Family Bible Study lesson for July 20: Good News! Free to Serve
July 11 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Galatians 4:8-9; 5:1-8,13-15

Family Bible Study lesson for July 20: Good News! Free to Serve | Friday, July 11, 2003

Friday, July 11, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for July 20: Good News! Free to Serve

By Kim D. Shaver Galatians 4:8-9; 5:1-8,13-15

The good news is that God, through Christ, has set us free from sin and death and the condemnation of the law.

Now what?

Now that we are free, how are we to live?

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul proclaims that we are set free to serve. We live out our freedom in Christ by serving Him and others in love.

Paul's teaching is in contrast to how the world views freedom. The worldly viewpoint is that freedom is a ticket to do as we please. We are free to "pursue happiness" with no restraints. We're free to seek convenience, comfort and selfish gain and run over whatever or whoever stands in our way. Paul's teaching is consistent with that of the entire Bible, which proclaims that we have been set free from such a self-centered way of life. We have been redeemed from a selfish way of life to live for God and others, not ourselves.

Cherish Your Relationship with God (Galatians 4:8-9) Before we know God through a saving relationship with Christ, we are slaves. We're slaves to sin. We're slaves to self, and we're slaves to our fallen nature. But when we put our faith in Jesus, everything changes. Jesus said to His disciples in John 15, "I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." Once we become a friend of Christ, there is no reason to ever return to a life of slavery to sin and self.

Stand Firm in Your Freedom (Galatians 5:1-8) "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free," Paul proclaims. "Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

The freedom Paul speaks of is freedom from the bondage of the law. The Jewish leaders misled the people to "take the yoke of the law," which was the futile bondage of trying to get right with God through their own efforts. "Christ will be of no value to you at all," Paul writes, if you try to be justified by the law. Paul means that Christ's provision for our salvation will not help us if we are trying to save ourselves. Paul concludes this section by teaching that, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Love for God and for others is the natural response of a forgiven sinner. Jesus said that those who are forgiven much love much (Luke 7:47).

How would you describe the temperature of your love for others and for God? The depth of your love says much about the sincerity of your faith.

Exercise Your Freedom through Service (Galatians 5:13-15) We are set free to serve in love, not to indulge our sinful nature. We cheapen the grace of God and misuse the freedom bought at great price when we exploit freedom in self-centered living. Paul echoes the words of Jesus when he reminds us that "the entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself."

When we are not motivated by love, we are like animals "biting and devouring each other," Paul warns. This is not freedom; it is anarchy. Yet, God set us free to serve in love. "By this the world will know you are my disciples, if you love one another," Jesus said.

When the world sees us serving one another in love, they glimpse the promise of eternal freedom through Christ and are drawn to Him.

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7/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Galatians 4:8-9; 5:1-8,13-15 | with 0 comments
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