Season After Easter Sermon Series

Invitation to Study Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

Bishop Palmer has invited the churches and people of the West Ohio Conference to join together in a study of Galatians, called “Galatians: Gospel of Grace.” This study will take place over the weeks of the Easter season.

While we are not united in our thinking on all matters, we can all be united in our commitment to turn to the Bible for guidance. As we read, study, and discuss scripture, we trust the Holy Spirit to move in our midst and to speak to us through the living word of God.

Why Galatians?

Paul wrote his letter to the church in Galatia during a time of great tension. Leaders in the church were suggesting that believers must become Jewish before they could become followers of Christ. Paul responds with intense emotion, stressing that the very gospel is at stake in this decision. He urges the Galatians to trust that they are justified by faith in Christ rather than the works of the law. He encourages them to accept the freedom that grace offers, to be guided by the Holy Spirit to live in unity as they “bear one another’s burdens” and share the fruit of the Spirit.

Paul’s letter reminds us of the transformative power of grace and the ways that we might overcome our differences in order to reach even more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. His words ring through history calling us to trust the gospel of grace and to live in the unity that life in the Spirit makes possible.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul invites us to consider how the gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ sets us free from the burden of sin and the law, and free for unity across differences, bearing the fruit of love in Spirit filled community.

Guide for Weekly Reading

If you are interested in learning more, or in studying the Letter to the Galatians at home or in a small group, here is the schedule for each week between Easter and Pentecost:

Week 1/Chapter 1: Grace that Transforms

Key Verse: Galatians 1:23 “They only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’” (NRSV)

Key Concept: Just as God transformed Paul from persecutor to preacher through grace, through grace God transforms our lives and worldview.


Week 2/Chapter 2: Grace that Embraces

Key Verse: Galatians 2:9-10 – “And when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.” (NRSV)

Key Concept: Although they had differences of practice and thought around Jewish law, Paul and Peter came to a place where they recognized the grace of God that was present in the other. This allowed them to continue and expand their ministry reach.


Week 3/Chapter 3: Grace that Clothes Us

Key Verse: Galatians 3:26-28 – “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV)

Key Concept: We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, not through obedience to the law. This is symbolized by our baptism that reminds us we are cleansed by Christ, clothed by Christ, and made one in Christ.


Week 4/Chapter 4: Grace that Forms

Key Verse: Galatians 4:19 – “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…” (NRSV)

Key Concept: Through Jesus Christ, born to redeem those under the law, we receive the gift of adoption and we are formed by the Spirit as children of God.


Week 5/Chapter 5: Grace that Bears Fruit

Key Verse:Galatians 5:22-23 –  “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” (NRSV)

Key Concept: Grace frees us from the burden of the works of the law and frees us for the law of love so that we might be empowered to bear the fruit of love.


Week 6/Chapter 6: Grace that Sustains

Key Verse: Galatians 6:9 “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” (NRSV)

Key Concept: Grace frees us and sustains us to work for the good of all, bearing one another’s burdens, and doing what is right.

For more information on this study and sermon series, visit:

https://www.westohioumc.org/conference/galatians-gospel-grace

Shalom UMC will reopen on May 31st for worship. The Building will remain closed on weekdays until July 6th.