Brookwood Church - Love God, Love People

Children of Promise

Children of Promise

Perry Duggar |

God's plan for redemption has always been by grace, according to His promise, not by obeying the law of Moses. We are God's children through His covenantal promise to Abraham.

Introduction (Galatians 4:21-23): Continuing survey of Galatians, Living Free.
  1. The title of today’s message is “Children of Promise.”
  2. In this passage, Paul used the Old Testament to contrast grace and works, faith and law.
  3. He uses the historical story of Abraham to serve as an illustration of spiritual truth.
  4. Paul’s purpose was to show the Judaizers and the Galatians they were influencing, that God’s plan for redemption has always been by grace (unmerited favor)—not by obeying the law of Moses!
  5. Introduction to this passage: Galatians 4:21 (NLT)—Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? [Commandments given to Moses.]
  6. He explains in this passage that we aren’t under law; we are children of promise!

Children of promise… (Galatians 4:21-31)

  1. #1 – [are] Conceived by God’s grace. (Galatians 4:22-23; C/R: Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:17; 21:5; Romans 4:13–25; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9)
  2. Galatians 4:22 (NLT)—The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife.
  3. Let me give you some about God’s promise (covenant) with Abram.
  4. [Screen] Genesis 12:1–3 (NLT)—The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
  5. God promised Abram land (promised land), descendants (would form a nation), and blessing (to Abram and from Abram to others).
  6. This blessing to [A]ll the families on earth includes the promise of redemption (salvation) for people throughout the world (not merely Jews).
  7. Abram’s wife, Sarai, had been unable to conceive; now, Abram is 75, Sarai is 65! (Genesis15:1-6)
  8. Ten years later, still no children, so Sarai became impatient and suggested Abram marry her Egyptian servant, Hagar, and have a child which Sarai would claim as her own. (The act was legal in that society but not in the will of God.)(Genesis16:1-3)
  9. At age 86, Abram had a son by Hagar, who was named Ishmael, which caused conflict in the home between Sarai and Hagar. (Genesis16:4-16)
  10. At age 99, God reaffirmed His promise to Abram that he would have a child with Sarai (Genesis 17-18); He renamed both of them: Abraham at Genesis17:5, Sarah at Genesis 17:15.
  11. Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 when their son Isaac was born. (Genesis 21:1-7)
  12. Galatians 4:23 (NLT)—The son of the slave wife [Ishmael] was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife [Isaac] was born as God’s own fulfillment of His promise.
  13. Ishmael’s conception was by completely human means, expressed a lack of trust in God’s promise—and caused many problems!
  14. Isaac’s conception was supernatural, because God miraculously enabled Abraham and Sarah, to produce a child long after their child-bearing years. (Genesis 17:17; 21:5)
  15. Ishmael illustrates seeking salvation through human effort and religious works, which is legalism.
  16. Isaac illustrates the way of faith, trusting in the work of Jesus, and receiving God’s imputed (gifted) righteousness, which is grace, given by God’s promise.
  17. Galatians 4:24 (NLT)—These two women serve as an illustration [lit., allegory] of God’s two covenants. [covenant of law and works and covenant of grace and faith] The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people first became enslaved to the law. [Where Moses received the law from God.]
  18. The covenant of law required God’s chosen people, the Jews, to keep all of the commands, rules, rituals and ceremonies, given to Moses for them.
  19. Because the law was humanly impossible to keep perfectly (what was required), it produced a type of religious slaves, bound to a master they could never escape.
  20. Anyone, including a Jew, who attempted to satisfy God and escape condemnation by keeping the covenant through his/her own efforts was spiritually like a slave, struggling for freedom and forgiveness that he could not obtain through his own efforts.
  21. Galatians 4:25 (NLT)—And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. (Because they have not turned to Jesus.)
  22. The descendants of Hagar through Ishmael eventually moved into the desert areas to the east and south of the Promised Land and became known as Arabs, and their territory as Arabia, which is where Mount Sinai is located.
  23. Galatians 4:26 (NLT)—But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother.
  24. Those who trust in the work of Jesus alone by faith, are free from the law and works.
  25. They are children of Sarah and Isaac and are residents of heavenly Jerusalem.
  26. Galatians 4:27 (NLT)—As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!”
  27. Isaiah prophesied at Isaiah 54:1, that the Babylonian exile would not be the end of the people of God; they would have children who would be born in freedom.
  28. Paul used this prophecy to declare that God works supernaturally to birth spiritual children in freedom from the bondage of law.
  29. APP.: Have you been reborn into this freedom? What is my part? Believing God’s promise! (Romans 4:13-25; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9)


Children of promise [are]…

  1. #2 - Converted by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 4:28-29; C/R: John 3:1-7; 15:20;

      2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:12; Titus 3:4-5)

  1. Galatians 4:28-29 (NLT)—And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac.
  2. These Galatians, who were not even Jews, were born again as a result of God’s promise to Abraham, to bless all the families on earth, by an act of God’s gracious and miraculous power, not ANY human effort.
  3. Falling back under law denied that divine work and dishonored the sacrifice of Christ.
  4. Galatians 4:29 (NLT)—But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. (suggested by Genesis 21:9)
  5. Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, now the Jews who claim faith in Christ, but sought justification through obeying the law were persecuting Christians who trusted God’s promise of justification by faith alone—and were not relying on rituals to save them.
  6. [Screen] 2 Timothy 3:12 (NLT)—…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. [John 15:20]
  7. APP.: Have you noticed how people in bondage resent people who are experiencing

      freedom in Christ, in work, in marriage, in life? (“Why are you so happy?”)

  1. Those who trust in their own obedience for salvation (“Don’t drink, smoke or dance!”), resent those who live freely in Christ. (“They don’t do what they are supposed to do.”)
  2. In our culture, there is also persecution from those who have created their own law of righteousness (“do anything you want as long as motivated by love”) against those who obey God not from obligation, but motivated by love for Him! (self vs. God worship)
  3. APP.: Am I a child of promise like Isaac who was born by the power of the Spirit?
  4. You are if you have been born again (or born from above) by the Holy Spirit; that is the only way to be saved! (Titus 3:4-5)
  5. APP.: What are you relying on for your salvation? Going to church, giving financially, serving, mission trip, attending small groups, participating in the Lord’s Supper or baptism (tonight), cannot save you because they are all human works—good ones—but not ones that can save; you must be born again! (John 3:1-8)
  6. All of these things may be evidence of your salvation, expressions of your faith, but they cannot cause you to be saved.
  7. How can I know? What does it feel like to be born again? When the Spirit give you new birth (regenerates) us, He changes you, you are not the same. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  8. [Screen] 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)—This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
  9. Because the Spirit is Holy, when He enters you, you typically experience greater awareness of your own sin—and a desire to repent from it, which means turn away.
  10. The Holy Spirt convicts you of sin, convinces you of the truth of the gospel, converts you into a new person who loves God, loves His Word and loves others for His sake.


Children of promise…

  1. #3 - Comprehend the purpose of law. (Galatians 4:30-31; C/R: Genesis 21:9-14; Romans 3:20; 4:1–5; Acts 13:38–39; James 2:10)
  2. Galatians 4:30 (NLT)—But what do the Scriptures say about that? [Genesis21:9-14] “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
  3. The modern hatred and resentment between Arabs and Israelis began with conflict between Ishmael and Isaac. (ILL.: conversation with Arabian prince in Hamilton, GA)
  4. Even though they shared a common father—Abraham—they were not born in the same way, are not related to God in the same way and do not share in God’s inheritance.
  5. [Screen] Romans 3:20 (NLT)—For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. [Acts 13:38-39]
  6. Rules, regulations and rituals can never save; they can only point out our need of Christ.
  7. James 2:10 says that if we have broken only one law, we are as guilty as someone who has broken every law!
  8. Sarah and Ishmael were cast out of Abraham’s household, so will their unbelieving descendants, who live by religious works, be cast out of God’s household.
  9. In the same way, legalism must be cast out of a church: rules and regulations about behavior can’t make people truly spiritual, though they might allow them to appear spiritual to others and to themselves, deceiving them about their true spiritual state.
  10. Galatians 4:31 (NLT)—So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, we are children of the free woman.
  11. APP.: Have you been born again into freedom from judgment, from condemnation, from guilt, from shame, because you have believed the promise of God that His Son died for your sins—and you’ve been born again?
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