Galatians Sermon Study: Session 1 (Fall 2023)

Session 1 – Small Group Study Guide

Review of Sermon Notes

Key Idea: In the true gospel, we are set free to live free.

  1. The problem of false gospels
  1. The power of the true gospel
  1. The gospel saves us.
    1. The gospel frees us.
      1. We are free because we are forgiven
      1. We are free because we are adopted and loved

Freedom results in a transformed life (Galatians 5)
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Three encouragements:

  • Be committed to the priority of the gospel.
  • Be committed to being transformed by the gospel.
  • Be committed to sharing the gospel.

Word: How this truth should be understood

  1. Looking at Galatians 1:6-7, why does Paul say that there is no other true gospel? How is turning to a different gospel or distorting the true gospel the same as deserting Christ?
  • Paul grew up in a Jewish community that believed they could gain acceptance with God through appearance and religious ritual. So the community wasn’t looking for a Savior, but trying to be their own Savior (Read Phil 3:4-6, Gal 1:14). Paul had accomplished what every Jew wanted to accomplish. He was blameless when it came to the law. This means he was incredibly disciplined and hardworking (daily prayers, reading the Old Testament, fasting). He had succeeded where so many in his culture had failed and many looked up to him. This was his source of confidence. He could boast in his accomplishments and find confidence in who he was in the eyes of his fellow Jews. So why does he say in Phil 3:7 that he counts all of his previous sources of confidence as “loss” or in verse 8 “count them as rubbish”?
  • Read Galatians 2:16, what is faith and why is that significant when it comes to the gospel? How does salvation by faith alone contrast with works-based gospel and self-made righteousness?

Worship: How this truth affects your heart

  1. We all have hearts that are tempted to distort the gospel of Christ. As Pastor Kim stated, “Believers and unbelievers alike have their own versions of false gospels. There is something that draws their hope onto the things of this world (e.g. money provides security, people provide approval, better circumstances provide happiness).” What does your heart want to add to the gospel?
  2. Take a moment to discern potential false gospels that you, a friend, or a family member are most often tempted to believe. Use the following questions to help expose false gospels:
    • What does it tell me to orient my life around?
    • Does it move my heart toward eternal hope?
    • Does it focus my attention more on what I need to do or on what Christ has done for me? 
    • Does it take you deeper into the true story of redemption or does it distort some feature of it?Does it allow you to see yourself and other believers as God sees them (sufferers, sinners, and saints)?
    • Where does it tell you to turn when you fail (do you rely on God’s mercies in Christ or something else)? 
    • In light of these questions, what false gospels are you most regularly tempted to believe that draw your heart away from hoping in the finished work of Christ?
  3. Author and biblical counselor, David Powlison writes of the following description of God’s love toward us. Please take time to read it carefully:

The Lord watches you. The Lord cares. What His children do and what happens to His children matter. Watching, caring and mattering are intense. Complex. Specific. Personal. Unconditional love isn’t nearly so good or compelling. In comparison it is detached, general, impersonal… God’s love is so much better than unconditional. God is active. He decided to love you when He could have justly condemned you. He’s involved. He’s merciful, not simply tolerant. He who abhors sin, pursues sinners by name. God is so committed to forgiving and changing you that he sent Jesus to die for you. He welcomes the poor in spirit with a shout and a feast. God is vastly patient and relentlessly persevering as He intrudes into your life. God’s love actively does you good. God’s love is full of blood, sweat, tears, and [it] cries. He suffered for you. He fights for you, defending the afflicted. He fights YOU. He pursues you in powerful tenderness so that He can change you. He’s jealous, not detached. His sort of empathy and sympathy speaks out: words of truth to set you free of sin and misery. He will discipline you as proof that He loves you. He, Himself comes to live in you, pouring out His Holy Spirit in your heart, so you will know Him.

Now take a moment to meditate on Psalm 103 or another passage that describes God’s love and write a prayer of thanksgiving to our great God for his magnificent love for us in Christ.

Work: How this truth works out in your life

  1. If you have kids or grandkids (or serve in children’s ministry), what false gospel most often tempts their hearts to find hope in something other than Christ? How could you clearly warn them from trusting in those false gospels? How might you want to grow in making the true gospel known to them?
  2. Take a few minutes to reflect on this study and to humbly repent of any false gospels that you have placed your hope in and that God has exposed through this study. Then take time to celebrate the endless mercy that is yours because of Christ alone. Close by asking God to provide wisdom to know how to live freely in light of the true gospel of Christ.
  3. Name an accountability partner or mature Christian friend who you can share about the false gospels you are tempted to turn to and trust in. How would you like them to be praying for you?

Sharing and Prayer

  1. As you think about this season and our study in Galatians, what is one area in which you’d like to grow in living out your faith? Write this down and prepare to follow-up and track God’s work in our future sessions!
  2. What are some ways that you’d like to apply what you just learned to that one area you’d like to grow in living out your faith?
  3. Share other prayer requests.