Galatians Sermon Study: Session 5 (Fall 2023)

Session 5 – Small Group Study Guide

Download: PDF | Download: Word Doc

Review of Sermon Notes

Theme: How the gospel of grace exposes and silences our fear of man

  1. Exposing fear of man:
    • Pressure from people
    • Corruption in the heart

      Fear of man is living highly aware of how others view you and valuing their opinion above God’s.

      “The person(s) whose reward of approval we desire most — whose curse of disapproval we most fear to receive — is the person(s) we will obey, our functional god. That’s why the Bible so often commands us to “fear the Lord.” ~ Jon Bloom
    • Devastating consequences
  1. Silencing fear of man
    • Boldly confront sin
    • Boldly proclaim the gospel of grace

Word: How this truth should be understood

  1. This passage describes a conflict that arose between Paul and Peter. What about Peter’s conduct does Paul say in verse 14 was “not in step with the truth of Gospel?”
  2. Peter was wrong to give into the pressure of the Judaizers, but before we judge Peter too quickly, we have to recognize how subtle their threat to the Gospel was. What would have felt compelling about their message to Peter? See Deuteronomy 28:1, 15; Psalm 137:5-6.
  3. Paul’s statement in vv. 15-16 is meant to solve the threats to the Gospel displayed by Peter’s hypocrisy. How does the doctrine of justification by faith address works righteousness and fear of man?

Worship: How this truth affects your heart

  1. Peter experienced subtle pressures that gradually pulled him away from the gospel. How would you answer the question that Pastor Tim posed: “What are the subtle pressures that pull you away from the purity of the gospel?” For instance, Pastor Tim gave the example of the saying, “Happy wife, happy life” as a subtle distortion of the Gospel (i.e., “If only I can make my wife happy, then I will be happy.”)
  2. Peter’s fear of man compromised his ability to love others, causing him to draw back and separate from those he was supposed to be caring for (v. 12). Why does fear of man harm our relationships? How have you experienced that in your own life?
  3. Loving others and fearing others can be hard to distinguish from one another. Consider the chart below comparing having the mind of Christ and the fear of man. As you evaluate the relationships in your life, what evidence do you see of each?
    (See chart in the download section)

Work: How this truth works out in your life

  1. Paul wisely challenged Peter’s distortion of the Gospel and his succumbing to the fear of man. We likewise need people in our lives who can confront us when we are not in step with the Gospel. Who is in a position to confront you over your sin? Write an e-mail, send a text, or call that person to encourage them to point out weaknesses in your life, especially when you can’t see them clearly yourself.
  2. Pastor Tim shared an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Galatians commentary and its profound effect on the life of William Holland. Read through this excerpt, mark off sections that stand out to you, and take time to pray through some of those ideas. mentioned that’s reprinted at the end of this question. What can you thank God for? What can you ask God for help with? What do you need to confess to God?

    We must be careful to use the law appropriately. If we used the law in order to be accepted by God through obedience, then Christian righteousness becomes mixed up with earned/moral righteousness in our minds. If we try to earn our righteousness by doing many good deeds, we actually do nothing. We neither please God through our works-righteousness nor do we honor the purpose for which the law was given. But if we first receive Christian righteousness, then we can use the law, not for our salvation, but for his honor and glory, and to lovingly show our gratitude.

    So then, have we nothing to do to obtain this righteousness? No, nothing at all! For this righteousness comes by doing nothing, hearing nothing, knowing nothing, but rather in knowing and believing this only—that Christ has gone to the right hand of the Father, not to become our judge, but to become for us our wisdom, our righteousness, our holiness, our salvation! Now God sees no sin in us, for in this heavenly righteousness sin has no place. So now we may certainly think, “Although I still sin, I don’t despair, because Christ lives, who is both my righteousness and my eternal life.” In that righteousness I have no sin, no fear, no guilty conscience, no fear of death. I am indeed a sinner in this life of mine and in my own righteousness, but I have another life, another righteousness above this life, which is in Christ, the Son of God, who knows no sin or death, but is eternal righteousness and eternal life.

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.