Galatians 4:12-20

The Heart Of A Shepherd


A bus driver and a minister were standing in line to get into heaven. The bus driver approached the gate and Peter said, "Welcome, I understand you were a bus driver. Since I'm in charge of housing, I believe I have found the perfect place for you. See that mansion over the hilltop? It's yours.


The minister heard all this and began to stand a little taller. He said to himself, "If a bus driver got a place like that, just think what I'll get."


The minister approached the gate and  Peter said, "Welcome, I understand you were a minister. See that shack in the valley?"


 Peter had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when the irate minister said, "I was a minister, I preached the gospel, I helped teach people about God. Why does that bus driver get a mansion,& I get a shack?"

 Peter responded, "Well, it seems when you preached, people slept. When the bus driver drove, people prayed."


I hope there is no sleeping going on this morning – But really I share that story as a reminder – All Ministers – All called to ministry

A)All Ambassadors of Christ – what we do here is going to play a part in what we do THERE in heaven


B) The Passage we are looking at today is one where Paul gets incredibly personal –

1)   Thus far in our study of Galatians we have been listening to Paul the Apostle / Paul the THEOLOGIAN  / Paul fighter & defender of faith


C) But here in Ch.4 We hear Paul the MAN / Paul the PASTOR / Paul the Passionate lover of souls [V.20 -  TONE – not mad heart broken – garden]

1)   What we see here in Paul – should be true of all of us –who desire to make an impact upon people’s lives & who understand we are ALL called to be Christ Ministers


In this passage we see  5 Characteristics of a true Shepherd or minister Look at all 5 today

A)#1 V.12 A true Minister becomes like the people he is ministering to


Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.


B) When Paul came to the region of Galatia – he came wearing the garments of his  freedom in Christ

1)   For so many years – Paul had been a slave to the Law – But then one day on the Rd to Damascus – he discovered what it was like to be a Son


C) He wants his Galatian converts to become like him – Enjoying their freedom in Christ – Not living under the Law { Not living like slaves


When Paul came into the region of Galatia he became like them as a gentile – He ate their food – He lived among them-

A) Purpose to show them Christ 1 Cor 9:19-22


For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.


B) Paul adapted to his surroundings – didn’t compromise – but he was mindful of who he was seeking to minister to

1)   He didn’t want to offend them w/ his liberty or put off with his discipline – So he adapted that he might win them !!!!


C) It is interesting when you consider the Life of Christ – Jesus didn’t put on this RELIGIOUS attitude – with those he ministered to

1)   He was called the friend of Sinners – The religious leaders wondered why he ate & drank with such People.{ Ans – He wanted to reach them

We are the Lord’s Ambassadors – Represent him to the world –

A)We are to be Salt & light – Light seen – salt tasted in order for it to be affective { Means Rub shoulders & interface with unbelievers


B) Unbelievers need to see us as normal people – who go thru normal things so that they can see the affect of Christ in our lives

1)   Careful not to project a Holier than thou – mentality : [Blake]


C) Yugo Pool halls – Not suggesting compromise – hang out in bars or do drugs – [ Chuck on music ]

1)But understand as foreign as it might be for you – do that – just as foreign for them to come to Church { Start on Neutral ground

             “A good witness tries to build bridges, not walls”


D) So Paul became like the people he was ministering to – He adapted to his environment


#2 V13-15 A true minister share the gospel despite his Physical afflictions

You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me


A)On his first missionary journey Paul apparently became seriously ill


B) Some suggest that he contracted malaria while traveling through the low, swampy regions of Pamphylia

1)   and decided to go up into the higher and healthier area of Galatia and minister there for a while until he was better


C) It is believed that the type of malaria that Paul suffered from affected his eyes – perpetual Pinkeye – always oozing & running / Painful

1)   Wasn’t just painful for Paul – but it was painful for others to look at

Paul’s  bodily condition was such that the normal response to it was that it left people repulsed

A)But the believers in Galatia did not despise or reject  Paul because of his affliction, as repulsive as it was.


B)Rather they received Paul and were deeply moved that despite his condition he would still share with them & inter act with them

1)   They were so grateful for his life & ministry that if possible they would have given him their own eyes to help him.


C)The Pt. I want to make in this is that Paul still shared the gospel despite his physical affliction – He lived among them – didn’t hide

1) And despite the fact that He looked grotesque much of the time he didn’t let that hinder him from Preaching


Now I point this out because we live in the age of excuses

A)And a lot of Christians will use a physical infirmity or emotional set back  as an excuse for not serving Christ


B)I can’t do that or I can’t get involved there – because of ………..

1)   Think of Joni Erickson Tada – She Allowed God to use her life & weakness as a Platform for his strength & Glory


C) Paul did the same & the Galatians loved him for it !!!!

1)   He wasn’t perfect guy – He wasn’t Handsome Hunk – He had hang ups and issues – But he didn’t let that hold him back – neither should we


Sometimes people will say things to me  Like:  I just don’t know how to be a good father or husband – My dad was lousy / My mom …….

A)Look at Jesus – little Children – gentle – Seen me seen the father


B) Look to Jesus & lean on the HS -   Don’t make excuses for your lack

1)   Jepthath – All dysfunctional – not an excuse – But it is an opportunity for God to reveal his strength / His Power / His wisdom – seek Him


C) Side note: Paul didn’t just live among them  - He preached – need to do both !!!

1) So #2 Paul Preached the gospel despite his physical affliction


#3 V.16 A true Minister of the Gospel tells the truth even at the risk of being rejected

A)These people who loved Paul for coming to them despite his physical weakness & sharing the truth – had a Change of Heart


B) Now Paul asked in bewilderment, Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?


C)The Galatian believers who had succumbed to the Judaizers heresy were guilty of spiritual defection.

1)Nothing tears the heart of a faithful pastor, teacher, or missionary more than seeing someone he has led to the Lord turn away from the faith.


D) How much more does such defection grieve the Lord Himself?.



Many people appreciate a preacher or teacher only as long as he says what they want to hear.

A)But the minute that he says something that addresses their sin / or challenges their lifestyle – Don’t like him anymore


B) Suddenly the Pastor becomes the enemy – that is what happened to Paul


C)The believers in Galatia had once greatly admired Paul, but now they looked on him as their enemy,

1)      All because he confronted them with the truth about the genuine gospel of God, which had saved them,


D) And all because he pointed out that  the false teaching of the Judaizers,  led them back into the bondage of legalism.


Listen if you are going to be a true Minister for Christ – You must share the truth in love

A)In this age of tolerance – there is way to much  emphasis placed on accepting people – trying not make waves – don’t want to offend


B) Result we can sugar coat the message – for the purpose of wanting people to like us


C) Avoid talking about sin / unequally yoked – or the crucified life because that might offend or make people feel uncomfortable

1)   Just going to keep everything Positive & Generic - 


D)Listen if I every start doing that – I want you to promise me that you will leave the Church & go somewhere where the full word is preached


Listen you need to be leery of what you read & what you listen to if there is an absence of an emphasis on the Crucified life

A)If there is a lack or absence on the subjects of Denying self or Dying to self – Be leery { Not a complete message


B) IN the same way if there is a lack of emphasis on the grace of God and the work that the HS wants to do in you & thru you – Be leery

1)   Not a balanced Message


C) See those subjects are major themes that are woven together in the NT – they Permeate the Teaching of Jesus & the Apostles

1)   Therefore they need to be major themes in the Church today


So a true minister is one who becomes like those He is ministering to/ He preaches despite his Physical affliction / Shares the truth… ..rejected

A) #4 V.17-18 A true minister doesn’t serve for selfish gain


They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

B)Paul admits that the legalists zealously courted the Galatians; Legalism often comes wrapped in a cloak of “love.” 

1) But the end result is for no good.


C)The term translated COURT carries the idea of taking a serious interest in someone and was often used of a man pursuing  a woman.

1)The Judaizers talk like they really care for you," Paul was saying, "but they are false suitors who have no genuine love for or interest in you or your welfare."


D) They in reality were no better than a man who pursues a woman purely for sex – only to dump her after she has been conquered


Many cults use a technique informally known as “love bombing.”  They overwhelm a prospective member with attention, support, and affection. 

A)But it isn’t really a sincere love for the prospect; it is really just a technique to gain another member. 


B) Christians – and legalistic groups among Christians – can use the same technique in some way or another.


C)There are also those in the Church - that prey upon the body of Christ. 

1) They are really not evangelistic.  They are really not out reaching the world. 


D)They are only trying to persuade the Christians to their particular doctrinal view or position. 


E)And their whole life and ministry is only to change people’s thoughts to agree with their doctrinal position. 

1)   They consider it a great big prize when they can win  you over to their persuasion.  And they are very zealous.  Very persuasive


F) But there is a selfish & prideful nature to their approach

A true minister is not ought to build his own kingdom – He wants to build the kingdom of God

A)He is Zealous for Good things – Biblical things See People grow !!



#5 V.19- A true minister is in it for the long haul.

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,


A)Paul likens himself to a “mother” who gave spiritual “birth” to the Galatians he calls them (my little children).

1)But their situation  made him feel as if he must bring them to Jesus all over again (for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you). 


C) In other words - "You have already experienced the new birth, but now you are acting as if you need to be spiritually born all over again.


One commentator put it this way - You make me feel like a mother who has to deliver the same baby twice."


D)But however abnormal and tragic their spiritual condition, Paul would not forsake them until Christ was formed in them

1)   He was in it for the long Haul- He wasn’t into birthing Children and then leaving them to fend for themselves –


E) He was committed to seeing them grow & be formed into the image of Christ – That is the goal of Christianity – Rom 8:29


More than giving you a purpose for living / More than giving you a new outlook on life / More than your personal happiness / More than service

A)The GOAL OF God the FATHER for your life & mine is to make us more like Jesus


B)Everything that happens to us focuses on that one supreme purpose.

1) His primary concern is for developing our Character – Christ like


C)At home – Represent Jesus to Kids – to your Neighbors / At work / at Play / In ministry

1)   God is committed to that work of transformation in you & me !!!


D)Why is that the goal ? The world desperately needs to see Jesus – God wants them to see Him in us

1) The world desperately needs to hear Jesus – Hear Him in us



How does that Transformation take place ?

Rom 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.





2 Cor 3:18

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.