Brookwood Church - Love God, Love People

Turning Away

Turning Away

Perry Duggar |

Galatians 1:1-10 teaches Christians how to avoid turning away from the Gospel by finding true life and freedom in the Holy Spirit.

  1. Introduction (Galatians 1:1-10; C/R: Ephesians 2:8-9)
  2. Today we begin a new series called Living Free, which is a survey of the book of Galatians.
  3. The message of Galatians is that Christians are spiritually free because of their deliverance from the bondage of sin and the need to earn salvation by human effort (religious legalism).
  4. This message is relevant today in our culture because people—Christian and non-Christian—are claiming that they are free to do whatever they want.
  5. Christians assert that they can follow their desires—even in violation of God’s Word— because our loving God will forgive whatever they do.
  6. Non-Christians declare that the only standard is love—every expression of love is acceptable—but they selfishly determine the definition of love, not God.
  7. Our survey of Galatians this summer teaches about freedom that is found, not in unrestrained self-expression, but in living by the Spirit!


  1. Background information about the letter to the Galatians:
  2. Author: Paul; Date: A.D. 48
  3. Recipient: Churches established by Paul during 1st missionary journey (Acts 13-14) in the region of Galatia (central Asia Minor, modern-day southern Turkey)
  4. Occasion: False teachers (Judaizers) taught that Gentiles must become Jews by circumcision before becoming Christians and all Christians—Jews and Gentiles—had to obey Mosaic laws, regulations, and ceremonies to be righteous before God.
  5. Theme of the book: Justification by faith alone. (Eph.2:8-9)[Foundation of Reformation]
  6. Named for the Gauls, who were a Celtic people from west-central Europe originally, but who migrated to Galatia from the British Isles (especially Ireland), because of conflict with the Romans, who, by New Testament times, also occupied Galatia.
  7. 6. Theme verse: Galatians 1:6a (NLT)—I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God…


  1. How to avoid turning away… (Galatians 1:1-10)


  1. #1 - Respond to divine source. (Galatians 1:1-2; C/R: Acts 2:42; 9:3-5; Ephesians 2:19-20; 3:1-9; 2 Timothy 3:16)
  2. Galatians 1:1a (NLT)—1a This letter is from Paul, an apostle. [lit., “one who is sent”]
  3. The title “apostle” emphasizes that Paul’s authority was equal to the 12 apostles who were specifically chosen and called by Jesus as His representatives (Matthew10:1-7; Acts 1:24-26; Galatians1:1) and were entrusted with the gospel. [Matthias replaced Judas; Acts 1:23-26]
  4. Apostles were given spiritual authority by Christ; they differed from “disciples” [lit., “learners”] which referred to anyone who believed in Jesus.
  5. Other apostles included Barnabas (Acts 14:4,14) and James, Jesus’ brother (Galatians1:19).
  6. Apostles established and guided the early church, utilizing authority to speak and write the words of God, equal with the Old Testament Scriptures (1 Corinthians14:37;
    2 Corinthians13:3; Galatians1:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:15; 2 Peter 3:2,15-16).
  7. The church received its doctrine from the apostles, who received it directly from God (Ephesians 2:19-20; 3:5; Acts 2:42) by means of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).
  8. A qualification for all apostles was that they had seen the risen Savior (Acts 1:22;
    1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7-9).
  9. Paul was called to be an apostle when Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus road (Acts 9;22;26; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8-9; Galatians1:13-17), and the unusual timing of his call led Paul to conclude that no more apostles would be chosen after him (1 Corinthians15:8) and, according to the Bible, none were. 
  10. Galatians 1:1b (NLT)—1b I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
  11. Paul stressed that he received the gospel directly from the Lord, not from any persons—including other apostles.
  12. Paul’s apostleship is important in Galatians because the false teachers evidently raised questions about whether he should really be considered an apostle (Galatians 2:7-9)
  13. Galatians 1:2 (NLT)—2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending greetings to the churches of Galatia. (Churches of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.)
  14. It is important that we form our beliefs (doctrine) from God’s inspired Word given by a few select inspired writers, not from the speaking or writing of persuasive persons.
  15. Sincere people who appear to know a lot about the Bible can be sincerely wrong.
  16. APP.: Do you examine what you hear to make sure it agrees with the Bible? (Acts 17:11)


  1. #2 - Remember the true Gospel. (Galatians 1:3-5; C/R: Ephesians 2:4-9; Romans 3:19-28; 5:1-2; 11:5-6)
  2. Galatians 1:3 (NLT)—3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace [God’s unmerited favor] and peace [God’s blessing of well-being].
  3. The law offered no grace and provided no peace, since if salvation has to be acquired by works (human efforts), then it isn’t the result of God’s grace and provides no peace, because a person cannot know that he has enough good works to be eternally secure.
  4. Then Paul spelled out the gospel: Galatians 1:4 (NLT)—4 Jesus gave His life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.
  5. Salvation is accomplished by the sacrifice of Jesus; His death destroys sin’s control and condemning effect over our lives.
  6. Jesus’ death doesn’t remove us from this world until after our deaths, but it rescues us from living dominated by Satan, who controls this fallen world until Jesus’ return.
  7. In turning from grace to the legalistic system of salvation by works, the Galatians ignored the true significance of the death of Christ.
  8. Salvation is not earned by a person’s efforts to eliminate sin and do good instead, but by our trust in God’s promise to forgive sin through the work of Jesus. [Romans 3:19-28; 5:1-2]
  9. By faith, all of our sins—past, present and future—are forgiven, expunged, removed!
  10. Galatians 1:5 (NLT)—All glory to God forever and ever! Amen. [Because He is completely, totally, responsible for our salvation!]
  11. [Screen; Memory verse] Ephesians 2:8–9 (NLT)—God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
  12. APP.: Do you understand the Good News that your salvation is God’s work, not yours?


  1. #3 - Reject distortions of the Gospel. (Galatians 1:6-7a; C/R: Matthew 24:24; Acts 20:28-30; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 2 John 10-11)
  2. Galatians 1:6-7a (NLT)—6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to Himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7a but is not the Good News at all. …
  3. Visiting preachers persuaded the Galatians that they should be circumcised and obey the whole Jewish law to be justified before God.
  4. The phrase, turning away… from God (other translations say deserting) and the statement, not the Good News at all, reveal that adding the law as a requirement for salvation was abandoning God and destroying the gospel!
  5. Certainly some of these Galatians were true Christians, but they were being confused by persuasive preachers who seduced them into thinking there was a better, truer, path to greater righteousness, to “deeper” spirituality—which would damage their practice of faith and rob them of the peace that the Good News promised—but not their salvation!
  6. For unbelievers, giving them steps to take that they could accomplish humanly, such as circumcision and obeying the law of Moses, participating in ceremonies and rituals, would give them false assurance that they were saved when, in fact, they were still lost.
  7. We must be careful that we don’t do this by suggesting—and believing—that something we do through human effort, such as serving, giving, praying or even baptism, is the source of our salvation, instead of faith in the finished work of Jesus.
  8. A saved person will produce good works as a result of God’s spiritual transformation, but he/she does not do good works to earn or keep salvation.
  9. It makes no sense to accept a gracious salvation and then endeavor to maintain that salvation through human efforts at righteousness living.
  10. Distortions of the gospel—including additions or deletions—are more difficult to recognize than belief systems that completely and totally disagree with Christianity.
  11. Some examples of unbiblical teaching today:
  12. Every truly saved person will speak in tongues.
  13. God will make every person healthy and wealthy if you ask correctly.
  14. Unless you do certain things, you can lose the salvation that Christ died to provide!
  15. If God through His love and mercy has given you eternal life through Christ, regenerated, changed and transformed you, this cannot be lost, cannot be taken away!
  16. If you hear some teaching that doesn’t sound, or feel, quite right, it likely isn’t and that is probably the Holy Spirit making you aware that the Gospel is being distorted!
  17. APP.: Is the Holy Spirit sensitizing you to distortions of the Gospel you have accepted?


  1. #4 - Refuse deception by false teachers. (Galatians 1:7b-10; C/R: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Titus 1:10-11; Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:1-3,13-14)
  2. Galatians 1:7b (NLT)—7b … You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
  3. How were they successful? Much of the Judaizers doctrine was correct (orthodox)—accepting the identity of Jesus as Messiah and acknowledging the value of His sacrificial death on the cross, but they taught a better, more spiritual, gospel by adding the rules, regulations and ceremonies of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.
  4. Humanly, we instinctively think we should have to earn forgiveness through great effort and self-discipline; grace (unmerited favor) is not natural, which is why it is wonderful!
  5. The most dangerous attacks on the church don’t come from atheists or cults; they come from people inside the church who accept much biblical truth, so their additions seem insignificant—and may appeal to our desire to become more spiritual, more powerful.
  6. Why did these Judaizers teach this? It appears they were motivated by pride—wanting to win converts to their teaching, for their prestige, but perhaps they also wanted the approval of the Jewish authorities for converting Gentiles to a form of Judaism (6:12).
  7. The false teachers have the best of both worlds: they were creating a sect of which they were the leaders, and they also escaped persecution by Jewish religious leaders.
  8. We can recognize forms of this behavior today when pastors declare that only they are properly preaching the gospel and making disciples according to their plan. (brand)
  9. Paul strongly condemns this false teaching!
  10. Galatians 1:8-10 (NLT)—8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I will say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
  11. Even if Paul himself, or an angel from heaven, were to preach such a gospel, the Galatians should reject it.
  12. ILL.: Islam and Mormonism are both examples of religions based on revelation supposedly given by an angel and both teach a gospel different from justification by faith alone in the substitutionary death of Christ.
  13. Beware any teacher who appears too eager for you to follow him/her instead of discerning the meaning of God’s Word yourself through study and prayer, aided by the Holy Spirit who reveals truth—even if that teacher appears to know much Scripture!
  14. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)—Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
  15. Paul sought to accurately teach the gospel he received from God; he had no interest in changing or conforming his message to please people—including Jewish leaders!
  16. APP.: Have you let some popular teacher persuade you away from the pure gospel?
  17. Ask God to confirm your salvation and your beliefs by His Spirit and from His Word.
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