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Mar 04, 2018



Passage: Galatians 4:21-5:1

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Free, a study in the book of Galatians

It’s been said by many that stories do best to explain our lives and our reality. Propositions have their place, but stories most capture our attention because they best capture our sense of things like arguments and analyses can’t. In what is essentially the cusp between Paul’s argument for the gospel and applications of the gospel, he appeals to a foundational story in Israel’s self-understanding that summarizes as only stories can both the most common struggle within the human heart and the most crucial aspect of understanding the gospel. We’ll let an even more familiar story illumine that more ancient story, in hopes that together they both help us see not just the essence of the gospel but moreover its beauty.

Order of Worship

Call To Worship: Psalm 96 (ESV)
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 17:1-8 (ESV)
New Testament Reading: 2 Peter 1: 3-8 (ESV)
Sermon Title: Untangled
Central Text: Galatians 4:21-5:1
Benediction: Romans 8:2; Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

03.04.18 Song Lyrics

03.04.18 Sermon slides


From the movie "Tangled"

Also from the movie, "Tangled"

Readings & Scripture

Call To Worship: Psalm 96 (ESV)
LEADER: 96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!

PEOPLE: 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

LEADER: 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

PEOPLE: 4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 17:1-8 (ESV)
17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

New Testament Reading: 2 Peter 1: 3-8 (ESV)
A Reading from the New Testament:
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Central Text: Galatians 4:21-5:1
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Benediction: Romans 8:2; Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
LEADER: For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Post-Service Text: Acts 13:39
. . . and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Related Scriptures:

Matthew 20:1-16
1 John 3:18-20

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. What would you say are the deepest ways your mother has influenced how you think, feel, and act--for good or for ill? Have you ever thought about what accounts for that degree of influence?
  2. Go read the Old Testament story in Genesis 16-21  that provides the backstory and something like a parable (though Paul speaks of it as an allegory) for this passage. What do you think that story was out to tell Israel?
  3. How does what Paul knows of Jesus influence him to see that OT story in a different light? How is he appealing to it in order to make his point?
  4. Why might the Law’s role as a kind of mirror for us (as Calvin mentions) rule out the possibility of our adherence to it as the basis for our right-standing with God?
  5. Why is grasping the beauty of what God has done—moreover who He is—essential to obeying as He intends?


  • Law without grace. . .can expose disease but cannot heal. It can reveal the wounds but does not administer the remedy. Fulgentius (d. 533 AD)
  • God is the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty, from whom all is perfectly derived, and on whom all is most absolutely and perfectly dependent; of whom and through whom and to whom is all being and all perfection; and whose being and beauty is as it were the sum and comprehension of all existence and excellence: much more than the sun is the fountain and summary comprehension of all the light and brightness of the day. Jonathan Edwards, The Nature of True Virtue
  • I realized afresh that He does not drive us by duty, but draws us by beauty, not by fear but by irresistible attraction. Gerald McDermott
  • Beauty disciplines. Marilynne Robinson
  • though the good is weak, beauty is very strong...
    And when people cease to believe that there is good and evil
    Only beauty will call to them and save them
    So that they will still know how to say: this is true and that is false.  Czeslaw Milosz


Media & Songs:

Inview Media Album for 3.04.18