Enemies

Enemies, Part 1

Discover biblical truths concerning the most important issue of our day: the enemies of Christianity. Our six-part sermon series, Enemies, delivers valuable insights on spiritual warfare and how Christians can be on the winning side:

Enemies, Part 1
Enemies, Part 2: The Enemies of All Righteousness
Enemies, Part 3: The Enemies of the Lord
Enemies, Part 4: Who is the Enemy?
Enemies, Part 5: Friends and Enemies
Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies


Enemies, Part 1: This sermon teaches that enemies are created because of the truth. We should stand for the truth and not compromise the Word of God. We should not blend truth with error.

Key verses:
Galatians 4:4-16

I said this morning that I wanted to start a short series of about three or four messages, not going on for a long time. I remember a few years ago, we went through the book of Isaiah and one of our members asked when we were going to be finished with that. I said that we would finish when we finish and to take our time with it and learn what is there. This will not be that type of series, but I think it is important. In Galatians chapter four, Paul is writing to the churches in Galatia:

Galatians 4:16: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

That is quite a question, isn’t it? “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” The epistle to Galatians is to the churches, and that is “churches” plural, in Galatia. Galatia is not a city. The epistle to Colossians was written to the church and city of Colossae. The epistle to Ephesians was written to the church and city of Ephesus. The first and second letters to the Corinthians were written to the church and city of Corinth. The epistle of Romans was written to the church in Rome.

Blending Truth with Error

But Galatia is not a city it is a region and there were probably ten different churches in this region. They seemed to have had a common issue, a common problem. They had turned back. They had come to know the Lord. Paul and his companions had been there, churches had been started, the Gospel had been preached, the Word had been given, and they had a wonderful beginning. But many of the folks in these churches had turned back. Some of them who were Jewish had turned back to keeping the law and hoping to be saved by keeping the law of the Torah. Others who were not of a Jewish background had gone back to their idol worship.

Like many people today, they still called themselves Christian, many still attended church. But they were trying to blend truth with error. Paul gently writes in this epistle and tries to correct that error and get these folks back on track. Knowing that they are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, knowing they are not saved by keeping the law that was given through Moses, knowing that the worship of idols cannot mix with the worship of God, he writes to correct that error and bring them back to the truth. And yet, some of them were against him because of that. I will tell you something, people do not like to have their sin pointed out.

I want to share something with you that is quite true, and I hope you will understand it because this is not the issue that Paul was dealing with. He was dealing with the issue of keeping the law to be saved or mixing idolatry with faith in Christ, all of which is not right, all of which is sinful. That was the issue he was dealing with.

But I know two preachers, both of them I am pretty sure are with the Lord now. If I mention their names, many of you would say, “Oh, yeah. I have heard of them.” They were quite well known and quite respected until, after many years in ministry, they began to speak out on a certain issue. Many followed their ministry, many people supported their ministry, many people respected these men. But once they began to speak out on this one issue, churches and those who called them Christians, not only turned against them, not only ceased supporting them, but tried to undermine them and tear them down.

I know you are wondering what is this one issue. Some of you will not believe this but it is a fact. It was music in the church. They spoke out on the issue of music in the church and lost their following, had people turn on them, and had people try to tear down their ministries. You may say that it cannot be that simple. It can. I am not going to preach on that subject tonight, music and the church. That is not our point tonight. My point is that when you call out something that is wrong, people who formerly were your friends may turn on you. That is what Paul means when he says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

Justifying Error

You may have heard people say something similar to this. The next few statements I will make you probably heard many times from different people, usually people who try to justify their own point of view. You may have heard people say that all religions are basically the same. Have you heard that one? Or all religions lead you to God. No matter what religion you follow, ultimately it is going to lead you to God. Or we all worship the same God but in different ways. These are just a few statements that were commonly made and generally made by people who are not believers in Christ, nor do they want to be. But they are trying to tell you that they are OK even though they are not a believer in Christ, because, as the old proverb goes, “All roads lead to Rome.” We will come back and address that in a minute too.

But let’s think these through for just a bit. We are going to get into the scriptures, so just bear with me. Let’s take the first one: All religions are basically the same. It is easy to understand how people can come to that conclusion. They see that many religions ask us to be good people and live good lives. But you have to stop and ask yourself some questions. What is a good person? What constitutes a good life?

The answers to those questions are going to vary from one religion to another. You may disagree and think everyone agrees on what is a good person and what is a good life. No, I am going to tell you that it is not the case.

One religion believes in monogamy, you should marry one person at a time, while another religion believes in polygamy, marrying different people all at the same time. One religion believes in eternal life and the presence of God, while another believes one can be reincarnated again and again on earth until they achieve a high enough status to be part of the energy of the universe, no heaven, just become part of the universe. One religion believes it is possible to know God, while another religion believes there may not actually be a God in whom we can place our faith. Maybe a god exists somewhere out there but you cannot possibly know him.

And then there are those who believe in many gods. Oh, that is a long time ago, thousands of years ago. No, that is today. There are those who believe in many gods. One religion believes that one can leave one’s body and travel all about in spirit form, while another religion believes if your spirit leaves your body, you are dead. One faith teaches us to love our neighbors and even to love our enemies, while another religion teaches that we ought to kill our enemies. So, no, all religions are not basically the same.

Then there is the statement that all religions lead to the same God. What I am going to say next may sound overly simplistic, but you need to take this simple statement and realize what it is saying. We all worship the same God but in different ways, or all religions lead to the same God. The gods of different religions differ tremendously. I will give you an example. The god of the Koran is different than the gods of Hinduism or animism. The God of the Bible is neither like the god of the Koran, nor is He like the gods of Hinduism or animism. So, all religions do not lead to the same God.

Third statement – as we said before, we all worship the same God but in different ways. It is true that different religions of the world worship in different ways, but it is not true that worshippers of all religions are worshipping the same God. You may remember months ago I shared with you how the U.S. Congress was opened in prayer which has been the tradition from the beginning of the U.S. Congress by a member of Congress who is from one of our midwestern states and he is also an ordained Methodist minister. And yet, his opening prayer was made to the god Brahma which is one of the three leading Hindu gods, and the Hindu religion has a million different gods. There can’t be that many. Well, check it out. Does it sound like we are worshipping the same God but in different ways? It does not, does it?

And then you heard this earlier, all roads lead to Rome. Is that true? I tell you what, the nearest road right now is Lake Ida Road that runs east and west. You can take Lake Ida Road until it runs east and runs out and you can take it west until it runs out and you will never get to Rome. It will not happen. You may say, “Well, pastor, you are being silly, that was back in the days of the Roman Empire.” Even in the Roman Empire, not all roads led to Rome. “Didn’t they say that because the Romans built so many roads.” Sure.

I actually rode in a bus on a road that was built by the Romans. I knew I was in a different crowd when we were riding on that bus, and they told us we were riding on a road that was built by the Romans. And I spoke up and said, “This is great. I was saved on the Roman’s road.” and the people on the bus looked at me like, what are you talking about? I said yep, I am in a different crowd. But the fact of the matter is, even in the days of the Roman Empire, not all roads led to Rome. That is simply not true. People say things like that and what they mean is that it does not matter what road you take, you are going to get to the same destination. It is not true.

Here is another popular saying that people have. It is not about the destination; it is about the journey. I am going to tell you what they mean by that. They mean that your destination in life, your goals, are not the main thing. The main thing is what you learn on the way to reaching your goals. That sounds honorable. Your goals are not the main thing, what you learn on the way to reaching your goals are the main thing. Well, if you set goals, you will learn things on the way in reaching those goals. You will.

But I challenged one brother, and he was a brother in the Lord, on that, that it is about the destination, not the journey. What I said was, “So, what you are saying brother is that it is OK if you go to Hell as long as you are having a good trip.” That is not really true, is it? The destination really does matter, doesn’t it? “Well, I learned a lot of great lessons on my way to Hell.” No, that does not work. So, the destination is important.

Religions and the Religious

The apostle Paul lived at a time when people, particularly people in the region of Galatia, were saying that we can worship the same God in different ways, and all roads lead to Rome, is the very idea that was being put forth in those days. Paul lived where he was surrounded by religions and religious people.

While some of them did believe in one God, others believed in multitudes of gods, some believed in an afterlife, while others believed there was absolutely no afterlife, and this life is all there is. And then there were different people in different religions who believed when they came to the end of their life, they would be fine as long as they believed and lived to the best of their ability, and they believed what they believed sincerely, then they would be alright in the end.

And yet, there were others who believed, again, there was no afterlife, this life is it. Some of those people believed that they should follow strict rules of behavior while others believed that the highest goal of human existence was to reach physical and moral perfection, even becoming a great warrior that would take them to the ultimate height of human existence.

But none of those people who held and believed those different beliefs thought that anyone else with different beliefs would ever reach the goal, the highest goal of human existence. That was 2,000 years ago and it has not changed in all these millennia, in all those centuries. It is the same today. Most people believe that when they get to the end of their life that they will be OK, they have been sincere, they have done what they think they should do, and they followed their own code of ethics; they are going to be fine. Or they followed their own religious teaching, they kept their own traditions, they worshipped their own gods, and they are going to be fine. But you come along and say that it is not true.

Let me give you an example. I am not picking on people tonight; I am trying to help you to see something. When I was in Israel, I will not say that someone was trying to convert me or anything, I was told of the Bahá’í faith. The Bahá’í believe in all religions, all faiths are equal and lead you to the same God. So, it does not matter if you are Hindu or Roman Catholic, if you Buddhist, or whoever you might be, it is all fine because you are all going to come to the same God, same end. But, if you ask practitioners of the Bahá’í faith, what about those who believe Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, are they included in that and they will tell you, no they are not. Evidently, not all faiths end up in the same place, does it?

Cain and Abel

So, the great picture of differing ideas or religion is given in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain thought he could earn his own righteousness by his own efforts. From what we read about him, evidently, Cain was very good at what he did. He was one of the first, if not the first ever, farmer. He planted and grew crops and apparently was very good at what he did. Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not, nothing is wrong with that at all. Farming is an honorable profession. I will tell you that farming is the world’s oldest profession. Some people say it is something else and they are wrong, it is the world’s oldest profession.

I like the saying I heard years ago, “When you complain about the farmer, do not talk with your mouth full.” If it were not for farmers, what are you going to eat? Someone might say that they grow their own, but most people will not do that. I heard somebody say, “Why don’t you grow your own, why don’t you go to the store and buy it like everybody else?” Think that one through for a minute.

But Cain thought that he could impress God by his own effort, so he brings an offering of his crops to God. There is a problem with that. What is the problem with that? The problem is sin. Cain knew about sin because he knew it from the original sinners, his parents. He knew that it had disrupted their relationship with God. Yet, he hopes to appease God by showing Him his best work, and by the way, in fairness, I am going to repeat that Cain’s work was apparently very good.

Abel, his brother believed in God and came to God with the blood of a lamb, understanding that the wages of sin is death, understanding that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, understanding that he needed a substitute to die in his place. The Bible tells us that God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. This is very important. Cain learns and understands that it is not his own works, not by works of righteousness that he has done, by His mercy, and goes back and does what his brother did, and make a blood offering to the Lord. No, that is not what he did at all. What did he do? He became angry and killed his brother. He committed the first murder and became the first murderer.

Hebrews 11:4: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

Abel has been dead for thousands of years, but his testimony still speaks to us today. But many people want to go the way of Cain and it turns them bitterly angry toward those who would go the way of Abel. Paul came on the scene preaching that forgiveness of sins was for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and the fact that He paid for our sins on the cross and the guarantees of eternal life that we find in His resurrection. Paul wrote:

Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

What is Paul saying? He is saying, it is what you believe in your heart, it is not the work that you have done, even if you are one of the best in the world at what you do. It is not enough; it is heart’s faith in the offering that has already been made at the cross for your sin and in the Savior who not only died and rose again but offers and guarantees us eternal life.

Right with God

The book of Galatians was written to teach these churches in the region of Galatia, that a right relationship with God comes by faith in Jesus and not by keeping the law of the Torah. By the way, I heard a sad teaching the other day. I do not doubt that it is true, but it should not be true. The sad teaching was that we have the New Testament and therefore, we do not need the Old Testament. As long as we have the New Testament, we are fine.

Now look, I am not talking against people who have a printed New Testament. I often carry a New Testament in my pocket. I have given them out, I am not talking against that. What I am saying is, we have people who know we have a New Testament and an Old Testament, and they want to disregard the Old Testament, it is not important to our faith.

Can I share something with you? The book of Hebrews is written in the New Testament so that you may understand the Old Testament. That is what the book of Hebrews is all about. Number two, if you do not understand the Old Testament, you will not fully understand the New Testament. You will get the main thought of it. You will understand it to a point, but there are going to be things in there that you will never know until you understand the Old Testament. Why? Because they are not separate entities, they are part of one book we call the Word of God.

I was explaining this to a Jewish friend. I said the New Testament does not replace the Old Testament but is a continuation of the Old Testament. He thought for a moment and said, “Book two.” I said, “Yes, sir, exactly. Book two.” And that is the right way to look at it.

So, Paul writes to the Galatians to teach them that a right relationship with God comes not with keeping the law of the Torah nor does it come through any other religious ritual. Now, that which the people of Galatia originally received is good news. But it is not only good news, it is THE good news.

But now some of them, both Jew and Gentile alike, had wanted to go back and incorporate their old belief with a new belief. You would think everybody would rejoice in the good news that we could be saved, our sins forgiven, given eternal life by the grace of God through faith in Christ, in Jesus. To be sure, many did take that good news, many have taken that good news, and many will take that good news.

God or Bondage?

But there are those who much prefer to have their own way, to have their own religion rather than follow the revealed truth of God and His grace, and that leads us back to this passage in Galatians chapter four verses four through sixteen. I know you thought we would never get there. Take a look at Galatians chapter four verse four, Paul sets forth very clearly:

Galatians 4:4: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

When God’s schedule was right, when God’s timing was right, God sent forth His Son promised in Psalms two, promised throughout the Old Testament. Paul writes, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,” – the virgin birth. The verse continues “made under the law.” – made in accordance with the prophesies of the law. Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets, but He came to fulfill.

Why did He send His Son? To redeem, to purchase back from bondage, the slavery of sin. “To redeem them that were under the law,” which is our schoolmaster, he tells us earlier in the book, to teach us what is right and wrong.

Galatians 4:5: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

What Paul is saying here, is those of us who trusted Jesus to save them from their sins are the children of God.

John 1:11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

John 1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

It is the same thing Paul is saying here in Galatians chapter four.

Galatians 4:5: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

Galatians 4:6: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

One thing I want to point out to you very quickly and we are going to look more at verse six, is that the Trinity is here. Would you look at that? “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son” – the Spirit and the Son, “into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” “Abba” is a term of endearment, it is like saying “Daddy” in English – Abba, the Father. So, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are here.

He says, “because ye are sons” – because you are the children of God, because you have trusted Christ as Savior, because you have been born again, you have the Spirit of God in you “crying, Abba, Father,” bringing you in to that close relationship that a child has with his father, with God.

Galatians 4:7: “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.’

What a beautiful truth. You are not a servant, you are not a servant of the law, not a servant to tradition, you are a son, you are a child of God and as a child of God you are the heir of God

Galatians 4:8: “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”

Paul is saying, before hearing the Gospel and trusting Jesus, People are lost, separated from God by their own sins, they served idols. Look at it, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God,” you did not know God, you did not come to believe in Him, “ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” He is talking about the idolators, that you served these idolatrous gods who are not even gods.

I do believe that behind every idol that represents a false god, I do believe there is a demonic spirit behind them, every one of them. But they are not gods so they should not be worshipped as gods. One of the first commandments God gave to Moses was “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” That does not mean that you should have no other gods before you knew Him. It does not mean you are supposed to have other gods before you come to Him. It means you are not to have other gods in His presence, “no other gods before me.” Paul says:

Galatians 4:9: “But 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?”

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,” – that is interesting how he says this. After you came to know God and you are known of God. Didn’t God know you all the time? Sure.

Do you remember what Jesus said? He said that many are going to come to the judgment before Him and cry out “Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful works in your name?” Only to hear Him say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Take that and compare that to John chapter ten where he says, “my sheep know me, and they are known of mine.” And then He says, “I am the Good Shepherd and I know my sheep.” You see, it is one thing to know about God, it is quite a different thing to know God and that is what he is saying here.

Galatians 4:9: “But 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?”

Paul says you are going to be in bondage to these things. You are either going to be in bondage to these heathen idols that you worshipped before, or you are going to be in bondage to keeping the law, thinking you can earn your own righteousness. Why do you want to go back and be in bondage?

It is like this and is very much like this. The whole deliverance of the people of Israel led by Moses under God’s direction was a giant picture of salvation and redemption. The people were in slavery and bondage in Egypt, they had lost their knowledge of God for the most part and yet they cried out to God and God sent them a redeemer who goes down into Egypt and leads them out of slavery and bondage in Egypt, and leads them to the promised land. This is just as Jesus Christ comes to us when we are lost in our sins, “dead,” Paul writes in Ephesians, in trespasses and sins and forgives us our sins. He saves our souls and gives us new life, we are born again, we are new creatures in Christ, and He is going to take us to the Father’s house.

But do you remember when Moses led some of the people out of Egypt and they were going through the wilderness on their way to the promised land and they complained that they had it better in Egypt? They had it better in Egypt, they had leeks, onions, and garlic, the food was flavored, and it was good. Now, they were eating manna every day. I do not know what manna was exactly like. I know the description given in scripture. What I understand from it, it was sort of like a bread and it had a taste like honey or similar to it. I think I could eat that for a pretty good while.

But they wanted the old food that they had. Think about that, the food was better in Egypt, better than the manna they get. They got the food in Egypt because they were slaves and because they were slaves, they got their food given to them. Now they are no longer slaves, now they are free, and they do not have to work to get their food. All they have to do is go out in the morning and pick it up.

And they say it is better back in Egypt. They would say that they were not sure where Moses was taking them. It was taking a long time to get there, they thought they would be there the first day and it is taking a long time to get there. They were not too sure about him, but they knew where they were at in Egypt. They knew what was happening in Egypt. Yes, they were being beaten and killed, and made to work until they dropped. Their children were being killed. No boy babies were allowed to live. Things were better?

Choosing Old Ways

Why am I telling you this story? Because that is exactly what Paul is saying here:

Galatians 4:9: “But 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?”

This is the same idea spiritually. You want to go back to the old way, you want to go back to the old life, you want to go back and believed what you did before you knew Christ, before you knew God. You think that way is better. He gives an example in verse ten:

Galatians 4:10: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.”

Some people read this and think it is wrong to celebrate holidays. We ought not to celebrate birthdays. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a birthday. You are measuring the lifespan that God has given you and when that began here on earth, nothing wrong with that. Well, we ought not to celebrate holidays and a lot of folks do not. They go so far as not to celebrate Christmas, not celebrate Easter. You know, those are all pagan holidays.

I told you this before and I will tell you again. You want to celebrate something that is not on a pagan holiday, you are totally out of luck, and I use that term deliberately, because luck is not a Christian term. Why do I say this? Because every day is some pagan holiday. Sunday is set aside as a day to worship the sun. Monday is set aside to worship the moon. Tuesday is set aside to worship the god, Tiw. Wednesday is set aside to worship the god, Woden. Thursday is set aside to worship the god, Thor. Friday is set aside to worship the god, Freya. Saturday is set aside to worship the god Saturn. So, any day you want to celebrate is a heathen holiday. There are not any that are not, they got it covered. Do not let that dissuade you.

But what Paul is saying here is this, turning to religion will only cause people to do as they are told, to once again be the slaves doing hard work that they know, and they choose that over the blessing that the Lord has given them. So, they create days, days to celebrate their own attempt to rebel against God, and months that follow strange family traditions.

For example, we are going to fast for a month, we are going to fast all day, but we are going to eat all night. You might think that nobody does that, look it up. Years, entire years they will celebrate to recognize their own greatness and prosperity of their own way – that is what he is talking about here. And so, in verse eleven, Paul says:

Galatians 4:11: “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

What does it mean, “I am afraid of you?” Does it mean he was afraid they were going to come and get him? They were pretty upset with him. I am going to tell you something. Every preacher knows this, and you do not have to be a preacher to know this, but every preacher knows it. You can be a Christian that has never preached a sermon because that is not what God has called you to do, and you can know this also.

Every preacher knows you can take some people, thank God it is not the majority of people, but you can take some people and pour into them, you can spend your time with them, you can work with them, you can help them, you can try to help them along, you can meet their physical needs, their spiritual needs, their material needs, and they will turn on you. They will. Again, thank God that is not the majority of people, that is a minority. But there are those who do it. Could I name some? I could but I will not. So, Paul is saying here:

Galatians 4:11: “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Paul says all the time he spent with them, all the teaching he gave them, all the love that he gave them, showing you the truth of the scriptures, leading you to know the Lord and grow in the Lord, he is afraid that he wasted his time. In verse twelve he calls them brethren. He has not discarded them although they discarded him. He says:

Galatians 4:12: “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.”

What does Paul mean by, “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are”? He means if they are true believers, they are still brethren in Christ. He says, “ye have not injured me at all.” He is begging them to follow him in their daily lives so that they may in turn follow Jesus.

Paul writes in other places, “Be ye followers of me, as I am with Christ.” He is not holding himself up as the religious figure that they should worship. He is saying that he is following Jesus, come and go with him. His work for the Savior was not hindered by their backslidden choices. People choose to sin, but Paul says he will go on to serve the Lord anyway. He is going to keep doing what he knows he is supposed to do.

A Thorn in the Flesh

Galatians 4:13: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”

Paul writes in Corinthians; he talks about having a thorn in the flesh. He said he prayed three times for the Lord to remove it. He did not remove it and he said that the Lord said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

But in that same passage, he said that it was given him lest he would be exalted above measure. It never says exactly what this thorn in the flesh was. I think that was on purpose. Because I think if the Holy Spirit had let him write exactly what his physical problem that the thorn in his flesh was, people would have read that and say that they do not have that problem, that does not fit me. So, he does not tell us what it is, he tells us that he had an ailment of some kind.

Many scholars believe that he had a disease of the eyes which caused tremendous swelling of the eyes and made him unsightly to look upon. Is that a fact? No, that is a theory. But whether it was that or something else, and you will see why many people think that was it, he says in verse thirteen again:

Galatians 4:13: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”

Paul says that he came to them even though he was not totally well physically. He came to them even though he was suffering physically, but he faithfully preached the Word to them.

Galatians 4:14: “And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”

The “temptation” here does not mean he was tempted to sin, it means his trial, his hardship. “my temptation which was in my flesh” – a physical ailment. “Ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” – Paul is saying that they did not reject him, they did not reject the message, they received him as an angel or a messenger of God. They received him as a messenger of Christ Jesus, even though they saw his illness, his weakness. They saw that he was not strong in body, and they received him. Not only that, but he also says:

Galatians 4:15: “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”

Paul asks, “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?” because they had treated him as a servant of Christ. “For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible,” and this is where people think it is the swelling of the eyes, “if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” They loved him that much in the beginning, when he came and first told them of the Gospel of God and of the love and grace of Jesus Christ, and how they could be forgiven. They had treated him so well, they received him so well that they would have given him their own eyes if they could have.

Standing for the Truth

Then he comes to verse sixteen where we started:

Galatians 4:16: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

After all the time that Paul spent with them, all the fellowship we had together, the spiritual growth, your salvation decisions, the starting, the founding of these churches, all the work that we have done together, “Am I therefore [after all that] become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

There are folks who liked the two preachers I mentioned earlier. They will follow and support and speak well of you until you point out something in their life that they do not want to give up. Now Paul is saying if he turned into their enemy “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Paul tells them not to go back to the old ways, he tells them not to go back under the law, he tells them not to go back to worshipping idols.

Just so it is clear, and I should have said this earlier, that was two different groups. There were not people under the law, the Torah, who were worshipping idols. Some of these were Jewish believers and some were Gentile believers. The Jewish believers getting back under the law trying to convert the Gentile believers and the Gentile believers trying to go back to idolatry. So, he says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Quite often, people do not want to hear the truth. Paul writes:

Philippians 3:18: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”

Philippians 3:19: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

What does “whose God is their belly” mean? Does it mean they look down and worship their navel? No, that is not what that means. It means satisfying their own flesh, satisfying their own desires. “God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” — they glory in things that are shameful, and they care about things that are worldly – selfishness, self-centered, happily living in open sin, ignoring one day that they shall give an account to God, minding not the things pertaining to God but the pleasure of sin for a season. We live in a culture today where many people say what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong, what is true is false and what is false is true. They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Many oppose the teaching of the Bible and a desire to leave Christians to follow their wickedness. I could give you specific examples of that.

So, what is the conclusion tonight? The conclusion is we have to stand, that is what Paul did. When he says in verse twelve:

Galatians 4:12: “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.”

Paul says he is going to keep on going. We have to do what we sang this evening; we have to stand up for Jesus, we have to hold the fort. We need to stand for the truth of the Word of God and not compromise it. We need to stand for the truth of the Gospel, there is only one Gospel, there cannot be another. We must stand against certain things. We need to stand against atheism. Atheism condemns souls for eternity. We need to stand against immorality. We need to stand against lying teachers. We need to stand for the truth. Jesus said:

John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

He is not a truth, He is not one of many truths, He is THE Truth.


Watch the prerecorded live version of the entire service and sermon, Enemies, Part 1, on Facebook.

Enemies, Part 1 — Related Sermons

Discover biblical truths concerning the most important issue of our day: the enemies of Christianity. Our six-part sermon series, Enemies, delivers valuable insights on spiritual warfare and how Christians can be on the winning side:

Enemies, Part 1
Enemies, Part 2: The Enemies of All Righteousness
Enemies, Part 3: The Enemies of the Lord
Enemies, Part 4: Who is the Enemy?
Enemies, Part 5: Friends and Enemies
Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies

You may also want to listen to or view these sermons:

The Dangers of Another Gospel

Wisdom is Better Than Gold

 

 

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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