Introduction: Have you ever had someone say that you should be more
like someone else? For example, did your parents say, “Why can’t
you be more like your brother [or sister]?” “Why can’t you be more
like the child next door?” “Why can’t you be more like me?” How did
you react to those suggestions? My guess is that you did not reply,
“Right, I’ll be more like [the other person] and less like me!” This
week our lesson starts out with Paul inviting the Galatians to be
more like him. Let’s dive into our Bibles and try to better
understand Paul’s invitation!

  1. Grow Up To Be Like Me?

    1. Read Galatians 4:12. Paul says “Become like me.” We just
      agreed that was not an attractive invitation. Why not?
      (You might think that person thinks too highly of
      himself! You might think that you don’t need to change.)

      1. Why does Paul say the Galatians need to become more
        like him? (Because he became like them.)

      2. Wait a minute. How does that make any sense? “Become
        more like me because I became like you.” If Paul
        became like the Galatians, they would not need to
        become more like him!

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. In what way does Paul become
      like others in order to save them? (He tries to minimize
      the differences between himself and other cultural and
      other theological viewpoints.)

      1. What is Paul’s motive for becoming “like” his
        audience? (To save them.)

    3. So, let’s go back and answer the question: Why does Paul
      say the Galatians need to become more like him? (He
      showed how much he cared about them when he became “like”
      them. He showed how much he wanted them to understand the

      1. If you were a Galatian, what, as a practical matter,
        would you do to become “like” Paul? (I would
        determine to take very seriously the importance of
        the gospel.)

  2. Grow Up To Be More Like Them?

    1. Read Galatians 4:17. What motivates the legalists in
      their efforts to make the Galatians more like them? (Paul
      says that they are up to no good, because they want to
      separate the Galatians from Paul.)

      1. What do you think about the logic of Paul’s
        argument? Can’t the legalists make the same
        argument about Paul? They could say: “Paul wants you
        to follow him because he wants you to leave us!” (Of
        course! Paul’s logic, on its own, does not work.
        Paul needs an independent reason why the Galatians
        should follow him and not the legalists.)

  3. Appeal From the Heart

    1. Let’s revisit a discussion we had last week. Read
      Galatians 4:13-14. Last week, I suggested Paul’s point
      was that he did not have pride of ownership over the
      Galatians – he had stopped by their town only because he
      was sick. Assuming I have this at least partially right,
      what else can we read into Paul’s argument here? (Paul
      says, “You adored me – when I was no prize.” Paul, the
      logician, is making an emotional appeal! “You were kind.
      We were friends. We had joy together. What has happened?
      Come back to me!)

    2. Read Galatians 4:18-19. How important are the Galatians
      to Paul? (He says he is so anxious about them, that it
      feels like childbirth.)

      1. Is this a logical argument? (No. Again, Paul is
        making an emotional argument. We were friends. You
        are breaking my heart (actually, breaking me
        somewhere lower) by separating from me.)

      2. In these lessons I like to discuss the logic and
        reason found in the Bible. When I pointed out that
        Paul’s logic this week was no better than the
        legalists’ logic, I thought that was unfortunate.
        What lesson does this teach us about leading others
        to the gospel? (It is not all (or even mainly)
        logic. The emotional part of the argument and
        relationships should be carefully considered. The
        gospel is much more than sterile, bloodless logic!)

    3. Read Galatians 4:20. What kind of tone does Paul have?
      We decided that he is making an emotional appeal, is he
      also being harsh?

      1. Why would Paul’s presence make any difference? (Have
        you ever noticed that it is harder to be harsh with
        someone when you are speaking with them face to
        face? You can write a letter (or worse) post a
        comment on the Internet that would be far harder to
        say in the presence of the person you are

      2. Is it a sin for Paul to use the tone he is using
        with the Galatians? (Read Galatians 4:16. I think
        Paul is not being harsh, he is being honest. He
        realizes that his Galatian friends might not be
        taking his words that well, for he asks “have I now
        become your enemy?” Sometimes saying the things that
        need to be said is difficult.)

  4. A Worthwhile Life

    1. We discussed that Paul’s main point in telling the
      Galatians they should be “more like him” was to encourage
      them to be zealous for the gospel. Let’s drill down into
      this topic by reading Philippians 3:17. This time
      becoming more like Paul involves living “according to the
      pattern.” Paul told us in Galatians 3:25 that we “are no
      longer under the supervision of the law.” Are we now
      under the supervision of a “pattern?” Is Paul a closet

    2. Read Philippians 3:18-19. Are the people described here
      saved? (No! Their destiny is destruction.)

      1. What is wrong with their faith? Have they tossed
        aside the promise of salvation by faith made to

      2. “Their god is their stomach” helps me to better
        understand Buddha and other guys I see walking
        around! (This is a joke.) What does this statement
        mean? (They are focused on themselves. Their
        appetites determine their course of action.)

      3. What does it mean that their “glory is in their
        shame?” (They take pride in evil thinking.)

        1. I’ve said this before: When I was a child, it
          seemed that the “bad” people just “enjoyed”
          being bad. They did not argue that they were
          good. Is this what Paul means by taking “glory”
          in shame?

        2. Today, there is a “morality” among people who
          are enemies of the gospel. Take for example,
          the American singer Madonna. Why would she
          choose that for a stage name? I’ve seen a
          video of her “praying” with her performance
          troupe before going on stage. While I’ve heard
          some very strange prayers in church and other
          religious gatherings, Madonna’s prayer was not
          religious. Why would she do such a thing? Is
          this what Paul means by taking “glory” in

    3. Read Philippians 3:20-21. How is the Christian different
      than the world? How is this difference consistent with
      righteousness by faith? (Faith is an attitude. Our mind
      is not set on earthly things or our stomachs. Our minds
      are set on Jesus’ return, our heavenly citizenship, on
      becoming more like our God.)

    4. Friend, will you determine to become more like Paul?
      Will you take the gospel and the salvation of others
      seriously? Will you make heaven your goal? Will you turn
      the attention of your life away from yourself, and
      towards a relationship with God?

  5. Next week: The Two Covenants.