving and gentle way.
- Do All the Good You Can (6:6-10) — Spiritual people should demonstrate practical love to others, especially fellow believers.
- Glory in the Cross (6:11-18) — Though it causes us to be persecuted, our only boast is in the cross of Jesus because it is our only hope for justification and new birth.