Galatians 4:15
What then has become of your blessing? For I can testify that, if it were possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Sermons
A Missing TreasureNorman Macleod, D. D.Galatians 4:15
BlessednessGalatians 4:15
Feeling: its Place and Power in ReligionJ. Parker, D. D.Galatians 4:15
Happiness and DutyS. Pearson, M. A.Galatians 4:15
InstabilityS. Pearson, M. A.Galatians 4:15
Lost BlessednessGalatians 4:15
Mere Feeling: its WorthlessnessCanon Liddon.Galatians 4:15
The Backslider's MiseryBritish Messenger.Galatians 4:15
Personal AppealR. Finlayson Galatians 4:12-20
The Appeal of the Suffering ApostleR.M. Edgar Galatians 4:12-20
To render Paul's appeal more emphatic, he proceeds next to remind them of the tender relations in which he had stood to them when he preached the gospel to them the first time. He had been suffering from the thorn in the flesh; he was consequently a very weak specimen when as a preacher he stood before them; but the message was so emancipating to their souls that they would have done anything for him in their gratitude. They would have even plucked out their own eyes and have given them to him. Why, then, should they turn against him when he seeks to tell them the truth? It is consequently the pathetic appeal of the apostle to those who had once been so interested in him.

I. PAUL'S EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY. (Ver. 12.) He wants the Galatians to be as he is, for he is as the Gentiles are so far as legalism is concerned. How did Paul act among the Gentiles? Not certainly as Peter had done at Antioch, in a vacillating spirit. He sat down deliberately at the tables of the heathen and carried no Jewish scruples into Gentile society. The ceremonial Law did not bind him to keep his converts at arm's length or to insist on their submission to Jewish scruples. He felt that Jesus had fulfilled for him all righteousness, and that he was consequently free from the ceremonial yoke. Hence with the greatest breadth of view and consistency, Paul acted the free and social part among the heathen.

II. PAUL'S APPEAL FOR SOMETHING LIKE THE OLD SYMPATHY. (Vers. 13-15.) He had appeared among them in a suffering condition. The "thorn in the flesh," which bad been sent to buffet him and keep him humble, had manifested itself in full force. There is every reason to believe that it consisted in weak eyes, which never recovered the shock on the way to Damascus. But the weak-eyed, despicable-looking preacher (2 Corinthians 10:10) had got an admirable reception in Galatia. His hearers so sympathized with his message as to forget his outward weakness, nay, rather to so sympathize with him in it as to be ready to pluck out their own eyes and give them to him, if it had been possible. The poor preacher was in their estimation an angel of God, and was received with the same consideration as they would have extended to Christ Jesus himself. This was admirable. And Paul wishes them to revive this sympathy for him and lead them along the path of liberty he himself is treading. How deep and pathetic the true sympathy between pastor and people ought to be I

III. THE UNREASONABLE CHARACTER OF THEIR PRESENT ANTIPATHY. (Ver. 16.) Because of Paul's faithfulness they are inclined to resent his interference with their legalism as a hostile act. But he would have them to analyze their antipathy fairly and to own how unreasonable it is. And yet this has been the fate of faithful men in all ages. They are hated because they tell the truth. The unreasonableness of antipathy to a man who tells us God's truth may be seen in at least three particulars.

1. Because the truth sanctifies (John 17:19).

2. Because the truth makes men free (John 8:32).

3. Because the truth saves (1 Timothy 2:4).

IV. ATTENTION MAY BE MISINTERPRETED, (Vers. 17, 18.) The false teachers were assiduous in their attentions to Paul's converts. They could not make enough of them. But Paul saw through their designs. Hence he declares, "They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them" (Revised Version). It was a zeal to get the Galatians under their power; it was to make them ritualists of the Jewish type, and so amenable to their Jewish authority and direction. Young converts require warning against the designs of zealots whose prerogative it is to curtail Christian liberty and put the simple under bondage. Now, Paul had paid all sorts of attention to the Galatians. He compares himself to a mother who had travailed with them and would consequently nurse them with the utmost tenderness. He courts comparison between his attentions and those of the false teachers. He more than insinuates that they are receiving different treatment at their hands than they did when he was present with them. It is only fair and right that attention should be weighed in the balances carefully, and a selfish fuss not be confounded with an unselfish and disinterested enthusiasm.

V. A PASTOR'S SPIRITUAL ANXIETIES ABOUT HIS PEOPLE. (Vers. 19, 20.) Paul had been in agony for their conversion when in Galatia. But their legalism has thrown him into perplexity about them. His agony, like a woman's travail, has to be repeated. He will not be content till Christ is formed within them as their true Hope of glory. He wishes he were present with them once again and were able by tender, maternal tones to convince them of the unselfish interest he has in them. The whole case is instructive as showing how painful is the interest of a true pastor in his flock and to what straits their waywardness may reduce him. A mother's anxieties should summon a pastor to an enthusiasm of affection for those committed to his charge. - R.M.E.







Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? &&&

I. THEIR PAST RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE WAS ONE OF BLESSEDNESS.

1. Blessedness is one of the earliest notes of religious life. Christ's first miracle was at Cana: amongst His first words were the beatitudes. The earliest religious experience is that known as "first love."

2. There is a danger of this being lost through the truth on which it is based losing its freshness. The vision of Christ crucified had faded, and the Galatians were now seeking perfection in another way than that by which they had attained blessedness.

3. Blessedness can only be maintained by the constant realization of Christ as Saviour.

II. THEIR PRESENT EXAMPLE IS ONE OF RELIGIOUS INSTABILITY.

1. They were of a fickle and changeable temperament.

2. Religion had entered them chiefly through the emotions. They had not fairly grasped the doctrines of Christianity. Hence they became an easy prey to false teachers.

3. They regarded the teacher rather than the truth he taught.

4. Influences were at work calculated to draw them away from their faith.

(1)Learned teachers whom it was hard to refute.

(2)Gorgeous ceremonial for which they had a predilection.

(3)Old worldliness and heathenism so recently renounced.

III. THE REMEDY.

1. Recognize the evil.

2. Return to Christ.

(S. Pearson, M. A.)

1. Nothing is easier than to show that blessedness is the privilege of every Christian.

2. But where is it in many an average Christian life?

3. If it be amissing, something must be wrong.

4. Its sole source is God, but it is dispensed at sundry places and by sundry channels.

I. THE CROSS OF CHRIST. By this

(1)a curse is removed;

(2)a blessing conferred.

II. THE THRONE OF GRACE.

1. A reconciled God

2. A sympathetic High Priest.

III. THE WELLS OF SALVATION.

1. The Bible.

2. The Lord's Supper.

IV. THE WAYS OF CHRISTIAN GOOD-DOING (Acts 20:35).

V. MOUNT PISGAH, with its views of the promised land. When all is gloomy elsewhere, all is bright there (John 14:1-3; Romans 8:18-21; Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 22:1-5). In conclusion, where is this blessedness?

1. How strange not to have it!

2. Stranger still to have had it and lost it.

(Norman Macleod, D. D.)

I. TO MAKE HAPPINESS THE CHIEF END OF LIFE IS A MISTAKE AS WELL AS A SIN, for it must meet with failure.

II. THE END OF OUR BEING IS HOLINESS: and when this is attained, happiness is the certain result.

III. THE BLESSEDNESS OF RELIGION IS THE OUTWARD AND VISIBLE SIGN OF THE INWARD AND INVISIBLE GRACE, just as good health is a token that our physical employments are conducive to our well being,

1. Those forms of religion which induce melancholy bear no stamp of Divine origin.

2. Man's greatest miseries have been produced by such a religion.

3. Happiness shows the worth of true religion, for "the fruit of the Spirit is joy."

(S. Pearson, M. A.)

is not the foundation or warrant of Christian life, but its crown and glory, like the tuft of green that adorns the palm tree: like the rich capital that wreathes the Corinthian column; like the crown that sparkles on the brow of a king. Without it the Christian is like a king without a crown, a column without a capital, a palm tree with a headless stem, (N. Macleod, D. D.)

Feeling, even when directed to heavenly objects, may be in its substance partly physical; and there is no necessary connection between feeling so originating and moral earnestness or right morality. Nay, it is very possible for those who feel warmly to imagine, mistakenly enough, that warm feeling is the same thing as, or an adequate substitute for, acting rightly. He who said, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments," implied that there are forms of religious passion which may co-exist with disobedience, and may even appear to compensate for it. The Galatians had not been less willing to "pluck out their own eyes" out of devotion to St. Paul, at the time of their conversion, because they afterwards looked on him as a personal enemy for telling them the truth about the Judaizers. The apostle was not insincere who protested, "Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee;" albeit a few hours later, at the crisis of danger, he could exclaim, "I know not the man." Feeling is not necessarily moral purpose; and its possible deficiencies show that we cannot regard it as alone forming the material of Christian life.

(Canon Liddon.)

Feeling is of as much use in religion as steam is in an engine — if it drives the engine it is good; but if it does not it is no good for anything but to fizz and hiss and buzz.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

At the Governor's banquet in California State, where wine was flowing freely, one of the speakers, while making an excited speech, said: "If there is any one present who was ever happier in his life than he is here to-night, I call upon him at once to arise and say so." A young man sprang to his feet and said: "I was very much happier in one of Mr. Hammond's meetings than I am here." it produced a profound impression upon that gay audience.

A number of persons were once relating their misfortunes to each other. One told of his whole substance entrusted to one vessel, having perished in the ocean; another of an only and beloved daughter recently ]aid in the grave; another of a son breaking loose from restraint, and plunging like the prodigal into the wickedness of a great city. It was agreed that these were sore afflictions, and it was wondered whether any could produce sorer. One who had hitherto been silent now spoke. "Yes," said he, "I can tell of something sadder than all these, a believing heart has gone from me." There followed deep silence at thess words, and when the little group spoke again it was agreed that the last was the heaviest sorrow; that there was no calamity like it.

(British Messenger.)

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