Gospel Ministry

Galatians #7 – An exposition of Galatians 4:12-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 22, 2009.
What are we doing here?  What is this all about?  Why do we gather Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday nights?  Why do we have Sunday School and youth services?  Why Vacation Bible School and youth camp?  What’s the purpose of mission trips and community involvement?  Is it because we need something to do?  Is it because we need to build a resume?  These are important questions.  From time to time it is good for us to remember our purpose.  It is healthy for us to remind ourselves why we do what we do.  Now we might be quick to say, “We do this in order to reach the world for Christ.”  Our purpose is to spread the name and the fame of our God.  And I would say that is certainly part of it but that is not the whole story.  We certainly do want as many people as possible to come to a saving knowledge of Christ but is that enough?  Is our purpose merely evangelistic?  Is our goal just to introduce them to Jesus or is there more?

The apostle Paul was writing the churches of Galatia because a problem had developed.  Another teaching had come to town a teaching that contradicted Paul’s message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.  This teaching said that to become a child of God you must first become a child of Judaism.  You must believe in Jesus but you must also follow the rules.  You must observe the days and seasons.  You must obey the dietary commands.  You must perform the rituals.  If you are faithful in these things and you believe in Jesus you will be part of God’s family.  Paul’s response is often strong and harsh as in chapter 1 verses 6-10 where he pronounced anathema on the false teachers and their teaching.  He then lays out a sound theological argument refuting their claims.  But in chapter 4 verses 12-20 Paul’s tone changes.  He speaks as a pastor passionate about his congregation.  He speaks with tenderness revealing how he feels and what he is thinking.  It is in this section we find something that I believe is critical to our task, something that is often missing in the church’s understanding of ministry.  Our text is found in Galatians chapter 4 beginning with verse 12.

Text: Galatians 4:12-20

  1. Gospel ministry seeks to remind believers of the original joys and passions of gospel experience.  (4:12-15)
  2. Gospel ministry is faithful to warn of the dangers and consequences of a legalistic faith.  (4:16-18)
  3. Gospel ministry cannot rest until the fruit of the gospel is borne out in the gospel community.  (4:19-20)

This is the goal of our working, planning and gathering – to see the gospel lived out in the context of Christian community.  A group of people who believe and live the gospel together.

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