Be Like Jesus | Galatians 4:12-20

Galatians 4:12-20 | Be Like Jesus

All of us at one time or another has wanted to be like someone, we have had someone we were exposed to that inspired us to want to emulate them.

Older people often ask children, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” I have heard them reply, “I want to be a doctor, teacher, astronomer, pastor, software engineer etc.”

Today I want us to consider who we really need to be like.

Galatians 4:12-20 | Be Like Jesus

We are all called to be like Jesus. We are going to see how can we do that in real life.

Today, as we return to our study of Galatians, we come to a section where Paul challenges the Galatians to grow up in their faith and be like Jesus.

Galatians 4:19-20 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

The Galatian Christians, like most believers, wanted to grow and go forward in Christ, but they were going about it in the wrong way. Paul had gone to the region of Galatia and he has planted churches in the cities there during his first missionary trip.

Later, false teaching had bewitched them into thinking that the Law of Moses would make them better Christians.

They thought they were going forward and growing up, but in reality, they were regressing.

Paul gives the picture that when Paul had preached the gospel to them, Paul’s affection to them was like a mother. He was like a pregnant woman who endured the birth pain of bringing the gospel and they are literally be born into the kingdom of God. He had labored intensely, painfully, underwent many hardships to see that happen. They are now his spiritual children. Now, apostle Paul feels like he’s in birth pain again the second time to see that Christ is formed in them. Paul wants them to be like Jesus.

They were believers but they have not taken the form of Christ. They are regressing from their faith.

How are you today? Is there progress in your faith and spiritual life? Are you conforming to the image of Jesus by every passing day?

Paul And Barnabas Preached The Gospel to Galatians, Acts 14:8-12

  • Great miracles were performed among them.
  • The Galatians received them as God’s has come to their town. Galatians 3:5
  • They left their former lifestyle of slavery. Galatians 4:8

To this group of people, Paul is telling that I am in birth pain for Christ to be formed in you.

Galatians 4:20 … I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

Galatians 4:11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Galatians 4:12 You did me no wrong.

Paul was not having any personal complaints about them but Paul was upset that they are missing the mark and moving away from their goal.

What happened to the Galatian church?

Lack of proper teaching took them away from the focus of growing up in Christ.

Galatians 1:6-7 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 5:10 The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.

Because of the lack of proper teaching, the people were confused.

What Is The Cause Of Confusion Of Present Day Churches And Believers?

  • Lack Of Proper Teaching.
  • Emphasis On Material Blessings.
  • Overemphasis On Prophesy And Misinterpretation Of Prophesy.
  • Over Contextualization. Bringing the world and its culture into the church.

There is great confusion in the spiritual world today. People do not know what is the true teaching of the word of God, so everyone is after material blessing. Did Jesus die to give you a good life here? Is that your understanding of Jesus? That Jesus died and he will bless me with goodies and I will prosperity to prosperity?

See the present day messages: Don’t be afraid. Our better life today. Name it and claim it.

Where is Christlikeness? We have lost our focus.

Becoming like Christ should be the focus of all believers. We should not be satisfied with just our new birth or born again experience but we must grow to become like Christ. This is called sanctification or to become mature and holy.

To Lead Members To Christlikeness Is The Role Of Every Christian Minister

Ephesians 4:11-12 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

All ministries are given to the church to equip the saints for the work of ministry, in faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, until they come to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ.

To Build The Church And Its People Into Christlikeness Is The Whole Point Of Ministry.

This is the concern of every faithful pastor for his people. This is the pain of the ministry, the pain of seeing your congregation become like Christ.

That seems to be the last thing that many pastors think about nowadays. It was the first thing that the apostle Paul thought about. It was all about the sanctification of his people.

Definition Of Sanctification

What is sanctification? The word means “to be separated.” It is the lifelong work of God in every believer to separate us from sin. Sanctification then is the process by which the believer in whom Christ dwells becomes more like Christ.

“In sanctification one grows to be more like Christ.”

The Galatian believers are true believers, but Christ is not yet fully formed in them.

Paul’s Burden For The Churches:

Become Like Christ

Galatians 4:19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 1I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

2 Corinthians 7:1 …let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Paul was consumed with the passion that the believers have to be holy. Paul was fearful of what sin would do to their lives. It was never about him. This is the heart of a true pastor.

The idea of conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ is at the heart of Paul’s teaching.

It Is God’s Will That You Should Be Sanctified

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

1 Peter 1:15-16 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Jesus Prayed That Believers Are Sanctified

It was the prayer of Jesus that we be sanctified:

Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

John 17:14-17 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

It was the prayer of Jesus that the church, believers live a holy life.

Steps To Develop Holiness or Christlikeness

Do not conform to the world.

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.

Ephesians 4:17-19 17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

A complete break from the former life is needed. Stop doing the things I used to do and start doing what God would God.

Remember who owns me.

The thought that I don’t belong to me but that God has purchased me with His blood can make me live a holy life. Acts 20:28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Remember who owns you. You have been purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with his precious blood. We are a bond slave to Christ. Secondly, we have been bought. Thirdly, we are now owned.

Look back to the covenant of salvation.

When we were saved we made a choice to obey God and God sprinkled us with his blood. 1 Peter 1:2 God’s elect…..who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. When we were saved, we chose to obey God and in the process Jesus’ blood was sprinkled upon us.

Matthew 28:19-20 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Christian life is not selective in the sense that you pick out the things that you’d like to obey and ignore the ones you don’t want to obey.

The Christian life is a life of absolute obedience. When we were saved we were sprinkled with Jesus’ blood.

What is Peter talking about? Exodus 24:1-2 1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, 2but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”

Then Moses came and gave the people the law that God had given him. Exodus 24:3 When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.”

God has declared His commands in the law given to Moses. Moses reiterates those commands to the people, and they do the only thing that you can possibly do if you desire a relationship with God and blessing from God. They make a commitment to obey.

Exodus 24:6-7 6Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”

This is precisely what true salvation is like. You say I’m done with my sin, I submit to you, O Lord, I will obey. Forgive my sin. Grant me salvation.

Exodus 24:8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Unfortunately, they didn’t keep their promises and that whole generation died in the wilderness.

Jesus became our sacrifice on the cross and when we made the decision to follow Jesus, we are sprinkled by the blood of Jesus.

Back to 1 Peter 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.

1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth…

He’s referring to salvation. Salvation is that moment in your life when you said: “I will obey. I commit to a life of obedience to Christ. Splatter me with His blood.”

So looking at and reminding yourself of that commitment to follow Christ can make you strive for holiness.

So your response to salvation is that you fix your hope on Jesus Christ and strive to live in holiness.

Sanctification Is The Work Of The Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:16 He (God) gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Sanctification Happens By Obedience To The Word.

John 17:17 Sanctify them bythe truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

As we work out our salvation and saturated by the word of God and obey the word of God we become Christ like.

Therefore, Sanctification Happens When Christ Is Formed In Us

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 John 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all indwell every true believer.

The true Christian is the dwelling place of God. We are the temple. And Paul’s prayer for the believer is that Christ who is in us would become fully formed, that there would be no limit to the expression of Christ in His fullness that comes through our lives.

2 Peter 1:3-4 3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

How can I live my life any other way than to give Him glory?

I am His, He is mine. That has tremendous implications for how I live. I’m not my own, I’ve been bought with a price. I am the temple of God. He’s the vine and I’m a branch.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

How could you engage in anything that dishonored the one with whom you have been joined since eternity?”


Let us look at our own lives. How is our life? Is there Christ formation in us? Are you going from glory to glory in your spiritual life every day? Is there anything that is holding you back? May Christ be formed in you. This must be our passion. We must have labor pains, deep, profound pain, until Christ is formed in us. This was Paul’s concern for the Galatian believers. They were going  to church, they were born again and baptized but there was no progress in their spiritual lives. Can we commit ourselves for growth and commitment in our spiritual lives as we pray today.

For more sermons, follow us on YouTube!