This is the sermon for Sunday, July 11th, 2010.

Galatians part 2

The Gospel: the revelation of Jesus Christ that changes you.

Galatians 1:11-24

Galatians 1:11-24 ESV – 11For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.  18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20(In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.

INTRODUCTION

What truly changes someone?  Some answers people might give would be:

  • Positive thinking.
  • Innovation.
  • A heart-wrenching message or story.
  • Positive peer pressure.

Well, Paul defines for us what changes someone:  The Gospel!  Its amazing to me in our day people peddle books, experience, programs, and topical message series to try to produce life transformation; but for Paul in all of his writings, the answer was always one thing: the Gospel!  This is why I harp on it so much.  Its truly what I want my ministry focus to be about.  You see, whether I’m visiting with an atheist, agnostic, someone bound in false religions, or converted Christian; I want my message to be about one thing: the Gospel.  It truly is the answer and the power of God for every situation.

And what is this Gospel Paul presents?  Well, the title is also the definition: The revelation of Jesus Christ that changes you!  It is my prayer for this sermon that God would sovereignly move as the Gospel is being preached.

Let’s begin unpacking the text this morning.

The Gospel is not man made theology but comes to us through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:11-12 ESV – 11For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul was at one time an enemy to Christ, His church, and His Gospel message.  He wasn’t raised in Christian Sunday School and didn’t go to a Christian College to learn the Gospel.  He literally received his salvation and calling to preach the Gospel by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Notice what Paul shares to some Jewish listeners.

Acts 22:3-16 ESV – 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.  12“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

You see, the Gospel is about revelation.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ, revealed by the revelation of Christ.  It does not have a human origin, but solely has God as it’s Author.

Paul here is defending himself against the Judaizers who are teaching a works based gospel – which is no gospel at all.  Paul has literally lost everything for the sake of the true Gospel of grace, not seeking man’s approval, but God’s approval.

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.

Paul has been transformed, for that is what the Gospel does.  Let’s look at our next point.

The Gospel transforms us from what we were, to what we become in Christ.

Galatians 1:13-24 ESV – 13For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.  18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20(In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.

Here Paul shares his testimony after his conversion, filling in some gaps along the way.  Let’s look  at his testimony.

Paul’s testimony:

  • Persecuted the church (verse 13).
  • Zealous for Judaism and it’s traditions (verse 14).
  • It was God who sought Paul out, through His election, calling by grace, and revelation of His Son (verses 15-16a).
  • God’s purpose was that Christ would be preached to the Gentiles (verse 16b).
  • Paul spent time alone (verses 16c-17).
  • Paul spent 15 days with Peter (verse 18a).
  • He met James (verse 19).
  • When word got out that Paul the persecutor had become Paul the preacher, people glorified God (verses 22-24).

What can be learned from Paul here?  Well, Jesus doesn’t call you because of past failures or your pedigree, but because of God’s election and grace.

CONCLUSION

As we close, the Gospel is greater than our past!  It is the revelation of God that changes us.  Receive the Gospel message today.

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