Jesus Plus Nothing
Bible Passage: Galatians 1:1-5
The Emancipation Proclamation was complete. All that was needed was the signature of the president. But Abraham Lincoln had spent the morning at a reception and his hand was swollen from greeting visitors. “Let me wait until my hand is better,” he requested. “I don’t want my signature to be shaky. I want people to know I set the slaves free in confidence.”
Galatians states that Christ has set us free. Salvation comes only through the cross — no additions, no alterations. Jesus plus nothing. But false teachers arrived on the scene in Galatia, presenting “another gospel”, stating, “O sure, Jesus is great but now we need to add works to it. You need to do this and that, and don’t forget to do…”
Yes, we are saved by works — HIS works. Jesus works for us, in us and through us. Jesus did everything for us. We bring nothing to the table. He is the One who rescues us and changes us forever. We are not saved “by” good works but “for” good works. Jesus gives us new life, living in us, working in us for a purpose — His purpose.
So, you see, we are free in Christ alone. Galatians is indeed a document of freedom. As you read, note the confidence of the writer. His hand doesn’t shake, his conviction doesn’t waver, his belief doesn’t falter. And so neither should ours. (adapted from Mickey Lohr and Max Lucado)
- Start by reading the book of Galatians in one sitting — OR use the YouVersion Bible App to listen as you read along using the translation of your choice.
- Watch a short overview to Galatians: bibleproject.com/explore/video/galatians/
- Read the background of Galatians…and more insights: bibleproject.com/guides/book-of-galatians/
INTRO: What is the number one traffic law you consistently break?
THE IMPORTANCE OF DOCTRINE/RIGHT TEACHING
Paul confronts false teaching head on, because he wants the Galatian church to stand on a solid foundation of God’s truth and not be led astray by man-made rubbish religion.
- Paul’s letter to the Galatians has an abrupt, argumentative, contentious feel. Why do you think Paul chose to write in this manner? What is happening to these churches which Paul himself had started (Acts 13-14)?
- How does confronting false teaching show Paul loves the Galatian people? What have you discovered is the best way to deal with conflict?
- Why is it important for us to know doctrine? God’s truth? Is there any legalism, tradition, or self righteousness that causes you to let man-made religion creep into your relationship with God?
- How will you respond the next time you hear someone share a distorted version of the Bible?
THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY
Ultimately Paul is saying, “I’m not the authority, Jesus is.”
- Who is Paul to write to these Christians in this way? Who appointed Paul to be an apostle? Where did Paul’s authority come from? How did Paul assert his authority? Why do you think he felt the need to present his “credentials” as an apostle?
- When do you find it hardest to accept the authority of Christian teachers?
- Why is it essential for us to focus only on Jesus, our ultimate authority?
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S INITIATIVE
Jesus does everything! Jesus works for you, in you and through you
- What is the Gospel? What is the heart of the Christian message?
- What do Christians do to try to earn approval in God’s eyes? Why is it so hard for people to grasp the concept of grace?
- How do you see Jesus working for you? What has Jesus done in you? through you?
- How has your life changed after you met Jesus? How do you live your life for an audience of One, living for the glory of God?
CONCLUSION: What did you learn this week? How will this impact your walk with the Lord?