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Feb 25, 2018

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife

Passage: Galatians 4:8-20

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Free, a study in the book of Galatians

The best teachers have an interest far greater than merely disseminating information or preparing students to excel on examinations. Instead they long to see their students not only master but even relish the material. And it’s the extraordinary educators who aim to see their students mature into honorable men and women by employing their specific subject as a vehicle for nurturing the whole person. In this sometimes pointed, sometimes tender letter Paul has written to the churches of Galatia, he’s not out merely to win an argument or command the most influence. He’s determined, in his own words, anguished, to see nothing less than their full maturing in the message of grace he’d labored to bring them. And so he compares himself to something like a mother in labor, enduring the pain of seeing Christ “formed in them.” What does Paul mean by this spiritual formation?

Order of Worship

Call To Worship: Deuteronomy 32:1-4
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 32:36-39
New Testament Reading: Philippians 2:12-16a
Sermon Title: Call the Midwife
Central Text: Galatians 4:8-20
Benediction: Jude 24-25

02.25.18 Lyrics

02.25.18 Sermon Slides


The Natural - Standing Support

Readings & Scripture

Call To Worship:     Deuteronomy 32:1-4
LEADER:    Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

PEOPLE:    May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb.

LEADER:     For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!

ALL:    The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Old Testament Reading:     Deuteronomy 32:36-39
For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free.  Then he will say, 'Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection! " 'See now that I, even I, am he,  and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive;  I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

New Testament Reading:      Philippians 2:12-16a
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14   Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life. . . .

Central Text:      Galatians 4:8-20
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

12   Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Response:  Benediction:  Jude 24-25
LEADER:   Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy   

PEOPLE:    to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: 1 John 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Related Scriptures:


  • Deuteronomy 32:7-9 
  • Deuteronomy 32:15-18
  • Isaiah 53:5     
  • John 16:21-24   
  • Romans 8:9-11          

Preaching Notes:


  • What it means to be formed
  • What are the marks of being formed
  • By what means one is formed


Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. Which experiences and relationships would you say have most formed you? How so--both in ways you’ve been formed for the good or to your detriment?
  2. What do we learn about Paul from the “anguish” he has for the Galatian churches? What do we learn about the gospel he’s shared with them from that same anguish?
  3. What in your history have you ended up making into a god that was anything but a god--in other words what have you been tempted to make an idol of?
  4. How can pain sometimes become the catalyst for seeing Christ formed in us--even though our pain at other times can reach a height that only the other side of glory will redeem?
  5. What for you personally might be some of even the smallest marks of Christ being formed in you? (Don’t be too humble to share your progress--no matter how insignificant or less than durable those changes might seem to you) Can you point to experiences, relationships, or practices that contributed to that formation?


  • We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap. -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • He loves thee too little who loves anything together with thee which he does not love for thy sake.  - Augustine
  • A careful reading of the Old and New Testaments shows that idolatry is nothing like the crude picture that springs to mind of a sculpture in some distant country. The idea is highly sophisticated, drawing together the complexities of motivation in individual psychology, the social environment, and also the unseen world. Idols are not just on pagan altars, but in well-educated human hearts and minds. -Richard Keyes
  • A person has the form of Christ when he believes in Christ to the exclusion of everything else. -Martin Luther




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