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Only One Gospel

Galatians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Purpose:
Intern Associate Pastor Bill Klapwyk
Purpose:
Subject:
Complement:
Big Idea: Only One Gospel
Introduction:
Are you a religious person? I want you to think about that for a minute, because I am going to tell you if you are religious then you’re not a Christian!
I want to thank Pastor Kevin, the elders, and Crossroads for giving me the opportunity to intern here.
This is the first message in a series on Galatians will be presenting over time.
Why must they listen to this sermon?
What is so important?
Subject: Christianity is not a religion
Turn your Bibles to:

I.

A. Exposition

Paul wrote this letter in response to false teaching in the churches of Galatia. In the short time period between Paul and Barnabas’s missionary trip throughout Galatia that took place around A.D. 44 – 46 () and Paul’s writing of this letter around A.D. 48 there were some Judaizers, religious leaders of Judaism, attacking the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas taught them along with attacking Paul’s apostolic authority. So, Paul starts this letter off asserting his Apostolic Authority in a way that counters the Judaizers that oppose him.
Galatians 1:1 ESV
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead
Paul is stating very clearly here that he was not appointed an apostle by any council of men such as the leaders in Jerusalem “not from men” and not by any one man “Nor through man”, not even Ananias, whom God used to help Paul in Damascus (). Paul makes claim to his authority that his call to apostleship originated from Jesus Christ and God the Father which, places him on the same level as the twelve. I like the fact that Paul mentions Jesus being resurrected, and Paul definitely knows this to be true. We all know the story of Paul’s (Saul’s) salvation and how it is the resurrected Jesus Paul meets on the road to Damascus in ().
Galatians 1:2 ESV
and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
In verse 2 Paul makes it clear that he isn’t a lone wolf and others stand with him in the teaching of the one true Gospel. We can’t truly identify what brothers were with Paul when he wrote Galatians, but the probability would be Barnabas and the church in Antioch of Syria. “To the churches of Galatia” This is the only letter Paul wrote that was not addressed to Christians in a specific town or any one individual, but addresses multiple churches. Those churches were most likely the churches Paul and Barnabas established in the Southern Roman Province of Galatia like Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. I think the fact that this letter went to several locations implies how wide spread the problem was and as we will see later on how serious the situation had become.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul uses this greeting almost like a hello, but it goes much deeper than that. Paul is saying may the grace of God be upon you and through that grace you shall find peace with God and the people around you that God may be glorified. We can almost see this played out in the way Paul writes this sentence. “Grace to you and peace” from who? “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Why do we have that grace and peace? “Christ who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age”. On what authority? “according to the will of our God and Father”. For what purpose? “to whom be glorified forever and ever. Amen”
IDEA: Greetings to you from me on behalf of God
B. Illustration: When I check my mail every day I look at the return address to see who it’s from and at the package for any indication of what it might be about. This envelope from the Internal Revenue Service is pretty important and I would say it needs my attention. The flyer from Dish Network I will just throw away unless I’m seriously looking at changing my cable provider. The letter from my sister is pretty important to me, but probably needs to wait until I deal with this disconnect notice from the power company. Let’s say there is this mail scam going on where someone is sending out fake disconnect notices pretending to be the power company. How can I be sure this disconnect notice is real? I would have to look at the return address not just on the envelope, but also where I send the payment to on the inside of the letter. I would also check to make sure the phone numbers are truly the power company’s phone numbers and probably look at the people associated with this letter to validate its originality.
C. Application: Paul validates this letter is written by him on behalf of the resurrected Jesus and all the brothers with him can verify that authority. If I think that disconnect notice from the power company is important for me to read and respond to how much more important would it be for me to read and respond to a letter written by the authority of Jesus? We as believers, you and I, come with all the authority that is given to us by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and we too have a message that is stamped with God’s approval through our own salvation God has graced us with.

II. VV

A. Exposition:
In all of his other letters this is the point where Paul would praise his readers, but here we see Paul opening in rebuke of the churches in Galatia. It has been such a short time since Paul and Barnabas had presented the Gospel to these churches.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
We see Paul leading with “I am astonished that” which is a direct rebuke and signifies the urgency and seriousness of this letter. You foolish Galatians!!! Paul gets directly to the point of this letter. “You are so quickly deserting him who called you into the grace of Christ and are turning to a different Gospel”. It had only been a short period of time maybe 4 - 6 years since the churches in Galatia had received the Gospel and they were already being disobedient to Christ. By turning to a false teaching they are turning away from Christ. This should remind us of how easily Satan can deceive young believers and how much Satan delights in that destruction. Paul then clarifies that there is only one Gospel and everything else is false teaching “not that there is another one”.
“but there are some who trouble you” we could almost read that as there are some that seek to deceive you. The enemy will use people and things around us to deceive us. “and want to distort the gospel of Christ”. I don’t believe the Judaizers were purposefully trying to deceive or distort the Gospel. They were still stuck in their religious belief that, in order to be God’s chosen people, you had to convert to Judaism and become a Jew following all the requirements of the Mosaic Laws that came with that. Paul is dealing with the Judaizers and their false teachings here. If you remember earlier I stated that Paul’s greeting goes much deeper than just a greeting. Paul was stating that only by the grace of God are we free and the Judaizers were saying through the grace of God and also these laws we have (mainly circumcision and conversion to become Jews) do you find Salvation. They were teaching that yes Jesus died for our sins, but that’s not enough. Judaism their religion says God’s grace isn’t enough we also have to follow these laws and if you do you will be raised to a higher level of spirituality.
But 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. As 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 really pulling out the heavy artillery here. These religious leaders, the false teachers, the Judaizers were claiming to have the highest level of authority. After all they were sent from the council in Jerusalem and Paul is only an apostle from Syrian Antioch. Now that Paul has asserted where his apostolic authority comes from, Jesus Christ and God the Father, he tells the Galatians to reject any gospel outside of the one he brought even to the extent that it is an angel from heaven.
It’s interesting that Paul mentions an angel here. Remember angels are spiritual beings and the fallen angels will pose as angels from heaven to lead us astray. Angels don’t fall under God’s grace like we do so it seems that when Paul says accursed here he means God’s judgment and not just excommunicated. Paul repeats himself immediately, “As 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.”, maybe as a reminder of the warning preached to the Galatians during Paul’s missionary trip there just a few years ago, and to emphasize the severity of their foolishness in this false teaching.
Let’s also take note of the difference between verses 8 and 9. In verse 8 Paul places himself and even angels within the possibility of false teachings and it is set as a “should preach” so it’s highly unlikely but still a possibility. In verse 9 Paul seems to be talking about the current situation in Galatia that is happening right now by stating “is preaching”. Now remember the judaizers were sent with this false message from the leaders of the church in Jerusalem to set the record straight. They were presenting a much different gospel and claiming Paul’s gospel is wrong and you can’t trust him. Verse 9 also serves as a reminder to the Galatians that they had received and accepted the one true Gospel which laid the solid foundation which we see in
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
In verse 10 Paul, finished with his rebuke, takes the spotlight off of his accusers that were preaching a false Gospel and places it directly upon himself.
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.
The Judaizers have attacked not only Paul’s Gospel message, but also his motivation for ministry. Paul’s first question “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?” seems to declare that Paul was accused of flattering people with an easy Gospel and looking for the favor of those he preached to. He would go with the flow and preach whatever seemed popular with the people he was preaching to. Paul referring to the last 2 verses, verses 8 and 9, basically says would I set such high condemnation if I am only trying to be a flatterer?
He then lays it all out “Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” If I were still trying to please man seems to imply that Paul is talking about the time he spent persecuting the church. At that time Paul was not only doing what he thought right to please God, but was also trying to impress the highest orders to rise in the ranks of the Jewish rabbinic establishment which he was accomplishing very effectively. He ends it though by saying I am no longer that person or I could not be a servant of Christ. Paul is stating you can only serve on master and his is Christ.
I believe these teachings in Galatia could be in part the circumstances that lead to the Jerusalem Council we read about in that took place around 49 A.D. If you remember that is where Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem and speak with the church elders about the requirements of circumcision among the gentiles. The leaders in Jerusalem were teaching that circumcision was a requirement for the gentile’s salvation. It is there by the accounts of Paul and Barnabas that the council declares that there doesn’t need to be circumcision for the gentiles because it is by the grace of God we are saved not by our works. Paul and Barnabas told the leaders about the wonders God had done among the gentiles and Peter stepped up and said who are we to claim such a thing that even we can’t live up to? Who are we to say that God’s grace isn’t good enough.
IDEA: Only one Path
B. Illustration: How many times have you heard people say I can’t believe in all this Jesus stuff? One person I talked to said there are too many rules to your religion. If I want to be a Christian I have to do so many things that I don’t want to do. Some of that is from what he has heard from some false doctrine and some of that is him not wanting to let go of his sin. I told him the only rule, as you would call it, is that you have to believe in Jesus, ask for forgiveness of your sins, and accept his grace. Everything else you claim you have to do becomes a desire in your heart not a rule you have to follow.
C. Application: The world view of Christianity today is that it is a religion of rules and intolerance. This has caused many churches and even denominations to bend and start accepting some worldly views into their doctrine. Paul is addressing exactly that issue in this letter and we should be very cautious about what we believe and teach to ensure we are staying true to the one and only Gospel given by Jesus.
Remember: Here at Crossroads you will discover the true meaning of the Bible and it will change your life.

III. VV

A. Exposition:
IDEA:
B. Illustration:
C. Application:
Conclusion:
We must completely believe and understand that Jesus has baptized us with the Holy Spirit and it is only by that authority we are able to present the gospel to others. We have to stay true to the Holy Spirit and Scripture to ensure we are not giving false teachings or adding anything to God’s grace as our salvation. When we start putting extras into our salvation (our own works, legalism) or we start believing that now I am saved I can just go do whatever I want (Hedonism) then we become guilty of the same principles Paul was addressing to the Galatians. Then we become the fools not abiding by the one true gospel and are guilty of presenting a false doctrine.
Galatians is a solid reminder that even the leaders of the church can start adding additions to the Gospel or taking things away. This leads to legalism or hedonism that can be found quite prevalent in many churches today. Remember the judaizers in Galatians were sent by the leaders of the church in Jerusalem.
Are you a religious person? Remember I said if you are then I will tell you you’re not a Christian? We just saw an example of the difference between being religious and being a Christian?
Religions require us to follow rules where we find Salvation on conditions of our own works. In some cases, there are no rules at all and just by being a religiously good person of our own doing we find Salvation. Christianity on the other hand we accomplish nothing by our own works, and just being a good person doesn’t get us there, it only by the grace of God that we have salvation.
Subject:
Complement:
Big Idea:
We need to really believe that Jesus has baptized us with the Holy Spirit and it is through that authority we are able to present the gospel to others. We have to stay true to the Holy Spirit and Scripture to ensure we are not giving false teachings or adding anything to God’s grace as our salvation. When we start putting extras into our salvation (our own works, legalism) or we start believing that now I am saved I can just go do whatever I want (Hedonism) then when we fall into the same issues Paul was addressing to the Galatians. Then we become the fools not abiding by the one true gospel and are guilty of false teachings.
Galatians is a solid reminder that even the leaders of the church can start adding additions to the Gospel or taking things away. This leads to legalism or hedonism that can be found quite prevalent in many churches today. Remember the judaizers in Galatians were sent by the leaders of the church in Jerusalem.
Are you a religious person? Remember I said if you are then I will tell you you’re not a Christian? We just saw an example of the difference between being religious and being a Christian?
Religions require us to follow rules where we find Salvation on conditions of our own works. In some cases, there are no rules at all and just by being a religiously good person of our own doing we find Salvation. Christianity on the other hand we accomplish nothing by our own works, and just being a good person doesn’t get us there, it only by the grace of God that we have salvation.
Epilogue:
For some of us the path to becoming a Christian might take less convincing than others, we see and believe in Jesus, ask forgiveness, and accept his grace in our lives. For others like myself we have to be completely broken to the point where everything seems hopeless. Broken to the point that out of pure desperation we scream out for anything to help us. Believe me when you get that desperate God’s light shines so bright and his love is so strong that you can’t help but grasp on to it. It is at that point that you realize it is only by God’s grace that I have this hope in my life.
In all reality it doesn’t matter how we come to accept Jesus in our lives the very act of doing so changes our hearts? We start to feel a desire for God’s will and start seeking that out. In the next message of this series I’ll talk about how our salvation changes us.
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