May 23rd, 2021 - Preparing for the Lord's Day
Preparing for the Lord's Day
It seems that the Apostle Paul was a bit of a sports fan. Throughout his letters he often uses imagery from the world of athletics. He mentions the ancient games of boxing, wrestling, and running. In our passage for this Sunday Paul says,
“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7 ESV)
Again, Paul employs a sports metaphor to speak of the reality of the Christian life. It is like running a race. There is a goal, and it takes continual effort to keep going forward. Paul comments that the Galatians were running this race well. They had been following Christ, growing in their faith, and sharing their faith with others. They had received the Spirit and were living in the freedom which Christ won for them. However, someone came in and hindered them.
The word translated hindered is also taken from the world of sports. The image that Paul has in mind is that of a runner impeding the path of his competitor. To hinder means to cut in front of an opponent or to knock them off the track. In Greek culture the race would not be run around a track but rather the course would often involve a down and back race. Often at the turn around post competitors would jockey for position and often hinder those who were leading the race.
Paul takes this image, and he applies it to the Christian walk of the Galatians. They were following Christ well but the Judaizes have come in and they have knocked them off course. We are all familiar with times in our lives when we have been knocked off course. We felt as though we were running well but something hindered us. A broken relationship, a bout of poor health, or an unforeseen temptation. How are we to avoid such hindrances and continue to run well? What we will see is that by the grace of God through Jesus Christ we can run unhindered. To come prepared for the sermon take time this week to read and to meditate upon Galatians 5:7-12, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 3:12-16, 1 Timothy 4:7, and this article on Athletic Metaphors for the Christian Life
As we gather to worship our loving Father this Lord’s Day, we will join our hearts in song, singing the Hymn of Praise “Alleluia! Alleluia!”, the Acclamation of Praise “Jesus I Am Resting, Resting” and the Hymn of Response “The Reformation Hymn.” Let us come to worship this Sunday prepared to hear God’s Word, to receive it in faith, to love and treasure it in our hearts, and to practice it in our lives that we may continue to glorify and enjoy Him!
Text: Galatians 5:7-12
- Don’t Blame God (v. 8)
- Avoid the Leaven of Sin (v.9)
- Trust God’s Work (v 10a)
- Know the End (v 10b)
- Endure Persecution (v. 11)
- Be Bold (v. 12)
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