In-Your-Face GRACE! – Paul’s Letter to the GALATIANS
August 30, 2015
[Note: The first two questions are repeated from last week’s study guide.]
1. What approach toward the gospel of Christ and toward the followers of Christ had Paul actually learned from MEN (from his “countrymen”)? [See 1:13-14.]
How does Paul explain the dramatic “about-face” that he experienced in his attitude toward the gospel of Christ and toward the followers of Christ? [See 1:15-16.] WHEN did God determine that Paul would be His ambassador to the Gentiles?
How did the believers in Judea (the region of Palestine in which Jerusalem is situated) respond when they learned about the radical transformation that had occurred in Paul’s heart and life? [See 1:21-24.]
2. Think about what made Paul’s personal testimony in verses 11-24 so compelling.
Consider how useful Paul’s testimony would have been to God if the only observable change that had occurred after his conversion had been that he stopped persecuting Christians. What if he had never spoken of Jesus? What if he had never put his own life at risk to proclaim Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles?
Have you ever known a professing Christian whose speech and lifestyle made you think he or she would do well to keep quiet about his profession of faith in Jesus? How compelling is YOUR testimony – your account of how God brought you from death to life in Jesus Christ?
3. We’re called by God not only to PROCLAIM the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost men, women and children, but also to ADORN (show off and confirm) the gospel with our lives (Titus 2; 1 Timothy 2:9-10). What did Paul very intentionally NOT DO and what did he DO that adorned the gospel he faithfully preached? [See 1:10 and 1:23.]
What MADE Paul’s live such a useful adornment for the good news he preached? In other words, what accounts for the radical CHANGE in Paul’s life? [See 1:15-16; Acts 9; Acts 26.]
4. Can you say to other believers, without apology or qualification, “Imitate me”? PAUL DID! – over and over. [See 1 Corinthians 4:14-17; 10:31 – 11:1; Philippians 3:17-21; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, especially verses 6-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10.]
According to Hebrews 12:1-2, what will MAKE our lives worth emulating, just as the lives of our forerunners in the faith were? [All of chapter 11 is about those forerunners who make up the great “cloud of witnesses surrounding us” now.]
5. It’s not hard to understand how we mess up the gospel message if our WORDS don’t match up with God’s own testimony concerning His Son. But what if our LIVES don’t match up with our MESSAGE? Consider how those who were participating, day to day, in the error (heresy) that Paul is rebuking in this letter (men like Peter and Barnabas) were, in effect, ALTERING THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL in the minds of lost people BY THE WAY THEY WERE LIVING. Is it possible for you to say the RIGHT WORDS and still communicate the WRONG GOSPEL?
If we, as a local body of Christ, are not steadfastly vigilant and committed to the purity of the gospel of God’s GRACE toward us in Jesus Christ, both in our WORDS and in our ACTIONS, what will happen to our gospel proclamation? [See Revelation 2:1-5, especially verse 5.]
6. Do you want to be able to say as Paul said in Galatians 1:24: “And they were glorifying God because of me”? If Paul’s point about gospel TRANSFORMATION in this passage is that it comes to us ENTIRELY BY GOD’S DOING (see also 1 Corinthians 1:30-31), then what is OUR PART in the process by which God moves us toward practical righteousness (sanctification)?
How can it be that GOD gets all the credit for transforming us, but still holds US accountable to live godly lives?
Copyright © 2015 by Tom Wright. This is the edited Study Guide of the series, “In-Your-Face GRACE! – Paul’s Letter to the GALATIANS,” prepared by Tom Wright for August 30, 2015. Anyone is at liberty to use this lesson for educational purposes only, with attribution to the source.