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1617. Christian Liberty Part 1

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
October 10, 2023 6:06 pm

1617. Christian Liberty Part 1

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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October 10, 2023 6:06 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Walking in the Spirt” from Galatians 5:13-14.

The post 1617. Christian Liberty Part 1 appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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The message that Steve Pettit brought that has stuck with me the most has been how, because if we're walking in the Spirit, we're no longer enslaved by the lusts of the flesh. It was just a super big encouragement for me because a lot of times I feel like I'm really deep into sin or, you know, if my walk with God gets distanced or whatever, I feel like I'm really into sin, but I can know that, you know, if I'm walking in the Spirit, I'm not enslaved to that. It doesn't consume me.

It doesn't rule over me. What I learned in chapel was that walking in the Spirit is something that you have to be intentional about and you can actually live your entire Christian life or much of it not doing that, which is kind of a sobering thought. Something I've learned from the walking in the Spirit chapel theme this semester has been spending time in God's Word and living that out intentionally and really, if I'm growing in God's Word, then I will be walking in the Spirit and growing closer to Him. What I learned from the chapel theme, walking in the Spirit, I just learned how foundational that is to just everyday life and how that can really make or break how your day goes, how your week goes.

Welcome to The Daily Platform, a radio program featuring chapel messages from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. You just heard several BJU students talking about chapel programs preached from the Book of Galatians. For the next several days on The Daily Platform, we'll be hearing Dr. Steve Pettit lead us through a study in the Book of Galatians called Walking in the Spirit. In today's message, Steve will begin part one of the study of Christian liberty from Galatians chapter five. I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles and turn with me to the Book of Galatians, Galatians chapter five. We started last week our series on walking in the Spirit and last week I tried to take the time to establish some basic, big picture ideas of understanding the Book of Galatians, why the Apostle Paul wrote it, of course to expose to us the true Gospel and explain that and at the same time expose to us a false Gospel that was being taught and then how we as believers are to live. I ended the message with one of the great themes of the Book of Galatians and that is the theme of Christian liberty and today and next week is going to take us two weeks to talk about the theme of Christian liberty. Let's begin reading in Galatians five and verse thirteen. The Bible says, For brethren, you have been called unto liberty. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. In the financial world, your portfolio normally refers to a collection of all your investments. So for most of you, you probably don't have a portfolio at this point in your life. That would include things like stocks and bond certificates, real estate, contracts, facilities, gold certificates.

Basically, all together it shows your present financial worth or your financial wealth. Now, have you ever considered as a believer that you actually have an incredible spiritual portfolio? Listen to Ephesians three verse eight. Paul says, unto me who am less than the least of the saints is this grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Unsearchable means beyond our comprehension and impossible for us to fully understand.

So question this morning. Could it be that as a Christian, you are not growing spiritually simply because of your sheer lack of knowledge of what's in your spiritual portfolio? What are the riches that you have in Jesus Christ? One writer said it this way, the great temptation most of us face is to believe that very little has happened to us through grace. We are encouraged to hold a different perspective by enlarging our understanding of what God has done for us and has begun to accomplish in us. So this morning and next week I'd like us to look at one of these spiritual holdings. One of these riches that you have in your spiritual portfolio and that blessing is what we call Christian liberty because it is one of the greatest blessings that we have in Christ. What does he say in verse 13? For brethren, you have been called unto liberty.

So let's start with a simple question. And that is what is Christian liberty? How many of you ever heard of a guy named William Wallace?

Anybody ever heard of him? He's famous for one word. What is the word? Freedom! Okay, that's what liberty is. Liberty is freedom. We of course as Americans talk about our freedoms, our liberties as an American citizen. So what is the freedom that we have? Well in the book of Galatians within its context we discover the meaning of liberty by looking at three key verses that Paul uses to help us understand this freedom.

That's the three things we're going to look at this morning. The first verse is found in Galatians chapter 2 in verse 1. Let me read it to you. Paul says then that because of false brethren, unawares brought in who came in privily or secretly to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they may bring us into bondage. Paul here is referring to basically one of the great problems in the church of Galatia. And that is Paul and Barnabas had gone on a missionary journey and they preached in this region.

Galatia is a region, it's like what we say the upstate of South Carolina. And in that region they went to cities like Lystra and Derby and Iconium. And on this missionary journey they preached the gospel of free grace, salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

And what happened? Scores of people responded to the message of grace and they were saved. Well Paul and Barnabas leaves and after their departure certain professing brothers from Jerusalem whom Paul called false brethren.

We call them Judaizers. And they came and they began to teach, and I said this last week, another gospel. A gospel of a different sort or a different kind. Now what is the gospel that they preached? Well they did not deny that Jesus was the Messiah. And they didn't deny that they needed to put faith in Jesus. However what they did is they added to the message of grace. We call it Jesus plus.

You can say it this way, Jesus plus something equals nothing. They came and said that faith in Christ alone is not sufficient for your salvation. They began to insist that the believers had to follow the laws of Moses to be genuine believers. And this would include things that they ate because Jews have kosher food laws. This has to do with special days that they would observe the feasts of the Jews. And particularly they required that they had to come under the sign of the Abrahamic covenant and that is they had to follow circumcision. And by the way it only made sense. I mean is Jesus not the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant? Is he not the blessing to the whole earth? And God said if you're going to be blessed of Abraham then all males have to be circumcised.

So it only makes sense. And what did Paul do? Paul uncovered their secret plot.

And we read this. It says they came in and they came in privily to spy out our liberty. That is they came in to spy on the believers liberty to see what they were doing with the result of putting God's people back under the Mosaic law. So what did Paul do to confront this? And basically Paul used a method of induction. That is he asked and he answered questions. And the first point that he dealt with is found in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 3 where he says that if you live under the law then you're indebted to keep the whole law perfectly.

Notice what he says. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised that he is debtor to the whole law. If you put yourself under the law you have to keep the whole law. That's the nature of the law.

You can't just pick and choose. It's either complete and perfect obedience or it's disobedience. Well what if you don't keep the law perfectly?

Well Paul has already answered that. Look at Galatians 3 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse for it is written cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. In other words to go back under the law is to put yourself back under God's judgment not God's mercy. Because you are saying to yourself I must keep all of these laws in order for God in order for God to accept me. And he says it's not going to work. You just can't do one.

You got to do the whole thing. Then secondly Paul says if you live under the law then there is no personal benefit to Christ's life and death. Look at what he says in verse 2. Behold I Paul say unto you that if you be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing.

If you go back and put yourself under the law then what are you saying? You are saying that when Jesus died on the cross his death and his life are not sufficient to save you. What do we teach in the Gospel? We teach that Jesus lived the life that we should have lived. That is he kept the law perfectly but he did it for us.

He died the death that we should die. He not only kept the law in his perfect obedience his active obedience to God but also in his willingness to take upon himself we call that his passive obedience. His willingness to take upon himself the curse of our sins. So what the law requires in obedience Jesus did.

What the law requires in punishment Jesus experienced. So by his perfect life and by his sacrificial death God can forgive us. In his death our sins are paid for. In his life it is charged or placed under our account we call that imputed righteousness. He gives us his righteousness as a free gift.

We do not get into heaven because of our righteousness we get into heaven because of his righteousness. And so Paul is saying this that if you decide to go back to circumcision then Christ shall profit you nothing. It's like you walking into the business office of Bob Jones University to pay off your school bill and you pay it all off and then they say that's not enough you owe more money. How many of you would be happy at that moment? You owe more?

How would you respond? If you say I must do something more than to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ then you're saying that what Jesus did is not enough. So Paul is saying to go back to the Mosaic law is to leave the freedom that you have received in Christ. So what is Christian liberty? It is freedom from the law as a basis for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. You cannot be saved any other way.

Let me just say it to many of you sitting here. You may know that in your head but do you really know that in your heart? Have you ever come to a place in your life where you have completely abandoned any hope in yourself to get into heaven? Or are you subtly in your heart a true legalist who believes somehow when you stand before God, God's going to accept you because of the good things that you've done?

Have you come to the place where you are done with yourself? We call that repentance and you have embraced Jesus Christ. That's the only way that we can be saved. But then there's a second verse where he speaks about liberty and that's found in Galatians 5 and verse 1.

Notice what he says. He says, stand fast therefore in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Now what we call this verse is we call this an application verse. That is there's something that you are to do, something you're to do and what we are to do is we're to stand fast. But he says therefore, what does he mean therefore?

Whenever you see the word therefore, you always ask the question, what's it there for? And the way you find out is you've got to back up in the previous passage because he's explaining something and then he comes to a point and he says, okay, here's what you're supposed to do. So that backing up goes back to chapter 4 and verse 21.

And what's going on here? Well, Paul is using an illustration of the two sons of Abraham to help us understand liberty. The first son is his son Ishmael.

The second son is his son Isaac. And Ishmael was a representation of the law of Moses and Isaac is a representation of the grace that is in Jesus Christ. Look at chapter 4 verse 21.

Tell me you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? That is the Old Testament. For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, that's Hagar, the other by a free woman, that's Sarah. But he who was of the bond woman was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by the promise which things are an allegory. What does he mean by allegory?

He's using this as a picture, as an illustration to understand doctrinal truth. And the first son Ishmael represents the law. You see, God had promised to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. When that promise came, Abraham was 75 and his wife was 65. Now, my wife is 65 years old, so if she had a baby, it's a modern miracle. 65 year old women don't have babies. So, God made the promise and they had to wait. They waited for 13 years. Abraham is now 88. Sarah is now 78. What's the chances of them having a baby?

Zero. And so what does Abraham do? In unbelief, he acts on his own initiative.

We call that the flesh, your own works. And he fathers a child named Ishmael through his slave Hagar. And Paul uses Ishmael to illustrate and understand the law of Moses. Ishmael was the son of slavery.

His mother was a slave woman. And what's Paul's point? He said, if you go back to the old covenant, the Mosaic law, in order to be saved, you are going back into slavery. And Ishmael was not the son of God's promise. It's not what God had promised because there was no inheritance that came to Ishmael. In other words, Isaac was given the inheritance from Abraham that went through Isaac and then to his son Jacob, and then of course to the children of Israel. But under the line of Ishmael, there was no promise from God for a blessing upon the earth. And the point is, the inheritance, if you put yourself under the law, there is no inheritance for eternal life.

There is no everlasting life through the law. Then notice the second son. That son was Isaac. Now how was Isaac born? He was born supernaturally because when Sarah turned 90 and Abraham turned 100, God said, now is the time to have a baby.

They had been waiting a long time, 25 plus years. And now at this time, it would be quite obvious that if they had a child, it was a miracle of God. And Isaac was the son of freedom. That is, he was not a slave. He was Abraham's true son. And what does the grace of Jesus Christ teach us? It teaches us that if we know Jesus, we can know God. He will become our father, and we will become his children. Isaac was not only the son of freedom, but he received an inheritance from his father.

And what's the point? The point is that believers inherit the new Jerusalem, not Mount Sinai, but Mount Zion, which is a picture of heaven. So he's using those illustrations to say, don't go back to Ishmael.

Go to Isaac. Don't go back to the law of Moses. Go to the grace of Jesus Christ. So what is the believer to do with his liberty?

Well, here's the question. What did Abraham do with Hagar? What did he do with her?

He cast her out. What are we to do with the kind of thinking of salvation where salvation comes through the law? We're to do the same thing. We are to immediately reject it. Look at verse 30. Nevertheless, what sayeth the scripture? Cast out the bond woman and her son, for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free. So when we come to Galatians 5 and verse 1, and he says, stand fast in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free.

He is saying it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm. Don't budge on the gospel.

Take a stand and stand in such a way where not only is it clear, but you stand against any kind of false teaching. My hope is that while you're a student at Bob Jones University, you will be so firm in what you believe that you go out not just to live the gospel, but to stand for the defense of the gospel, having done all to stand. And then there's the third and last verse that I want us to look at as he discusses liberty, and that's found in verse 13 of Galatians 5, where he makes the statement, for brethren, you have been called unto liberty. That word call there is one of the primary words in the Bible that is used to describe the experience of salvation. The fact is there's two key words in the New Testament that describes the experience of salvation.

Number one is conversion. That's the human side that involves faith and repentance. And then there's the calling.

That's the divine side. And in the calling to salvation, it involves two parts. One is the external call. The other is the internal call.

What is the external call? Look at Galatians 1 and verse 5 because he mentions it. He says, I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.

What does he mean by him that called you into the grace of Christ? Paul's speaking about his preaching the gospel to them. The first call to salvation is an external call. That call comes through preaching. How shall they hear, the Bible says, without a preacher? God has said that people are saved through the foolishness of preaching. The first evidence of decline in a church is when they begin to decline in preaching. Because the miracle of salvation comes through the preacher who delivers the word of God.

That's the call on the outside. And every one of you here have heard the call to salvation. But then there's a second call and that is the internal call of the Spirit. Look at Galatians 1 verse 15. Paul says, but when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by his grace to reveal his son to me that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Here, Paul is making a point that I was divinely illuminated.

I mean, if anybody was against Jesus, it was Paul. The only way he was going to be saved is God had to open his eyes. God had to do a miraculous work within his own heart that is both powerful and effective to bring about a change in his life. Nobody gets into heaven without the internal call of God and that is God's sovereign work in your heart to bring you to faith in Jesus.

I heard about Jesus for a couple of years before I got saved, but it was the work of God through the preaching of the word of God that I responded and I came to the Lord. It's the work of the Holy Spirit. And the point he is making is this, that the God of heaven personally calls you to himself.

How wonderful is that? He is saying that my relationship with God is not secured by my obedience, but it is secured by the merits of Christ's righteousness. He is saying that I have complete forgiveness from sin and a complete acceptance with God based on the merits of his perfect life and his own sacrificial blood. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

I have a father with whom I have access at any time. I am eternally freed from my sin and secure in Jesus Christ so that I will never perish. What do we call that? We call that liberty, freedom, forgiven, changed, a new creation, Christ in me, the hope of glory. He is my father and he has secured me in his son. That's why Paul says stand fast in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free. What is Christian liberty?

It is freedom from the law as a means of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Now, next week we're doing part two because part two we talk about not just about the freedom that we have in Christ, but the freedom that we have in the Holy Spirit who enables us to live out a Christ-like life. My hope is that you will learn how the Christian life works by walking in the Spirit. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit from the study series in Galatians called Walking in the Spirit. Steve is now utilizing his gifts as a compelling communicator and expositor of Scripture and travels to local churches with preaching, concerts and conferences emphasizing Gospel-centered evangelism and Christian leadership development. You can get more information about Steve's ministry at If you would like to re-listen to any of the sermons preached at Bob Jones University or want to share them on social media, go to our website, Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in the book of Galatians preached from the Bob Jones University Chapel platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-22 13:54:05 / 2023-10-22 14:03:21 / 9

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