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Flight GAL01
Galatians 1-6
Skip Heitzig

Galatians 1 (NKJV™)
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.
14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,
16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.
19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)
21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.
23 But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy."
24 And they glorified God in me.
Galatians 2 (NKJV™)
1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.
2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.
3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),
5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
6 But from those who seemed to be something--whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man--for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter
8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),
9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
15 "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!
18 "For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 "For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
21 "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
Galatians 3 (NKJV™)
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have you suffered so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?--
6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."
12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 4 (NKJV™)
1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.
13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.
14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.
18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar--
25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children--
26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband."
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
Galatians 5 (NKJV™)
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.
12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 6 (NKJV™)
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5 For each one shall bear his own load.
6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!
12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Bible from 30,000 Feet - 2018, The

Galatians is a firm statement of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. When Paul wrote this letter, the false doctrine of legalism and faith by works had infiltrated the church throughout Galatia. As a result, believers had traded their freedom in Christ for bondage to the old Jewish law that had been fulfilled by Jesus. On this flight, we discover the differences between law and grace as well as the practical application and results of the proper doctrine of grace.

Take your knowledge of the full scope of Scripture to soaring heights with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. In this series, Skip Heitzig pilots you through all sixty-six books of the Bible, revealing major themes, principles, people, and events from Genesis to Revelation. Fasten your seatbelt and open your Bible for this sweeping panorama of Scripture that will increase your faith in God's plan for the world-and for you. Buy series

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Galatians 1-6 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight GAL01

The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Would you turn, in your Bible, to the book of--

Galatians.

--Galatians. We made it to Galatians. Let's turn there. I don't know what your favorite book in the Bible is, but it might be Galatians. If it is, raise your hand. It's your favorite book in the entire Bible. Raise your hand.

Wow. So there's a few of you. Well, we have a couple here, Billy and Jessalyn. Would you guys stand up? They were telling me that the book of-- would you just stand up through the whole service? No, go ahead, you can have a seat. So Billy said it's his favorite book. Jessalyn said it's her favorite book, and when they met each other and found out that that was each other's favorite book, it was like a confirmation.

Now, it's interesting that this should be your favorite book, because the tone of the letter of Galatians is a little bit hard, harsh, even acerbic at times. So I'm trusting that your relationship is different than the one that Paul, in this letter, had with the Church of Galatia. And there's probably other and better reasons that it is your favorite book.

It's an awesome book. It was one of Martin Luther's favorite books. You know, though, when you get a letter, sometimes you open it, and you know that the letter is different from other letters you have gotten, maybe even from the same person. The tone is a bit different. And this letter is like that.

The tone of Galatians is, well, much different than many of Paul's other letters. Usually Paul begins a letter with customary greetings-- grace and peace-- which he does here. But typically he begins his letters with a word of praise to God, a word of encouragement for the congregation that he writes to, often a prayer that is specific to that congregation in that letter. Those are absent from Paul's letter to the Galatians.

He begins immediately by defending his apostleship. Paul, an apostle, not by men or through man, but it's from God. And that is because he is addressing in this church that he, himself, founded in Galatia-- he is addressing a problem, a problem that is affecting his own personal relationship with that beautiful group of church people in the region of Galatia.

There were a group of people who had come to the Galatians. We refer to them usually as Judaizers. Have you ever heard the term Judaizers? A Judaizer is a claimant to be a follower of Christ, but is very legalistic, has a Jewish background, and believes that, if you want to get right with God, you have to, yes, come through Christ, but go through the vehicle of Judaism in order to be fully right with God. You have to proselytize into the Jewish religion, keep the Jewish feasts, festivals, regulations, rituals, as well as receive Jesus Christ as messiah.

Now, what's weird about it here is that Galatia was a Roman colony. Those who lived in Galatia were Roman citizens. They were chiefly Gentiles, though there were some Jewish people in the congregation, but mostly Gentile, unbelievers who had come to faith in Christ.

So for people to find them to tell them you have to become Jewish, not just receive Jesus Christ, was strange, and it angered Paul. And you see it here in this letter. He unleashes fury at them. He is crystal clear, and in certain places, he's angry. Why? Because they're trying to mix the gospel with other things.

It's not just Jesus alone. It's not just faith in Jesus alone. It's faith in Jesus plus something else. And anytime you add a plus to Jesus and say that Jesus is not enough, anytime you try to mix just the pure faith in Jesus alone, an act of God's grace through your trusting in Jesus alone-- when you add something to the gospel, it's not the gospel any longer. It's not good news.

Now the good news has become bad news. Now you're saying, well, you're off to a good start in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but now you need more than Jesus. And suddenly the good news doesn't sound all that good.

So the Judaizers were different than Paul. Paul would go into a territory that had not heard the gospel. He would go into the synagogue, to the Jew first, and then also to the Greek. He would sow the seeds of the pure gospel, many of whom the people that he was speaking to-- many of whom had never heard the name Jesus before. So he would give them the background of the law in the Old Testament. Then he would tell how Jesus fulfilled it.

So he would go into virgin territory and preach the gospel. The Judaizers did not do that. They weren't trying to win unbelievers. They weren't trying to win people to Christ. They were trying to wean the people from Paul.

They were trying to get the people of Galatia to turn on what Paul had taught them. So think of the Judaizers like mistletoe. You know about mistletoe this time of the year. We often sing about it in our songs, but you probably also know that mistletoe is a parasite. It doesn't have its own life. You just don't have a mistletoe tree. It grows as a parasitic element by taking its life from another organism.

So they needed the hard work and established church that Paul had, by the spirit, labored to develop and maintain. And they would come in, and instead of starting their own thing and winning unbelievers to Christ, they would take believers when Paul was absent and say, now let me tell you all that Paul got wrong and how I can enlighten you a bit. And so they would wean people off of Paul the Apostle onto the law.

The Judaizers were like Santa Claus. I don't know why all these Christmas things keep coming up, but probably because it's the season. 'Tis the season. Santa Claus makes a list and checks it twice. He wants to find out if you're naughty or nice.

The Judaizers had a list. They show up, first of all, in Acts chapter 15 when Paul is in Antioch with Barnabas. It says certain men from Judea came and said, unless you are circumcised and keep the law of Moses, you cannot be saved. Well, that ruffled Paul's feathers. Then it ruffled Paul's apostolic feathers now. Back then, he went to Jerusalem, had a convention over this, a meeting over this, resolved the issue. But here it is popping up again, and so he writes this letter to combat it.

2,000 years ago, some of the strict Jewish rabbis believed that there was no hope for the Gentiles. I'm giving you this background because Paul is called an apostle to the Gentiles. He's called that in this book. God raised him up-- though a Jewish rabbi himself, raised him up to give the message of the Jewish messiah to the Gentile people.

But he also knew that many of his contemporaries, many of the rabbis believed that Gentiles had no place at all in the economy of God. They had sayings. They had sayings that come from their writings. One of them is that God created Gentiles to kindle the fires of hell.

Their belief is that God created certain people-- Gentiles, non-Jewish people-- for the express purpose to just make hell hotter than it already is. That was their saying. God created you to kindle the fires of hell.

Here's another saying they had. See if it rings a bell in something Jesus said, but quite opposite. Some of the Jewish rabbis back then said, there is joy in heaven when God obliterates one sinner from off the earth. Jesus said, there's joy in heaven when one sinner repents.

To counteract that horrible philosophy and theology that God is wanting to obliterate and ruin people, Paul went to Galatia. He labored in Galatia. What is Galatia? It's that region of central Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. Paul went there on his first and second missionary journey. Some of the cities were Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derby, where Timothy was from. He went there on his first journey. He went there on his second journey, and then later on, he writes this letter.

Now, I mentioned Martin Luther, that Martin Luther loved this book. It was one of his favorite books. He called it the great charter, the Magna Carta, the superior charter. It became known as the Charter of the Reformation.

And I brought with me Martin Luther's commentary to the Galatians. I'm not going to read it to you. It's quite lengthy, but I'm going to read a section to you. This particular edition I love because this book was printed in 1749. So I'm holding a book that was printed, used, read, and preached from before this country came into existence.

And in the beginning of his commentary to the Galatian church, he talks about the greatness of the book of Galatians in that it highlights the great doctrine of justification by faith, which you know Martin Luther was all about. And he says, of our justification-- "that is to say how not by ourselves, neither by our works, which are less than ourselves, but by another help, even the Son of God, Jesus Christ, we are redeemed from sin, death, the devil, and made partakers of eternal life." And then he said, "therefore I am compelled to cast away all shame and to be bold above all measure," which he is in this book.

Martin Luther said the letter to the Galatians is my letter. I am wedded to it. It is my wife. I don't know how his wife felt about that statement, but I guess, Billy, she liked it as much as he did, like you guys did. So you're off to a good start if Martin Luther said that about this book.

So Galatians is sort of a mini Book of Romans. It takes those same central themes that are written about in length and in depth in the book of Romans-- justification by faith, especially-- and highlights those because of the particulars that were going on in that church. In this book, the word law appears 32 times. The word faith appears 21 times. So largely he is writing about the difference between trusting in the law and relying on Jesus Christ by faith. That's why you see those words come up so often.

Now, you can divide the book up into three easy sections of two chapters each. There are six chapters-- chapter 1 and 2 form the first part, 3 and 4 the second part, 5 and 6 the third part. The first part, chapters 1 and 2, are all personal. Paul is defending his apostleship. Paul is talking about his relationship to Old Testament law. Paul is talking about his experience in Christ. So personal, chapter 1 and 2.

The second section, doctrinal. He talks about justification by faith, cites several examples, gives several scriptures about how we are saved not by any of our works, but all by Christ. The last section, chapters 5 and 6, are the practical chapters. It's what all of the doctrines should lead to. And in particular, he wants to show the legalists, the Judaizers, that the doctrine of grace leads to good works.

They were worried. If you just preach grace, you're going to let people do whatever they want to do, and they won't obey Christ. They need the parameters of the law. They need the strict bumper guards of the law. Paul says, not so. The quickest route to spiritual maturity is the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. So that is the practical section of the book.

We deal now with the first part, chapters 1 and 2. Let's peruse it and look at a few outstanding verses. In the first two chapters, as I mentioned, they're autobiographical. Paul will defend his own authority as an apostle, and he will defend the doctrine of justification. That's why he says Paul, an apostle, not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.

Down in Verse 6, he lays it right on the line right from the beginning. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. I scratch my head when I consider the predicament that the Church of Galatia had gotten themselves into.

What I mean is they had heard the greatest Bible teacher in the world next to Jesus Christ himself, and very quickly after the founding of that vibrant church in Galatia, they started going backwards. It doesn't take long. It doesn't take long into the next generation often in church movements when churches start slipping backwards, sliding sideways, giving up on core values and core issues, compromising in this area and that area. I marvel, says Paul, that it's been so quick. You've done it so soon-- that you have moved away or turned away from him who called you to a different gospel.

Now, notice Verse 7. He uses a very important word. He said, it's not another, but there are some who trouble you. That's the Judaizers, and they want to pervert the gospel of Christ. The word pervert could be translated turn back or reverse.

Think of it this way. Instead of making progress in Christ, instead of putting it from first gear into second gear, you're moving your Christian vehicle in reverse. You're going backwards. You're going back to the Old Testament, back to the law, when the law was simply meant to be a place holder for grace. You've put your Christian walk in reverse. You're going the opposite direction.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that, after Jesus was crucified, there were still sacrifices going on in the temple. I bring this up because the Bible tells us that, when Jesus was crucified, something in the temple itself was torn. Do you know that was?

The veil.

The veil-- the veil that separated the holy place from the holy of holies. It was enormous. It was very tall. There weren't ladders high enough to get up there and rip it. It was ripped from top to bottom, not bottom to top. The implication is God tore the veil, was making the statement that you, who are on the outside, can come in. You can draw nearby faith. I'm giving you access to me now by the death of my son.

The only way the sacrifices could have continued after that is for the veil to be sewn up again. That's what religion does. God rips open the veil and says, come close. Man says, let's sew it back up.

Let's take the freedom that we have, and get rid of the freedom, and go back into bondage, into rituals, into religion, into rights and ceremonies. Man always has the tendency to take the veil that God ripped and sew it back up, to put things in reverse instead of moving forward, just like they did an Acts chapter 15-- those certain men from Judea who said, unless you are circumcised and keep the law of Moses, you can't be saved. Well, that was news to them, because they just believed in Jesus, and Paul and Barnabas said, you guys are saved.

Now these men from Judea are saying, not so fast. Have you become a Jew? Have you been circumcised? Are you keeping the covenant commandments? Are you keeping the laws of Moses? Because if not, you're not saved. They're going back in reverse.

Here's what's unfortunate. You say, well, that was then. Today things are far different. Not so fast.

Religion tends to grip our souls with an ironclad kind of a grip. I meet people who come to faith in Christ. They get all excited about Jesus, and freedom, and liberty, and salvation, and growth. But then they meet a group of Christians who are saying, well, we've decided to keep the Sabbath, and the Old Testament rituals, and we're getting in touch with the Jewish roots of our faith, and we're practicing Judaism. And it sounds fun and fascinating to kind of look at the biblical feast of the Old Testament, but if you read Galatians, you realize that you can go too far, and it's more than a celebration. Some people are told you really, as New Testament believers, should keep these practices if you really want to be pleasing to God.

They're going backwards. They're saying here, put the handcuffs back on me. Put the shackles back on me. This freedom is way too much. I need to do something. I need to keep a ceremony, or this free kind of worship is a little too much. I would rather go back to an older liturgical form of worship that's a little more rigid.

Now, why is that tendency so prevalent? Here's why. It's really the pride of mankind. There's something within us that says, if I do something, if I add my effort, and my ritual, and my ceremony to the work of Christ, somehow I'm going to be better off, and God is going to love me more. It's hard for human nature to accept a free gift, to just say, really? I just believe and I'm right with God? Don't I have to do anything? Nope. It's been done.

You need to believe in what has been done for you. You need to run and cling to the one who did the work for you.

Yes, He did.

Don't go backwards into religion, or ritual, or ceremony. It's fine to study it and acknowledge it for what it is, but you are free in Christ. That is the large point of the book of Galatians.

In Verse 8, "but even if we are an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you, then what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." But this is in chapter 1. This is in the area where he's usually saying, dude, you're doing awesome. High five. Praise God. You guys are awesome.

He's saying, he who gives you something different than what you've received, let him be anathema-- is the Greek word, anathema. It's a word that means devoted to destruction or Hades. Let me translate it so you understand how strong Paul is here. He's angry, and he is to the point.

He's saying this. If we are an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than what you have received, to hell with him. Let him be damned. That's as strong of a language, or wording, or idea that Paul the Apostle ever postulates. Let it be cursed, anathema, devoted to destruction.

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed, for do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I still please men, I would not be a bond servant of Jesus Christ.

Paul, relax. Why are you so up in arms, man? Show a little freedom yourself. Chill out.

Think of it this way. If you go into the doctor and after a few tests he diagnoses that you have an aggressive form of cancer, would you want him to chill out, relax, use grace with it, hope for the best, give your patient a pat on the back, let him go? No, if you're a good doctor, you will deal very aggressively with-- you're angry at that cancerous organism that is eating away at your patient. You want to do everything you can to stop it, cut it out, deal with it.

Same is true for a shepherd. David said the Lord is my shepherd. He said his rod and his staff bring me great comfort. Now, a staff was what the shepherd would use to direct the sheep, but a rod was a little club hung from the belt used to beat up wolves.

Paul is trying to direct his sheep with the staff, but like a good shepherd, he's got the club out. He's saying, where are those wolves? I'm ready to consign them to anathema. I'm going to beat up some of them. I want me some wolf flesh.

Now, suppose an angel appeared right here on this stage. We're having church now, and a big, fiery angel appeared. Well, first of all, there's never been an angel on this platform, except for last night there was one. Lenya was up here with the woman. It was a great event. Any woman show up for that? Excellent event.

But let's say an angel came, and an angel started speaking. We would be wowed, oohed, awed, amazed, but we should be asking questions. What is the angel directing me to do? What is he saying?

And is what he is saying different from what the Bible says? Because there have been apparitions that people have seen. It's awesome. You had to have been there, man. Mary appeared to us in a tortilla. It was so amazing. Or our Lady of Fatima, or Medjugorje, or in the 1800s when the angel Moroni appeared to young Joseph Smith with the golden plates, and gave what is today known as Mormonism-- an angel from heaven. But if that angel gives to you a different gospel, let him be accursed.

Now, he goes on. In the rest of the chapter, he gets personal. He talks about his background in legalism in Judaism. Go over to chapter 2 Verse 4. "And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty, which we had in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." That happened in Antioch, and it's happening again now in Galatia.

Now, back into that instance in Antioch, Acts 15-- "to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." The chapter continues. He's still dealing autobiographically. He talks about a run in he had with the apostle Peter, who came from Jerusalem, that Peter played the hypocrite and acted like a good Jewish person when Jews were around. But when Gentiles were around, he's hanging out with the Gentiles, but compelling them to live like Jews. So Paul said, I called him out on that.

Go over to Chapter 3. That brings us to the second section of the book. This is the doctrinal section. He gives several arguments about salvation by grace. And look at Verse 1. "Oh foolish Galatians." I told you it was a different letter. The tone is different.

When you get a letter from somebody and it says, I think you're foolish for doing this, you know it's not a friendly letter. "Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" or beguiled you, or cast a spell on you, "that you should not obey the truth before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" "Oh foolish Galatians."

In another translation of the New Testament by JB Phillips, the Phillips translation, he translates it this way. "Oh you dear idiots of Galatia." That sort of captures the flavor that Paul is writing with.

Now, he is obviously referring to the fact that, whoever these preachers were, these Judaizers, they wowed the Galatians enough, they made an impact enough by their preaching, their style, whatever it was, that they're turning away from the gospel that Paul gave them. And I notice how we are as human beings whenever we discover a new truth, a new book, a new author. We're wowed by it. Wow, man, I'm reading things I've never seen before in the Bible.

Well, maybe you've never seen them before in the Bible because they're really not in the Bible. You have to read their book to discover it's not in the Bible, but it should be in the Bible because I think it really is in the Bible. I'm not saying we shouldn't be wowed by good authors, but we should always use discernment and ask ourselves what saith scripture? We should be like the Bereans who check out what Paul said to make sure it goes along with the body, the bulk of all of the rest of the scripture.

So he continues. "This only," Verse 2, "I want to learn from you. Did you receive the spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish having begun in the spirit? Are you now being made perfect in the flesh?"

I'm going to read a little portion of JB Phillips's incredibly capable translation in this section, beginning in Verse 1. "Oh you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus Christ, the crucified, so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you? I will ask you one simple question. Did you receive the spirit by trying to keep the law or by believing the message of the gospel? Surely you can't be so stupid as to think that you begin your spiritual life in the spirit and then complete it by reverting to physical observances."

Look, if you can't be saved by the law, then why are you going back to the law? It's an ironclad, logical set of statements. That's the idea here.

Go down to verse 5 of chapter 3. "Therefore, he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Just as Abraham--" this is just like he did in Romans-- "just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham."

As Jews, they were incredibly rooted in Abraham. They were incredibly proud that Abraham was their spiritual father, the father of faith, the father of their faith, their belief system of Judaism. Men were sons and daughters of Abraham. And they believed that being related to Abraham genetically was a guarantee of their future salvation, so Paul takes them way back to the Old Testament to Genesis chapter 15 after the battle Abraham had with the kings when he won with Omar, and you know that story.

In chapter 15, Abraham is getting older, and he's kind of mopey. He's like 86 years old, and he says, Lord, what are you going to give me, seeing that I'm old and I have no one who's my heir. The only one I have is Eleazar of Damascus. God says, Abe, step outside. Look up. Look at those stars. Can you count the stars? If you can, know this-- so shall your descendants be.

I'm going to make your descendants, you old childless man. You're going to have a progeny, a nation-- nations will come from you. And instead of Abraham going, oh, God, that's a funny one. That's awesome. You're a joke teller. That's great. It says Abraham believed God.

Whether he said amen out loud-- the word in Hebrew is amen. Maybe Abraham said, amen. Or maybe he just in his heart said, I believe that.

At that moment, it says God accounted that act of faith to Abraham as righteousness. He's right with me. He's justified. That's that seminal statement that Paul so often goes back to.

"Therefore--" Verse 7-- "know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham." Abraham was 86 years old when God gave them that promise. At 86 years of age, Abraham-- get this-- a Gentile. There was no Jewish nation.

He was an unbeliever. He was from Ur the Chaldees. He was Iraqi. He was between the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley. He was a Gentile. He was not circumcised, but as an uncircumcised Gentile, Abraham believed God, and God said, you're right with me. You're justified.

He will be circumcised, but not until he's 99, which I don't even want to talk about that. It's OK when you're eight days old because you never remember it, but a 99 year old male would. But the act of circumcision did not justify him. He had been justified for years already.

So Paul goes back to the calling of Abraham. Abraham believed God. It was accounted to him for righteousness.

Abraham obeyed. He was circumcised. You could call that a work, a human work, a human endeavor. But he wasn't saved by that. It was simply an attestation of his faith.

Now, that is always what we deal with. We are always dealing with inhumanity, no matter what part of the globe we live in, no matter what culture we are confronted with, no matter what religious background or backgrounds we have around us. All of humanity, all culture, all time frames can be boiled down to one of two religions.

There are only two religions in the entire world, two ways to approach God. One is the religion of human achievement. The other is the religion of divine accomplishment. It's either I'm going to do something. I'm going to work hard. I'm going to subscribe to this and go through these rituals, or pilgrimages, or whatever. Or God is going to do it, and I'm simply going to believe him, and that faith is enough to transform my behavior, and work on me from the inside out, rather than the outside in. All of the world can be divided into one of those two camps. It's either human accomplishment or divine.

Go down to verse 10 of chapter 3. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. For it is written--" now he's quoting from the law. See, Paul is smart at this. They trust the law. We believe in the law.

So he goes, OK, I'm going to quote from the fifth book of the Torah, from Deuteronomy chapter 27. "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse of the law, for it is written in the law cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." So the law doesn't bring a blessing. The law brings a curse, unless you are perfect. If you are perfect and able to do all the requirements of the Mosaic law, then it's good for you.

But because no one is perfect, therefore it is not a blessing. It is as the law says it is. It brings a curse. Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Verse 11-- "but then no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident." Now he's quoting that great verse from second chapter of Habakkuk. "For the just shall live by faith, and yet the law is not a faith, but the man who does them shall live by them."

Now, let me explain that one. That is a direct quote out of Leviticus chapter 8 verse 5. "The man who does them shall live by them." Leviticus 18-- excuse me-- verse 5. So the law doesn't ask a person to believe in it. The law doesn't ask a person to try really, really hard and do your best to keep it. The law demands strict, complete, and perfect obedience.

That's why Paul says there's no blessing in that. We're not perfect. Nobody can keep that. Nobody has kept that. It's a yoke of bondage, he will go on to explain. It demands strict, complete obedience.

So here's Paul's argument. Since the Bible says, since the scripture says in the Old Testament the just shall live by faith, if you are under the law, you're not living by faith. If you're not living by faith, you're not just. You get his argument? It's like a lawyer in a courtroom. It's very, very logical, almost pedantic, one link to the other. And his syllogism is ironclad. The just shall live by faith.

What is the solution? Verse 13-- "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us, for it is written cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith." Jesus was put on a cross, a Roman method of execution, not a Jewish. The Jews never crucified.

It was a humiliation. It was a curse because of an Old Testament scripture that talks about curses is anything that hangs on a tree is a signal of a curse. So Jesus, because He became the curse of sin, or He took the curse of sin on Him, and He died in a way that is humiliating to the Jews. He became the substitute whereby God is able to impute or confer the righteousness of that sinless sacrifice onto anyone who believes in him. That's the transaction called justification. That's how it works. Cursed is everyone who hangs on the tree that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ, that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith.

If you like to write in your Bible, like I do, write in the margins 2 Corinthians 5:21, which we looked at last time. God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That's the substitution and the imputation. Now, go down to verse 19, because he's still in that doctrinal section.

What purpose, then, does the law serve? What good is it? He says, I'm glad you asked. "It was added because of transgressions until the seed--" capital S referring to Christ-- "should come to whom the promise was made, and it was appointed through angels at the hands of a mediator."

Now, the only religious institution that God ever initiated, inaugurated, developed was Judaism. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God through the Jewish messiah. The only religious system that God ever initiated is Judaism, and God put it there for a purpose. It was a stopgap measure. It was a place holder measure until the seed should come.

Paul says this. Here's what the law does. Here's the benefit of the law. The law acts like an amplifier-- an amplification system. Let's say I had an electric guitar up here, and I'm playing it not plugged in. You could hear it, but you would not hear the richness of it, because it's thin. It's usually hard wood. It might be a semi hollow guitar with the pickups on it. And you could play it, and you could hear it, but it doesn't have the whole sound.

Once you plug it into an amplifier, turn up the volume and the gain to get a little grit on it, and then-- it takes that and amplifies it, makes it larger. The law does that with sin. Our sin, before the law, was like playing the electric guitar unplugged. Once you have the law, the law acts as the amp and just says, man, have you blown it. Man, are you a sinner. Boy, do you need help, because you have all these dos, and all these don'ts, and all these regulations that no one has ever totally kept. So we walk away going, man, I blew it again.

So it is that amplification system, or it was added because of transgressions until the seed should come, to whom the promise was made, and it was appointed through angels by the hands of a mediator. Go down to verse 24. "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith, but after faith has come--" that is, you just believe in Jesus-- "we are no longer under a tutor." Couldn't be any clearer.

The word that Paul uses for tutor is the Greek word [GREEK]-- literally a child tender, a babysitter. A [GREEK] was, in the Greek world, in the Greco Roman world, usually a household slave employed by the household whose job it was to be a guardian of a young child, usually aged 7 to 18. Would supervise, superintend, take to formal classes, instruct in certain things up until the time when that child grew up, and then you don't need the tutor any longer. So the law was a temporary guardian.

Go down to chapter 4 verse 3, see how he applies it. "Even so, we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world, but when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His son born of a woman born, under the law to redeem those who are under the law that we might receive the adoption as sons, and because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His son into your hearts, crying out Abba Father."

I love that text. You know it's one of my favorites. I preached it last Christmas Eve. Great truths in Galatians now. Now we're getting the amplification of the whole justification by faith thing. The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.

God treated Jesus like we deserve to be treated so that God could treat us like Jesus deserves to be treated. We've been given the adoption as sons, and this is what Christmas is all about. It's the side of the Christmas story that is never told.

It's OK to have a cross or Jesus on a cross inside of a church building. Typically a Catholic Church has that at the front of the altar. But you only see Jesus in a nativity set outside most churches and only at Christmas time. That's because the world can handle that Jesus. They can't handle that Jesus. Like the family who was out looking at Christmas lights one year, and they loved all the lights in the neighborhood, and they finally came to a church where there was this huge, beautiful nativity display all lit up. And the father said, isn't that just stunning? And the little boy, the son-- there was a couple boys, and girl, and mom, and dad.

One of the little boys said, yeah, but something bothers me. Doesn't Jesus ever grow up? He's the same size this year as he was last year. Well, for some people, Jesus never grows up. They don't want Jesus to grow up. They want Him to stay a cuddly little infant in a manger scene, not grow up and call people out on their sin, and then get hung up on a cross to bleed for their sin. They don't want that Jesus. But Jesus was crucified, and then He rose from the dead. We have the adoption of sons whereby we call Abba Father.

Now we come to chapter 5 and 6. That's where we end the book. As the book ends, it comes to the third great section of this book. That is the practical section.

Here's what I love about it. Paul is basically saying, listen, grace-- the doctrine of grace, salvation by grace through faith alone-- promotes spiritual maturity. The very opposite of what the Judaizers said it would. I feel that grace is often misunderstood.

Just don't tell people all they got to do is believe in Jesus. If you tell people that, man, they'll go wild. They'll go crazy. You need the fence, man. You need the bumpers. You need the parameters. Otherwise they'll live without restraint.

No, not if they understand the gospel of grace, because if they understand the gospel of grace, it's going to do something to their heart. Their heart will be changed. God puts His Holy Spirit that energizes the new nature that is put within us at the second birth. So you don't strive to keep the law because you're saved by grace and just believing. You want to obey. It motivates you to obey. You don't turn into a rebel, man. You turn into a disciple.

The law is different. The law can command you to do something, but it can never enable you to do that something. Do this. Do that. Like that little poem I've often quoted, "do this, do that the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. A better word the gospel brings. It bids me fly, and then it gives me wings."

So the law says, don't do this. Here's a command. But it never gives you the enabling. The new covenant gives you the enabling. You have a new birth. You have a new relationship with God. All things are passed away, all things become new. The spirit of God lives within you, et cetera.

So chapter 5 verse 1-- "stand fast, therefore, in the liberty in which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Now he is picturing a poor animal, like an oxen bowed over from too much weight that he is carrying that's laced to his neck in this plow. "Indeed, I, Paul, say to you that, if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law."

Interesting terminology. Stand fast, and don't be entangled with the yoke of bondage. It's the same terminology Peter used in Acts chapter 15, that counsel at Jerusalem, because the Judaizers had gone to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem. Peter is there, and Peter says, why are you trying to put on the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were ever able to bear? We couldn't keep the law. Our predecessors couldn't keep the law, but now you're trying to tell Gentiles you have to keep the law.

It's a yoke. We couldn't bear it. Nobody can bear it. Jesus said the same thing to the Pharisees. Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, you hypocrites, for you bind heavy burdens hard to bear. And you lay them on men's shoulders. That's what the law did. Paul says, don't be enslaved again.

Go down to verse 11. "And I, brethren, if I still am preaching circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish--" now he's getting-- wow-- very strong. "I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off."

Now, that translation doesn't really help us get the idea. The word cut themselves off is a word that is translated in many ancient Greek texts as to emasculate oneself. You know what that is? I don't have to describe that, right? You get the picture?

Why would he use such a term? Such a crass term? Because there was a cult, a group of worshippers that worshipped Sabelle, and part of their devotion was to cut off the anatomical parts of the male, emasculation as a proof of devotion. So Paul is saying, really, if you're really devoted, you're preaching circumcision. Just go emasculate yourself. I wish you would just get cut off. Wow, Paul.

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty, only do not use your liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love. Serve one another, for all the laws fulfilled in one word, even this. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Here's his point. Grace doesn't make you indulgent. Grace makes you a servant. Grace, if you really understand it, will put a new to love for people within you-- not legalism, not pettiness. You'll fulfill the law, which is love.

Go down to verse 16. "I say walk in the spirit. You will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, for the flesh lusts are wars against the spirit, the spirit against the flesh. These are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish."

You have two natures as a believer-- the old nature you were born with, the new nature you were born with at your second birth. Everything was good until you got born again. There was no battle. You just sinned.

But once you come to Christ, now you have the Holy Spirit energizing that whole new nature because you're now right with God. Now there's a battle. It's worse than Star Wars. It's flesh wars-- flesh wars against the spirit, one nature against the other. And you cast the deciding vote.

So what Paul does here is he gets 17 works of the flesh contrasted to nine graces of the spirit, and he says, "the works of the flesh--" verse 19-- "are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, , lewdness idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries--" yuck-- "and the like, of which I tell you beforehand just as I also told you in time past. Those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

Now he tells you what grace produces. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.

It's called the fruit of the spirit. You know how fruit is produced, right? You have these little twigs and branches on a tree, and you see them. You walk by an apple tree. Do you ever walk by a tree that's bearing apples and go, man, look at how hard that tree is working to produce fruit? I think I see it sweating.

No, it never happens that way. You know how easy it is for a branch to produce fruit? All the branch has to do is hang in there. Just stay connected, man. Just hang in there, and fruit will happen.

You want to be a fruitful Christian? Hang in there. Abide in Christ. Hang in there with Him. Stay connected to Him. Fruit will happen naturally. You don't have to push, sweat, force. It will happen. That's what happens in grace.

Brethren, chapter 6 verse 1. "If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you, who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, for if anyone thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." One of the big differences between legalism and grace is this. Legalism points the finger. Grace opens wide the arms, seeks to restore. Legalists love condemnation. People who are into grace love restoration.

So you messed up. So did I. Come on in, man. We want to get around you. We want to lift you up. We want to restore you. We may get in your grill and be honest with you, but we want to restore you back to fruitfulness, not just tell you your faults, but restore you. Unfortunately, the church has become really good at shooting its own wounded, rather than bandaging them up and getting them back on the field again. We should be really good at restoration.

Go down to verse 11. We're bringing this letter to a close in the last minute and a half. "See what large letters I have written to you with my own hand." I'm bringing that up to your attention because I'm puzzled as to what that means. The King James says see what a large letter I have written to you, which would infer that he's saying, man, see I've written-- this is a big, long letter. The thing is, Galatians really isn't a long letter. Compared to Romans, 1 Corinthians, it's not long. It's relatively short.

It could mean that he is writing a longer letter than he intended to write to them. That's one thought. There is another thought, and that is by the translation here. See what large letters I have written to you.

The thought is that Paul had an eye ailment, an eye disease. We don't know why. It's thought that, when he was stoned at Lystra, when they threw rocks at him at Lystra, and they almost stoned him to death, that he suffered effects from that. And one is that he suffered from poor eyesight. And that is what he referred to in 2 Corinthians 12-- "my thorn in the flesh--" an ailment.

We don't know, but it could be that Paul had to write really large letters. You know what it's like when you get older, and your Bible-- you used to carry that little tiny little Bible that you could not read unless you had a microscope anymore. And so you get the Bible with extra large print. It's like about that big. One word, it's real big. Perfect. So it could be that Paul, not just age, but because of that ailment-- maybe age-- I had to write large letters.

There is a third thought, if I may. It could be that the letter was written normally because he had an amanuensis, somebody he dictated it to who wrote it out, but that, at the end, when Paul wanted to make a point, he wrote large letters or had him write large letters. We would write something, and then we would do all caps. And it says, don't miss this, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point. And then we'd tell what it is.

It could be that he's highlighting a certain section in large letters. Take your pick. We don't know. I think I know what it is, but I'll keep my opinion to myself. You've heard it before, anyway.

Go down to verse 16. "As many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them and upon the Israel of God." In other words, those Jews-- not Judaizers, but those Jews who simply believe in Christ, as well as the Gentiles. "From now on, let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."

Amen.

You know what he was referring to? He was referring to the marks of persecution, the beatings, the stonings. Remember, he said three times I was beaten with rods. He said that in Corinthians. He's saying you are boasting in your marks on your body, which is circumcision. I am boasting about the marks on my body, which is suffering for the sake of the true gospel. So he is contrasting their mark of circumcision with that. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Here it is in a nutshell. About a week or so ago, I was at California Pizza Kitchen having a salad. I finished the meal. I was ready to pay my bill, and the waitress smiled and said, your bill has already been paid in full. Gratuity has even been added. So you don't have to pay anything. Congratulations.

I said, well, who was it? They said, well, I can't tell you that, and they don't want to be known. So what a gift. What a what a gracious act, when somebody does that.

Jesus came along and said, I'm going to pick up your tab. All of the debt you have accrued by all of the bad things you have ever said, done, thought, messed up on I'm going to pay for. It's going to be on my tab.

So I'm giving you a free meal, a free ticket to heaven. Will you believe me? Now, what if I were to say to the waitress, that's great. Can I go back to the back and wash dishes? Well, why? Well, I should earn something.

Well, that would be weird, number one. Probably against a health code, number two. And number three, it would be an insult to the one who gave me the gift. When you say, I want to add something to the gospel by a regiment of works, what an insult it is to the one who paid for your sins and mine on the cross and is willing to give you freely salvation by believing in Him.

So don't go back into bondage. Stand fast, stand firm in the liberty, but don't use your liberty to cause anybody to stumble or an occasion to the flesh, an excuse to the flesh, because if it's truly grace you're saved by, it's going to be manifested in love, and compassion, in restoration, in the fruit of the spirit that comes by just hanging in there in your relationship with Him. Father, we close by thanking you for the work of Christ on the cross and that it is a finished work.

We stand in grace. We stand firm in grace. We stand in our liberty, and we thank you for the freedom we have in Christ. In Jesus's name, we pray. Amen. Let's all stand.

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 feet.

Additional Messages in this Series

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8/8/2018
completed
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Flight GEN01
Genesis 1-11
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Message Summary
We're going back to the beginning in this first flight. Written by Moses and inspired by God Himself, Genesis means origin. From the formation of all created things and the fall of man to the flood and the fallout of man's rebellion, Genesis 1-11 chronicles the beginning of everything. It all starts here.
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8/15/2018
completed
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Flight GEN02
Genesis 12-50
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This flight takes us through the biographical part of Genesis and God's response to man's rebellion. Four men are prominent in the formation of the nation of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through this lineage, God would fulfill His promise of salvation for humanity.
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8/22/2018
completed
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Flight EXO01
Exodus 1-18
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The central event in this flight through Exodus is the redemption of God's people, the Israelites, from their bondage in Egypt. We fly over Egypt and the wilderness where Israel wandered for forty years. The plight of the Israelites, their disobedience, and God's deliverance all foreshadow Jesus Christ.
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9/5/2018
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Flight EXO02
Exodus 19-40
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The Sinai Peninsula is the backdrop for this flight to Exodus, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments along with detailed instructions for how He was to be worshiped. Miraculous signs of God's absolute power abound, along with the revelation from God that would define Israel's national identity.
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9/12/2018
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Flight LEV01
Leviticus 1-27
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Leviticus describes the worship life of the nation of Israel. We discover how the Israelites were instructed to make atonement for their sin through sacrifice. The overarching theme of this book can be summed up in one word: holiness. After centuries of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites needed a reminder of who God is, His absolute holiness, and how they were to live set apart for Him.
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10/10/2018
completed
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Flight NUM01
Numbers 1-36
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Numbers contains two censuses of the Hebrew people. The first is of the generation that left Egypt, including how they were organized, their journey in the wilderness, and their refusal to enter the Promised Land. Due to their disobedience, the first generation of Israelites failed to enter the land God had promised; however, God remained faithful by leading a new generation into the Promised Land.
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10/17/2018
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Flight DEU01
Deuteronomy 1-34
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After forty years of wandering, the Israelites were finally ready to enter the Promised Land. The book of Deuteronomy can be organized around three messages Moses gave while the Israelites waited to enter the land. With the key word of this book being covenant, Deuteronomy speaks of the special relationship God established with His people.
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10/24/2018
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Flight JOS01
Joshua 1-24
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In this flight over the book of Joshua, we get to know its namesake, who shared in all the events since Exodus and held the place of military commander under Moses' leadership. We'll also get a tour of the Promised Land and follow Israel's conquest of Canaan, after which Joshua divided the land among the twelve tribes.
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11/7/2018
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Flight JUD01
Judges 1-21
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The Israelites experienced a period of victorious conquests in Canaan after Joshua's death. But as their obedience to God's laws and their faith in God's promises diminished, Israel became entrenched in the sin cycle. God divinely appointed Judges to provide leadership and deliverance during this chaotic time. Sadly, God's people repeatedly did what was right in their own eyes.
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11/28/2018
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Flight RUT01
Ruth 1-4
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In this flight, we'll see the godly love and courage of two very different women from very different backgrounds. And we'll meet Boaz, who became Ruth's kinsman-redeemer, a type of Christ. Although the book of Ruth is short, it is prophetically important in terms of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Ruth's story of romantic grace places love at the center of each of its four chapters.
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12/5/2018
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Flight 1SAM1
1 Samuel 1-31
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In this flight, we find the nation of Israel in desperate need of direction and leadership. We will meet the man whose good looks, physical stature, and success in war made him an obvious choice from a human perspective, but Israel's first king had a tragic flaw: pride. From the ashes of King Saul's calamitous reign, God raised up an unlikely man who would become Israel's next king, a man after His own heart.
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1/16/2019
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Flight 2SAM1
2 Samuel 1-24
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David went from shepherding livestock to serving as God's sovereign king in Israel. His faith and obedience assured him military and political victory as one by one he defeated Israel's enemies. In this flight, we both celebrate David's successes and identify with his failures as we get to know this man whom God called, "a man after My own heart."
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1/23/2019
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Flight 1KIN1
1 Kings 1-22
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After years of being a powerful unified nation under King David, Israel, because of their disobedience, became a divided nation under many different kings. This book reveals a story of good kings and bad kings, true prophets and false prophets, and faithfulness and disobedience to God.
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2/6/2019
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Flight 2KIN1
2 Kings 1-25
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Despite the many kings who took control of Israel, the nation still lacked true leadership. Second Kings continues the history of a divided Israel, and we see what happens when a nation passes from affluence and influence to poverty and paralysis.
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2/13/2019
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Flight 1CHR1
1 Chronicles 1-29
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The book of 1 Chronicles recounts the lineage of King David as well as God's promise that He would establish His reign on earth through this man after His own heart. As we see how God fulfilled His promises to David, we discover how that presents a witness of His faithfulness to us today.
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3/6/2019
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Flight 2CHR1
2 Chronicles 1-36
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After King Solomon's reign and death, the nation of Israel went on a spiritual roller coaster ride that ended with the division of the kingdom and the people's exile. From the temple's building to its decline and destruction, we see a parallel to 1 and 2 Kings from a spiritual viewpoint.
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3/27/2019
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Flight EZR01
Ezra 1-10
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The book of Ezra begins with King Cyrus' decree for the children of Israel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Ezra tells of two different returns: the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple, and the second by Ezra to bring reformation to the people. In this flight, we see God's faithfulness in keeping His promise to return His people to their homeland.
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4/3/2019
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Flight NEH01
Nehemiah 1-13
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At the end of Ezra, the temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt and dedicated, but the city walls were still in ruins. After gaining permission from the king of Persia, Nehemiah led a group to repair and rebuild the walls. Though he was met with hostility and conflict, we see how Nehemiah gathered his spiritual strength from God during trialing times.
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4/10/2019
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Flight EST01
Esther 1-10
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Esther reads almost like a fairy tale: A Jewish maiden becomes queen of Persia. The villain launches an attack to destroy the Jews. In the end, his plot is thwarted by the hero and the brave maiden, who risks her life to save her people. Though the name of God isn't mentioned once in this short book, we clearly see God's providence and faithfulness in dealing with His people.
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4/24/2019
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Flight JOB01
Job 1-42
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The book of Job opens in the throne room of heaven with a conversation between God and Satan regarding the faithfulness of a man named Job. God allowed Satan to test Job, and Satan caused Job to lose his health, wealth, and even his beloved family. But in the midst of Job's tragic circumstances, God revealed His sovereignty and faithfulness, and Job's steadfast faith prevailed.
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5/1/2019
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Flight PSA01
Psalms 1-150
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The book of Psalms is a collection of songs, prayers, and poetry that express the deepest of human emotions. These artistic masterpieces were compiled over a period of roughly 1,000 years from the time of Moses to the time of Ezra and the return from the Babylonian exile. As we fly over the Psalms, we'll see beautiful writings of gladness and grief, pleading and prayers, and reverence and worship—all with one overarching theme: a complete dependence on the love and power of God.
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5/8/2019
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Flight PRO01
Proverbs 1-31
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Known for the wisdom it contains, the book of Proverbs reveals how to deal with everyday situations. But more than just good advice, it is God's words of wisdom, which we need in order to live righteously. These proverbs are universal principles that apply to all people for all times, because they speak of the character of God and the nature of man—both of which remain constant.
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5/15/2019
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Flight ECC01
Ecclesiastes 1- 12
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The book of Ecclesiastes records King Solomon's intense search to find meaning and fulfillment in life. In this flight, we discover some significant truths—namely, that all worldly things are empty and that life's pursuits only lead to frustration. After tasting all that this world has to offer, Solomon ultimately concluded that life without God is meaningless.
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5/22/2019
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Flight SON01
Song of Solomon 1-8
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The Song of Solomon portrays a moving love story between King Solomon and a shepherdess. The story reveals the intimacy, love, and passion that a bridegroom and his bride share in a marriage relationship. Even more than the fulfillment found in the love between a husband and wife, we'll discover that the spiritual life finds its greatest joy in the love God has for His people and Christ has for His church.
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5/29/2019
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Flight ISA01
Isaiah 1-27
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The prophet Isaiah's ministry lasted around fifty years and spanned the reigns of four kings in Judah. His prophecies are quoted in the New Testament more often than any other prophet's. In this first flight over Isaiah, we focus on his prophecies of condemnation that pulled no punches and pointed out Israel's need for God.
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6/26/2019
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Flight ISA02
Isaiah 28-66
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Of all the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah is thought by many to be the greatest, in part because of his clear prophecies about the Messiah. In this second flight over his book, we see his continued work and how God used his prophecies of both condemnation and comfort to generate change in the individuals he encountered.
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7/3/2019
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Flight JER01
Jeremiah 1-20
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The book of Jeremiah is a series of oracles written in the southern kingdom of Judah over a period of fifty-plus years. It speaks of judgment, the promise of restoration, and the protective hand of God over those He loves. In this flight, we catch a glimpse of the man behind the prophecies as he allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel.
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7/10/2019
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Flight JLA01
Jeremiah 21-52; Lamentations 1-5
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The prophet Jeremiah allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel. As we complete our flight over his book, we find the prophet reinvigorated by God's promises as he continued to prophesy Babylon's impending invasions and, ultimately, Judah's captivity. Then our flight continues over the poetic book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote as he wept and grieved over Jerusalem's destruction, ending the book with a prayer for Israel's restoration from captivity.
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7/17/2019
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Flight EZE01
Ezekiel 1-48
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Written by Ezekiel the priest, this book takes place during the second Babylonian captivity and documents the fulfillment of several prophecies from previous Old Testament books. In this flight, we see God continue to offer promises of restoration through Ezekiel, bringing the nation hope despite their tribulations.
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7/24/2019
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Flight DAN01
Daniel 1-8
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Chronologically, the book of Daniel links the time of the kings in 2 Chronicles to the restoration of Jerusalem in the book of Ezra. It begins with the first Babylonian captivity and ends with Daniel's vision of seventy weeks. In it, we witness both prophetic history and the four prophetic visions of Daniel, as well as powerful stories that reveal a faithful man of God who was unwilling to compromise his beliefs.
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7/31/2019
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Flight DAN02
Daniel 9-12
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Midway through the book of Daniel, the focus shifts from the historic to the prophetic. Daniel's four prophetic visions reveal the stunning accuracy of biblical prophecy, as well as Daniel's uncompromising faith in God's fulfillment. From the rise and fall of human kingdoms to the Messiah and the day of judgment, Daniel's visions drove him to his knees in fervent prayer for the people of Israel.
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8/7/2019
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Flight HOS01
Hosea 1-14
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Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II, and he had a clear message to deliver: Israel had rejected God, so they would be sent into exile and become wanderers in other nations. On this flight, we see a clear parallel between Hosea's adulterous wife—whom God had instructed Hosea to marry—and Israel's unfaithfulness. But even as Hosea endured a rocky marriage, he continued to share God's plan that He would bring His people back to Himself.
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8/14/2019
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Flight JAO01
Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah
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Through three ordinary men—Joel, Amos, and Obadiah—God delivered extraordinary messages to His people, warning them against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness. On this flight, we witness God's patience and love for Israel, and we see how He stands ready to forgive and restore all who turn away from their sin.
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8/21/2019
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Flight JON01
Jonah 1-4
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Rather than focusing on prophecy, the book of Jonah narrates a prophet's story. Jonah was blatantly disobedient to God's call, but despite his defiance, God redirected his path through a unique situation. The resulting revival in Nineveh shows us that God's grace reaches beyond the boundaries of Israel to embrace all nations.
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8/28/2019
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Flight MNH01
Micah 1-7; Nahum 1-3; Habakkuk 1-3
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God used three prophets—Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk—to criticize, comfort, and inspire: Micah encouraged social justice and the authentic worship of God. Nahum prophesied against the Assyrians for returning to their evil practices. And though Habakkuk didn't address Israel directly, his message assured them that evil does not endure forever. Through these prophets, God's people confessed their sins and grew confident in His salvation.
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9/4/2019
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Flight ZHA01
Zephaniah 1-3; Haggai 1-2
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The prophet Zephaniah addressed the social injustice and moral decay of Judah and her neighbors, proclaiming the coming day of the Lord and His wrath upon the nations—both an immediate judgment and a future end-times judgment. God sent Haggai the prophet to preach to the restored community of Jews in Jerusalem after their return from exile in Babylonia. Haggai encouraged the nation to set aside their selfishness and finish rebuilding the temple, an act of obedience that would align their desire with God's desire.
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9/18/2019
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Flight ZMA01
Zechariah 1-14; Malachi 1-4
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As we fly over the last books of the Old Testament, we first look at the expanded message of rebuilding the temple when Zechariah encouraged Israel to anticipate their ultimate deliverance and the Messiah's future reign. One hundred years after the temple was rebuilt, the book of Malachi revealed that God's chosen people had once again slid back into their sinful practices. Malachi declared God's promise of a coming messenger, John the Baptist, and a coming Messiah.
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10/2/2019
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Flight INT01
Intertestamental Period
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In between the Old and New Testaments lies 400 years of history. During this intertestamental period, God chose not to speak to His people through prophets as He orchestrated people, politics, and events in preparation of the coming Messiah. Scholars have come to call these four centuries the silent years. Remarkably, the silence would be broken by a newborn baby's cry in Bethlehem.
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10/9/2019
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Flight MML01
Matthew 1-28; Mark 1-16; Luke 1-24
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These three Synoptic Gospels give us our first glimpses of Jesus' life and death here on earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, and the Son of Man, respectively. On this flight, we'll see the service, sermons, sacrifices, and sovereignty of Jesus as we witness the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies.
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10/16/2019
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Flight JOH01
John 1-21
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The spiritual depth of John sets it apart from the other Gospels, with one-third of its content dedicated to the last week of Jesus' life. Rather than focusing on what Jesus did, John focused on who Jesus is, presenting Him as God incarnate and highlighting His deity. On this flight, we'll see seven miraculous signs of Jesus, as well as seven statements that He used to identify Himself as God.
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10/23/2019
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Flight ACT01
Acts 1-28
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The book of Acts presents the history of a dynamic, growing community of believers that started in Jerusalem and went on to spread the gospel throughout the known world. In this book, the gospel writer Luke also recorded how the early church received the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to witness, love, and serve with boldness and courage, even when faced with persecution.
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10/30/2019
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Flight ROM01
Romans 1-16
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The book of Romans is the apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, and it focuses on God's plan of salvation for all humankind. Romans is the most systematic of Paul's letters, reading more like an elaborate theological essay rather than a letter. On this flight, we look at Paul's strong emphasis on Christian doctrine as well as his concern for Israel.
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11/13/2019
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Flight 1COR1
1 Corinthians 1-16
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In 1 Corinthians, Paul confronted the problems that had infiltrated the influential church at Corinth and defended his position as an apostle of Christ. He later rejoiced over their repentance and acceptance of his God-given authority. On this flight, we discover the power of a new life in Jesus as we see how Paul shared the heart of the gospel with his fellow believers.
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11/20/2019
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Flight 2COR1
2 Corinthians 1-13
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After Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, false teachers began spreading opposition to him in the Corinthian church. Paul sent Titus as his representative to deal with them, and most of the church repented. Paul wrote this epistle to express his joy at the turnaround and to appeal to them to accept his authority, which was confirmed by the many hardships he suffered for the gospel. On this flight, we find beautiful truths to carry with us through our own times of suffering.
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1/8/2020
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Flight EPH01
Ephesians 1-6
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Who are we in Christ? In Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, he answered that very question as he addressed a group of believers who were ignorant of their spiritual wealth in Jesus. He explained how the Christian is the bride of Christ, a temple in the Lord, and a soldier for the gospel. On this flight, we see how Paul also emphasized unity among believers, describing the church as a body that works together for a common goal.
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1/15/2020
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Flight PHI01
Philippians 1-4
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Referred to as the epistle of joy, Philippians contains the message that joy is possible in all of life's circumstances, including suffering. Paul wrote this very personal letter while in prison, and despite his trials, he rejoiced over the caring and generous church in Philippi and encouraged them in unity, humility, and prayer.
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1/22/2020
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Flight COL01
Colossians 1-4
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On this flight, we see how the young church in Colossae became the target of a heretical attack that included angel worship, the depreciation of Christ, and reliance on human wisdom. In Paul's letter to this church, he refuted the heresy by exalting Christ as the very image of God, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, and the first to be resurrected.
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There are 47 additional messages in this series.