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The Only One

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We are continuing today with our “Back to Basics” series through the book of Galatians. If you were with us the last time you might remember that I said there are two key themes running through the letter that Paul wrote. The first theme or issue that Paul is writing to address is the nature of his Apostleship and the authority that comes with that. This is a key theme to understand because to be an apostle of Jesus is to be one who has authority; one who has been “invested with the authority to speak on behalf of Jesus.”
Paul’s letters are not “second tier” scripture as if they carry less weight or are less authoritative than the words of Jesus. The same is true for all of scripture - Genesis to Revelation. - “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” all of it, including the black letters.
A good illustration of the authority of scripture is seen in Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in . If, in his refutation of the devil Jesus would have done anything other than quote scripture the argument could possibly be made that Jesus has a superior level of authority than that of the rest of scripture.
In one sermon I heard on the authority of scripture the preacher was making this same point and he said “If Jesus would have zapped the devil with green lasers or lightning bolts or anything else you could argue that He has a higher level of authority.”
But Jesus doesn’t do that, why? Well, one reason is because the Bible isn’t science fiction but the other reason is because He knows that there is no higher authority than the very words of God so what does He do? He quotes
Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV
3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6:16 ESV
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
and a modified version
Deuteronomy 6:13 ESV
13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
Why
You see God is speaking through every single word that you read in this book, not just certain ones.
The second theme or issue in the letter that Paul addresses is making sure that we get the gospel right - understanding that Salvation - and consequently justification (or being in a right standing before God) is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Paul is writing not only to preach the gospel - which He did in verses 3-5, but also to protect the Gospel and to warn his hearers about what it means to accept “a different gospel” which is what we want to take a look at this morning. What happens if the message of the true gospel is altered in any way? What exactly are you doing if you add to or detract from the good news of Jesus Christ dying for your sins?
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How quickly we can desert Christ

How many of you can relate to this?
Paul and Barnabas most likely started the churches in Galatia on their first missionary journey which was between 44 AD and 46 AD. Scholars believe that he wrote this letter around 48 AD - that is two years!
Galatians 1:6 ESV
6 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—
Paul and Barnabas most likely started the churches in Galatia on their first missionary journey which took place between 44 AD and 46 AD. And most scholars believe that this letter was written around 48 AD - that is two years! It is no wonder that Paul says he is astonished - that he marvels at how quickly the Churches have turned their backs on and abandoned Christ. And before you think that is a harsh assessment of what has happened notice that this is exactly how Paul describes what the churches are doing.
He writes in verse 6 - “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you.” Paul does not simply link the Galatians turning away to the message of Christ as if all they are doing is rejecting Paul’s preaching. No, Paul links their rejection to the very person of Jesus Christ.
When Paul says that the Galatian churches are “deserting Christ” he literally means that they are “turning away from or give up on an agreement or relationship”; they are turning away and giving up on Christ. What does it mean to turn away from or to desert Christ?
In we have John’s account of Jesus’ death on the cross. In verse 30 Jesus says “Tetelestai” which means “it is finished”. Everything that needed to be accomplished for your salvation and for my salvation was accomplished by Christ on the cross. The cross of Christ satisfied the wrath of God, paid the debt that you and I owed to God for breaking His law, and provided the only way for us to be reconciled back to God. It is the innocent sacrificed for the guilty, it is called Penal Substitutionary Atonement and it is at the heart of the Gospel.
Penal - means you and I are guilty of sin, of breaking the law of God and there is a punishment that needs to be carried out against us for that sin. (, , ; ; )
Romans 3:9 ESV
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
Romans 3:19 ESV
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Romans 3:19
Romans 3:23 ESV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Substitutionary - means Christ went to the cross on my behalf and he went to the cross on your behalf. This is one person in the place of another. (; ; )
Atonement - meaning the payment for sin. (; )
So, to turn, or to reject, or to desert Christ means to look at the cross and to see Him hanging there beaten and bloodied in your place and to essentially say “thanks, but no thanks. I’m going to do this another way or I’m going to do this on my own - I don’t need you.” That is what it means to desert Christ.
Listen, if you hear this message this morning and you say yeah that guys nuts. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about it can’t really be that bad. You’re not walking out on me - I, Pete Miller, have done nothing to save you and I can do nothing to save you. The
Paul goes on to say that the Galatians were turning to a different gospel - so in their rejection of Christ they were looking for another way of salvation. The problem is, there isn’t one!
Galatians 1:6–7 ESV
6 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— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 1:6–7 ESV
6 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— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
Paul obviously knows that there is only one true Gospel.

For Another Gospel

The “other gospel” that the Galatians were in danger of falling into was legalism. Turn to Chapter 5 verse 2-4
Galatians 5:
Galatians 5:1–4 ESV
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
Legalism though takes on different forms. I found a quote from the book titled Putting the Truth to Work: The Theory and Practice of Biblical Application by Dan Doriani. I did not read this book, it was pulled from a blog post that I was reading. It is from a blog that I read regularly and trust which is why I’m sharing the quote with you, but I have not read the actual book. Here is what Dan Doriani has to say:
by Dan Doriani. I did not read this book, I was pulled from a blog post that I was reading. It it a blog that I read regularly and trust which is why I’m sharing that quote but I have not read the actual book. Mof
I found a quote from the book titled Putting the Truth to Work: The Theory and Practice of Biblical Application boy Dan Doriani. I did not read this book, I was pulled from a blog post that I was reading. It it a blog that I read regularly and trust which is why I’m sharing that quote but I have not read the actual book. M
Prof. Doriani writes:
But what about a more subtle form of legalism - we will call this “functional legalism.”
“Class-one legalists declare what one must do in order to obtain God’s favor or salvation. The rich young ruler was a class-one legalist. (I would also add that the Galatian Church was in danger of falling into this class of Legalism. The class on legalist asks “What do I need to do in order to earn my salvation?”)
This form of legalism says that there are certain spiritual disciplines that I have to do in order to retain God’s favor and salvation.
Class-two legalists declare what good deeds or spiritual disciplines one must perform to retain God’s favor and salvation. (This person may believe and understand that they are saved by faith but then they fall into the lie that their retention of their salvation is based on the good deeds they do through out their life, how often they read their bibles and pray.)
Class-three legalists love the law so much they create new laws, laws not found in Scripture, and require submission to them. The Pharisees, who build fences around the law, were class-three legalists. (This person says “There is no way you can be a Christian if” or “I can’t believe you call yourself a Christian and
, dress a certain way, listen to certain music” whatever it may be.
you vote republican or democrat or independent or you vote at all
dress a certain way or don’t dress a certain way
listen to certain music or don’t listen to certain music whatever it may be.
Class-four legalists avoid these gross errors, but they so accentuate obedience to the law of God that other ideas shrivel up. They reason, ‘God has redeemed us at the cost of his Son’s life. Now he demands our service in return. He has given us his Spirit and a new nature and has stated his will. With these resources, we obey his law in gratitude for our redemption. This is our duty to God.’ In an important way this is true, but class-four legalists dwell on the law of God until they forget the love of God. Worshiping, delighting in, communing with, and conforming to God are forgotten. (In your relationships - with your parents, spouse, kids, grandkids, friends - do you ever just enjoy spending time together? Just being in the presence of one another? Not doing something for the other person as a demonstration of your love and gratitude towards that person but just simply being together, talking and listening. The same is true of God.
Yes, good works are a part of our salvation but, as Kevin DeYoung says: “They are the fruit of our salvation not the root”. But beyond the good works God wants us to take delight in Him because he takes delight in us.
Listen to the words of
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Psalm 149:
Psalm 149:4 ESV
4 For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
I have three other counterfeit gospels I want to briefly look at before moving on to Paul’s warning. And these come from a book called Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope by Trevin Wax
See Handout
Every single one of those counterfeit gospels (the 4 forms of legalism, the therapeutic gospel, the judgment-less gospel, and the moralistic gospel) are just that: counterfeits and they are to be rejected. Jesus says in
John 14:
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You cannot find your own way to God because there is only one way but do not be amazed that there is only one way to God, be amazed that there is any way at all. God does not owe us anything
Romans 11:35 ESV
35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
But not only do they need to be rejected Paul gives a very strong warning to anyone who is declaring them.
Romans 11:35 ESV
35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”

Cursed be the false teachers

Cursed be the false teachers

Moving on, Paul now warns us of the danger we are in if we proclaim a gospel that is contrary to the true Gospel.
Galatians 1:8–9 ESV
8 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. 9 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.
Galatians 1:
Don’t think that this warning is just for those of us who get up in front of people. You may see the english word “preach” or “preaching” or “preaches” used in verses 8 and 9 depending on what translation you are using. The greek word there is “euangelizo” (pronounced you-an-ga-lee-zo) and even though the translators have rendered it preach it literally means to proclaim good news - to announce or convey a message of positive information about recent and/or important events.
James 3:1 ESV
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
So Paul is literally saying that if any one comes to you proclaiming to you the good news of Jesus Christ and it is any different than the good news that I proclaimed to you, let that person be anathema - cursed, the object of cursing or detestation.
Every wrong word, every wrong idea no matter how good it sounds, or how much I as the teacher or you as the hearer believe it, will be tested by God and He is going to use His unchanging Word as the standard. This is what Paul is talking about in . He has just finished discussing division in the church and talking about us being “God’s fellow workers [who are working with Him to build] God’s building” which is the church.
1 Corinthians 3:10–15 ESV
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Cor. 3:
So here is my question to you - does the gospel that you received line up with the gospel that Paul preaches or is does it fit into one of the counterfeit gospels we looked at earlier? In your gospel is the reason that Christ came and died your sinfulness and to deliver you, to rescue you for this present evil age? or is it something else? How about the good news that you proclaim and share with others? Are you down playing the sinfulness of sin in an effort not to offend the person you are talking to? Please, for the sake of your own soul and the soul of the people you are sharing with do not diminish the guilt that people are under before a holy God. You are not doing anyone any good.
But don’t think that this waring in Galatians is just for those of us who get up in front of people. You may see the english word “preach” or “preaching” or “preaches” used in verses 8 and 9 depending on what translation you are using. The greek word there is “euangelizo” (pronounced you-an-ga-lee-zo) and even though the translators have rendered it preach it literally means to proclaim good news - to announce or convey a message of positive information about recent and/or important events.
J. Greshem Machen in his book Christianity and Liberalism has this to say about the gospel
From the beginning, the Christian Gospel, as indeed the name “gospel” or “good news” implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth then there was Christian Doctrine. “Christ died” - that is history; “Christ died for our sins” - that is doctrine. Without these two elements joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity.
Machen is saying the exact same thing that Paul is saying - if your gospel is a sin-less you don’t have a gospel; if your gospel is a Christ-plus gospel (Christ plus good works, Christ plus circumcision as is the case here in Galatia, Christ plus a long list of do’s and don’ts) you don’t have a gospel. What you have is a counterfeit and that is not good for you or your hearers.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Christ died for your sins - He has fully satisfied the wrath of God on my behalf and on your behalf. Are you resting in that or are you believing one of the counterfeit gospels? My prayer is that you are resting in Christ. If your not, if, as we were looking at the lists of counterfeit gospels earlier you found yourself believing one of them Christ died for that sin as well.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confess the sin of unbelief, repent and God will forgive you and He will cleanse you.
Let’s Pray
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