Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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The Dangers of Legalism
Gal 4:8-11

Gal 4:8-11 NASB
8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.   9
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?  10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. (NAS) <>

Gal 4:8-11 KJV
8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.   9 B
ut now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?   10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (KJV)


1. The Dangers of Legalisms May Produce . . Servitude to Old Ways. v 8
        8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.


        A. Servitude of Acting Like . . Unknowing People. v 8 a
            8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.

   
            1. Act like they never heard about freedom.  


        B. Servitude of Acting Like . . Ungodly People. v 8 b 
            8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.
     

                1. Act like they had no God of Grace.

Illustration Topic: Legalism Date: 10/1995.11925 Title: Legalism Read
Believers who are motivated by legalism are always anxious to know what is expected of them. They want to do only what is necessary to make themselves look respectable. They crave specific rules so they can know precisely how to behave.

They plod along hoping that someday their efforts will pay off. According to the New Testament such people are legalists; they are using the law to establish their righteousness. Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )

Application Read

Christ's answer to legalism is that external obedience to the moral law must be coupled with a corresponding inner attitude of love and honesty. Christ's teaching was not intended to abrogate obedience to the moral law, but to add to its intended spirit. Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )


2. The Dangers of Legalisms May Produce . . Suppression of Freedom. v 9 - 10
    9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years
 
       
        A. Suppression of . . Reverting. v 9
a
            But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, "

            1. Astonished they would turn back to pagan practices.


            B. Suppression In . . Repression. v 9 b - 10  
               
". . . to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years

            1. They have repressed the truth and live like pagans.

Illustration Topic: Desire Index: 980  
T
he greatest achievements in life are usually accomplished by people who have a singular desire that becomes the ruling passion of all they do. For example, when Bob Feller was a child, he loved to throw a ball. By the age of 5 he spent hours every day pitching through a hole in the barn wall. At 10 his father bought him all the necessary equipment and provided him with a playing field on the family farm. At 13 he pitched for a local team and averaged 20 strikeouts a game. At 17 he began playing for the Cleveland Indians. As a major leaguer he had 6 seasons as a 20 game winner, 3 no-hit games, 11 1-hitters, 266 wins, and he set a record of 348 strikeouts in 1 season. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bob Feller had one desire -- baseball!

Something of that same focusing of life can be seen in every Christian who has been used of God in a special way.

Application  

Legalism suppresses godly desires of the Christian.



3. The Dangers of Legalisms May Produce . . Suspicions of Conversion. v 11
       
11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
 
   
        A. The. . Fear Legalism Brings.
            "I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain."
  
   
        B. The . . Futality Legalism Brings.
            ". . . that perhaps I have labored over you in vain."
   

Illustration   Topic: Worship Index: 3928-3951 Title: Buddha's Eyetooth   
A two inch long discolored eyetooth is reverenced by 400 million Buddhists as the most sacred object on earth. The tooth is supposed to have been reclaimed from Buddha's funeral pyre in 543 B.C. and was brought to Ceylon 800 years later.   

Today the tooth sits upon a golden lotus in the glorious temple of the tooth in Kandy, Ceylon. It is surrounded by rubies and tons of flowers. 

Each year a hundred thousand faithful Buddhists come from many countries to gaze at the sacred tooth. They bring gifts of gold, silver and jewels to place within the temple.

Application

Most of us think that is ridiculous. How does God look on those who say they believe and get all wrapped up in legalism?