Galatians 4:11
I fear for you, that my efforts for you may have been in vain.
A Minister's FearsA. Stevens, LL. D.Galatians 4:11
Labour Bestowed in VainW.F. Adeney Galatians 4:11
Pain of Fruitless LabourGalatians 4:11
Majority and MinorityR. Finlayson Galatians 4:1-11
The Return of the Legal SpiritR.M. Edgar Galatians 4:8-11
Observing SeasonsW.F. Adeney Galatians 4:10, 11

I. AN APOSTLE MAY BESTOW LABOUR IN VAIN. If St. Paul might thus fail, we are not to be surprised when we do not meet with success. We are not responsible for the results of our work, but only for the faithfulness of our efforts.

II. A TRUE WORKMAN WILL BE ANXIOUS NOT TO BESTOW LABOUR IN VAIN. Christian work is not mere treadmill drudgery. It is labour of interest, of sympathy, of love. The servant of Christ will be anxious, not only that he may be saved, though, perhaps, "so as by fire," but that his work may be preserved

(1) for the honour of Christ;

(2) for the welfare of men;

(3) for the personal interest occasioned by self-sacrificing toil.

If we care nothing for the results of our work, this is a manifest proof that our heart is not in it, and therefore that the work will be ill done. We must earnestly desire a good harvest if ever we are to be rewarded with the sight of the ripe golden ears.

III. THE PROSPECT OF FAILURE IN WORK WILL LEAD AN EARNEST MAN TO DO ALL HE CAN TO PREVENT IT. It was the dread of such failure that called forth the whole Epistle to the Galatians from St. Paul.

1. Failure, though in prospect, may often be obviated by improved methods, for we may be ourselves to blame for the want of success that we attribute to the stubbornness of the soil. It is a mistake to be wedded to any one method. The slavery of routine is fatal to success. New emergencies demand new plans. Beware of sacrificing the work to the machinery.

2. Failure may be avoided by more earnest efforts. St. Paul expostulates with the Galatians. He exhibits something of the long-suffering of God. It is foolish and weak and wrong to despair at the first lack of success. God despairs of no soul. If we were more hopeful and more patient we should be more fruitful.

IV. IT IS LAMENTABLE TO BE IN THE CONDITION OF THOSE UPON WHOM LABOUR HAS BEEN BESTOWED IN VAIN. They who thus fail are without excuse. All that has been done for them will rise up in judgment against them. How terrible to have been privileged with the ministry of an apostle, of a St. Paul, and, in spite of all his eloquence, his zeal, his self-sacrificing devotion, his inspiration, to make shipwreck at last! We who have the New Testament in our hands have that ministry for our benefit. If after enjoying the privileges of living in a Christian country and receiving Christian teaching we fail of entering into the Christian life, all the labour spent in vain upon us will condemn us. The responsibility rests on each individual soul. It is a delusion to throw the blame on the preachers. The highest influences, even up to the preaching of a St. Paul, will fail, unless we yield our own hearts in obedience to the truth. - W.F.A.

I am afraid of you.

1. Lest his word should not issue in conversions.

2. Lest the converted members of his flock should not adorn their profession.

3. Lest his converts should apostatise.


1. To labour on in spite of them.

(1)They may be groundless,

(2)or if only too well grounded, he is not responsible.

2. Not to allow them to generate despair. The worst sinner may yet be converted and the worst backslider reclaimed.

3. To do all he can, with God's help, to prevent failure.


1. That he has been working for God's glory.

2. That God is responsible for results.

3. That in spite of appearances to the contrary God's word will not return unto Him void.Conclusion: How sad to be the subject of these fears.

1. Unconverted.

2. Inconsistent.

3. Backsliding.At one point in Dr. Bang's ministry he became greatly discouraged, and attempted to leave his work. A significant dream relieved him. He thought he was working with a pickaxe, on the top of a basaltic rock. His muscular arm brought down stroke after stroke for hours, but the rock was hardly indented. He said to himself at last, "It is useless; I will pick no more." Suddenly a stranger of dignified mien stood by his side, and said, "You will pick no more?" "No." "Were you not set to do this task?" "Yes." "Why then abandon it?" "My work is in vain; I make no impression." Solemnly the stranger replied, "What is that to you? Your duty is to pick, whether the rock yields or not. Your work is in your own hands; the result is not. "Work on." He resumed his task. The first blow was given with almost superhuman force, and the rock flew into a thousand pieces. He awoke, returned to his work, and a great revival followed.

(A. Stevens, LL. D.)

Dr. Talmage says, "I remember visiting a military prison where they punish men by making them carry cannon-balls from one end of the yard to the other, and the sergeant who accompanied me said: 'When we made the men carry the balls from this end of the yard to the other to make a pyramid at the other end there was a kind of amusement in it, because they were building up this pyramid; and so we made an alteration, and the man has to carry the ball from this end of the yard to the other and back again, and his toil seems to be so altogether fruitless, that it becomes a double punishment to him.'" Even so it is a source of bitter pain to an earnest minister to feel that his laborious efforts for the good of his hearers are after all in vain.

Agar, Galatians, Hagar, Isaac, Paul
Galatia, Jerusalem, Mount Sinai
Afraid, Alarmed, Bestowed, Efforts, Fear, Indeed, Labor, Labored, Labour, Laboured, Lest, Perhaps, Purpose, Somehow, Vain, Wasted, Working
1. We were under the law till Christ came, as the heir is under the guardian till he be of age.
5. But Christ freed us from the law;
7. therefore we are servants no longer to it.
14. Paul remembers the Galatians' good will to him, and his to them;
22. and shows that we are the sons of Abraham by the freewoman.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Galatians 4:8-11

     8743   faithlessness, nature of

Galatians 4:9-11

     5588   traditions
     5979   waste

Galatians 4:10-11

     8774   legalism

Galatians 4:11-12

     5781   affection

May 7. "I Travail in Birth Again Until Christ be Formed in You" (Gal. Iv. 19).
"I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. iv. 19). It is a blessed moment when we are born again and a new heart is created in us after the image of God. It is a more blessed moment when in this new heart Christ Himself is born and the Christmas time is reproduced in us as we, in some real sense, become incarnations of the living Christ. This is the deepest and holiest meaning of Christianity. It is expressed in Paul's prayer for the Galatians. "My little children, for whom I
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Text: Galatians 4, 21-31. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewomen. 23 Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

The Allegories of Sarah and Hagar
We shall attempt this morning to teach you something of the allegories of Sarah and Hagar, that you may thereby better understand the essential difference between the covenants of law and of grace. We shall not go fully into the subject, but shall only give such illustrations of it as the text may furnish us. First, I shall want you to notice the two women, whom Paul uses as types--Hagar and Sarah; then I shall notice the two sons--Ishmael and Isaac; in the third place, I shall notice Ishmael's conduct
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

Adoption --The Spirit and the Cry
The divinity of each of these sacred persons is also to be gathered from the text and its connection. We do not doubt tee the loving union of all in the work of deliverance. We reverence the Father, without whom we had not been chosen or adopted: the Father who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We love and reverence the Son by whose most precious blood we have been redeemed, and with whom we are one in a mystic and everlasting union: and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 24: 1878

God's Inheritance
GAL. iv. 6, 7. Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. This is the second good news of Christmas-day. The first is, that the Son of God became man. The second is, why he became man. That men might become the sons of God through him. Therefore St. Paul says, You are the sons of God. Not--you may be, if you are very good: but you are,
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Luther -- the Method and Fruits of Justification
Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, was born at Eisleben in 1483, and died there 1546. His rugged character and powerful intellect, combined with a strong physique, made him a natural orator, so that it was said "his words were half battles." Of his own method of preaching he once remarked: "When I ascend the pulpit I see no heads, but imagine those that are before me to be all blocks. When I preach I sink myself deeply down; I regard neither doctors nor masters, of which there are in the church
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

The Faithful Steward
We are now prepared to present in detail that general system of beneficence, demanded alike by Scripture and reason, and best fitted to secure permanent and ever-growing results. While universal, it must be a system in its nature adapted to each individual, and binding on the individual conscience; one founded on, and embracing, the entire man,--his reason, his heart and will, including views and principles, feelings and affections, with their inculcation, general purposes and resolutions, with corresponding
Sereno D. Clark—The Faithful Steward

"Ye are not in the Flesh," Says the Apostle...
"Ye are not in the flesh," says the apostle, "but in the Spirit"; but then he adds, as the only ground of this, "if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you"; surely he means, if so be ye are moved, guided, and governed by that, which the Spirit wills, works and inspires within you. And then to show the absolute necessity of this life of God in the soul, he adds, "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And that this is the state to which God has appointed, and called all
William Law—An Humble, Affectionate, and Earnest Address to the Clergy

Here are Two Most Important and Fundamental Truths Fully Demonstrated...
Here are two most important and fundamental truths fully demonstrated, First, that the truth and perfection of the gospel state could not take place, till Christ was glorified, and his kingdom among men made wholly and solely a continual immediate ministration of the Spirit: everything before this was but subservient for a time, and preparatory to this last dispensation, which could not have been the last, had it not carried man above types, figures and shadows, into the real possession and enjoyment
William Law—An Humble, Affectionate, and Earnest Address to the Clergy

But one Sometimes Comes to a Case of this Kind...
24. But one sometimes comes to a case of this kind, that we are not interrogated where the person is who is sought, nor forced to betray him, if he is hidden in such manner, that he cannot easily be found unless betrayed: but we are asked, whether he be in such a place or not. If we know him to be there, by holding our peace we betray him, or even by saying that we will in no wise tell whether he be there or not: for from this the questioner gathers that he is there, as, if he were not, nothing else
St. Augustine—On Lying

Introductory Note to the Epistle of Barnabas
[a.d. 100.] The writer of this Epistle is supposed to have been an Alexandrian Jew of the times of Trajan and Hadrian. He was a layman; but possibly he bore the name of "Barnabas," and so has been confounded with his holy and apostolic name-sire. It is more probable that the Epistle, being anonymous, was attributed to St. Barnabas, by those who supposed that apostle to be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and who discovered similarities in the plan and purpose of the two works. It is with
Barnabas—The Epistle of Barnabas

The Gospel Message, Good Tidings
[As it is written] How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! T he account which the Apostle Paul gives of his first reception among the Galatians (Galatians 4:15) , exemplifies the truth of this passage. He found them in a state of ignorance and misery; alienated from God, and enslaved to the blind and comfortless superstitions of idolatry. His preaching, accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit, had a great and marvellous effect.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

How Can I Obtain Faith?
May the Spirit of God assist us while we meditate upon the way by which faith cometh. This shall be followed by a brief indication of certain obstructions which often lie in that way; and then we will conclude by dwelling upon the importance that faith should come to us by that appointed road. I. First, then, THE WAY BY WHICH FAITH COMES TO MEN. "Faith cometh by hearing." It may help to set the truth out more clearly, if we say, negatively, that it does not come by any other process than by hearing;--not
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Blood of Sprinkling
Our apostle next tells us what we are come to. I suppose he speaks of all the saints after the death and resurrection of our Lord and the descent of the Holy Ghost. He refers to the whole church, in the midst of which the Holy Spirit now dwells. We are come to a more joyous sight than Sinai, and the mountain burning with fire. The Hebrew worshipper, apart from his sacrifices, lived continually beneath the shadow of the darkness of a broken law; he was startled often by the tremendous note of the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

"But Ye have Received the Spirit of Adoption, Whereby we Cry, Abba, Father. "
Rom. viii. 15.--"But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," 1 John iii. 1. It is a wonderful expression of love to advance his own creatures, not only infinitely below himself, but far below other creatures, to such a dignity. Lord, what is man that thou so magnified him! But it surpasseth wonder, that rebellious creatures, his enemies, should have, not only
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"For as Many as are Led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. For Ye have not Received the Spirit of Bondage
Rom. viii. s 14, 15.--"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." The life of Christianity, take it in itself, is the most pleasant and joyful life that can be, exempted from those fears and cares, those sorrows and anxieties, that all other lives are subject unto, for this of necessity must be the force and efficacy of true religion,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Moral Reactions of Prayer
The Moral Reactions of Prayer All religion is founded on prayer, and in prayer it has its test and measure. To be religious is to pray, to be irreligious is to be incapable of prayer. The theory of religion is really the philosophy of prayer; and the best theology is compressed prayer. The true theology is warm, and it steams upward into prayer. Prayer is access to whatever we deem God, and if there is no such access there is no religion; for it is not religion to resign ourselves to be crushed
P. T. Forsyth—The Soul of Prayer

Christ's Humiliation in his Incarnation
'Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.' I Tim 3:16. Q-xxvii: WHEREIN DID CHRIST'S HUMILIATION CONSIST? A: In his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross. Christ's humiliation consisted in his incarnation, his taking flesh, and being born. It was real flesh that Christ took; not the image of a body (as the Manichees erroneously held), but a true body; therefore he
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Her virginity Also Itself was on this Account More Pleasing and Accepted...
4. Her virginity also itself was on this account more pleasing and accepted, in that it was not that Christ being conceived in her, rescued it beforehand from a husband who would violate it, Himself to preserve it; but, before He was conceived, chose it, already dedicated to God, as that from which to be born. This is shown by the words which Mary spake in answer to the Angel announcing to her her conception; "How," saith she, "shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" [2031] Which assuredly she would
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

But if Moreover any not Having Charity, which Pertaineth to the Unity of Spirit...
23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirit and the bond of peace whereby the Catholic Church is gathered and knit together, being involved in any schism, doth, that he may not deny Christ, suffer tribulations, straits, hunger, nakedness, persecution, perils, prisons, bonds, torments, swords, or flames, or wild beasts, or the very cross, through fear of hell and everlasting fire; in nowise is all this to be blamed, nay rather this also is a patience meet to
St. Augustine—On Patience

Therefore at that Time, when the Law Also...
27. Therefore at that time, when the Law also, following upon the days of the Patriarchs, [2010] pronounced accursed, whoso raised not up seed in Israel, even he, who could, put it not forth, but yet possessed it. But from the period that the fullness of time hath come, [2011] that it should be said, "Whoso can receive, let him receive," [2012] from that period even unto this present, and from henceforth even unto the end, whoso hath, worketh: whoso shall be unwilling to work, let him not falsely
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

Letter xiv (Circa A. D. 1129) to Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln
To Alexander, [15] Bishop of Lincoln A certain canon named Philip, on his way to Jerusalem, happening to turn aside to Clairvaux, wished to remain there as a monk. He solicits the consent of Alexander, his bishop, to this, and begs him to sanction arrangements with the creditors of Philip. He finishes by exhorting Alexander not to trust too much in the glory of the world. To the very honourable lord, Alexander, by the Grace of God, Bishop of Lincoln, Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, wishes honour more
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Eighth Sunday after Trinity Living in the Spirit as God's Children.
Text: Romans 8, 12-17. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

No Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow! A lthough the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophecies (Luke 24:44) , bear an harmonious testimony to MESSIAH ; it is not necessary to suppose that every single passage has an immediate and direct relation to Him. A method of exposition has frequently obtained [frequently been in vogue], of a fanciful and allegorical cast [contrivance], under the pretext
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

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