This is the sermon for Sunday, July 4th, 2010.  This is part one in the Galatian sermon series.  Although I preached started this actually in chapter three a couple of weeks ago (I have my weird reasons for doing that) this is actually the first sermon in the series.  Also, everyone have a safe 4th of July weekend.

Gospel-packed

Galatians 1:1-10

Galatians 1:1-10 ESV – 1Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers who are with me, 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

INTRODUCTION

The country we live in is loaded with churches.  We have churches of every stripe, background, and style.  And we also have people who complain about the different stripes, backgrounds, and styles.  Now this sermon, nor any of the sermons we are doing in Galatians, is not about telling us which stripe, background, and style is correct or better.  You see, that is not the issue.  What is the issue is the message – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Whatever stripe, background, and style of church we may belong too – what is of utmost importance is the Gospel!

Sadly many a church either does not know what the Gospel is, or they are preaching a different Gospel altogether.  Here is a short list of modern day false gospels (based on Ray Ortland’s book, “a passion for God,” page 205).

Modern day false gospels:

  • Political or pro-life causes.
  • Managerial techniques.
  • Church growth drives.
  • Revival campaigns.
  • Seeker-sensitive services.
  • Relational services.
  • Self-esteem sermons.

While some of these things look good and even harmless, they are not the Gospel!

Paul had to address the same type of issue in his day.  That is why He wrote the Epistle to the Galatians.  It is said of this little letter that it stirred the flames of the Protestant Reformation.  Well, it is my prayer that this book stirs the flames of reformation in our hearts as well; a fire a passion for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let’s begin unpacking our text.

A Gospel-packed introduction.

Galatians 1:1-5 ESV – 1Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers who are with me, 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Many a preacher will have an illustration, poem, three points, and then a conclusion, and then maybe at the conclusion present the Gospel.  Well, not Paul!  He presents the Gospel right at the beginning of this letter.  He doesn’t have time to chit-chat, he is concerned for this church and knows that he is in a fight – a fight that must be won!  Notice he begins with his calling, “Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.” Even the explanation of his calling is Gospel-packed!

Notice his blessing, 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” His blessing is Gospel-packed as well!

May this introduction of Paul’s motivate all of us to start, live, and end each day Gospel-packed.

You see, Paul knew that there was power in the Gospel because he experienced it.  That is why his life and ministry was absolutely Gospel focused.

Do you want to know and experience the power of God?  Then turn off your TV, radio, and podcast preachers and open the New Testament and pour yourself into the Gospel message!

The easy way false gospels get a food-hold.

Galatians 1:6-7 ESV – 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Notice that Paul says he is astonished at how quickly the church of Galatia was abandoning the true Gospel – hence the urgency of his letter.  The false gospel that Paul was dealing with was the Judaizers – teachers proclaiming Christ plus law-keeping and circumcision.  This false gospel was gaining a foot-hold fast in the church of Galatia.

If we do not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our focus, then false gospels can easily gain a foot-hold and we can be in danger of being led astray!

All other gospels other than Christ’s Gospel are cursed!

Galatians 1:8-9 ESV – 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Paul is using strong language here.  Not just saying the false gospels are cursed, but the teachers of those gospels are cursed as well.  Basically the Greek word (anathema) means, “Let them be destroyed in hell!”  I’m sure there were no fuzzy feelings while the church in Galatia was reading Paul’s words!

What is the best way to deal with false gospels?  Publicly expose the heresy, repent and abandon the teachers and the teaching, and pray that God would mercifully grant repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name, not only to the teachers of these damnable doctrines, but those who listen and believe as well.

Don’t worry about pleasing man, but please God.

Galatians 1:10 ESV – For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

If Paul was seeking the approval of men, then he wouldn’t be exposing the false teachers and their doctrine.  But love for Christ, His Gospel, and His church compelled him to boldly confront.

You and I have to love people enough not only to share the Gospel with them, but expose any false doctrine they may believe.

CONCLUSION

As we conclude: my admonition to everyone here is to become Gospel-packed.  Know the Gospel; fall in love with it; correct the false with it.  The true Gospel of our Lord will never lead you astray.

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