Sermon Text: Galatians 5:2-12
Study Texts: 1 Corinthians 15:1-7
Sermon Recap: In this week’s text, Paul is admonishing the Galatian churches to stand firm against false teaching. He continues to urge them to resist the message of bondage to the Law being preached by some and to hold fast to the true freedom in Christ. He makes several arguments against turning from the gospel to the bondage of works. First, he says accepting false gospels proclaims Christ as insufficient; second, to embrace false teaching is to accept obedience to the whole Law; third, accepting this false teaching is a rejection of the doctrine of grace; and fourth, acceptance of this false teaching is a loss of future hope. He goes on to say, “This persuasion is not from Him Who calls you.” Paul was agonizing over these brothers and sisters for some of them were walking away from the gospel. He pleaded with them to stand firm, to reject false gospels, and to hold fast to Christ alone.
Sermon Connection: False teaching and false teachers were prevalent in the early days of the Church, throughout Church history, and are so today. The apostle’s warning against these false messages of hope are just as needed today as they have been throughout history. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has been warning the Corinthian church against false teaching and does so by outlining the importance and clarity of the true gospel. It was only through the gospel that the Corinthian church gained salvation; it was only in the gospel that they stood firm; and it was only the gospel that Paul urged them cling to. The similarity in the Galatian and Corinthian passages should cause us to pause and consider the prevalence of the issue. It was a timely and urgent issue among our early spiritual-family, and it remains so to this day.
Lesson Goal: To stand firm in the gospel and faithfully reject false messages of hope.
Point 1 - The Importance of the Gospel!
Point 2 - The Clarity of the Gospel!
The Context: In the letter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is addressing a number of issues that arise in the Corinthian church. These issues included discipline, divorce and remarriage, the Lord’s supper, and most importantly, the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Some false teachers were denying the resurrection from the dead (15:12), and our study section is where Paul begins to deal with this issue.
Opening Question: In what ways is our culture denying central truths of the gospel? How are we typically responding? Are we holding fast to the gospel of truth?
Point 1 - The Importance of the Gospel! (vv. 1-2)
- Why does Paul feel the need to remind the Corinthian church of the gospel?
- What does this mean for the Modern Church?
- What does Paul remind the Corinthian church of concerning the gospel?
- Based on Paul’s flow of thought, how might we know someone has believed in vain?
- What are some modern examples of vain beliefs that lead people astray? What kinds of false hopes do you find so appealing and why?
Point 2 - The Clarity of the Gospel! (vv. 3-7)
- How should Paul’s statement “of first importance” in v. 3 help us understand the role of the gospel in the life of every Christian?
- What is Paul saying about the gospel’s relation to the rest of the Bible? (vv. 3-4)
- How should this teach us to read the Bible?
- What Scriptures come to mind that support Paul’s “whole-Bible gospel” idea? See Genesis 22; Psalm 22, 110; Isaiah 53; Isaiah 61:1-2; Zechariah 3; Matthew 1.
- Why does Paul identify specific people and specific numbers of people that the resurrected Jesus appeared to? See also 15:12, 20.
- As we consider the idea that the whole of the Bible is about the gospel, and that Paul has reminded us of its first importance in our lives, how might we orient our lives around the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
The Big Picture
We need to heed the words of Paul from both of these texts, both Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. He has been addressing the issue of false teachings concerning salvation...an issue so prevalent in our world today. If we are honest, we all have false messages of hope competing for our trust and commitment. We are tempted to embrace these false gospels for numerous reasons, but let us heed the words of God to stand firm in the gospel, for there is no other salvation! Let us remind one another of this truth day-by-day. Let us guard one another from evil and unbelieving hearts. And let us treasure Christ together.
- In what ways are you regularly reminding others of the gospel that saved them?
- In what areas of your life do you need to be reminded of this gospel?
- Are there areas of your life that give evidence of vain belief? If so, what are they?
- How are you keeping the gospel as first importance in your life?
- Talk together in your group about ways in which the gospel is of primary importance in your lives and ways you need to make it more so.